Markos Moulitsas: Standing for nothing

Markos Moulitsas: Standing for nothing
© Greg Nash

During last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the differences between Democrats and Republicans. But it was the Republican response that really illuminated the divide. 

Republicans didn’t applaud an improving economy or a soaring stock market. It’s kind of hard to claim Obama is a socialist communist tyrant when his policies — in the face of overwhelming and never-ending legislative obstructionism — are working. They didn’t cheer Americans getting health insurance, because they’re trying to strip that insurance away. They weren’t happy with mention of “solar power,” because the only energy sources that excite them are the kinds that pollute our air, ground and water. 


They didn’t get excited over tax cuts for working families or tax cuts for families with children, because if you’re not the 1 percent mythical “job creators,” you don’t count. Seriously, if your concern is “job creators,” why not focus tax benefits to those who actually invest in job-creating ventures? But that would make too much sense, like voting to keep Keystone XL pipeline oil in the U.S. when you claim you need the pipeline for energy independence. Republicans will never support that stuff. 

When Obama said “America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined,” you know Republicans wouldn’t applaud, because it proves that Democratic governance actually works, despite their protestations to the contrary. But did they really have to sit quietly when Obama called on rewarding companies that “invest in America”? That’s now something Republicans oppose? Investing in America?

Given their silence, Republicans apparently oppose a “free and open Internet,” because they’d rather Comcast control access to what Americans consume online. They also oppose a resolution authorizing the use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, closing Gitmo and “trying something new” in Cuba. You certainly can’t be conservative if you don’t cling to decades-old discredited strategies despite all evidence to the contrary. 

And you certainly can’t be conservative if you think that women deserve equal pay for equal work, or that all Americans should have access to affordable child care. When it comes to womenfolk, Republicans just don’t care. It’s no accident that of 21 GOP-led House committees, only one is led by a woman, and it’s not even a good committee (House Administration). So yeah — when women and families are involved, they have no choice but to sit on their hands. 

We all know Republicans will never acknowledge climate change, because to them, scientific fact is open to ideological interpretation. We know they will never cheer protecting “people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender” from persecution, because they are social troglodytes. And we know they won’t support making “voting easier for every single American” because the only way Republicans can win is to keep people away from the polls. The higher the turnout, the lower their victory chances. 

None of this should be surprising to people paying attention, but Republicans are usually better than this at hiding their alienation from mainstream values. They want to deport DREAM Act children — the undocumented immigrants brought to this country as minors — but rather than say “we want to hurt children because we are heartless jerks,” they’ll say “we’ll work to correct executive overreach.” Cute, huh? 

Yet there they were last week, refusing to applaud our nation’s economic recovery, tolerance for non-straight Americans and rewarding companies that “invest in America.” Even if it was just for one night, such Republican honesty was refreshing. 


Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.