Nel's New Day

December 4, 2012

GOP’s Dilemmas–Money, Public Response

Great news from today. Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will be sitting on the chamber’s banking committee. This action can provide fireworks for the next six years! After preventing her from from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she still has regulatory control over the industry.

If you eat at Olive Garden or Red Lobster, you might want to contact owners Darden Restaurants about their plans to cut workers’ hours to avoid providing health insurance. Although they previously announced that they would do this if President Obama were re-elected, they now worry about negative publicity and loss of business. Papa John’s Pizza and Applebee’s have already decided that public opposition to cutting workers’ hours will hurt them and changed their position.

About 25 percent of the people in the country want to secede from the United States, about the same as last year. I would be one of the people who would vote to let them.

The House will lose 5 percent of GOP women, giving women a total percentage of about 8 percent, when Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO) leaves in February to head up the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a lobbying organization for rural utility companies and her biggest all-time campaign contributor. There is no primary for her replacement, and state party leaders—Republicans—control the election. Emerson follows Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) with her proposed resignation. She didn’t declare herself job-looking or declare a conflict of interest, in opposition to House rules, but she’ll be gone in a couple of months and won’t care.

House Speaker John Boeher (R-OH) has tried to send a message to his members who fail to vote in lockstep. Reps. David Schweikert (AZ-06) and Walter Jones (NC-03) are gone from the Financial Services Committee, and Reps. Justin Amash (MI-03) and Tim Huelskamp (KS-01) disappeared from the Budget Committee. Only one of the four was too left, mostly on foreign policy; the others are the ultra-conservatives who oppose Boehner’s agenda. Amash considers the GOP budget measures too liberal, and Schweikert defeated Ben Quayle, a Boehner favorite. There’s a thorn in paradise!

Boehner doesn’t seem to be in control, however. His ridiculous fiscal proposal, recommending $150 billion less in revenue than the one from before the election, has been rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. That may be why he didn’t speak to the president at the White House holiday party last night. No photos this year as in the past. And the GOP is now going to lobbyists for advice.

Hoping to get traction from the name of Democrat Erskine Bowles who joined with Alan Simpson to lead the failed fiscal discussions almost two years ago, Boehner calls his plan after him. Bowles, however, opposes the “Bowles plan,” or at least John Boehner’s manipulation of it, saying that it has nothing to do with the plan from the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction commission.

Republicans are fond of saying that Democrats refuse to compromise in fiscal matters. The following chart shows the extent to which Republicans plan to compromise:

fiscal compromise

If Republicans look unhappy these days, it might be because they have noted the polling about who is to blame for the fiscal stalemate. It would be nice if they would start paying attention to polling after their disastrous conclusions before Election Day.

blame

Another poll shows that only 10 percent of the people in the U.S. view the honesty and ethical standards of House of Representative members as very high or high. In an examination of 22 different professions, only car salespeople did worse, at 8 percent. Senate members faired slightly higher at 14 percent.

The Senate’s standing may go down after they voted down the U.N. treaty ban on discrimination against people with disabilities, 61-38. Treaties require a two-thirds vote; Rick Santorum had promised 36 no votes, and he got two extra. GOP senators voting in favor of the treaty were Kelly Ayotte (NH), John Barrasso (WY), Scott Brown (MA), Susan Collins (ME), Dick Lugar (IN), John McCain (AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (AK). Three of these “moderates” fought the nomination of Susan Rice for Secretary of State although President Obama has not appointed anyone for the position. Even Bob Dole, 1996 Republican presidential candidate, came in a wheelchair to support the passage of the treaty and got nowhere.

Supporters of the treaty argued that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would merely require the rest of the world to meet the standards that Americans already enjoy under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

The treaty was negotiated and first signed under President George W. Bush and signed again by Obama in 2009. At least 153 other countries have signed it; 126 have ratified it. Democrats and advocates for people with disabilities argued that recommendations from a panel created by the treaty would be advisory only, not binding, and that the treaty did not create any new legal rights in state or federal courts. John Kerry countered that the treaty would allow the United States to serve on the committee to advocate for the rights of U.S. veterans and citizens living or traveling abroad.

Newly elected Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) can drive the Senate into a crazier position on the U.N. Last summer he wrote a blog vowing to fight “a dangerous United Nations plan” on environmental sustainability that, according to Cruz, would abolish “golf courses, grazing pastures and paved roads.” He lays the fault on the Democratic financier-philanthropist George Soros. Cruz also agrees with Glenn Beck that the supposed ban on light bulbs was intended to shut down manufacturing in the United States.

Forty-nine percent of people in the United States join Ted Cruz in his conspiracy theories: they think that the supposedly-illegal work of ACORN, the organization to help poor people that went bankrupt two years ago, is responsible for the re-election of President Obama. If the organization was so powerful, why did it let so many Tea Party members go to Congress in 2010?!

The Finale: Disturbed by Fox’s failures regarding Election Day 2012, Roger Ailes has send out orders that producers must get permission from higher up before booking people connected with the election—including Karl Rove and Dick Morris. The comedy shows will be poorer because of Ailes’ mandate.

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