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As usual, the GOP has no program

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By Rick Howell

    If we believe conventional political wisdom, the Republican Party is set to make major legislative gains in this year’s mid-term elections, perhaps even taking over the House and/or the Senate.

Generally, this is hardly shocking. The party in the White House almost always loses in the mid-terms, sometimes badly.
    But this year the elections are defined by the real achievements of a Democratic president who has largely delivered on his promise of positive change for America, and on the hysterical, right-wing reaction to those achievements that really shouldn’t surprise anyone.
    For the first time since Medicare and Medicaid, the health care system in America has seen tiny steps toward the kind of reform it has long needed. We were the last modern, industrialized country on Earth to continue to let insurance companies totally run health care.
    The result was 50 million Americans without insurance in a system run by a so-called private sector that charged high premiums, cancelled coverage whenever it wanted, and denied coverage for “pre-existing” conditions.
    Thank goodness that the government, under President Obama and congressional Democrats, stepped in and got something passed. It wasn’t comprehensive enough, but it’s a start.
    The reaction from the right was predictably hysterical and extreme. House Minority Leader John Boehner said “Armageddon” would ensue if the bill passed.
    Sarah Palin, the simple-minded Goddess of the Right, warned that grandparents would be dragged out and killed before government “death panels.” Both only managed to demonstrate their idiocy, which is particularly disappointing from Boehner, who is the likely House Speaker if the GOP takes power.
    Boehner recently admitted to a reporter that he had “no idea” what the overall Republican program would be were the party to win power. No idea? At least he’s honest.
    Actually, their recent voting record has shown them to still be as extremist as we’ve known them in recent decades. They believe in tax cuts, but only for the rich. Obama’s stimulus bill included a middle class tax cut, but Republicans don’t believe in helping the middle class or the poor, only the wealthy, who, of course, don’t need any help.
    They’ve repeatedly voted against the extension of unemployment benefits, a shameful thing to do in such a bad recession. They’ve sided with BP in a Democratic attempt to reform oil drilling laws. They talk of repealing the health care bill, while extremists such as Ken Cuccinelli here in Virginia, actually go to court to fight both the knowledge of global warming and health care reform.
    American voters everywhere need to be asked: Do you really want to put these people back in control? They brought us George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; they believe only in money, power, and war. They care not at all about the struggles faced by ordinary Americans who aren’t wealthy or influential.
    Barack Obama doesn’t spew forth his emotions like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton sometimes did. Critics say he’s “cold.” But he’s smarter than Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush combined. His heart is in the right place and he deserves better than the wicked condemnations he’s gotten from the “tea party” fanatics.
    Republicans, these days, are just so extreme. Moderates aren’t allowed in that party. They worship Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Those people would ruin this country if they had the chance.
    Voters should be wary of returning the GOP to power in Congress. They have no program for working Americans whatsoever.
    There’s an old saying that applies here: Be careful about what you want, you may just get it.
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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com.