We’d like to begin today with the following point of information.
In the interest of full disclosure we would like to go record as stating that we love Rachel Maddow.
If we had a daughter we would be most happy if she were the embodiment of the host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show. Smart and witty, Maddow manages to use her very large Stanford educated brain to clarify weighty matters in a way that those of us who are less gifted can comprehend.
It is in that light that we credit a segment she aired last Friday night as the inspiration for today’s rant. For you won’t find any graduates of the Rand Paul School of Plagiarism here.
Since BaraK Obama was elected to a second term there have been four major social issues that have been swallowed up by the black hole that is the current United States Congress. They are: background checks for all gun purchases, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act that says you can’t fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Each of these issues is highly favored among a vast majority of the electorate:
-Background checks for all gun purchases – 81% approval rating overall, ranging from 80%-83% among Independents, Democrats AND Republicans.
-Immigration Reform – 87% approval rating overall, ranging from 86%-88% among Independents, Democrats AND Republicans.
-Increasing the minimum wage – 76% approval rating overall, ranging from 58%-91% among Independents, Democrats AND Republicans.
-Employee Non-Discrimination Act – 73% approval overall, ranging from 60%-80% among Independents, Democrats AND Republicans.
Given their wide ranging popularity…why haven’t these issues passed through congress?
The answer of course is because congress is controlled by 40-50 radical right wing Tea Party Republicans dedicated to standing in the way of everything the president proposes. Their weapons of choice: the filibuster and the threat of a primary challenge against any lawmaker who dares to stand in their way. The result of this obstructionism is a politically polarized and paralyzed federal government, either unwilling or unable to conduct the people’s business.
There are 300,000,000 Americans. 222,000,000 are of age and eligible to vote. Why are 222,000,000 million eligible voters allowing 40-50 right wing radicals to control their destiny?
A few weeks ago the country was facing a government shutdown. 85% of the country opposed a government shutdown. Yet the Tea Party was almost giddy at the prospect. Once the deed was done one Tea Partier after another appeared in public literally ecstatic over what they had achieved. At that time, we along with many others warned that if the Republican Party allowed the radical right to shut down the government, it would mark the beginning of the end of both to both Tea Party and the Republican Party’s relevance on the national political stage. It appears that our prediction is coming to fruition.
Recently there were primary elections in two very conservative districts in the Deep South; one in Florida, the other in Alabama. Both seats were held by Tea Party Republicans. Both incumbents were challenged by candidates who favored a more moderate pragmatic form of governing. Both challengers favored fixing the ACA rather than repeal. Both favored background checks on all gun purchases. Both favored ENDA. Both favored immigration reform including a tough stringent path to citizenship. Both made it clear that they were NOT members of the Washington establishment.
Both moderate challengers won.
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker was recently asked to describe his vision of a successful Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016. Walker said he felt the candidate had to be a Washington outsider…preferably a governor who knew how to balance budgets and get things done. Obviously Walker was referring to himself. Can you say Walker/Christie or Christie/Walker in 2016?
We most certainly are not members of the Scott Walker fan club. Yet we believe the governor is right on this issue. People are tired of Washington gridlock and they are voicing their displeasure at the ballot box. Tea Partiers in ultra conservative districts are finding themselves the victims of a primary challenge. And it is certainly no coincidence that Walker is playing the “Washington outsider” card for all its worth. Especially given that the presumptive frontrunner for the presidency is the consummate Washington insider…Hillary Clinton.
The sleeping giant has awakened. 222,000,000 prospective voters are beginning to speak out against the gridlock in Washington. Incumbents and challengers are getting the message.
Republicans and Tea Party members beware. Voters want to see progress. They want to see stuff getting done. Simply being the party of “NO” is no longer an option.
We sense that there is real change in the air. But this time it is cloaked in neither Red nor Blue.