THE BLOG
12/21/2012 08:53 am ET Updated Feb 20, 2013

Boehner's Failure and the GOP's Disgrace

Remarkably, John Boehner couldn't get enough House Republicans to vote in favor of his proposal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place on the first million dollars of everyone's income and apply the old Clinton rates only to dollars over and above a million.

What? Even Grover Norquist blessed Boehner's proposal, saying it wasn't really a tax increase. Even Paul Ryan supported it.

What does Boehner's failure tell us about the modern Republican party?

That it has become a party of hypocrisy masquerading as principled ideology. The GOP talks endlessly about the importance of reducing the budget deficit. But it isn't even willing to raise revenues from the richest three-tenths of one percent of Americans to help with the task. We're talking about 400,000 people, for crying out loud.

It has become a party that routinely shills for its super-wealthy patrons at a time in our nation's history when the middle class is shrinking, the median wage is dropping, and the share of Americans in poverty is rising.

It has become a party of spineless legislators more afraid of facing primary challenges from right-wing kooks than of standing up for what's right for America.

For all these reasons it has become irrelevant to the problems America faces.

The Republican Party in the process of marginalizing itself out of existence. I am tempted to say good riddance, but that would be premature.

ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage," now available in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

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