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EDITORIAL: GOP Intransigence Costs Us All

9/25/2013, 3 p.m.
The Republican Party continues to give us plenty indications that it's a party at war with itself.
Although food stamps can only be used to purchase food, the GOP believes food stamps create welfare dependency. (Courtesy photo)

The Republican Party continues to give us plenty indications that it’s a party at war with itself. On one hand, you have an astute, visionary chairman who understands the changing demographics of this country and the importance of connecting in an authentic way with different constituencies.

Then on the other hand, there stands a significant number of local and elected Republican officials who seem hell-bent on doing all they can to alienate and drive away anyone who isn’t a white male.

Often the party finds itself on the wrong side of reproductive rights for women, pay equity, gun control, consumer protection, immigration, and issues of race, gender and sexuality.

The vote last Thursday is a case in point. By 217-210, a majority of Republican members voted to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistant Program (SNAP). This could endanger millions of people who depend on this assistance.

Senator Harry Reid has made it clear that the bill won’t pass in their chamber and President Barack Obama has promised to veto the measure.

Republican leaders in the House split the Farm Bill into two parts after the bill went down to defeat when some of the traditional coalition of representatives from urban and rural areas balked at an attempt by Republicans to cut billions in the food stamp (SNAP) program.

Despite the fact that the recession, unemployment and jobs going overseas have left more than 47 million Americans dependent on food stamps and other elements of the social welfare safety net, conservative Republicans continue to turn a blind eye to the plight of those left vulnerable and exposed by these social and economic forces.

It is unconscionable that millions of men, women and children go to bed hungry every night in the richest country in the world. What is more reprehensible is that these people elected to lead have abdicated their responsibilities in the name of what is clearly a bankrupt political ideology and misguided dogma.

At the same time that conservative Republicans fight the battle against social welfare programs, they are also waging a war against President Barack Obama under the guise of fiscal responsibility. No other president has been subjected to the asinine and petulant demands of the right-wing majority, who pushed by John Boehner in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate, and who would prefer to see this country crash and burn rather than agree on commonsense compromise.

America has lurched from crisis to manufactured crisis as Republicans pressed for spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt ceiling, stalled until the Sequester was triggered and now, in a repeat of last year, a full or partial government shutdown looms.

Then there’s Obamacare. Conservative members of the House have voted 44 times in last three years to defund a law Congress passed and the Supreme Court upheld.

Amazing.

There was a time when those in Congress could be counted on to represent the valid and genuine interests of the people who elected them. That is a distant memory.

It is no coincidence that the public approval rating of Congress stands at historic lows – 14 percent approval and 81 percent disapproval. Boehner has ceded control of the House to the right wing.

GOP Chairman Reince Priebus has been working hard to broaden the tent, to bring in Blacks, Asians, young people, women, students and their constituencies but he seems to be thwarted at every turn by members of his party.

If this behavior continues, Republicans will very likely be the minority party for generations.