The Biggest Lie of 2012

Before Americans step into the voting booth on election day they need to bear one thing in mind. While Republicans are certainly entitled to their own opinions and vote, they are not entitled to their own truth. And while I realize that both sides engage in untruths and misinformation in campaigns it seems as if Barack Obama has faced more than his share of untruths directed at him. We all know that the collapse that crippled this economy ocurred before he was elected and that as soon as he took office he was faced with a huge mess to clean up. The big lie is that his policies were enacted to do so and failed.  
This lie is repeated daily. Republicans are always saying how President Obama's policies have failed to create a recovery. Well, the truth of the matter is that President Obama's policies have not been enacted and Progressive policies have not been given a chance to clean up this mess.

You may ask, how is that? The President has had four years and two of them his party controlled Congress. He had two full years that he could have gotten anything he wanted. Mitt Romney even spews forth this talking point like gospel on his website:

The president's choices cannot be ascribed to a political tug of war with Republicans in Congress.President Obama and Democratic congressional majorities had two years to tackle any priority they chose. Their priority was not growth and jobs but rather a regulatory expansion. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act raised taxes, unleashed significant new spending, and raised hiring costs for workers. The Dodd-Frank Act missed the mark on housing and "too-big-to-fail"financial institutions, but raised financing costs for households and small and mid-sized businesses.

Now, Republicans can say what they want about the healthcare law. My question to them is what did you want? Just to keep things the same as they were? Sure, the uninsured can take an ambulance to the ER, Mitt Romney's healthcare plan but what did that accomplish before? Those folks could not afford the bills from the ER and did not pay. Those costs were passed onto those who had insurance.

If all of those who whine about the healthcare law would have acted like serious adults and worked with us to craft a better healthcare law you would have nothing to complain about. Instead of showing up at townhalls acting like idiots and telling folks to "keep their government hands off you Medicare" they could have entered into a serious discussion about the real problem and solutions and we could have had a much better bill.

And the Dodd-Frank Act was watered down to placate Senator Scott Brown of Massachussetts. He had taken huge money in his campaign to take Teddy Kennedy's seat and was beholden to them. His vote was needed to beat a filibuster and even bring the bill to a vote in the Senate:

Contrary to "push[ing] it through," Brown dragged his feet on supporting Dodd-Frank and only did so after his demands to water down the bill were met. After his upset election in January 2010, he became the key vote on the bill and leveraged that position to extract big concessions favored by banks, who had given generously to his campaign. First, Brown forced Democrats to strip from the bill a $19 billion bank tax. He also successfully pushed to water down a key reform - the so-called "Volcker rule" - that was aimed at preventing banks from making risky trades with dollars backed by the government. The carve out helped large mutual funds in his state.

In fact, Brown initially opposed the entire Wall Street reform bill and threatened to join the Republican filibuster of the legislation, which would have prevented it from even getting an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, as "Brown and his Senate staff were working both publicly and behind the scenes to scuttle" these reforms, the senator took in $140,000 from financial firms - 400 percent more than the average received by other GOP senators over the same time period - according to the Boston Globe. A ThinkProgress analysis revealed that during his campaign, banks and their allies gave Brown's campaign huge 11th hour contributions and helped with a significant get-out-the-vote effort. He was also supported by outside groups friendly to Wall Street like the Club for Growth. Overall, the financial industry is Brown's second largest contributor.

Republicans could let this pass because they had a different strategy. They would just filibuster the nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Agency created by the bill. Leaving this agency leaderless nullified any effect it could have:

The Senate today is scheduled to vote on the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It's unlikely, at this point, that Democrats have enough votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. Forty-five Republican senators have pledged to block any nominee until structural changes are made to the Bureau that would undermine its effectiveness.

Wall Street banks have been fighting the new agency tooth and nail, and as it turns out, the 45 Republicans who have vowed to block the agency's director have been lavished with donations from the financial services industry, as the Public Campaign Action Fund noted:

- The 44 Senate Republicans who signed a letter in May pledging to filibuster any CFPB nominee (plus Sen. Dean Heller who later added his name once appointed to the Senate) have received over $6.5 million from the financial industry in 2011 and nearly $125.6 million over their careers.

And there you see exactly how Obama controlled Congress for two years and still did not get most of his agenda enacted. The truth is technically he did not control the Senate because of the filibuster. Most Americans think it just takes a majority of votes in both housed to pass a bill but with Mitch McConnell using the filibuster in the Senate nothing got done.

For those who do not know exactly what a filibuster is:

For those unfamiliar with the procedures, a senator can stop progress on any bill by speaking on and on and on on any topic they choose, unless 60 Senators vote to invoke cloture, there by ending the endless ramble. The first instance of cloture being used was to end a filibuster of the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles by isolationists in 1919. Following that, there were only 3 instances of cloture until 1960.

Use of the filibuster began to rise during the progressive fight to pass Civil Rights bills in the 1960′s, mainly from conservative Southern Democrats opposed to ending segregation. The record length for a single filibuster was Strom Thurmond (R-SC) who spoke for more than 24 hours in an attempt to stop passage of the Civil Rights Act.

When Democrats controlled both houses Republicans used this procedure a record number of times and deliberately slowed the recovery by hamstringing government and reform:

This brings us to the modern day. When people began to see the results of the conservative political philosophies of the last generation, in particular those put in place during the strong control of all branches of government under Bush, there was a spontaneous backlash. When just a year before corporate pundits were declaring the Democratic Party dead, they won back slim control over both chambers of Congress. The immediate effect was that the number of filibusters by new minority party skyrocketed.

We are now in the 111th session of Congress, and it appears that a new record will be set once again. To date, there have been 76 motions filed to end filibusters, resulting in 40 votes on cloture, and 40 instances of it being invoked. If we project these numbers to the end of the 111th session of the US Senate, that would result in a record number of cloture invocations, and near record levels of motions along with actual votes.

This is all part of the Republican plan to deliberately stop government from working, as part of a playbook to retake Congress and hamstring the change voted for in 2008, and one that is eerily similar to the one they used in 1994.

The Senator for Communist China Mitch McConnell was the architect. He stated long ago that his goal was not to do his job and give Americans the agenda they voted on in 2008, but to stand in the way desperately hoping to get back to the policies of trickle-down that bankrupted our nation and many of its people.

So if Americans want to vote for a return to trickle-down economics that is their right. But they should not believe that Progressive vision was enacted and failed or that President Obama's policies were enacted and failed.

That is the biggest lie of this campaign.

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