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The Republican Response to the State of the Union

© Steve Sack

Republicans hypocritically oppose Obama’s balanced budget law, which he proposed in the state of the Union address:

The Senate took a vote on requiring Congress not to pass legislation that it can’t pay for. All 40 Republicans voted no.

A similar rule was in place during the Clinton era, when the deficit was eliminated altogether. Republicans — you know, the ones who claim to have the high ground on fiscal responsibility — scrapped paygo in 2002. Soon after, GOP policymakers stopped trying to pay for their policies, and Republicans quickly added $5 trillion to the national debt, and left a $1.4 trillion deficit for Democrats to clean up.

Just a few years ago, a handful of Senate Republicans — Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, George Voinovich, and John McCain — argued that paygo should be brought back. They were unsuccessful in persuading their Republican colleagues at the time, and yesterday, they voted with their Republican colleagues to reject the idea that they’d already embraced.

And that, in a nutshell, is why the notion of bipartisanship with a failed and discredited minority is so hard to take seriously. GOP lawmakers are so reflexive in saying “no” to everything, they end up opposing ideas they support, and at that point, reason has no meaning.