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Kevin Buck: Decline and fall of a political empire

Posted: April 27, 2009 9:18 p.m.
Updated: April 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

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Wednesday will mark President Obama's 100th day in office, and despite the handicaps of a worldwide economic collapse, two intractable wars and zero honeymoon period from Republican obstructionists, he has proven to be the leader America expected when we voted for him last November.

The president's approval rating is 62 percent and for the first time since 2004, more Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction than those who do not.

The majority of Americans hope President Obama does not fail, for obvious reasons: When the president fails, so does America.

The early successes of this administration should not be minimized. The Democrats have passed legislation that expands health care for children and legislation guaranteeing equal pay for women.

The stimulus bill, passed with only three Republican votes, has stabilized the collapsing economy and is feeding much needed revenue into state and local economies.

Millions of acres of wilderness have been protected and energy policy has expanded beyond maximizing profits for oil companies.

Progressive politics and politicians are making progress and the majority approves. Go figure.

This has led to considerable angst amongst conservatives and the Republican Party, and rightly so. Their voice in American politics has rarely been as muted as it is today and their opportunity to shape policy and the future is greatly diminished.

Yet rather than present policies, budgets and alternatives to Democratic initiatives, Republicans have descended into the theater of the absurd.

The tea party protests are a perfect example of a political party that is out of ideas, out touch with reality and faced with no clear path back to power.

The tea-partiers were ostensibly protesting high taxes and were attempting to use the taxation without representation imagery associated with the Boston Tea Party to lend some legitimacy to their demonstration.

The only thing wrong with this premise is that the budget passed by elected representatives and signed into law by President Obama contained a tax cut for 95 percent of American taxpayers.

The "tax hike" deeply lamented by the teabag brigade was the lapsing of the 2001 Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Taxes went up 3 percent on income more than $250,000, still 10 percent less than they were during Ronald Reagan's administration.

Most of the people at the rally who will actually have to pay the 3 percent weren't even protesting. They were the union members, reporters and anchors and crew, working for the TV networks who covered the rallies.

The paucity of ideas or constructive policy in the Republican Party is evident in the Obama actions Republicans whine about.

Besides the non-existent tax hikes, they don't like that he bowed to a King, he insulted a Queen with a cheesy gift, his wife touched the Queen (and she wears sleeveless dresses), he is a socialist, creating a fascist dictatorship and, my personal favorite, his birth certificate is fake, he is not a citizen and not eligible to hold the office.

We are fighting two wars, the American and world economies are collapsing, the environment is on life support and we are subjected to opposition harangues about minutia.

Not crazy enough for you? Governor Rick Perry of Texas has threatened to secede from the union and 51 percent of Texas Republicans support this secession. I'm not sure where that falls on the patriotism scale - probably pretty low - but when a leader of the Party of Lincoln calls for secession, it rockets to the top of the irony scale.

The Ohio militia has called for an Armed Million Man March on Washington, D.C. A gathering of angry, frustrated right-wing protestors, all carrying weapons.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Party of Eisenhower, Goldwater, Kissinger, Buckley, Will and Reagan has become the Party of Limbaugh, Hannity, Gingrich, O'Reilly, Cheney, Beck and Bush and its new face is small, petty and mean.

Rebuilding a winning coalition on black helicopter paranoia, catty gossip and irrational hatred will not be easy, especially when you are fighting a new majority of hope, change and rock ‘n' roll.

The Republican Party has been relegated to back-bench obstruction, with no clear path out. Politically, it's all the change I could have hoped for.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several local Democratic activists.

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