"The American people have spoken." That has been the mantra of John Boehner and the Republicans for weeks. Yes, the American people have spoken, Mr. Boehner, but I am one of them, and I can tell you it is not your voice, or your Neolithic point-of-view, that speaks for me, or a lot of other Americans.
In fact, I would not be going out on a limb to suggest that most Americans who do not digest a daily diet of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh think that the public face of your party over the last few years has become so extreme as to no longer represent much other than the bald-faced attempt to regain majority rule at all costs.
Mr. Boehner, you and your colleagues have sacrificed governance for the raw pursuit of power, and the maintenance of a lobbyist-fed status quo that is irreparably broken.
You are out of tune with the majority on race.
- GOP strategists unleashed the race genie in the 11th hour of John McCain and Sarah Palin's desperation. Your Confederate-flag-supporting Rep. Joe Wilson's cry of "You lie..." in one of our most politically sacred places drew praise from your membership, not condemnation.
- Yesterday, though, when the protesters from the Right engaged in a shameful display of hate speech, screaming epithets of race and gender directed at fellow U.S. Congresspeople, some of your members, including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) endorsed the racists and bigots:
"When you use a totalitarian tactics, people, you know, begin to act crazy," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Sunday on C-SPAN. "I think that people have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone, they can do it."
You and the rest of the Republican leadership stood silent about Nunes' spin that explained away behavior which you, yourself, at around the same time, said was not tolerable. Where is Mr. Nunes censure?
Abortion as a wedge issue to motivate voters to join you has spiraled out of your control.
- Where were you, Mr. Boehner, as the top man in the minority, when someone from your side of the aisle, at yesterday's session, shouted "baby-killer" directed at, of all people, Michigan Democratic congressmen Bart Stupak?
- It is ironic that the GOP seemed more interested in protecting potential life than it did in protecting the living, especially the 31 million souls here with us, thousands of whom die every year needlessly because they can't afford to protect their inalienable, Constitutional right to life.
You have given up on governance to throw everything at another shot at majority power.
- Stonewalling has become the order of the day, a historic first for your party, which has always found some way to be a part of the government. You and the GOP representatives hold office, but that's about it.
- It is kind of sad, and a bit pitiful, when President Obama is incorporating Republican ideas regarding health care reform, and you, and even the people who authored them, are voting the bill down.
You and your brethren talk a good game about personal responsibility, and fiscal accountability.
Someone making $20,000 a year can be as personally responsible as they can, but the likelihood that they'll be able to pay $8,000 to $11,000 for health insurance in the private system is ZERO. Many become virtual slaves to miserable jobs or second jobs just to be able to have health care for themselves and their families.
Before, however, you go about putting the government on the Right road, how about stepping up to the plate, and taking a little personal responsibility yourselves?
Give up your cushy health program and join the rest of us buying PPOs and HMOs. Urge your party faithful to give up their Social Security benefits and their Medicare.
If you're laughing, you're right. I don't see too many conscientious objectors to state welfare with a Republican voting card either, as long as the name on the check is theirs.
You lament the spending of a trillion on health care, but you had no problem spending that on the failed grab for oil and the balance of power in the Middle East.
You and your party talk fiscal responsibility. 2000 to 2008. Enough said.
It all rings a bit hollow.
If you want to speak for the American people, you might want to start listening first, and not just to your splinter groups, special interests, and hate mongers.
You need to listen, really listen, to all of us.
When you can lower the histrionics and hyperbole, begin to govern cooperatively, and embrace the more moderate members of your party, the American people might listen again.
You didn't lose health care reform by having the same parliamentary tricks that you used on the Dems 26 times turned against you. You lost because you were on the wrong side of history.
We now live with the rather grim reality that the private sector has pillaged the economy in ways from which it will take decades to recover. This country, in debt as it is to Japan, China, and the Middle East, may never be the same. Health care, like many things, is escalating in cost faster than the average American can keep up with.
Your party created the problem by stripping financial restraints, safety regulations, and the once-vaunted American safety net until it was thread-bare. You launched us into costly and needless wars, in spite of Karl Rove's spin.
We have not forgotten. Or forgiven.
Until the majority of the slick-haired, ignorant, mindlessly dogmatic members of your party are gone, and your moderates develop a real voice in the party, you can never be the party of change, or of hope, or of our future.
Stick up for America, Mr. Boehner. Condemn racism and intolerance. Take your lumps as a minority party, and build your contributions to governance up so we regain some small measure of confidence that you can lead this country, even when we agree to disagree.
Then, maybe, I will let you speak for me.
My shiny two.