Imagine yourself as a youth playing neighborhood baseball games on the street in the summertime. What if the parents of a bratty, asocial kid demanded their son be included in the game, too? Would the other kids who come out and play from all over the neighborhood still be willing to participate if the neighborhood brat insisted on the game being played under his strict interpretation of the rules? And if attendance dropped to just you and your friends vs. the bratty kid, would you walk home in disgust and let him ruin your fun, or would you and your friends be determined to defeat the bratty kid under his rules and send him home crying?
Dick Lugar just lost the Indiana GOP senatorial primary because his opponents accused him of being "Obama's favorite Republican." To be clear, that allegation is preposterous. Lugar sided with McConnell on just about everything -- he voted NO to making millionaires pay the same tax rate as their secretaries. He supported the Bush tax cuts that led to the vast redistribution of wealth from the bottom 90% to the top 1% over the past decade. He voted NO to the Violence Against Women Act. He voted YES to building the Keystone XL pipeline and to the war in Iraq. He opposed the Affordable Care Act of 2010. He even voted in favor of indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens without trial.
By all accounts, Dick Lugar was a hardline conservative Republican. But his opponents put Lugar on the sacrificial altar to send a message not just to his Democratic challenger but to the Republican party as a whole: the days of bipartisanship are over, and now we're playing hardball. Lugar's victorious Tea Party Republican challenger, Richard Mourdock, heavily funded by Super PACs like Karl Rove's Crossroads, said his interpretation of bipartisanship was that it "ought to consist of Democrats coming over to the Republican point of view."
With this quote came the dropped jaws of the establishment politicians and beltway media right on cue, who just couldn't believe that the Republican party's Senate nominee in Indiana would be so dismissive of the congenial attitude, comity, camaraderie and compromising, bipartisan nature of the US Senate. By gum, if the Senate were full of people like this Mourdock guy, the media breathlessly argues, the Senate would never get anything done!
What planet have these people been living on since 2009?
Senate Republicans, under Mitch McConnell's leadership, have made sure that nothing will get done until Barack Obama leaves the White House. McConnell has openly stated that his chief goal as Senate Minority Leader isn't to create more jobs, expand the tax base, balance budgets, or anything of the sort- his chief goal has openly been to defeat President Obama. And so far, McConnell's stern partisan gridlock has held. Anything that isn't in total lockstep with McConnell's plutocratic views gets filibustered, since 60 votes are now needed to even bring a bill up for debate.
McConnell and his ilk thinking in such a destructive way inspires their base to take on that destructive thinking, who actively cheer for the destruction of America's economy, just so they can blame it on Obama. The right's leading ideological beacon openly wished for the president's failure before he was even inaugurated. The most fervent Tea Party radicals have urged small businesses to not hire so the economy will remain slow. The partisan gridlock in Washington is fuel on the fire for the same folks who make terrorist death threats against Democratic senators, even going so far as to slaughter pets to prove their hatred of the left, and willingness to score political points even if it comes at the cost of our nation's well-being.
Since 2009, the Senate has been full of Richard Mourdocks who are hell-bent on ensuring that the Wall Street bankers and war profiteers who fund their campaigns get more money, even if it means regular folks lose their jobs, schools and communities to budget cuts. Most Republicans in the US Senate are millionaires who come from corporate and financial backgrounds, and bring corporate culture to the capitol when they legislate. Corporate hierarchy rewards ruthlessness and competition with power, while the Constitutional demands of public office are in service of "promoting the general welfare."
The military-industrial complex uses the phrase "collateral damage" when describing the unplanned deaths of innocent women and children. Corporate executives use the phrase "downsizing" to increase their profit margins at the cost of wrecking the lives and upending the careers of thousands. Politicians coming from a life in corporate culture, like Mourdock, use the phrase "austerity" to describe the pillaging of public education and health care to keep taxes low for their corporate backers. Corporate executives and bankers can and have ruined their companies to make off with billions. War profiteers have destroyed nations to exploit resources and be wildly profitable. Far-right corporate-backed lawmakers will undermine their constituents' needs for corporate profit and be expected to get a lucrative lobbying deal out of it.
The current crop of Republicans in the House and Senate seek to reinstate the gilded age, where the vast majority of wealth pools into the hands of an elite few, and where the common folk are doomed to a life of constant struggle and poverty so those at the top can have even more. Scum like Mourdock, who compare their efforts to tax poor people to Lincoln's fight against slavery, need to be bullied by their political opponents for siding with the .01% over the bottom 90%. And they need to all be soundly defeated in November of 2012. That must be the message we send the Republican party: quit your bitching and get back to work, or you're fired.
The 2012 election is a field full of bratty, intolerant, whiny kids on the field who want to have everything their way and nothing our way. Let's stop giving them legitimacy and play our hardest until we win. They won't stop until we knock every pitch they throw at us out of the park, and send them home with bloody noses and tear-stained cheeks.
It's game time. Batter up.
Follow C. Robert Gibson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/crgibs