This article was first printed at Disposable Americans and have been reprinted with permission from the author.
Back in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was elected I was so angry and disappointed that I swore off politics. I was especially disappointed in my formerly liberal and democratic parents for falling for what, at the time, I thought was nothing more than Republican propaganda. Republicans were ecstatic.
During the Reagan presidency I focused on myself and my life. I worked, I got married, I had a child and my life was good. While I reveled in the failures and scandals of the Reagan administration (the Reagan recession, Iran/Contra, tax increases, etc.) I still continued to not participate in the political process, I was still young and didn’t understand how really important politics was.
Republicans, however, seemed pretty happy. The government was spending money on all the things they wanted government to spend money on, even though it tripled the national debt.
Fast forward, 1992, Bill Clinton gets elected. I’m very happy (even though I didn’t vote), Republicans are pissed.
During the Clinton years I thrived, the country thrived. The economy boomed. Republicans got even more pissed. They shut down the government and even tried to impeach the president, even though Clinton signed the Telecommunication Deregulation act and the NAFTA trade agreement.
Then, in 2000, George W Bush gets elected. Little George follows the Reagan model; tax cuts for the rich with a recession to follow. Are Republicans happy? They seem to be a little happier but not as happy as you might expect. They start passing laws that hurt the middle class even more. Changes that will result in the closing of more than 50,000 factories in this country.
Then 9/11 happens. We invade Afghanistan and go after al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (the son of a good friend of the Bush family). Then we invade (illegally) Iraq based on lies. We start spending billions of dollars with the American military/industrial complex prosecuting these wars. Republicans are happy, but again, not as happy as they could be. They still seem to want to pass laws to hurt the American middle class, not to mention the poor in this country.
The wars drag on and Americans grow increasingly tired. In 2008 Barack Obama is elected with a Democratic congress. Republicans are now really, really pissed. On the day of his inauguration Republican leaders meet and conspire to make him a one term president.
In his first two years as president Obama accomplishes two really important things: he signs the Affordable Care Act and bails out the auto industry. Obama is actually helping ordinary Americans and Republican heads are exploding. This has got to stop.
So, for the 2010 midterm elections Republicans cranked up their propaganda machine, spent millions, and took over the House of Representatives. Now the games really begin. For the next two years very, very little gets done. Obama tries to compromise with republicans and is rebuffed at every turn. Republicans in the senate start their filibuster strategy to stop everything the Democratic Party proposes.
2012 comes and the Republicans choose Willard “Mitt” Romney and Paul Ryan to carry their flag. Billions of dollars flow into the Republican coffers for the campaign. They are confident, certain they’re going to win. They lose. They are utterly surprised. But they did retain control of the House of Representatives, and they’re even angrier than ever. The obstruction didn’t just continue, it increased in its fervency. More and more bills in the Senate were blocked by Republican filibusters. By the end of the 113th congress more filibusters occurred in the Senate in the previous 4 years than all other filibusters combined for all other presidents since George Washington. A monumental do-nothing congress. Republicans even shut down the government in late 2013.
However, in spite of the best efforts of the Republicans the economy is improving dramatically. The American auto industry is back on top, employment is going up, the deficit is dropping, and the stock market is setting new records. And Obama starts to use his executive powers to get things done. And in 2014, because of the ACA, the number of people without health insurance drops to its lowest ever. Obamacare is a success, in spite of the 54 votes in the House to overturn it.
Now, you would think that the Democrats would take advantage of these successes during the 2014 elections, but they didn’t. Instead, because the corporate media was telling everyone how unpopular the president was, most Democrats ran away from the president. Big mistake. Americans were so fed up with politics and Washington that only 37% of registered voters turned out to vote. Republicans won big and took over both houses of congress.
Republicans should finally be happy right? They are giddy about their new found majority in congress but their anger doesn’t seem to be assuaged. In fact, they seem even more determined to take out their anger on the American people. One of their first acts is to cut Social Security payments to the disabled among us.
So I began to wonder if there could be some other reason for their anger. I wondered if there might have been something else that happened in 1992 other than Clinton’s election that could be the source of this anger. Then one day with a bit of serendipity I figured it out. 1992 was the year that the 27th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.
To understand why this is so important you have to remember that back in the 80’s every two years a new session of congress would begin and the first thing the new congress would do is give themselves a pay raise. The 27th Amendment put an end to that practice and Republicans have been pissed off ever since.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.