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Feb-23-2010 12:55TweetFollow @OregonNews
Op Ed: GOPsters Delay
Henry Clay Ruark Salem-News.com
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Millions of Americans voted for “transformative change” with solidly-renewed hope in their governance system only last year. That constructive Constitutional application of the most potent weapon in any democracy; The VOTE -- is now contemptuously reduced to naught by 'a vicious cycle' of denial and delay from a determined GOPster cabal.
TIME Magazine, in a revealing analysis by a noted scholar, reports that the filibuster was the tactic used by Senate Republicans to delay 80% of major legislation in 2009.
Seldom so used over the entire preceding century, “the Senate witnessed about one filibuster a decade”, TIME reports, “As late as 1960, the Senate filibustered less than 10% of major legislation.”
That 'vicious cycle’, begun with the great sorting out of American politics over the past 40 years, came into constant political combat in the ‘80s, as potent but aging Senate moderates departed --replaced by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and Trent Lott, and with Bill Clinton as a Democratic President.
Their GOPster strategy became Radically simple -- Discredit Clinton, and it was carried out by discrediting government itself, states Dr. Peter Beinhart, noted professor of journalism and political science, author of the TIME report.
“Rhetorically, they derided Washington as ineffective and conflict-ridden, and through their actions they guaranteed it,” he explains. “Their greatest weapon was the filibuster, which forced Democrats to muster 60 votes to get legislation through the Senate”, Beinart declares.
So Senate Republicans resorted to what became practically a permanent filibuster: In 1997, noted scholars Catherine Fisk and Erwin Chemerinsky reported, “Now filibusters are a part of daily life” there.
“After moderates broke a 1993 filibuster on campaign finance, GOP conservatives publicly accused them of 'stabbing us in the back'”, Beinart states. Many strange situations resulted as GOPSters learned to use “the vicious cycle” as a major tool for obstruction and to make Washington “look pathetic”.
GOPsters filibustered changes in a mining act -- resulting in government sale of gold rights, worth $10 billion, to a Canadian company for less than $10,000. GOPsters filibustered application of employment laws to Congress members, despite their own demands for that action.
Despite several such shots-into-foot situations, the persistent performance of Gopster leaders shows they long ago learned Americans despise most political bickering and blame the party in political charge -- no matter where real dereliction of Constitutional duties may lie.
What they learned was the secret of vicious circle politics.
When the parties are polarized, it’s easy to keep anything from getting done. When nothing gets done, people turn against government. When you’re the party out of power and the party that reviles government, you win. Beinart cites Ronald Brownstein, author of The Second Civil War: “What really defines our political era is not the polarization of Americans but the polarization of American government.”
So the game then becomes how to best use that 'vicious cycle' to isolate, deride, denigrate and deny the opposition. That dastardly, deadly-destructive game, now well into its most damaging development, has become a massive major attack on our democracy for which its players must now stand responsible.
SO the GOPsters have denied more than EIGHTY PERCENT of major legislation during Obama’s first year. “Mitch McConnell led a filibuster of a commission he himself had demanded”, Dr. Beinart informs us.
To his great credit, President Obama tried valiantly to live up to his Constitutional responsibility to govern via cooperative concentration on consequences for the commonwealth, inviting open, honest action from both sides of the separating aisles in Congress.
That demands honest, open -- even transparent -- communication of foundation detail and the following development by protocol and pattern famed as working to achieve the consensus long understood as the basis for wise action in any democracy.
That’s what Presidient Obama felt his strong voter mandate conferred by large and legal majority demanded of him and his party -- and that’s how he has continued ever since taking office, including planned next-steps for finishing the primary task of achieving long-awaited national health care.
What these Gopsters have never learned -- despite sharply pointed political performances around those ballot boxes by millions of Americans over the past 50 years, demonstrated again only last November! -- is that those same millions know all too well what it takes to really support, strengthen and extend our American economy.
The same millions who understood what was so clearly at stake only last November have never yet forgotten lessons learned painfully, passionately and potently before-and-during the Civil War, still again surrounding the Gilded Age and the Great Depression, then yet again and ever since, in every capitalistic swing-and-cycle.
Professional historians and eager American-history fanatics will surely recall tme-and-again when that insightful wit, wisdom and will of the American people has been demonstrated -- after due patience and persistence -- in full disaster for those defying and denying that same wit, wisdom and will. Many trained professional observers, readying for reporting to their constituent audiences, now have come to believe there is coordination and carefully planned intent and timing involved in these latest demonstrations of determined denial and corporate funding.
That funding clearly goes now for any/all forms of delay, perhaps leading to defeat for what millions of Americans have been demanding for more than 50 years, by perverted patterns of corporate influence on politics.
Perhaps the most meaningful in recent days has been the fear-reflecting action of the Supreme Court indefinite-majority conservative-cabal: Opening corporate checkbooks and contribution accounts for much more of that same moola now already lavished legally by the lack of consequential control over cash -- already heavily concentrated on political potentates at all levels -- is well understood by much knowledge to reveal real fear the public is learning its lessons.
If you, too, have come to that same conclusion, with the full display of demonstrated incident, event and action now firmly on the public record, let your voice be heard in any and many open, honest channels -- and send full-content copy to each one of your Congressional contacts. “The VOTE” you may protect is your final defense.
Reader’s Note: TIME Magazine, in all fairness, also provides a one page Commentary by Newt Gingrich. It is titled “It’s Time to Team Up”, with the underline head: “Cooperation is an opportunity for both Obama and the GOP, says the former House Speaker. For those who truly appreciate ironic humor -- even when not so intended !! -- I can suggest you make sure to read it. What you will learn of intentional/OR/unintentional language distortion, not to mention personal perversion, will be well worth your time and attention. Additonally TIME tucks in a thorough oversight of the Tea Party reflection of grassroots discontent. Please note that both the Beinert special report and the Tea Party take/out end with the definitive word for all of us to remember: “Fear”.
Hank returned to Oregon to complete M. Ed. degree at OSU, went on to Indiana University for Ed.D. (abd) and special other course-work; was selected as first Information Director for NAVA in Washington, D.C.; helped write sections of NDEA, first Act to supply math, science, foreign language consultants to state depts. of education; joined Oregon Dept. of Education, where he served as NDEA administrator/Learning Media Consultant for ten years.
He joined Dr. Amo DeBernardis at PCC, helping establish, extend programs, facilities, Oregon/national public relations; moved to Chicago as Editor/Publisher of oldest educational-AV journal, reformed as AV GUIDE Magazine; then established and operated Learning Media Associates as general communications consultant group. Due to wife’s illness, he returned to Oregon in 1981, semi-retired, and has continued writing intermittently ever since, joining S-N in 2004. His Op Eds now total over 560 written since then.