Thursday, June 2, 2011

The GOP's best friend: Symbolism!

I’ve seen all sorts of strategies and tactics used by both political parties. Republicans certainly know how to gather support however they can and they understand and perpetuate the cynicism in politics. They don’t see any downside to being hypocritical. They divide and conquer, they pit one group against another….but they understand completely that when it comes down to election time, they can get all their people in line. Usually it entails sending out dog whistles, abortion, immigration, and they throw in a little socialism, fascism, communism and all those salivating dogs coming running home.

Like I said, both political parties use symbolic gestures just to give the impression that they are doing what they promised.

But the GOP are masters at doing such a thing.

Like for instance, the House of Representatives, as expected, voted to repeal the healthcare law which President Obama signed a year ago. This vote was a symbolic victory for Republicans, but not any sort of substantial change, another one is the GOP defunding of NPR over the Juan Williams episode, the defunding of Pro-choice Group Planned Parenthood, these are just puny gestures; or this symbolic stand by Speaker Boehner that in order for the debt limit to increase, the president will have to agree to cut $trillions in order for republicans to cooperate & you know as well as I do, the president is not going to agree to cut $trillions, $billions yes, but seriously $trillions?

All of these symbolic vote by the GOP means trying to create as many tough votes for the Democrats as possible, while simultaneously giving conservatives members of Congress as many good votes as possible to trumpet to skeptical activists back home like a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment, which was pushed by Sam Nunn back in the 1980s (now this is something that is long overdue).

Other symbolic gestures by republicans: ostentatiously reading each bill, fulfilling their (entirely symbolic and meaningless) pledge to insert a clause in bills saying why they're constitutional, investigations, real or imagined, in the Obama administration and among liberals generally.

These things are only to satisfy the Tea Party who rank & file republicans are afraid of. First, many Tea Party and other GOP activists want confrontation for its own sake. That may make the substantive stuff difficult, and may create huge problems for the GOP. Some republican members are going to find it very difficult to pass must-pass items, either because they honestly believe that lots of the normal things the federal government has done for decades are unconstitutional, or because they're terrified of primaries from half-crazed constituents who believe those things are unconstitutional.

So to Congressional republicans, get off your soapbox & stop all of the symbolic crap & roll up your sleeves & start help the president solve some of our most dire ills facing the nation. The games are over, its either put up or shut up!

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