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Letter: Emboldened GOP rejects olive branch

Emboldened GOP rejects olive branch
In recent days, congressional Republicans have shown their true colors. They claim the current economic stimulus package doesn’t represent a genuine bipartisan effort. Would this were the case. In reality, the bill contains billions of dollars in tax cuts that will do nothing to create jobs and are intended to placate Republican lawmakers. These concessions, however, have only emboldened the GOP.
Republicans are shamelessly recycling tired sound bites from the last election cycle, in which they claim the stimulus package is full of “earmarks” and “wasteful spending.” Naturally, they never mention the billions earmarked for allocation to wealthy Americans through Bush-era tax cuts, nor the trillion dollars wastefully spent fighting a needless Republican war in Iraq.
The key to understanding this behavior can perhaps be found in Republican pronouncements on foreign policy. Whenever the United States faces an international challenge, whether in Iran or Venezuela, the GOP inevitably argues there is no point negotiating with “those people” because the only thing “they” understand is brute force.
While this may or may not be true of Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it is unquestionably true of the Republicans themselves. They see every attempt at consensus, compromise or even communication as a sign of weakness that legitimizes their long-held positions.
Rather than reaching out to GOP lawmakers, Democrats in the House and Senate should subject them to the same kind of procedural humiliations Democrats routinely suffered during the recent period of Republican ascendancy. They should do so not out of mere vindictiveness, but rather because petty gestures of dominance and submission are apparently the only language Republicans understand.
President Obama offered the GOP an olive branch during the first weeks of his administration, and they used it to slap him in the face. Now is not the time to turn the other cheek.
ó Joe Falocco
Salisbury

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