Republicans – The party of "NO"?

Republicans – The party of "NO"?

As health care legislation flounders in the Senate, the White House and major media outlets have been quick to lay the blame on Republican lawmakers. Republicans have been derided and labeled as the party of no. They have been excoriated for their attempts to compromise and have been rendered impotent by virtue of their minority status.

But, have Republicans truly become the party of no; a party of obstructionists?

If we are to believe the reports and press briefings that have been flooding out of Washington the short answer would be yes. But behind the headlines lies a different story, one that has been under reported and discounted, or just ignored.

The House and, to a lesser degree, the Senate are dominated by Democrats. The Democratic Party holds clear majorities in both Houses of Congress and, if acting in unison, would be all but unstoppable. The truth is Republicans cannot stop any legislation proposed by Democrats. There are no procedural tricks or political maneuverings that can change that fact. The numbers do not lie and they are clearly on the side of the Democrats.

The reporting has been hugely lopsided in that it paints the Republicans in Congress as the reason health care legislation has stalled. The truth is quite the opposite. While the Republicans are mounting a formidable campaign against health care legislation and acting as a unified body they have no substantive power to block health care.

The stumbling blocks placed before this draconian legislation have come from Democratic lawmakers. Senators like Lieberman and Nelson have stalled passage of health care, not Republicans. Though to read news reports or listen to the talking heads on the evening news you would be lead to believe otherwise. The only thing stopping the passage of health care, cap and trade or any other piece of liberal legislation is the inability of Democrats to agree with each other. Were they to vote as a unified whole they could literally pass anything.

Having said all that, to argue that Republicans cannot stop health care legislation misses the point. The more germane question is this; should they be trying?

Republicans have for some time abandoned their conservative roots and attempted to reach across the aisle, compromise, and be the party of the “big tent”. They have tried to defeat liberals at their own game by spending like there is no tomorrow (and no deficit). What they have reaped is nothing short of the destruction of the Republican Party.

It seems, at least at for moment, that Republicans have realized the error of their ways (governing from the minority seems to have that effect on politicians). They have grasped onto the populist uprising against government excess and found within that movement their conservative values. They have what they believe to be a winning strategy for the mid-term elections.

Now back to the question at hand; should Republicans be the party of no? The answer is yes. They should be ready to block by any means legislation that would further grow an already untenable deficit. They should block any legislation that seeks to socialize our economy. They should be ready to fight for the freedoms we were guaranteed in the Constitution. They should be ready to do these things and more. They should be ready to act not because it is politically expedient to do so but because it is the right thing to do.

You see, they may believe they have a winning strategy planned out for the 2010 mid-term elections but they are in just as much danger as the Democrats. The people are watching and they won’t be fooled by disingenuous pandering and false conversions. This country is ready for the hope and change that Obama promised and then denied us. We are ready to clean house and the letters next to their names will make little difference if they are all acting the same.

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