The GOP: The "Do-Over" Party

Joe Lieberman's gut reaction to losing the primary was to declare a "do-over," by pretending it was halftime instead of the end of the game.  In this his instinct is firmly connected to that of a typical Neo-Confederate Republican.  They've been the "Do-Over" Party (DOP) for a long time.

1996:  Clinton beat Dole:  DO-OVER!  We'll devise some bogus charges so we can impeach you!

2000:  The Florida Supreme Court, ruling on what was exclusively a matter of state election law, held that the ballots would be counted in the manner advocated by Gore.  DO-OVER!  Bush and Scalia, working together, threw law and principle out the window so the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the Florida Supremes.

2002:  The Texas redistricting plan for the 2000 census does not sufficiently favor Republicans.  DO-OVER!  Tom DeLay and his state-level henchmen perform an unprecedented mid-decade redistricting, yielding Rorschach blot districts putting a lot more Republicans in safe districts.  Upheld by the Supreme Court.

2001-present:  The House GOP announces a deadline for a vote, but when the time comes, they are losing.  DO-OVER!  They hold the vote open until they can twist a few arms and crack a few heads.  Meanwhile, the Senate GOP tries to pass failed legislation by sneaking it on to other bills.

August 2006.  Joe Lieberman loses the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, fair and square, to Ned Lamont.  DO-OVER!  Joe says it's only halftime.

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Estate Tax Action

We are hearing that there may be five Democratic votes in play on the estate tax issue, so your calls to these Senators are extremely important at this time:

Robert Byrd: 202-224-3954

Maria Cantwell: 202-224-3441

Patty Murray: 202-224-2621

Blanche Lincoln: 202-224-4843

Bill Nelson: 202-224-5274

Give these Senators a call and let them know that you do not support offering another major giveaway to the wealthiest Americans by giving Paris Hilton and her ilk an unnecessary tax cut.

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Ten Years After Welfare Reform, Nine Without a Minimum Wage Hike

An American worker who works at the current federal minimum wage - $5.15/ hour - for forty hours a week for fifty-two weeks, without interruption, would make $10,712.

The 2006 federal poverty line for the continental United States for a two-person family is $13,200 a year.

That means a family of one child and one parent who works full-time at the federal minimum wage is living at least $2,500 below the poverty line.

The reality faced by the working poor in America is somewhat different.  People struggle to find consistent full-time work.  People take multiple jobs adding up to well over forty hours without receiving the benefits of full-time work from any of them.  People get sick.

A decade ago, conservatives in Congress - with a good many ostensible liberals in tow - inflicted a harsh revision of the American social contract, tearing away the safety net from those who utilized its support for more than three or five years of their lives - even if they were using that time to gain the skills for a better shot at living-wage work.  

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LA Times: GOP Estate Tax/Minimum Wage Bill will Die in Senate

Last night, the Republican House passed legislation giving Paris Hilton and other wealthy heirs a massive tax cut while also increasing the minimum wage, a move that, according to The Hotline, has caused deep resentment among some Senate Republicans including finance chair Chuck Grassley, who felt "stabbed in the back." And as a result of this bad blood -- as well as, of course, the fact that the bill was poorly written and the two measures have no business being tied together -- the tax cut/minimum wage legislation passed by the House is likely to falter in the Senate, report Joel Havemann and Noam N. Levey for the Los Angeles Times.

The hastily crafted measure almost certainly will die in the Senate, a prospect that several Republican lawmakers acknowledged even as they prepared to cast votes.


"These are wonderful accomplishments: House Republicans showing results for the American people," said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), the fourth-ranking Republican in the House. "We didn't want to leave for August without accomplishing both of these."

I'm not quite sure if Deborah Pryce's definition of "accomplishments" and "results" are the same as mine or those of the American people. When Americans say that they want something to get done, as they have on the minimum wage with 85 percent favoring a more than $2 per hour increase, they want it done, not just symbolically passed during the dead of night by legislators who know that their proposal will never actually be enacted into law. Short of actually increasing the minimum wage, this is just a hollow jesture that should not buttress Republicans from the attack that they do not care one lick about working class Americans, particularly those who have to live on the minimum wage.

Americans want to see Congress actually do its job rather than waste time posturing for elections. And given the Republican propensity to put electoral politics above the business of this country (trying to pass a flag burning amendment instead of balancing the budget, trying to ban gay marriage instead of dealing with the situation in Iraq, etc.), playing political games with the minimum wage instead of actually increasing it isn't going to go far in convincing voters that they need to fire the Do Nothing Republican Congress.

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So the Republicans in the U.S. House stayed up until almost 2am tonight to give Paris Hilton some extra money (there's something funny about millions of dollars being showered on Paris Hilton in the dead of night, but I'll leave that joke for someone else to finish).

How much extra money?  Try a cool $91,089,200.

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