Just 40 days into Barack Obama's presidency and I've already had it with ignorant, loudmouth conservatives and their nonstop blather, obnoxious whining and shameless outrage. Are they going to keep this up for four (eight?) years?
In 2000, conservatives elected George W. Bush to the first of two terms, during which he and his ilk deeply damaged the nation and the planet. Have they no shame? Their guy -- and their policies -- screwed up or made worse everything from the economy to the environment to America's standing in the world. They tilted the tax code to favor the wealthy, allowed corporations to pollute without consequences, stuffed government jobs with unqualified loyalists, hurt people all worldwide by imposing their reactionary morality on social policies, unilaterally seized unprecedented levels of executive power, and even committed war crimes.
As a result of all of this incompetence and criminality, the American people turn away from the Republican Party and elect Democrats in large numbers, including a young, relatively unknown candidate with historic racial make-up and a funny name as president. Barack Obama and his administration are tasked with the unenviable job of fixing the damage wrought over the course of eight years (or, in essence, the 28 years since Reagan took office).
The reaction of conservatives is stunning. I want to bang their heads together to make them stop spouting the endless streams of piffle that assault my ears, as well as the rules of logic. There are some on the right who I read and listen to and admire for their intelligence and honesty -- for example, David Brooks and George F. Will (and even, sometimes, Pat Buchanan). These, however, are few and far between.
To hear House minority leader John Boehner say that Obama's budget raises taxes on every American when, in fact, it raises taxes on those making more than $250,000 -- and the stimulus just cut taxes on 95% of working people -- is completely dishonest. Whether taxes should be raised on the wealthiest Americans is certainly worth discussing and I concede that logical arguments can be made on both sides, but Republicans rarely traffic in logic. Witness Karl Rove this morning on ABC's This Week, or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's ridiculous comment on volcano monitoring during his televised response to Obama's speech last week. (I went back and reread his remarks. Jindal said, "...$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.'" One wonders which of the two words escapes his understanding.)
If Obama's actions with regard to the economy, taxes, health care, education and the environment are "radical," as some in the GOP have been saying, it is only because their party has screwed up everything so badly -- or, to be fair, in some instances, we as a nation have allowed those areas to drift for far too long. The citizenry elected as president a man whose clearest slogan throughout the campaign was one word: "Change." Get ready, America. The times, as Bob Dylan sang, are a-changin'.