I chose a rather inconvenient time to take a couple of mental health days. In truth, I didn’t really choose the days. This weekend just happened to be when my extended family could get together to celebrate Christmas. So, I’ve barely been online at all over the last 48 hours, as the White House and Congress have hashed out deals and signed bills on several things of significant consequence. I have noted the alarm with which the left has responded to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, but I haven’t had the chance to read the relevant language in the bill and make an assessment. I’ve read some of the usual hyperventilation from some of the usual suspects, but I need to check their opinions against the facts before I weigh in.
On the Omnibus appropriations bill, the White House sent out some talking points about the things you and I might like about the overall deal. The thing is, pretty much everything on their list is an example of protecting something the Republicans wanted to defund or abolish or frustrate. Half of the list is about obnoxious riders the administration successfully defeated. I can honestly say that the only truly positive (as opposed to purely defensive) accomplishment on the list is extra money for the Student Aid Administration to help them service college loans.
But, you know, they saved NPR and Planned Parenthood, and AmeriCorps. They protected the EPA’s budget and prerogatives. Head Start kept the extra slots that were created by the Recovery Act. They prevented a forced regression on Cuba policy.
These are all good things. But the midterm elections of 2010 created the problems we have now. The Republicans have far too much power in Washington and they’re exercising that power, almost without any conscience at all, to make the broadest possible attack on progressive ideals and principles.
Not only does this put the Democrats in a defensive crouch, but its inevitable that they’re lines will occasionally be breached. It’s just wave upon wave of demented avengers, many of whom are not even controlled by their leaders.
Elections have consequences, particularly when the winners of those elections appear to be suffering from the ill effects of the Rabies Virus.