Put Down the Poison and Step Away from the Well!

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Steve King toxic comments on immigrantsStep Away from the Well Cantaloupe King

Put down the poison and step away from the well! The Republicans are quite adept at warning the opposition about poisoning the well. In fact, there is an entire website devoted to those warnings. Republicans feel an almost pathological need to throw that out there every time something doesn’t go their way, including the latest immigration brouhaha.

Let me make it clear up front. I don’t agree with every Obama policy, including portions of his immigration order. I don’t always condone how or when he chooses to implement them. Personally, I think doing it now is a political mistake. It could be illegal, but I am not a Constitutional lawyer so I can’t pass judgment on that, though some have opined and it is not a universal opinion that Obama is some sort of felonious Constitutional scalawag. He’s certainly less imperial in his use of executive orders than most other recent Presidents, whether you agree with the reasons for them or not.

Thanks Papa Bush

But here is what is laughable about Mitch McConnell and a goodly number of other Republicans talking about poisoning the well. They look like little boys smeared in chocolate denying they ate the cookies, except replace the cookie jar with a well and the cookies with a 55 gallon drum of cyanide. Here are only some of the reasons why:

  • Republicans and Democrats have long run from their responsibilities in this matter. Until 2 years ago there was nary an immigration overhaul bill introduced in years…except a bipartisan (68 to 32) Senate bill passed in 2013 after 6 months of negotiation. The House refused to act or even present a counter-proposal. If they had, the law could have taken its due course and we wouldn’t all be so apoplectic today.
  • In fact, the last movement on immigration was by a Republican using, guess what, an executive order. Thank you Pappa Bush. Oh, and thanks to St. Ronnie of Reagan too who did the same.
  • Speaking of poison, there are also the 50+ times to repeal, not amend, the Affordable Care Act and the continued calls that are alive again in the new Republican-controlled Congress to take the same approach.

According to Republicans they had absolutely no say in its writing, despite the Democratic Finance Committee agreeing to changes introduced by Charles Grassley (R), who was complaining at the time about death panels and Obama, “pulling the plug on Grandma.” Plus, he failed to vote for the bill with his own changes in it.

The Republicans repaid previously spurned offers of negotiation with a government shutdown unless the bill died. What is that other than arsenic and torn lace?

True, Obama made changes to it by executive fiat to fix holes in the bill, but only after Republicans again demanded repeal. Stopping government because you don’t agree is not an option and, oh yeah, they sued him for that one. That stick in the eye was a delight as well, I’m sure.

There are countless other examples, including a few, many fewer, from Obama. But, let’s not confuse this with a power mad Dr, Frankenstein trying to rejigger the cockeyed monster that is American politics.

Pushing on the Ass of an Unyielding GOP Elephant

Obama has a responsibility to keep things moving and when you are pushing on the ass of an unyielding GOP elephant, someone has to push very hard. That’s isn’t poisoning the well, it is building a fire that can easily be put out, by the President’s own request, when the elephant finally decides to take his meandering morning constitutional.

If I had my choice, the power of executive power would be more strictly defined and limited. Government works best when all three branches are truly co-equal. But, co-equal doesn’t work if one of them steps out of bounds or childishly pokes the others with a stick. I’d like to permanently get rid of Citizens United, corporate personhood, filibusters, gerrymandering  and a host of other stupid things we tolerate in our political system. They are all a pox on all our houses. But, hypocrisy and disingenuity cannot stand if we expect to keep government working.

Overstepping boundaries, though the jury is out on legality, is clearly not good. Shirking your duties when you have the chance, thereby precipitating the overstepping to begin with, is even worse. Complaining about everything the man does, including bitching about quotes from the Bible while hopping on board Tommy the Poison Tank Engine’s Train, is stupid, childish, and well, toxic.

As much as the latest election seems like a mandate to some, polls show the current administration isn’t so much out of step on many policies–including immigration–it is taking most of the blame for a lot of poison-throwing firebrands in Congress who won’t settle down and get to work.

Here’s a grand proposal to solve the nation’s immigration woes. All of you put down the cyanide capsules before someone bites one and either vote for the bill on the table or propose another that people can fairly negotiate over. No more executive action. No more poisoning wells. Get immigration reform, quitcherbitchin, and everyone goes home happy.

Especially the voters.

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