House of hypocrisy

Is this really what the American people want?

John Boehner, the new Republican speaker of the House, likes to say that his party intends to carry out “the agenda of the American people” in Congress. He suggests that its takeover is a sign that most Americans agree with his party on the important issues facing the country.

But do they? Actually, no.

As The Associated Press has reported, most Americans do not agree with the Republicans on several major issues. For example, only about one-third of them, according to various national polls in November, supported extending the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Nearly four in five—77 percent—favored ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the ban on gays serving openly in the military, and 54 percent supported the DREAM Act, which would have enabled young illegal immigrants to become citizens if they attended college or joined the military.

In addition, two-thirds of Americans supported Senate approval of the new nuclear-arms treaty with Russia.

In all of these cases, Republicans worked against the desires of the majority of the American people.

Even on a core issue with which most Americans are in agreement with them—reducing the deficit—they voted instead to increase it dramatically by extending the Bush tax cuts and gutting the estate tax.

Not only that, House Republicans intend to implement a new budget rule that will axe the Democrats’ pay-as-you-go rules requiring offsets for spending increases and tax cuts. The new rules will exempt tax cuts from being offset and require that any spending increases—in Medicare, for example—be offset by tax cuts, not by raising taxes. There’s only one way these rules can lead—toward greater deficits. The hypocrisy is staggering.

If nothing else, these preposterous new rules may force the Republicans to show just where they intend to cut programs. At least then we’ll know where things really stand with them.

In the meantime, when the Republicans—or any politicians, for that matter—say they’re speaking for the American people, ask for poll data. Because they say it’s so doesn’t make it so.