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How Do Such People Get Elected?

Capitol Hill’s Rabid, Ravaging Republicans

by RALPH NADER

Has there ever been a more crazed, cruel, anti-people, corporate-indentured, militaristic and monetized Republican Party in its 154-year history? An about-to-be-released list of some of the actual brutish votes by the House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor, will soon be available to you from the House Democratic Caucus.

Lest you think this is just partisan propaganda, these are real, recorded votes in the House of Representatives.

The Republicans seem to have it in for women and not just against health insurance covering reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood’s other services, or privacy for the medical records of victims of rape and incest. The Republicans en-mass voted to repeal protections to stop health insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of gender.

On other consumer protections – forget it. The Republicans are indentured to the worst of their corporate paymasters. The Republicans either do nothing to help or actually push for rollbacks. No minimum wage to give 30 million Americans the same pay workers got back in 1968, adjusted for inflation. The Chamber of Commerce says no. So Boehner and Cantor curtsy.

In a frenzy, House Republicans have voted to repeal the “Affordable Care Act” 33 times. Be assured their hatred for Obamacare is not because they want full Medicare for all. It is because they want to voucherize Medicare and hand patients over to the avaricious Aetnas and the Pfizers who return the favor with campaign cash.

House Republicans rage against any attempts to stop the shipping or outsourcing of American jobs to communist and fascist regimes abroad that know how to keep their workers in powerless penury. Why? Because that is what the non-patriotic U.S. global corporations want them to do. Anything Big Oil wants, it gets– retain big subsidies, tax breaks, weaken pollution restrictions, lease everywhere, and even give relief to oil companies when they damaged the Gulf Coast.

House Republicans have a conflict of interest between their families’ lungs and their corporatized minds. Resolution? Vote to weaken the Clean Air Act, drinking water safety standards, cut funding for these cancer preventing, health protecting programs while pushing for more military weapons and bloated Pentagon budgets. The Republicans went so far as to vote for polluters over children, pregnant women and people who live in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. These Republicans voted to block the EPA mercury and air toxics standards that the agency estimated would save 12,000 lives every year and prevent more than one million asthma attacks.

With unseemly fervor, House Republicans want to generally weaken the National Labor Relations Board and labor laws. But when it comes to protecting the lowest tax rates and loopholes for the very wealthy, they are Horatio at the Bridge. When the top two percent engage in financial fraud (credit cards, mortgages and student loans, abuse of seniors) or urge privatizing social security, the Boehners and the Cantors are block-tackling anyone in the House who begs to push law and order for the Rich and Corporate or keep “the security” in social security.

For the poor, let them eat less. Hunger in America is real. But not real enough for the Republicans to stop wanting to cut these food programs. While Republicans campaign against Obama for not doing anything to lower gasoline prices, they are voting against measures to regulate oil and gas speculators who drive up gas prices, a fact recognized by the CEO of Exxon a few years ago in a Senate hearing.

The above are just a sample of what the House Republicans passed or blocked in the House. Even worse are what many of them wanted to summarily abolish, such as the EPA, OSHA, and the IRS. The meat-axe Republicans have trouble telling the public how the important functions performed by these agencies would be handled. The Republicans dismiss the work of health and safety agencies as junk science (e.g. regarding climate change). Fortunately, the Senate has rejected most of their madness.

How do such people get elected? Is it just money and smooth slogans? Is it a lack of competition in rigged districts? Is it a winner-take-all, two-party duopoly where more than half the voters sit out the election? Is it shocking disengagement by the cynical or hopeless public, shorn of any rigorous expectation levels?

For the time being, go to the Democratic House Caucus website. Ponder the fate of our Republic. Ask why we have almost unconditionally given up our enormous sovereign power of “We the People” to those out-of-control, raging members of Congress.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.