So, I guess it is time to talk about the unfortunate realities of our political system, and how they are often used as a tool for subverting the actual democratic process.
Post story about this terrible ordeal.
Long story short, Colorado’s civil union bill (which had a surprising 60-70 percent popular support in the past couple months) died in the most unglorious way possible: publicly, and procedurally. The small handful of Republicans who supported this bill (more on them later) should it reach the House floor were enough to guarantee its success, which is only logical as many of the political values Republicans claim to adhere to would actually suggest that perhaps the Big Government shouldn’t get in the way of TWO ADULT CONSENTING HUMANS to get married at all. However, this would be a disaster for the Republican leadership for several reasons. Both the Speaker and the Majority Leader come from highly socially conservative areas, and in the modern political climate (created by the Republican party and the conservative voices in the media) the passing of the bill through any means, and regardless of their opposition, would be used against them in their next election to portray them as soft on family values, opening them up to a primary challenge by a (somehow) more conservative candidate. This is not only a problem for the incumbent, it is a problem for the entire party, which could not be illustraded any more clearly by the prolonged and ugly Republican presidential primary. As there would be no way to avoid such negative ads in the circumstance of the bill’s passing, the choice of the Republican leadership is clear: do anything possible procedurally to block the bill, and not only appease but be idolized by their most vocal electorate as heroic moral crusaders. Sure, a lot of people will be pissed, but the mindset of these Republicans is that the chance of a Democrat beating them in a general election is so low that their only real threat is from a Republican further to the right; consequently they must avoid not only any kind of compromise on social issues, but they must meet any sort of progressive issue with a maximum force level of resistance. Any failure to do so will be met with a super-PAC funded primary campaign to smear the incumbent as ‘soft’ regardless of the actual facts.
The most obvious beneficiaries of this cycle are the large business interests who fund the super PACs, who understand that extreme socially conservative candidates are also often open to suggestion from industry placed ‘advisors’, gutting public services, which they call socialism, and giving out giant subsidies and insanely low interest loans to their past and future financial supporters, which is somehow not socialism. Or, maybe it’s just that these socially conservative candidates are kinda dumb, and corporate America loves dumb politicians.
Regardless of the motivations, the ultimate fact of the matter is that the Republican leadership have proven, as I have known all along, that they are much more concerned about staying in power than they are with any specific obligation to our political process, or the desires of its citizenry. Now, this is not to say that this problem is exclusive to Republicans, this has just been a very prominent showing on the behalf of Colorado’s Republican leadership. There is plenty of evidence that Democrats pander to the more liberal wing of the party before the general election season, and then after secruing their nomination make a ‘return to the center’. Not that any first elected Black President comes to mind, but it has been known to happen. The irony in this situation for the Republican party is that they essentially created their own dilemma. By pushing their national dialogue farther and farther to the extreme, and by using outlets like Fox News to not only advance their viewpoint, but to put forth that any disagreement was either insane, treasonous, stupid, or a combination thereof. This has led to an environment where attacks against the Left are so commonplace that they are no longer a valid way to distinguish between candidates in the primary season, leaving no one to attack (as the Republican party has gone negative for so long it is all they know how to do) but the other Republicans. So, consequently, civil unions had to die, regardless of its general support, so that Frank McNulty and Amy Stephens wouldn’t get Dick Lugared. Is it deplorable that they care so much about their positions that they are willing to throw the very principles of democracy under the bus? Of course it is. It is also, however, the natural result of the constant obstructionist posturing of the GOP and and the realities of a two year election cycle fueled by ridiculous financial investments. Haters gonna hate, and Republicans are going to pander to extremists.
Now, it wouldn’t be like me to just point out a problem and not offer some solutions, so I have a couple here. First, get as many Republicans out of office as you can, and as long as it isn’t the American Nazi Party I don’t particularly care who they get replaced with. If they lose their majority, they lose their leadership positions. Secondly, demand strict campaign finance and campaign advertisement reforms, and a shorter election season. A little honesty goes a long way, and its more than we’ve gotten from Republicans in years. Lastly, spread the news about the vile behavior of the Republican leadership to every person you see, as a precautionary tale of just how little love these supposed ‘patriots’ have for democracy.