It was only 2 1/2 years ago that Democrats swept into DC, taking over the Excecutive and Legislative branches of government. It was going to be a new day in Washington, with all kinds of progress across the board. Things were REALLY
going to change...
Except - they really didn't. Republicans dug in their heels over EVERY bill. The Senate, with about 6 months of a filibuster-proof majority still had conservative Democrats from conservative states. The lack of a quick turnaround in the job and economic problems (and disillusioned progressive voters' lack of participation) led to the Republicans taking back the House, and evening the balance in the Senate. It's been 8 months since they came back to DC - how have things changed in DC?
In a word - "Buyer's Remorse" (okay - that's two words...)
Republicans are showing that they don't abide negative criticism very well. House Rep. Doug "Tar Baby" Lamborn (R-CO) has banned protesting at his office
. That's right - unless you're there to heap praise upon him, you are not allowed there at all:
The Colorado Springs blog Not My Tribe noted last week that in the wake of public outrage over Lamborn's comments, his offices now have a rule against protests.
"Private Property -- No Soliciting, No Protesting, No Loitering," a sign outside the congressman's office reads.
"A U.S. Congressman should not be declaring his public taxpayer-funded congressional office 'private property' and shouldn't be putting a sign out telling his constituents they have no right to peaceably assemble and protest," Sirota told The Huffington Post. "That's just fundamentally un-American."
But that rule seems to only apply to Lamborn's detractors, as supporters were able to rally outside his office Friday.
House Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) is filtering out the riff-raff by charging his consituents to talk to him
. That's right - if you want to voice criticism, you must contribute to his campaign. In his mind - he is just having campaign events, and no town hall meetings. Is this sleazy? Yes, it is.
Republican presidential hopeful Texas governor Rick Perry is clomping his Texas-sized cowboy boots all over the campaign china shop, and blurting out little gems
like "if this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treasonous in my opinion." He said this about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
That was even a bit much for his Republican co-horts. Karl Rove and a former Bush speechwriter have both criticized the remarks
, and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum called the comments "out of bounds"
(of course - he IS
also the competition). Rick Perry has plenty of other troubles to deal with without creating more of his own. I don't know how big a problem it will be with his campaign, but Perry invested in a porn company
in 1995 (warning: link may not be considered work safe, depending on where you work)
All of this ugliness is causing voters to reconsider their choices. In Wisconsin, voters took two seats away from incumbent Republicans in recall elections. Republicans tried a tit-for-tat, but were unable to oust the Democrats, including two who retained their seats in yesterday's recall elections
. This may well be a referendum on next year's elections.
So compare this with the Democrats. What has President Obama been doing recently? In an effort to actually put some teeth into the notion of transitioning from foreign fossil fuels to domestic "greener" fuels, he is investing half a billion dollars in biofuels to power government and military ships and jets
The Obama administration will invest as much as $510 million over the next three years in advanced biofuels to power military and commercial ships and jets.
The effort is part of a push by the Obama administration to wean the country off its dependence on foreign oil and boost the domestic biofuels industry, a key sector in farm states that will play a major role in the 2012 elections.
The Energy Department, Agriculture Department and Navy signed an agreement Tuesday to retrofit or build biofuels plants across the United States that can supply advanced biofuels for the military as well as the commercial transportation sector.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Tuesday that the plan will improve national security by making the country’s military less dependant on oil from volatile nations.
How many times have we heard empty promises of "switchgrass" or other clean fuel initiatives, and then nothing done? This is putting our money where our mouth is. This is progress; this is change.
Republicans and Democrats the same? I don't think so.