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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

BREAKING! A new study confirms what you already knew – Republicans are the problem.

The Guardian’s Harry J. Enten took a look at Congress and found that every year since 1977, whether they won or lost elections, Republicans have become more and more “conservative.” Meanwhile, Democrats have remained about as liberal as they were when American men wore shirts that revealed chest hair on purpose.

BREAKING! The study also reveals that Republicans are not only extreme in their own views, they’ve become ruthless in their obstruction.

Since the Democrats took over the Senate in 2007, Republicans have made as many cloture motions to prevent up-or-down votes as the previous six Senates combined.

This purposeful legislative constipation has created the least productive Congress in at least 60 years right as America—immersed in a jobs crisis that has only been made worse by a GOP obsessed with cutting spending to erase a deficit they created.

It seems that the only solution to the deliberate-paralysis Republicans would be more rational — what some used to call “moderate” — Republicans.

History remembers moderate Republicans because the GOP brings them up whenever they’re justifying their latest extremism. Sure, we’re trying to make it impossible for minorities to vote now. But some Republicans supported the Civil Rights Act in 1964! We’re attacking “welfare queens” but hey, remember Lincoln!

Dick Armey, the former congressman who is at the center of hilarious intrigue involving the Tea Party dark money group FreedomWorks, said just this week, “I always laugh this [sic] is a party that was born with the Emancipation Proclamation and we can’t get a black vote to save our life,” he said.

LOL.

Okay. A hundred and fifty years ago, you did some decent outreach. Now the only outreach the GOP does is to push people who don’t hold the party line out of the party.

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) — one of the three Republicans willing to vote for the stimulus after President George W. Bush left office with the economy losing nearly a million jobs a month — is leaving the Senate. She attacked the culture of obstruction in the Senate in her resignation letter, saying it’s become like a “parliamentary system — where everyone simply votes with their party and those in charge employ every possible tactic to block the other side.”

This coming from the woman who helped hold the Affordable Care Act up in committee for months and then refused to vote for it, even after her suggestions were mostly adopted.

Snowe, of course, blamed both sides, which is the only way to get the media to take you seriously. As if both sides have signed a pledge to never ever compromise on taxes. As if both sides just defeated a true statesman like Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) because he had, on rare occasions, treated President Obama like the elected leader of the United States. As if both sides have massive “social welfare” nonprofits like Crossroads GPS, Americans For Prosperity and ALEC that spend hundreds of millions in anonymous donations to make sure the only elections that are ever competitive for their party are primaries.

Michigan is a petri dish for the worst of Republican politics.

It’s been a blue state in presidential elections since 1992. But in 2010, a state GOP fed by the Amway fortune and the Koch-fueled Tea Party movement succeeded in electing big majorities of hardcore, right-wing Republicans to the state houses and a governor who posed as a sort of mini-Moderate Mitt Romney.

After his steamrolling of struggling local governments, nearly all African-American, with his Emergency Manager Law, Snyder managed to keep some of his moderate rep by vetoing a voter suppression law and mostly staying out of the 2012 presidential election.

But after Michigan elected President Obama by 9.5 percent and sent five Republican legislators home, Governor Rick Snyder was faced with an inflamed Republican Party.

The right wanted to act fast to make their 2010 win pay off, big. And Snyder—assuming that like Dick Lugar in neighboring Indiana, he had a better chance of losing in a primary than the general election—went right along.

He stuck a thumb in the eye of labor by passing legislation designed to bust unions, reinstated a new version of the Emergency Manager Law voters rejected at the polls, and signed a law that prevents women from receiving emergency contraception via telemedicine.

If you’re not familiar with Michigan, you should know the state is divided between upper and lower peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula—like most rural areas—closely resembles the south, politically and culturally. There isn’t one family planning clinic in the UP. For a woman to get emergency contraception, she may now have to travel hundreds of miles.

Why? Because Rick Snyder is afraid of being primaried.

In her campaign against Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren made a beautiful case for why a vote for Brown is a vote for Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

Now that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is likely to become secretary of state, Republicans are hoping Scott Brown will run again. Brown’s win was the first in the Tea Party cycle of 2010 that took place in the midst of the worst economy any election has taken place in for over 50 years. He defeated a weak candidate with support flowing in from all over the country.

Brown isn’t pro-life or as anti-science as Inhofe. But he’s signed the Norquist pledge and voted to prevent up-or-down votes on at least 40 bills that had majority support in the Senate.

The point is, you can’t expect one Republican to buck the system when the system is designed to destroy him if he does.

So vote Republican! They did something good at least once, 150 years ago.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel, and a memoir.

Cruel as this may sound, I'm having a hard time cringing at the internet trolls now going after noisy right-wingers who propagandized against the coronavirus vaccine and then succumbed to the deadly disease.

One was Nick Bledsoe, a car mechanic in Opelika, Alabama. Bledsoe achieved minor celebrity opposing public efforts to contain COVID-19. He petitioned against school mask mandates and turned refusal to get shots into a political statement, negatively linking them to President Joe Biden. Bledsoe died of COVID at age 41, leaving a wife and four children.

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