THE BLOG
11/25/2014 10:17 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2015

Republicans Promised I'd Be Speaking Arabic by Now

Dear GOP of 2008 and 2012:

I thought I'd give you a couple of weeks to savor your progeny's big wins earlier this month before throwing a wet blanket over your victory party in the form of a reminder about your unfulfilled promises from the presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012.

I know '08 and '12 didn't really go the way you wanted. Your elephantine ego has no doubt been feeling a little bruised these past six years. Being the good bleeding-heart liberal that I am, I've waited until you were back on your feet to point out how wrong your predictions were.

Oh, sure, you did have 2010. But come on, that wasn't a real GOP victory. We all know what was really going on there: Dick Armey introduced the nuttiest among your ranks to a vague notion of constitutionalism, then picked a random event from American history (the Boston Tea Party) with which to harness and dress up racist rage about an African-American's sudden ascension to the presidency and his success in passing sweeping health care reform after other presidents -- from Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton -- had failed to do over the course of the last century. Then we all watched with jaws agape and eyes wide as the news media breathed artificial life into your Frankenstein monster.

Only now has the political mutation that 2010 spawned finally died. The evidence? The demise last Tuesday of out gay Republican and Tea Party darling Carl DeMaio.

Still no Arabic

But now, old-guard Republicans, you've got a genuine GOP midterm win under your belts; so, back to those promises you made in 2008 and 2012. You do remember those promises, don't you? Let's start with '08. You guaranteed we'd all be speaking Arabic if then-Sen. Barack Obama was elected to the White House. For me, as a journalist, and for many other people, that would actually be quite a marketable skill, but I digress.

Now before you lecture me on personal responsibility -- you know, that stuff on which you based your arguments in favor of a system of health insurance-purchasing exchanges (can you say "Obamacare?") and against single-payer "Hillarycare" back in the early 1990s -- I didn't just sit around waiting to be magically bestowed with fluency in Arabic. I took a class.

Yet I often find myself sitting in a hot tub with newly settled Syrian refugees at a neighborhood gym in San Diego completely incapable of conversing with them in Arabic. In fact, I only know one person who has learned Arabic since Obama was elected. You promised we'd all be speaking Arabic by now if America chose Barack Obama to lead this country in the post-9/11 era. That hasn't happened, not even close. To quote one of your parties beloved sages, Congressman Joe Wilson: "You lied!"

Forget it. Let's fast-forward a little ...

Now the economy's cookin' with (cheap) gas!

And then there was 2012. Remember that one? Just two years ago, you said if Americans wanted to pay $5 per gallon for gasoline, we should just go ahead and reelect the president.

America did. Heck, I even bought a Prius. I knew there were risks associated with buying a hybrid, like having one of my dear Republican friends chiding me for buying what he "cleverly" and endlessly refers to as the "Toyota Pious." Then there's the potential expense of several thousands of dollars if the hybrid battery goes bad after the 150,000-mile warranty on it ends. There is no extended warranty on the original hybrid battery, just the powertrain and other parts.

But I weighed the risks, did my version of a cost-benefit analysis factoring in the $5 per gallon gasoline price that President Barack Obama's reelection was supposed to ensure, and found that indeed it would be worth the risks and the cost for me to buy the Prius. Maybe I could even secretly enjoy feeling a little superior about saving money on gas, if not about helping cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

But wait. Hear that? That was the sound of screeching Prius brakes and me exclaiming, "WTF?!" when I saw Arco's price for unleaded. Two effing dollars and ninety-five damn cents? That's it? It's 2014 -- two years since Obama was reelected. Are you effing kidding me? Where's that $5 a gallon gas you promised, GOP? Huh, where? You promised.

Fine. Fine. That's fine. Cheap gas will help the economy. Hopefully, we won't resurrect the Hummer and all start buying absurdly large SUVs again just because gas is cheaper than it's been in decades when adjusted for inflation. Unless that happens, GOP, I'll forgive you for your unfulfilled promise of $5-a-gallon gasoline.

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