Opinion

Commentary: GOP becoming the party of 'No'

One has to be amazed — though hardly amused — by the offhanded arrogance with which some partisan politicians of rather slight national stature presume to speak on behalf of all 307 million of us Americans.

It is a trait especially pronounced among Republicans in the months since their party, its platform and its leaders were soundly repudiated in last November's election.

Latest case in point: The spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner branded as "ill-conceived" the administration's plan to house foreign detainees, presently at Guantanamo, in a U.S. prison facility, possibly the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.

There will be a public backlash, Boehner's spokesman said, if terrorists are brought into this country in spite of opposition by Congress and the American people.

Oh, really? Which Congress is that? Perhaps he hasn't noticed that there's a new and markedly different one now.

And which "American people" is he referring to? The ones who voted the losing ticket, or the ones who sent Rove, Cheney and W. home to pout?

The Kansas Republicans in Congress of course lost no time chiming in. "Under no circumstances," said Sen. Sam Brownback, should the detainees be relocated to Leavenworth.

From economic stimulus to health care reform, and from the president's choice of a dog to his pick for a Supreme Court justice, the GOP critics weigh in with an all but unanimous "No!"

On the Guantanamo issue, the central complaint seems to be that bringing the detainees into the U.S. would put the civilian population at unacceptable risk.

Utter, unadulterated nonsense! The Disciplinary Barracks, if that were to be the choice, is a rigorously secured installation.

Bear in mind that these relentless kibitzers are the same worthies who would resist to their last breath any government move to further regulate gun ownership in this country.

They subscribe to the paranoid notion whipped up by the NRA that, at any moment, some federal functionary might come barging in to snatch hunting guns from the closets of law-abiding sportsmen.

In their view, locking up enemy combatants in a maximum-security prison would be an unbearable threat to public safety. Whereas allowing legions of gangbangers, truants, psychopaths and professional criminals to roam city neighborhoods, loosing volleys from their easily gotten assault rifles, is no particular cause for concern.

President Barack Obama came to his duties as president declaring his hope to work in a cooperative way with members of the opposing party.

But what, based on the experience of these last seven months, is the point of any longer pretending?

Bipartisanship isn't a solitary sport. Like the tango, it is a dance for two.

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