Dear Mitch McConnell, I checked out your comments about President Obama and Senate Democrats on Tuesday at the at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Annual Meeting in Georgetown and wanted to clear up some confusion on your end. Call it a little reality check of sorts if you will.
To begin, you stated you were “perplexed” by the President’s actions since the mid-term elections, accusing him of being in denial over “what can only be described as a butt kicking election.”
- Really? Could it be that you have forgotten the fact that “this 113th Congress has passed just 186 bills into law. That’s behind the pace of the 112th Congress, which set the modern record for the fewest number of bills signed into law (283).” Don’t you realize that were it not for your inaction as legislators it would not be necessary for the President to issue executive orders and actions?
- Or maybe you forgot when President Obama reminded Republicans in November about his intention to take action on immigration this year, stating: “I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago that if in fact Congress failed to act I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try and make the system work better. And that’s gonna happen, that’s gonna happen before the end of the year.” Did you think he was bluffing? What do you think now? Oh, that’s right – you’re perplexed.
- Could it be that you overlooked the fact that the last significant act on immigration passed by Congress was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986? How about the failure to reconcile in conference committee the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, passed by the House and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, passed by the Senate.
- Surely you forgot that President Obama signaled interest in beginning a discussion on comprehensive immigration reform before that year’s end back in 2006?
- And I guess you must have been sleeping when “The Senate voted to pass a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration laws” back in June of 2013, “sending its landmark bill to the [Republican controlled] House of Representatives” where it promptly died.
- And I guess you are unaware that the bill was sent to Speaker Boehner’s House “with a strong showing of bipartisan support and setting up the next phase in the fight to reform the immigration system for the first time in a generation.”
Next, you boasted of your “deal-making acumen when paired with Vice President Joe Biden, citing deals to extend the Bush tax cuts, approve the Budget Control Act and avoid the fiscal cliff in 2012 as examples that [you] can negotiate with the other side.”
- Hmmm, it seems you forgot to include the Republican led government shutdown of 2013 – one of the best examples of “negotiating with the other side,” ever – right?
- And speaking of the shutdown, what about the reports that Republicans were boozing it up on the House floor as they voted to close the government? That sounds really bipartisan as does the well-documented theory that the 2013 shutdown was a fundraising ploy by Republicans.
- Surely you can’t be talking about your post-election threat to undo the Affordable Care Act “root and branch,” as soon as you become Senate Majority Leader in January? You can’t be referring to the over 50 times House Republicans have voted to repeal Obamacare so far? Or do you think somehow that these action indicate a willingness to reach out across the aisle? Constitute good faith efforts to “negotiate with the other side?”
- And I guess you forgot about the whole gridlock thing with immigration reform we noted above.
Last, you stated that your “hope is that regardless of what direction the president takes, there will be 10-15 Senate Democrats who want to get back to normal and get back toward the political center.”
Are you kidding me? The Democrats are the ones who have strayed furthest from the center? I don’t even know where to begin with this one.
- How about the Republicans’ hatred of women, gays and minorities. Is that your definition of being “toward the political center?”
- What about Republicans fundamental inability to be honest, such as these 10 insane, fear-mongering GOP lies from the recent election cycle? Or you might want to check out The Daily Banter’s recent article Debunking the Top 10 Most Egregious Republican Lies. Or is deceit characteristic of being in the center of the political spectrum?
- What about the anti-science movement that seems to have taken over the Republican Party in recent years? Don’t believe me Mitch? Check out the GOP’s Top 10 Climate Change Deniers. I hardly think full flight from reality a centrist trait.
- And what do you have to say about Republican efforts to control when, where, how, why and with whom we have intimate relations. You call that being politically centered, Mitch? Really?
- How about a recent study by the Pew Research Center that shows that 36% of Republicans view the Democratic party as a threat to the nation’s well-being versus only 27% of Democrats who feel the same about Republicans?
- And last, but not least, what about the fact that the polarization of politics in America is asymmetric with Republicans becoming far more extreme than Democrats? “Compared with today’s Republican presidential candidates, Barry Goldwater, the founder of the modern conservative movement – whose views were considered so extreme in 1964 that he was defeated in a landslide – would seem almost temperate.”
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