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The Republican Response

Shortly after President Obama concluded his inaugural address, the Republican Party released the following statement:

Moments ago, President Obama challenged the American people to come together as one nation to address the many issues that confront our nation.

Without offering specifics, the president mentioned the numerous tasks we must undertake to ensure the continued strength of our nation, from managing the deficit and an economy still recovering all too slowly, to the difficult choices me must make in dealing with climate change, gun violence, immigration policy, national security, energy independence, the social safety net, and extending the full benefit of our nation’s freedoms to all it’s citizens, whatever their gender, ethnic background or sexual orientation.

Mr. Obama called upon us all to work together, across philosophic differences and party lines, to see past the poisonous partisan politics so that the next four years will be marked by progress toward a better, stronger, more just America and a safer, freer, more democratic world.

Faced with a such a stirring call to ignore our baser instincts and appeal to our better angels, to work hand-in-hand with the president to lead America and the world into a brighter future, we in the loyal opposition have a responsibility to respond to the challenge laid before us.

Mr. President, here is our answer:

NO

The Problem With Hagel

Opposition to President Obama’s choice of Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary continued to mount as Republicans and others voiced doubts about the selection. While representatives of Jewish and gay groups expressed concern about previous statements made by Mr. Hagel, the main criticism came from Senate Republicans.

“I’m a Vietnam vet like Chuck,” said John McCain, “I appreciate that he’s the first enlisted man ever to be nominated for this post, that he understands what it’s like to be in combat, that he was wounded twice, that he’s a war hero. That’s exactly why he’s wrong for the job.”

Senator Lindsey Graham echoed those sentiments. “This nation has a long history of old men who never saw combat sending other people’s kids to war. Will a guy who actually knows what being under fire is like be willing to use our nation’s youth as cannon fodder in a completely pointless war?”

A former official in the George W. Bush administration, who asked not to be identitifed, added, “While I respect Mr. Hagel’s war record, he was one of the first senators to recognize that the war in Iraq was a total sham. And he’s a Republican! The guy just can’t be trusted to get us into the next unnecessary conflict.”

“Our whole bloated defense budget depends on us jumping from one trumped-up war in some failed backwater state to the next so that our defense contractors can keep the assembly lines humming. And those companies are huge campaign contributors,” noted McCain. “I don’t think Chuck gets that.”

Texas Senator John Cornyn was especially blunt. “He’s the worst possible guy for the job. Chuck Hagel doesn’t understand how much of America’s economy depends on putting as many of our young people as possible in harm’s way for the sole reason of enriching mega-corporations like Halliburton.

“Where the heck would this country be today if we’d never invaded Iraq or Afghanistan?”

Texas, My Texas

Well, my former home state of Texas did it again, with the Republicans choosing Ted Cruz, yet another Tea Party fruitcake, over David Dewhurst, the establishment-backed candidate, in the Senate primary (which means Cruz will almost certainly be going to Washington, given that Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in living memory). That the establishment is now represented by a wingnut like Rick Perry is bad enough, but not bad enough, evidently, for the Texas Republican party, which apparently is going all in for the truly loony Right. I keep waiting for the whole Tea Party thing to implode as people discover just how genuinely moronic and destructive their agenda is, but the voters keep choosing them despite their insistence, in the name of ideological purity, on obstructing any kind of meaningful compromise. After their dismal performance in the last Congress, we’ll see how many of them the voters send home in November, but I’m not hopeful that anything close to a functional legislature will emerge any time soon.