JANUARY 20, 2009——THE DAY THE GOP WENT BIZARRO

I was a Superman comics fan as a kid and enjoyed the issues where a bizarro world was created, with everyone the opposite of what they normally were. A famous Seinfeld episode in that TV series portrayed the bizarro versions of the male protagonists who were actually decent human beings, unlike the regular versions. Of course Jerry Seinfeld is a huge Superman fan himself.

So let us look at the Grand Old Party, the Republicans, who themselves have gone bizarro since the title date.

Consider health care, for example. In 1993 about 20 Republican Senators, with two Democrats, co-sponsored a health care proposal that was remarkably similar to what became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, somewhat derisively termed Obamacare.

The GOP bill included an individual mandate to purchase health insurance. Other provisions can be found here, as well as a link to the ACA that passed in 2010.

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2010/February/23/GOP-1993-health-reform-bill.aspx

That vision of health care reform had been touted by the very conservative Heritage Foundation, especially including the individual mandate. In fact, that group’s version pre-dated even the 1993 bill.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2011/10/20/how-a-conservative-think-tank-invented-the-individual-mandate/

When Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts he pushed through a state plan based upon these earlier ideas, again including an individual mandate.

The Cap and Trade controversy has abated significantly, but was a hot button issue in the 2010 mid-term elections. One letter writer to the local newspaper decried the bills then before Congress and urged people to vote for Republicans as none of them would ever have offered such a bill in the first place.

Except they did. The Cap and Trade legislation, which would allow companies to trade emissions, is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives. Sounds like a capitalist’s heaven, right?

As a matter of record cap and trade was first established by the Clean Air Act of 1990, during the administration of George H.W. Bush, a Republican. It had been first proposed by C.Boyden Gray, his White House Counsel, an odd hybrid of multi-millionaire entrepreneur/environmentalist.

After the law went into effect in 1995, emissions dropped dramaticically.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Presence-of-Mind-Blue-Sky-Thinking.html?c=y&page=1

In 2003, 2005, and 2007 Sen. John McCain (R. Ariz), and the 2008 GOP standard bearer, sponsored environmental bills with a common main element being cap and trade.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_Stewardship_Acts

During the George W. Bush administration the federal debt limit was raised several times, with no attempt by Republicans to tie the hikes to spending reductions.

http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/137268.pdf

The 2003 hike was signed into law the day before Bush signed that year’s tax cuts legislation.

The GOP view of tax cuts was that they were good, but did not need any offset in spending. The 2001 and 2003 rounds of cuts came on the heels of or just ahead of increased spending and with no way to pay for them. Contrast 2011 with the extension of the payroll tax cut with GOP leaders demanding that amount be “paid for”.

Let’s look at the bizarro GOP and its stand on these same issues since the magic date.

Health care reform including an individual mandate? Against it, calling it unconstitutional to boot.

BIZARRO

Cap and Trade legislation? Against it.

BIZARRO

Raising the debt limit without stern spending cuts? Against it.

BIZARRO

Passing or extending tax cuts without a way to pay for them? Against it.

BIZARRO

I guess you could say that Republican policy postions are “out of this world!” That may explain the alien replicants vying for that party’s Presidential nomination.

So what occurred on January 20, 2009 that precipitated these 180 degree turns in GOP policies?

Did a meteor strike the earth? No.

Was there a sudden release of radiation covering the planet? No.

Had the Apocalypse been visited upon us ahead of Mayan predictions? No.

Did the Earth reverse the direction of travel about its axis? No.

I do seem to recall watching a very public ceremony taking place in Washington, D.C. on that date.

Nah, that couldn’t have been it——or could it?

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Comments

  • marcia singer  On June 12, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    I heard in an interview with Thom Hartmann and an author (whose name I did not get!) that on Jan 20, 2209, !4 Republican senators, including Gingrich, Ryan and Cantor, agreed to sabotage ANY effort of the Obama administration, in order to ruin him, assure he would NOT be re-elected, and the country, the economy, etc. be damned. It’s in a book that just came out –documented.

    • umoc193  On June 14, 2012 at 7:57 PM

      I’ve noted here and in comments elsewhere that the GOP was in favor of so many policies that they immediately reversed themselves on as of the moment of Obama’s inauguration. I’m just not sure that my point or the info you supplied resonates with enough people to make a difference.

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