09
Jan
17

Another Era of “Undoing” is Upon Us

Generally speaking, the American two party system has boiled down to this:

One party (the Democrats) tries to do things. The other party (the Republicans) tries to undo things (I’m not advocating any one policy position here. This is just an observation.)

Other than building a border wall, and cutting taxes for the rich, the entire Republican agenda is about undoing things…

– Undo the Affordable Care Act
– Undo Wall Street regulations
– Undo Planned Parenthood
– Undo ethics oversight
– Undo climate and environmental regulations
– Undo the Consumer Protection Agency
– Undo social security
– Undo Medicare and Medicaid
– Undo marriage equality
– Undo the minimum wage
– Undo energy reforms
– Undo gun control
– Undo Roe vs Wade

Let’s take the ACA as an example. It has been around for six years. That should be long enough for the GOP to have a put together a well constructed plan for what they would do to replace it. Instead, all they know for sure is that they want to repeal (undo) it. They have some abstract ideas of what to put in its place, but one would think that after six years, they would have a refined and comprehensive plan. It is clear that while they’ve become quite proficient at stopping legislation, they are quite rusty at creating it.

Image: BESTPIX - Paul Ryan Holds "Enrollment Ceremony" For Bill To Repeal Affordable Care ActThe Republicans made it their mantra to obstruct and block President Obama’s agenda (even when compromise and agreement were attainable) for the entire tenure of his presidency. Democrats plan to use the same playbook against Donald Trump, but while the strategies may be similar, there is a profound difference in terms of their respective goals. When the GOP obstructs the Democrats, they do so to keep them from doing things. When the Democrats obstruct the Republicans, they do so to keep them from undoing things the Democrats have already done. One is done to prevent, the other is done to protect.

Returning things to the way they once were – seems to be a quite common and unsatisfactory Republican answer. The world is a dynamic place. What may have been a sensible policy 40 years ago, may not be now. This concept seems difficult for the Republicans to grasp. Over the past several decades, the GOP has lost their share of intellectual capital to the left – perhaps because people with ideas are more likely to commiserate with people who are open to the prospect of ACTUALLY implementing them.

As we begin 2017, the Republican Party has the eraser end of the pencil with big plans to wear it down to a nub. For the sake of the country, let’s hope they sharpen the other end and remember how to use it.

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