Friday, January 7, 2011

Note to GOP - Comedy is hard, politics is harder

Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans celebrated a historic return to power this week by quickly turning the proceedings into a circus. The 112th Congress started out the week innocently enough by having the Constitution read aloud by members of both parties. Reading the Constitution is a great idea, but you would think that Republicans could do it in the privacy of their own homes or offices and save the theatrics for more important activities.

Next up for Republicans: repealing health care reform. Unfortunately, they got unwelcome news - a Congressional Budget Office estimate that this would increase the deficit by $230 billion by 2012. The CBO's nonpartisan report backed the Democrats' claims that overturning the health care law would cause a major hit to the deficit.

Republicans quickly dismissed the CBO projection as unrealistic. “CBO is entitled to their opinion,” Boehner said. “I do not believe that repealing the job-killing health care law will increase the deficit.”

What is lost in the discussion is the fact that overturning the law signed by President Obama in March would also leave 32 million more Americans without health insurance, according to experts. A good example of cost-cutting is the recent news that a second person has died in Arizona resulting form the state's refusal to pay for certain transplants. In what has become known as Arizona's "Death Panels", Arizona reduced Medicaid coverage for transplants on October 1st last year under cuts included to help close a shortfall in the state budget. Dr. Rainer Gruessner, chair of the University of Arizona Surgery Department, predicts that nearly 30 Arizonans will die this year because of the state's decision to cut these transplants.

The Republicans want to repeal health reform, but don't have any alternative ideas on how to deal with the failing health care system in this country. The whole thing is just political theater anyway, because the repeal will never reach President Obama's desk for a veto. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is still there thanks to the lunacy of the Tea Party, has indicated that he won't even bring it to a vote. But the House has scheduled a repeal of health care reform on January 12th. But the Republicans must put on a show for their constituents.

In other news, the Republicans went from ridiculous to just plain absurd. On Thursday, two House Republicans somehow neglected to get sworn in as new members of Congress. Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania were not in the House chamber, but rather in front of a television in the Capitol Visitors Center during the swearing-in ceremony.

Sessions and Fitzpatrick were on the House floor on Thursday, voting and reading the Constitution, just like every other sworn-in member of Congress. But once Republican leaders learned that two of their members weren't legitimate members of Congress, they abruptly stopped the hearing on the health care law that was in session.

Shortly after the Rules Committee hearing was stopped, Fitzpatrick and Sessions both appeared back on the House floor and were administered the oath of office by Speaker Boehner, who mispronounced Fitzpatrick's name. But the House decided Friday to invalidate the initial votes cast in the new Congress by the two Republican Congressmen.

The week started out innocently enough. There was the freshman fundraiser hosted by Republican Congressman-elect Jeff Denham, featuring country music by LeAnn Rimes and a rare invitation to the press to attend and report on the event at the high-end W Hotel. The event clashed with the image Republicans have worked so hard to construct: citizen-legislators cleaning up the waste and extravagant ways of Washington.

By week's end, Republican aides are still crunching the numbers, but they can't get them to fit. It is now clear that they will fall far short of the $100 billion in saving the GOP promised in their election season pledge. So far they have pledged to slash $35 million from the House's operating budget. That's about 0.05% of the deficit.

The first-week Republican blunders did little to dampen Boehner's spirit. His themes of humility and austerity are intact. But the GOP is learning that its mistakes will be magnified as the new majority comes under scrutiny.

Now, as they make their clown act public, the Republican party is learning an important Hollywood lesson: comedy is hard, politics is harder.


  1. Comedy is hard...and death is still easy. The Republican Party and their Tea Party off-shoots are in over their heads. They may not die, but they won't get re-elected if they act like this. I predict the Tea Party will die, though. Just my opinion.

  2. Hey Paul, good to see that you're writing about comedy again after all those serious blog posts.

  3. All this in one week? I can't decide which Dr. Seuss classic the Republicans remind me of, "If I Ran the Circus" or "If I Ran the Zoo". If they keep up these shenanigans, they will have no hope of regaining the White House in 2012.

  4. the CBO is way off base... and the health care bill must be repealed because it is one big mess and needs to be rewritten from scratch.
    and the Repubs. are doing a good job so far.

  5. The health of the American people should be more important than anything.

    The Arizona "death panels" are a good example of what happens when we don't fight for the less fortunate.

  6. ...and the circus is just beginning.

  7. It is correct that there will be more scrutiny of the Republicans now that they are the majority. Remember what happened in the Clinton administration and it is evident that Obama has things exactly where he wants them.

    As the lame-duck session showed, Obama is re-taking control. His popularity in the polls will slowly go up in time for the 2012 election.

    Now Michelle Bachman will throw her hat in the ring for President and we see just how crazy politics is becoming.

    I agree, the Republicans have turned the proceedings into a circus. Comedy is evidently not hard for the GOP. They are quite funny as it is.

  8. this has been discussed a dozen times already. This is yesterday's news.

  9. "Next up for Republicans: repealing health care reform. Unfortunately, they got unwelcome news - a Congressional Budget Office estimate that this would increase the deficit by $230 billion by 2012."

    this is bologna!! Obamacare costs $ could repealling it COST money? It doesnt make sense!!

  10. I also find it interesting that libtards like you have a problem with our representatives reading the document that governs their work. Your liberal democrats obviously have no clue what it says because they passed a healthcare bill that is who needs to take a copy home to read?

  11. Arizona is becoming a hot spot for bad things. First their backward stance on immigration, their crazy-ass governor, their tampering with Medicaide, and now some nut-job shoots up a political town hall meeting, killing at least 6 people and seriously injuring a congresswoman. It must be something in the water.

  12. There's a fine line between tragedy and comedy.

  13. Those of you on both sides of the cost of repealing Obamacare argument will enjoy this NY Times article. Seems the CBO has already qualified those projections......if Medicare is cut by 500 billion. Whoops...something neither side is willing to do.

    Don't hinge your arguments on CBO figures folks. Remember their Obamacare cost projections are based on 10 years from 09 to 19, not taking into account over the ten years the total costs which do not crank up until 2014. Also based on Bush tax cuts ending in 2010.