A few events over the intervening week held sway enough to make me ponder aloud, “Does John Boehner truly understand American governance?”; “Are the embassy attacks about US policy?” and “Does President Obama flagrantly advocate abortion?”
Election years are crazy enough with the monkey poo fights that erupt across the political ad-osphere but the complete abandon of facts this time around has sent this season into a tailspin of opportunistic malfeasance as its players seek to rouse emotion at the expense of rationality.
The House has done its job
Earlier last week when speaking about the forthcoming sequestration, or the popularly monickered fiscal cliff, John Boehner stated;
"Listen the House has done its job on both the sequester and the looming tax hikes that will cost our economy some 700,000 jobs. The Senate at some point has to act.
Mr. Boehner illustrates an interesting caricature of the House of Representatives, he now leads, as a bastion of solutions to an apparent impending crisis. He places the blame of inaction squarely on Democratic shoulders. Did the House pass legislation aimed at preventing the massive across the board spending cuts, the plan birthed during 2011's summer of gridlock? Yes, it did. But the caveat to this claim of action the Speaker is touting is the House bill only eliminates Republican pains.
You see the sequestration legislation was created as a result of the congressional stalemate during last summer's debt ceiling debate. Neither side could find agreement, tax increases being the deal breaker for the GOP and the Tea Party freshmen. The solution at the time was to craft a piece of legislation so painful to both sides that there would be little choice but to act, to find common ground before the extreme measures took effect.
Cuts were slated for the Republican treasured defense budget and Democrat favored discretionary domestic programs. Over the next nine years, $109 billion would be cut from both sides equally. Economists agree if these cuts go into effect the US will fall into a double-dip recession with hundreds of thousands losing their jobs as billions of dollars are removed from the economy.
The solution presented by the House is further cut domestic programs and not only eliminate the cuts slated for defense but also increases spending for the department by $8 billion. This is the area where Mr. Boehner appears to have difficulty comprehending what it means to govern in this country. From the beginning the core of American governance has been compromise. No matter how partisan political ideology became the eventual need to find compromise was always evident. It's this hallmark of the legislative process Speaker Boehner is forgetting about as he touts legislation that solely address Republican pains and increases those of the Democrats all the while blaming his political opponents for not agreeing to such a one sides bill. Perhaps the Speaker needs to ask himself if he would accept such a deal if the situation was reversed.
Nothing will be achieved without a compromise. Republicans need to acknowledge their unrealistic adherence to Grover Norquist's No Tax Pledge and Democrats need to accept reasonable spending cuts or reforms to their favored programs. To the Democrats' credit, many have accepted such cuts to their favorites as they wait for Republicans to reciprocate with similar gestures of compromise.
Governance in the US is not one-sided. It's not done in isolation. Effective governance in America is achieved by meeting in the middle without fear of retribution and working for the benefit of the country as a whole.
“Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt.”
The Obama Administration apologizes to protesters laying siege to US embassies across north Africa, was the theme of political attacks levied against the President in the wake of the attacks which resulted in the loss of a US ambassador and three other foreign service members in Benghazi, Libya. Mitt Romney let lose the first volley as others, like Reince Priebus, the RNC Chair, followed suit with, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”. As more information filtered through the rushes to judgment, Romney's opportunistic attack on his opponent came under fire from all sides, including many from his own party. Later, the Republican nominee and his vice-presidential choice, Paul Ryan, sought to curtail a modicum of the damage by churning the rhetoric into an attack on the administration's failed foreign policy efforts.
The catalyst behind the attacks was apparent to the US Embassy in Cairo which released just before the commencement of the protests there, not an apology, but a condemnation of the now infamous, low budget internet video spurring anger across the region. Hardly reflective of a coup against US policy that Republicans hoped it was.
The video, even the idea of it, spread across the populous of the Muslim world inflaming emotions even in those who never viewed it. Similar to previous events like the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet and the Koran burning in Florida, the video became a call to arms fostering a herd mentality among many all too ready to believe in anything anti-Amreican. For those taking part, the belief was the US government supported such attacks on their beliefs. There was, and still is, a disconnect between the rights to free speech in this country and the controls the peoples of north Africa and the Middle East have been subject to for the majority of their lives. Simply put, if the US government was not a party to the creation of the video then they would never have allowed its release. By that association alone, the US government and by default its embassies became targets for retribution. This logic displays a lack of understanding of the very rights the Arab Spring endeavored to provide. People fought and gave their lives for such rights as freedom of expression without fear of authoritative retribution, yet they are even now protesting that very right they sought to gain. It's just unfortunately that this right to free speech resulted in a purposeful incitement to violence.
In the end, the facts are, no one apologized to the protesters or those attackers who fired on the US embassies. The protests were in no way a result of US foreign policy in the region and politically motivated suggestions to that effect server only to illustrate a poor comprehension of the real world situation.
Obama stands for abortion at any time at taxpayer expense.
At this weekend's Values Voter Summit, the same venue a year ago Robert Jeffress called Mormonism a cult, Paul Ryan took the stage criticizing the President's policies in the usual manner many voters have heard before, hitting him on the economy and intrusive government policies. As many of Ryan's claims have provided fact-checkers plenty of material to occupy their time, he strayed into an area that would give even the casual observer pause.
“Now, apparently, the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion at any time, under any circumstance, and even at taxpayer expense,"
An interesting characterization, especially when contraception and the affordable access to it has been a focus of the administration and the Democratic Party overall. By the very nature of such a priority it negates any assertion as to the President's absolute support for rampant abortion. Now, unless Mr. Ryan has subscribed to the Arizona doctrine that life begins two weeks before conception, it would be a challenge for the vice-presidential candidate to verify such a claim.
The second portion of Mr. Ryan's statement proves suspect as well. There is no current legislation or any in the works that will funnel taxpayer monies into funding abortions. In actuality, there are specific laws forbidding such a practice. Federal taxpayer funding of abortions has been banned since 1976 with the first appearance of the Hyde Amendment. With the passage of the health care reform President Obama signed, at the behest of conservative Democrats, an executive order further ensuring no funds from the Affordable Care Act would be used for abortions. Nonetheless, Republicans continue to charge the President and Democrats as pro-abortionists, usurping the more accurate term pro-choice, going so far as initiating further legislation to institute bans which already exist.
What, no honesty?
It's all been seen before, going as far back the 1800 presidential election when Thomas Jefferson hired a publisher to print fabricated stories about John Adams in a similar vein as media sources placate to one side or another today. But one would think in these modern times we'd moved beyond such things. One would think we would have evolved. Instead, it appears that we've regressed. It's all too easy for far too many to believe our duly elected commander-in-chief is a socialist, fascist, foreign-born Muslim who has unleashed a conspiracy set in motion upon the very day of his birth to insert the infant child into the a future presidency of the US and bring the country to its knees with the institution of a government-controlled health care system.
Most people can understand the strategies of spin within politics to paint a positive picture of one's candidate or a negative portrait of their opponent. But what exists today, what has oozed out of the pores of a dysfunctional political system is something devoid of ethics or even maturity where anything is believed despite the realities to the contrary. Where's the honesty? What does the say anything to win scheme provide the country at large? What does lying ones way into office actually achieve? Simply put, it contributes nothing but only bestows a disservice upon the American public who end up with little except a malfunctioning government locked into a partisan stalemate with representation that drags its feet until the next election when the pendulum just might swing back in their favor.