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October 18, 2017

The Party of No

We are constantly told by our elected officials in Washington there are two reasons why Obama’s first year in office has not gone as smoothly as many had hoped it would. The first reason is the classic go-to for Democrats: George W. Bush left too big a mess to clean up in one year. That excuse dropped in popularity recently, as most Americans are no longer accepting that as a viable reason for failure a year later. Democrats have been doing what they have wanted for a year now. The successes and failures of this country currently belong to them. As bad as Bush allegedly was as president, he never allowed the nation’s debt to get this out of control.

So the new excuse Democrats have been pedaling over the past nine months is to blame Republicans for their own failures whenever something is not accomplished in the Senate or the House of Representatives. They termed Republicans “The Party of No.” They blamed Republicans countless times for the failures of Democrats to pass health care reform, to pass climate change legislation, to close Guantanamo Bay, to end poverty, for money not growing on trees and anything else that many thought would happen if Barack Obama was elected president.

But are Republicans really to blame?

I don’t think there is any doubt that Republicans have been “The Party of No” since Obama took office. Republicans haven’t supported a single one of Obama, Pelosi or Reid’s proposals. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are two points to be made here.

The first is the reason why Republicans have voted against every single major piece of legislation Democrats have proposed. Everything Republicans have been asked to vote on have been entirely created by Democrats without any Republican input. Democrats spend all their time behind closed doors creating legislation, then bring it to the floor to have the legislation voted on. Republicans have their own ideas and proposals they would like to have Democrats consider, but to no avail. This is one of the main reasons why Republicans have been voting “no” on everything. If you were expecting Republicans to endorse Democratic proposals of reckless spending bills and government-run healthcare, you probably also expected Obama to turn lead into gold.

The second point is that it should not matter what Republicans think. Democrats have majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, on top of the fact that they occupy the White House. In the Senate, Democrats hold 59 of the 100 seats, and up until recently held 60. In the House of Representatives, Democrats hold 256 of the 435 seats. What does this mean? It means Democrats can pass anything they want without a single Republican vote, even after the election of Massachusetts state Rep. Scott Brown.

That is why Democrats have the opportunity to conduct themselves in the manner they have during this past year. They can write all the legislation they want without any Republican input because they don’t need any Republican input. They can pass literally anything and there is nothing Republicans can do about it.

That’s why I am tired of hearing Democrats complain about Republicans causing the lack of action in Washington this past year. Obama insisted during this State of the Union address that “neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can.” But that is not what is going on. Republicans are not “obstructing” legislation as the president wants us to believe. They don’t have the votes. The reason things haven’t been getting done in Washington is because the Democrats are unorganized and the American public has stood up and said “no” to many of the reckless decisions the government made during the past year.

Just look at what has been going on recently. The shady “backroom deals” we hear about to gain votes for healthcare reform have not been struck between Democrats and Republicans; they have been struck between Democrats and Democrats. Democrats haven’t had to bribe Republicans because they don’t need Republicans – they have each other.

For the most part, we can just stop talking about Republicans because they are currently irrelevant to the national scene. The only thing stopping Democrats right now are Democrats and the American public. Democrats know it is political suicide to vote for legislation that the American public does not want – which is virtually everything they have been proposing – so they either need to get Republican support so they don’t take all the blame for bad legislation or they want to avoid voting on it all together. That is why Democrats are trying to force Republicans to vote for their bills and why they want to form bipartisan committees so they can raise taxes. They are looking for political cover from their own ridiculous proposals.

This “Party of No” business is just a political game Democrats are playing in order to save themselves in the upcoming elections. In reality, Republicans are not responsible for the failures of this administration over the past year, Democrats are.

Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at amperry@student.umass.edu.

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