10/16/2012 07:07 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2012

The Worst of Times

Most politicians in today's Republican Party (including its presidential nominee) refuse to acknowledge any benefits to the nation under President Obama's leadership. You don't hear many Republicans praise the drop in the unemployment rate below eight percent. Why couldn't they give the American economy credit where credit was due? It wouldn't detract from their criticism that conditions still leave much to be desired. On foreign policy, the GOP's take is that Osama bin Laden was killed as a result of Bush Administration intelligence gathering, and anyone with a pulse would have ordered the mission.

Then there is the environment. No virtue is conceded. The Obama Administration's energy-saving, pollution-reducing initiative to require greater fuel economy in automobiles is pilloried by Republicans. They call it an undue intrusion on the workings of the free market, and a draconian limitation on consumers' choice of vehicles.

Federal government subsidies to stimulate the development and distribution of clean solar energy are labeled a waste of money on a still exotic, non-competitive technology (despite sun power's rapid commercialization across the world).

Republicans portray as a major blow to the economy the Obama Administration's intended application of the law requiring coal-fired power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, while the GOP maintains that some regulation is necessary, anti-pollution rules are routinely demonized as oppressive impediments to economic growth.

The Endangered Species Act as currently administered is labeled an attack on private property rights. Most of Obama's wilderness and national monument designations are lambasted as job killers for taking public lands out of commercial circulation.

The oil drilling moratorium that Obama imposed to give the Gulf of Mexico time to recover from a devastating British Petroleum oil spill is denounced as an unjustifiable obstruction of energy production.

Obama's support for ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty that governs nations' activities and protects their rights in international waters is a position taken by previous administrations of both political parties. Unfortunately, a controlling faction of today's Republican Party is blocking the treaty, claiming it is tantamount to surrendering our national sovereignty to the United Nations.

Disenchanted Republican politicians may wear American flags on their lapels and be quick to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. But rooting for, and in some instances even facilitating, national decline as long as they are out of political power is a dubious display of patriotism.