Jul 1, 2010 - Issue 382
Republican Radicals Reject Unemployment
As part of
the current unemployment crisis, at last look there were 453,000 claims
for insurance, a number that is likely to surge when part-time government
workers employed on the Census end their term this summer. Yet, there
probably is no greater indication of the radical extreme to which the
Republican party has become than to witness their
rejection of legislation to extend unemployment benefits in the Senate.
In the past, some Republicans supported such legislation to keep benefits
flowing, but this time, their unanimous rejection for a second time killed
it. They were joined by Democrat Ben Nelson of
A look at a few states where funds will run out
soon turns up a frightening picture: 87,000 people in Michigan which has
the second largest unemployment rate; 67,000 in Colorado face the same
fate; 7,000 people in Georgia; 184,000 in Florida. The legislation would
have created $16 billion to reimburse state Medicaid expenses, and without
In the recent primary elections, radical Tea Party
politicians gained serious inroads into the Republican party.
For example, Sharron Angle, Harry Reid’s opponent for
U. S. Senator from
The fact that Republicans don’t appear to be concerned about the impact of their rejection of funds on ordinary people in their states continues to confirm a heartless and immoral side of the Republican governing ideology. It is a growing radicalism that is justified by their elevation of the deficit, much of which was created by former Republican George Bush, over their constituent’s pain.
Beyond an immorality linked to a lack of concern
for the less fortunate, Republican intransigence possibly constitutes
a political strategy for the fall elections. How? A recent NBC/Wall Street
Journal poll found that Congress registered the lowest favorable ratings
in modern history at six percent, while
Such a strategy is possible partly because of the
lack of strength and specificity in the Democratic narrative about governance
that shields the Republican party from its negative
role. President Obama began this weak narrative by campaigning on “changing
the way things work in
Word is that the Democratic party is laying out $50 million for the fall elections, and a great deal of it should be spent to build a message factory to help explain to the American people why the President has done what he has had to do the past two years, and what feeds the perception that the Congress is dysfunctional. If Democrats can’t get unemployment insurance, other important goals are in jeopardy both now and after the elections.
Editorial Board member, Dr.
Ron Walters, PhD is a Political Analyst,
Author and Professor Emeritus of Government and Politics