Hurry up and stop

There’s a new television ad now being shown around the country, an ad in which the Mittster claims that the last four years have been filled with disappointments and failures and political missteps. I would agree. But there’s one thing, one small detail here that really needs to be included in order to fairly and accurately flesh out this entire train of thought. All these disappointments, failures, and missteps were exactly what the Republican Party wanted to make happen.

It’s disingenuous of the Repubs to suggest that the country’s economic sluggishness is due to failed ideas/programs put forth by the President and the Dems in Congress. What programs? Nothing’s been tried! In the last two years, no less than 19 attempts to do something about jobs/unemployment in this country—19!—have died in Congressional committee limbo.

Simply put, President Obama has been the victim of the most obstructionist, do-nothing Congress in recent memory, a Congress that was made essentially dysfunctional by Republicans who took the art of Senate filibustering to Barry Bondsian levels.

Imagine President Obama getting to the White House in January ’09, and immediately grabbing a hose. A perfectly reasonable action, because he’s got, as you’ll recall, one helluva fire to put out. But, as he works that hose and tries to drown a mega-blaze that includes a crippling recession, a flailing stock market, a ruined housing industry, and the looming doom of General Motors (Gee, that’s it? Piece-a-cake!), he also has to deal with an ornery new bunch of tea-pissing Repubs, who constantly crab about what a lousy job he’s doing of putting out these fires (fires that began, ironically enough, on Republican watch). And while they gather behind the Prez, bitching, and complaining, they also manage to stand on The Hose of Help, bending it and kinking it and making damn sure that the flow is reduced to a puny and ineffective trickle. No, their actions weren’t exactly treasonous, but, then again, they’ve shown they won’t hesitate to compromise the health of the country in order to play political hardball. And really, what kind of attitude is that for a senator or member of the House?

As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote on Sept. 9, “All of this puts the White House in a difficult bind. Making a big deal of Republican obstructionism could all too easily come across as whining. Yet this obstructionism is real, and arguably the biggest single reason for our ongoing economic weakness.”

Exactly. Whining doesn’t play all that well with the electorate. It’s very thin political ice to skate upon. But it has to be acknowledged that the last two years have been dominated by a political approach that can best be labeled as Obstructional Dysfunctionalism. And if you want to keep America in its sluggish economic swamp, this strategy is obviously quite effective in doing just that.