Thinking about Syria ... murmurs of a second Obama Nobel Peace Prize have reached audible levels, now that the president has accomplished something once thought impossible -- convincing Republicans to oppose war.
A three-way settlement that features Obama, Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Assad has pre-empted U.S. rocket intrusion into Syria's civil war. The GOP, which seems genetically unable to credit our president with any good deed, has taken up the twisted position that Putin outmaneuvered Obama by agreeing with him.
Sadly, today's Republican Party has degenerated to one of governance by refusals, denials, and foot-stomping tantrums.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the party of Rep. Shelly Moore Capito has voted more than 40 times to do away with Obamacare, even though the conservative-leaning Supreme Court says it is the law of the land. Does the GOP's plan for making your life better amount to anything more than repeatedly casting meaningless votes?
Whack-a-doodle tea party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spent his summer whipping up anti-Obamacare sentiment among the wisdom impaired. He and a handful of others in the Congress want to de-fund Obamacare, and are willing to shut down the government to do so. Because of that, by late October we may see delays in Social Security payments and delays in paying troops in the field and worse.
The advance of the "aginner" armada didn't start with Obamacare. In January the childish you're-not-the-boss-of-me caucus in the House voted more than 4-to-1 against disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Fortunately, a small group of Republicans helped the Dems pass the Good Samaritan bill anyway.
In March, 22 senators and 138 members of the House, all Republicans, voted against renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.
In June, they filibustered the budget, yet another act so off the rails that former GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole advised Republicans in the Congress to hang out a sign so that visitors would be advised that the GOP is "closed for repairs."
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California has held a dozen hearings to determine "what really happened" in Benghazi, as if he doesn't already know. Also, he continues to beat the dead horse IRS non-scandal, although we have learned that greater numbers of liberal-leaning groups than tea party groups received extra tax scrutiny.
The GOP filibustered the Dream Act that would have paved the way for citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who complete an honorable hitch in our military.
They filibustered the president's jobs bill which would have put a million people to work re-building the country's ailing roads and bridges. They filibustered a bill to eliminate millions in tax breaks for big oil companies while those companies are making record profits. And they filibustered the Disclose Act, which would have enabled us to know whether members of al-Qaida have contributed money to U.S. political campaigns.
The U.S. Senate has seen 391 GOP filibusters in the last six years. By comparison to the days when responsible Republicans cared about someone other than the top one percent, during Lyndon Johnson's six years as majority leader there was one filibuster.
The Republican Party's governance-by-tantrums slowly is killing much of what is good about, and for, America. One of the initial casualties in their war on rational thinking is the idea that the Congress is there to help us, rather than to engage in floor-flopping, breath-holding, blue-in-the-face, petulant fits.Wyatt is a Gazette contributing columnist and a professor at Marshall University.