Wednesday, October 26, 2011

GOP came to work, went on strike

      It may be historically inaccurate to say that the 112th U.S. Congress is on track to do less than any Congress in history. But, let's face it. Less than zero is a bar under which not even a snake could slither.

     When John Boehner became U.S. House speaker last January, he said he was all about promoting jobs for Americans. Dial up this up — — to see how many jobs his labors have created.

      The number is highlighted in red.

      In September, after President Obama proposed a jobs bill which contained several components that Republicans have supported in the past, Boehner shrugged, sighed, and said, well you know: Tough nuts. 

      Actually, what he said was, "Job creators in America are essentially on strike."

       Or was he speaking of the House under his leadership?

       What a pitiful bunch these "leaders" have become. And if you are thinking President Obama hasn't performed much better, let's compare. He's preparing to end one armed conflict launched by his predecessor. He's drawing down another. In the process he ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He ordered U.S. forces to participate in the NATO action that brought down Moammar Gadhafi.

       Meanwhile the Republicans under Boehner's leadership have done?

       Everything in their power to bring down Barack Obama.

       In September, Boehner and his buddies assaulted America's golf courses after the deathly deadlock on the debt ceiling. A divided government had dragged down the economy, America's global standing and its credit rating.

      Obama was still in Washington, where he called on Congress to do something about, you know, jobs. Pass a bill with many GOP-style components and features supported by Democrats. In golf parlance, Mr. Speaker, after your horrific hacking during the debt-limit debacle, the president was offering you a mulligan. 

     Truly, if a record exists for a Congress that does nothing, this Congress is gunning for it. So frustrated was the administration over Congress' inaction over the untenable No Child Left Behind law that it enacted key changes by executive order. Over at the Capitol, folks were incensed. But guess what? Last week angry senators finally were talking up their own revision, and with bipartisan participation. Is this what it takes? For the administrative branch simply to ignore the branch that used to pass legislation?

     Obama said this week he would resort to other executive decrees to achieve some of the regulatory relief he's asked of Congress under his jobs bill. He also said he would issue executive orders to ease the burden on college students facing crushing debt and to help some stretched homeowners keep their homes.

     Members of Congress say that such things are their job. Well, it would be, if they were doing their jobs.

     Speaking of jobs — you know, the thing John Boehner said he was all about — recently because of federal budget cuts, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., announced it would be losing 100 to 150 positions — roughly 10 percent of its staff. Smart policy, that. Here we have efforts to help this nation do what the Republicans say we must — reduce our dependence on overseas sultans — and this great country can't afford to fully staff the enterprise.

     Well, of course we can. We have the resources. We can do what great nations do, what a great nation has done. But when Congress goes on strike, well, watch greatness wane.

     The party of Boehner is making this happen in the quest to obtain one job: Barack Obama's. If that's not true, blink those golf-tanned eyelids once.

     Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:

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