In yet another example of abject fecklessness, the House republican caucus is hamstrung in its ability to execute a smooth transition of its congressional leadership. While the spectacle is perhaps entertaining, it is important to keep in mind that congressional republicans can't decide on who will be second in line to the presidency because of forty or so bat-shit crazy extremists who demand someone who will give credence and greater consideration to their extremist agenda. That should be at least a little disconcerting to anyone who actually cares about America and its future. Regardless of the importance we place on it, we can add this latest spectacle to a long list of consequential demonstrations of a general uselessness that has become emblematic of republican legislative control.
What list you ask?
How about the apparently endless string of politically-motivated, kangaroo-court, witch-hunt hearings on Benghazi, e-mail, fast & furious, the IRS and the Obamacare rollout, all time and money wasting efforts that produced nothing but sound-byte opportunities for preening partisan hacks.
Or the shutdowns and threatened shutdowns of the government in hopes of extorting the acceptance of policy demands and political priorities for which they cannot get broad acceptance from the American electorate.
Certainly such a list would include the threats and attempts to throw American treasury securities into default for the same extortionist aims.....
...as well as the dozens of vain attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and spending taxpayer dollars litigating Obamacare all the way to the Supreme Court where its constitutionality was confirmed.
In spite of their well documented failure, proposals for budget-busting tax cuts for those who neither need the tax cuts nor use them in a manner that spurs economic growth.
Such a list also would include the perpetual attacks on women's healthcare and reproductive choice, up to and including bans on abortions for women who were victims of rape and incest.
As if all the above weren't enough, include the undermining of the twice elected President of the United States in foreign affairs through everything from giving forum to foreign heads of state to intervening in sensitive negotiations by attempting to engage the leadership of a foreign country by sending correspondence directly.
Spending taxpayer resources to defended the unconstitutional defense of marriage act should make the list as well.
How about the ongoing attempts to roll back or weaken consumer protections established in the Dodd Frank financial reform law.
Or de-authorizing the Export-Import Bank of the United States further impairing the ability of American companies to export products overseas.
Nearly shutting down the Department of Homeland Security would be on the list.
As well as attempting to overturn President Obama's Executive Orders on immigration while offering zero in the way of viable policy alternative.
How about the blocking and slow walking administration and judicial appointments to the point of creating everything from states of emergency in federal courts across the country and impairing America's ability to respond to health related emergencies.
As you can see, even an off-the-top-of-the-head listing of republican obstruction, brinksmanship and damaging policy proposals reveals this republican caucus to be the antithesis of constructive governance. But not only can we assess the efficacy of republican priorities based on the things have done, we might also assess their priorities based on what they've done relative to those matters of greatest importance to the American people.
Job creation? Nope.
Improvements in access to the education, job training that makes American workers more competitive in globally accessed labor markets? Nada.
Infrastructure improvement? Nothing.
Gun safety reform? HELL naw!
Immigration reform? Zilch.
Criminal justice reform? Zip.
Increase of the federal minimum wage? Talk to the hand.
Strengthened Social Security? Uh, uh.
Securing our national infrastructure from hacking and tampering? Later. Maybe.
Voting rights protections? Quite the opposite.
Environmental protections to limit greenhouse gasses? Negative.
In truth, there has been no greater demonstration of legislative branch worthlessness in well over the last half century than that which we have seen from the republican congressional caucus during the presidency of Barack Obama. Indeed, the continued dominance of the republican caucus in Washington is an indictment of the intelligence both of those Americans who keep voting them in and those Americans who have been too lazy to get off their butts to vote them out. Their presence as well is a statement not only on the inability of democratic candidates to stake out the clear contrasts in policy ideas and priorities as well as their abject lack of courage in forcefully articulating center-left and progressive principles. We have an opportunity in the 2016 election to rid ourselves of the Boehners, the McCarthys, the McConnells and the Ryans at least from control of the legislative agenda if not from congress itself.
We must get to work.