President Obama laid out offers to curb government spending two years ago by declaring that he is open to discussions around cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, much to the dismay of most Democrats and to left-of-center Americans of all colors. The programs have been on the table, yet Republicans have been complaining since then that the President has not offered a single spending cut. John Boehner, speaking out of the far right side of his mouth, has repeatedly declared this to be so, as has Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Weren’t they in those very same negotiating meetings that they both attended at the White House?
Their denials of reality are a mini-example of the Republican Big Lie strategy. They repeat a falsehood enough times that people begin to believe that it is true. Even the rank and file Republicans in congress have come to believe that the “no spending cuts on the table” lie is true. Many of them have not heard directly from their leaders about the doings in those negotiating meetings with the President and apparently they don’t read newspapers or watch the news on TV, either.
That does not change reality, though, and if you live in a fact-based world where 2 + 2 = 4 and up and down are not the same things, you’ll recognize the Big Lie for what it is. Boehner and McConnell protestations notwithstanding, President Obama really did lay two big ones on the table two years ago.
Related to that is a recent comment by failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said, “What we’ve seen is a – the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing.”
That’s an update of the attempt to diminish Obama by John McCain and Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign. They blasted him for giving great speeches at big rallies. That is what Saxby Chambliss (R. GA) did to Max Cleland (D, GA, Ret.), when he questioned Cleland’s patriotism during the 2002 senate campaign. Cleland lost both legs and an arm in Viet Nam, while Chambliss was getting deferments from military service and partying in civilian life, but that didn’t stop Chambliss from his dishonest attacks.
Similar to Chambliss, George W. Bush attacked the patriotism of John McCain during the 2000 Republican primary and that of John Kerry in the 2004 general election. I guess he is sensitive over the cushy fun he had flying jets around Texas and doing a lot of drinking with his buddies while those other guys were out risking their lives for their country.
The ploy is to attack a rival’s strength, to diminish his advantages by accusation. That is what Romney, McCain, Chambliss and Bush did and it is exactly what Republican leaders and other Republican mouthpieces have been doing to President Obama all along. Now Obama is making his case to the American people and is succeeding, so the congressional Republican mouthpieces are attacking him, accusing him of failure and saying that he should be in DC schmoozing them, the same people who deny reality.
Obama, they say, should be having Republicans over to the White House for movie night. He should be phoning them directly, each and every one of them, so that they feel important. Then they wouldn’t claim that they don’t know about the budget cuts he’s placed on the table because they would have heard about them directly from the President. But President Obama did not reached out to each and every one of them personally and their feelings were hurt.
But now he’s taken them out to dinner at a nice restaurant. They feel special. Now they’re all puffed up with self-importance.
Well, here’s a news flash for Republican legislators: Other than your mother, nobody cares if your feelings were hurt. We didn’t send you to Washington so that you would be stroked and told how important you are or so that you would be patted on the head and made to feel special. We hired you to do a job and that job does not include paralyzing the United States of America and it does not include undermining international trust in our country. Get over yourself. We’re not here for you – you’re there for us.
Are your feelings hurt? Do you feel like you haven’t received enough special attention? We don’t care. Not a bit. Come to think of it, your mother likes her Medicare and she probably doesn’t care, either.
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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