Friday, December 4, 2009

The Alternate History of Sen. Orrin Hatch

Methinks the fine Senator grows senile. Hatch on the Senate floor yesterday:

I dream some day of having the Republicans have 60 votes. I’ll tell you one thing, I think we would finally have the total responsibility to get this country under control and I believe we would. But we never come close to that. There are essentially no checks and balances found in Washington today just an arrogance of power with one party ramming through unpopular and devastating proposals on after the other.
He has a dream. And a lofty dream it is. It requires departing from the recent history of his party, and his voting record -- which deviates from his party, never -- in forming your "understanding" of legislative reality, but no matter. It's pompous and vacuous grandstanding that makes a leader, not track record, right? Wonkroom:

Republicans controlled Congress for 12 years — eight of which had a Republican president — but their agenda of tax cuts for the super rich did little to “get this country under control,” so to speak. Throughout the Bush administration, “the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked.”

Republicans ignored the health care crisis. Throughout the years of Republican dominance, the rate of uninsurance grew and employer-sponsored insurance continued to erode. “When Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million. By the time Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 per cent.” Between 2001 and 2005 — when Republicans had majorities in both chambers of Congress — the number of uninsured employees grew by 3.4 million and employer-sponsored health insurance premiums grew by no less than nine percent each year, while wages only grew between 2.2% and 4.0% each year. (In fact, the share of Americans who received health insurance through their employer declined every year of his presidency.)

Orrin isn't an anomaly amongst Republican leadership, or even party activists. Though he may be the most obnoxiously whiney.

There is something they are completely incapable of wrapping their heads around: Obama and the Democratic Party legitimately won the White House and House majorities because they weren't Republicans. They, quite simply, spoke to, and continue to better represent a majority of voters in this country. (See 2006, 2008, and -- upcoming -- 2010 for reference)

Republicans had more than a decade to address actual problems. They chose not to. They still have an opportunity to contribute real content to the narrative. They choose not to. The Party Orrin hails from and heralds as savior squandered their years in power on hubris, and selling out to corporations and the highest bidders.

Life's a bitch, Orrin. Elections have consequences. Manufactured indignance and demagoguery aren't a legislative platform or a template for a return to power. Holy Wars of obstruction and tired, ineffectual talking points do not equate to inspiring leadership outside of tea-bagging festivals and Palin's book selling stunts. Temper tantrums at facing consequence aren't an attribute, and quite frankly are becoming a bore.

Your words speak more to your age, and a leave from reality then they do any semblance of earning the office you occupy.

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