Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Tale of Two Republicans

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

It seems that these are good times for the Republicans. Their Supreme Court has tilted the playing field in their favor, allowing unlimited secret contributions from their corporate benefactors. GOP gains in the November election, including capturing the majority in the House of Representatives, also demonstrate that times are good for the Party of No. Their overtly stated goal of bringing down the Obama administration as their first priority seems to be well in reach.

Yet, Republicans seem to be living in their ivory tower of ideology, ignorant of the realities of life in America outside their cocoon. While it may be “the best of times” for those Republicans, it is “the worst of times” for millions of middle- and lower-income Americans.

Take, for example, Senator Lindsey Graham. This week, he made a passionate speech on the Senate floor bemoaning the fact that their work load this week was too heavy (despite the fact that he and his GOP colleagues spent the last two years doing nothing more than blocking the work of the Senate and creating the logjam.)  It was as if he and his colleagues were the only ones in the nation who had to work more than 40 hours a week. Perhaps he should experience “the worst of times” and work two full-time minimum wage jobs as I’m sure many of his South Carolina constituents feel fortunate to do because they have jobs. This probably won’t happen, and at some point Senator Graham will be able to relax after he retires from the Senate with his two government pensions.

Another Republican who is riding the GOP tidal wave is Governor Chris Christie. As was amply demonstrated in his appearance on 60 Minutes this past weekend, the media’s love affair with him and their unwillingness to press back on his half-truths and innuendos during interviews make him the darling of the mainstream media. He is rarely called out on these issues. Perhaps the press was intimidated with his handling of an inquiring reporter. Since he took office, Christie has refused to negotiate with the teachers’ union, and when his ultra-conservative Commissioner of Education dared to do so, Christie fired the commissioner. Now, Christie is comparing the union to segregationist George Wallace - and that blockbuster comparison is being ignored by his adorers in the national media. Perhaps the governor should experience “the worst of times” by spending one day teaching in an economically segregated Camden elementary school before he berates our teachers any further.

While the Republicans ride their wave of good times, their day of reckoning will come soon. Their squandering of our tax dollars on breaks for millionaires while they ignore the needs of everyday Americans will become more evident as some of the mainstream media catches on and alternative media spread the message. It will remain to be seen whether Democrats, and especially progressives, can act as a catalyst to ensure this message is accurately and effectively received by the American voter in 2012, With the GOP surge, we have some pretty bad times ahead of us - can we turn things around to put America back on track toward the “best of times” before it is too late?

Cross-posted to bluejersey.com

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