Nov 022011
Authors: Jesse Benn

I was talking to one of my conservative friends the other day (yes, I have a few), and he said something to the effect of, “Obama sucks. He hasn’t done anything. He should to create jobs.”

My friend’s statement wasn’t unique, especially among the right, but it got me thinking — isn’t that what Republicans want?

It’s a funny circle, Republicans roadblock any progress toward job creation in our all-too-easily gridlocked system, and then they use the rest of their breath to complain that Obama hasn’t created any jobs, as if it was his fault and not their obstructionism.

If you’re truly a red-blooded conservative though, be honest, you don’t want the economy to get better because that would improve the chances of Obama’s reelection.

And isn’t that a weird position to be in?

It’s kind of like when you have a fantasy player who is playing against your real team — this week I had Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions, and rooting for Johnson made me feel like slightly less of a Broncos fan.

So, shouldn’t rooting against job creation in your own country at a time when so many fellow citizens are struggling make you feel a little unpatriotic?

If we give them the benefit of the doubt, Republicans believe that short-term sacrifice, i.e. not creating jobs and prolonging our nation’s economic woes, is in the best interest of the country in the long-term. The idea being, of course, that keeping unemployment up will help get a Republican elected — who, once in office, will magically tax-break jobs into existence while simultaneously eliminating the debt.

But even if their motives for rooting against their country’s success come from a “good” place, it still has to feel a little backward.

Back in the earlier 2000s when Bush was doing all kinds of things that I disagreed with, I never rooted against his policies at the expense of my fellow Americans.
For example, I wanted to leave Iraq before we ever got there, and the worse the war went, the more likely public opinion would force us to leave. But I never rooted for the war to go badly — that would have been backward.

Now, it’s no huge revelation that the GOP wants nothing more than to make Obama a one-term president; Mitch McConnell was unusually candid about that a long time ago.

But the GOP’s conduct in their effort to achieve this goal highlights one of the larger problems with our political system: Rather than making a good-faith effort to work across the aisle to rebuild our crumbling economy, one party’s sole focus is hurting the other — even at the expense and against the will of its own constituents.

Examples of this are seen throughout our impotently gridlocked and non-responsive government.
Public opinion poll after poll suggests widespread support for tax increases on millionaires, even among millionaires themselves, yet the mere mention of raising their taxes is blasphemous in today’s Republican rhetoric.

Our infrastructure needs fixing throughout the country, yet the GOP refuses to even let any bills that would help rebuild it — and create jobs — come to the floor.

Instead, the Republican-controlled House has wasted our time either waging legislative war on the EPA, Planned Parenthood and NPR, or protecting us from nonexistent threats like Sharia law and the loss of our official motto, “In God we trust,” that was at no risk of being changed in the first place.

The upcoming full withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, the killing of bin-Laden and al-Awlaki, our assistance in overthrowing Gadhafi and helping to save the lives of thousands of Libyans with no investment of blood and minimal treasure — these achievements are not just for Obama and Democrats, but for our country as a whole. Yet Republicans decry each of them as if they are either failures or have nothing to do with Obama’s leadership.

But the fact is that most of these successes came directly as the result of Obama’s leadership (the withdrawal from Iraq aside), going to prove that without a hostile House and a filibuster- happy Senate, Obama gets things done for the country.

The best Republicans can do in the face of his foreign policy success is pretend it somehow hasn’t been successful.

And if you listen to the right, it will sound curiously close to a bunch of people rooting against their own country — and that’s because they are.

Jesse Benn is a senior political science major who is happy he switched from a big bank to a local credit union. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. He can be reached at

 Posted by at 3:33 pm

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