Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cleaning Up the GOP Mess

Why is it that, in general, the GOP breaks things, the Democrats have the tough job of cleaning things up, and then take the heat for the expense and sacrifices of doing so?

Eight years of Bush rule, six of them in which he had a majority in both houses of Congress, nearly brought the country to financial and moral collapse.  Not only did the Republicans bring the economy within a gnat’s eyelash of Great Depression II, but the moral decay that they caused, including torture, spying on Americans, lying to justify wars of choice, outing CIA agents for political vendettas, and lining the pockets of corporate cronies, is unprecedented in my lifetime.

Barack Obama was elected in 2008 to clean up the Bush mess, and although he would probably receive a grade of C- on the efforts so far, at least it’s a passing grade.  His efforts have been hampered by a combination of his own timidity with dealing with the GOP and the GOP’s  abuse of the Senate rules.  Yet, had John McCain been elected, I might be writing about the impact of the current depression, the war in Iran, the tens of thousands of Americans dieing each year for lack of health care, and the street rioting due to the 25% unemployment rate.

Here in New Jersey, Bush/Rove protégé Chris Christie is creating a new mess, one that will also take years to clean up. In the name of making New Jersey “business friendly”, he is neglecting the infrastructure that businesses rely on and decimating the education system that will provide the workers with the knowledge that fuels the business engine. Christie’s popularity is based on empty slogans, simplistic “solutions”, and a “tough guy” image that resonates with the very voters who stand to lose from Christie’s approach.

There is a shining light in New Jersey politics, however, in the name of Senator Frank Lautenberg.  Lautenberg was a veteran senator who came out of retirement to replace corrupt Democratic senator Bob Toricelli on the ballot in the 2002 election.  In the past week, Lautenberg proved his mettle with two key actions.

First, his vote against tax cuts for millionaires, although on the losing side, showed that at least one Democrat has the guts to stand up for the middle class and against the deficit-generating Bush policies that have been adopted by the Obama administration.  Even though he is one of the richest men in a Senate filled with millionaires, Lautenberg continues to be the champion for the middle class and the downtrodden.

In addition, Lautenberg is working with the Republican Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, to offset some of the money that New Jersey is required to return to the federal government due to Chris Christie’s blunder when the governor cancelled the much-needed tunnel under the Hudson River and threw away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in a fit of pique.

While Lautenberg tries to clean up the GOP messes on the national and state level, we need to look to the future. Lautenberg is 86 years old and unfortunately won’t be able to serve us in the Senate forever.  Our other iconic ex-Senator Bill Bradley, has indicated that he is not interested in rejoining the political fray.  So where is the next New Jersey figure who can make an impact on the state and national levels?  Who will rise to the occasion to help clean up the residue of the Bush and Christie messes in the next decade?

Cross-posted from

1 comment:

  1. Doesn't Jon Corzine have enough money left to buy the seat back?