STEVEN JONAS, MD, MPH
So why do the Republicans want the Presidency? They seem to be doing so well without it. They have the majority in the House of Representatives. Through the use of the never-ending use of the filibuster (by just saying “we filibuster,” courtesy of Harry Reid not actually having to do it) they control the legislative process in the Senate. They have a lock on the majority of the Supreme Court. They have a President who, for whatever reasons, simply does not fight or fight back, even when the leader in the Senate announces that his number one goal for the current Congress is to insure the President’s defeat.
Indeed, this President gives in with very little if any fight on almost every major issue. Consider, for example: abandoning cap-and-trade and any other means for dealing with climate change; undercutting the EPA on air pollution standards; agreeing to the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy; not going after the banksters; failing both close Guantanamo and go after the law-breaking torturers in the US “intelligence” establishment; and then, on more recent matters: the morning-after-pill-for-females-under-17 ban (one question he has not yet dealt with here is: does the rapist father of his daughter’s child have to pay child-support?); establishing 50 different state plans for the “Affordable Care Act” (sic), making it much more unwieldy than it already is; abandoning his threat to veto the US version of the 1933 German “Enabling Act” which laid the basis for Hitler’s dictatorship: the provisions for the arbitrary arrest and indefinite imprisonment without trial of US citizens (which has always been there since the Patriot Act, but is now re-affirmed); the giveaway on the “millionaires’ tax;” the likely giveaway on the Canada-US oil pipeline; and who knows what’s next.
But at the same time, as the economy stagnates, as the gap between the very rich and the rest of us continues to increase, as the percentage of US citizens living in poverty increases, as the army of the permanently unemployed expands, the GOTP is able to blame it all on Obama. After all, he is the president, you know. So I (1) and others have speculated that they really do not want the presidency at all. Most of their policies get implemented and most of those that would start to pull the country out of the recession, like the desperately needed national infra-structure construction/reconstruction program, don’t.
But it is now becoming increasingly apparent that they do want it, with the rallying around Romney from Rove’s group (the real Republican Party, most of whose figures we don’t’ know about) to (gasp) the former Gingrich lapdog Sean Hannity (except when he is sidling up to “No Sex” Santorum). Romney is the only current GOTP candidate with a chance of beating Obama, and he is “getting tougher” in the GOTP sense. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Dec. 20, 2011, in referring to the need to defeat Obama Romney actually used the Gingrich-Tea Party term “take him out,” which of course has a meaning beyond electoral politics. Of those potential candidates not running with a chance for victory, Mitch Daniels has a wife problem, Chris Christie has something in his background that he wouldn’t want to come out (coming from New Jersey who knows?), JEB Bush, for all the current talk has obviously decided to wait until 2016, Paul Ryan hung himself out to dry with his proposal to abolish Social Security, and Rudy Giuliani, like Gingrich, has lots of baggage. So they have settled on Romney.
So what is it they want that they don’t have now? Well, a lot that the Republicans and the Corporate Power who they represent, cannot get even with Obama in the White House. What they want all revolves around the decline of the US manufacturing base, caused by the Corporate Power, of course, but which decline has caused them to shift to other sources and potential sources of profit, such as massive expansion of natural resources exploitation, the financial services industry, and then some new ones that they have their eyes on. First and foremost would be massive deregulation, for the environment, labor practices, and financial markets. Second, if you listen carefully to what certain leading right-wing figures, not necessarily elected ones, say, they do recognize what terrible shape the US infrastructure is in. They want to fix it all right, but they want to privatize it at the same time. I am not talking about the construction, which of course would be privately done. I am talking about the running of it, from the roads, to the water supply systems that are not already in private hands, and everything else in between.
Next, they want to be able to destroy the US Postal Service, both to privatize it and to put one of the last national labor unions out of existence. They want to destroy what is left of the US labor union movement, especially in the public sector, as they are doing, for example, in Wisconsin and Ohio, so that they can further depress wages (otherwise known as “increase productivity”). If they had full control of the Executive and Legislative branches, I would not put it past them to repeal the National Labor Relations Act, once again outlawing collective bargaining, as Scott Walker has done for public employees in Wisconsin. Finally, they want full control over foreign policy. On the one hand they want to resume the pursuit of Cheney’s dream of permanent war. For if Obama gets a second term, the US will indeed likely pull out of Afghanistan by 2014 (I didn’t say the man is all bad), and might even try to get some modest cuts in military spending through Congress (although a major piece of them would come from cuts in pay and veterans’ benefits). On the other hand, the GOTP wants not only to not cut military spending; they want to increase it. After all, it is one of the most profitable sectors of the US economy.
So yes indeed. Even with Obama sitting in the White House, there are plenty of reasons why the Republicans want the presidency. Given the national Republican voter suppression program and their well-known vote-count cheating programs, regardless of what the real count would be, if they want it, they will have it.
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