Merriam-Webster defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.” As we approach the edge of the fiscal cliff it has become apparent that one party has moved away from the give and take of political negotiations and is operating much more like a terrorist group.
The pattern has repeated itself now for nearly four years of the Obama administration: Republicans take a hard-line position and the president counters with his own hard-line position. The president and Republican leadership get together to discuss a compromise and at the end of those discussions the president has moved to the center and the Republicans haven’t moved an inch, or in some cases moved further right.
Perhaps the biggest reason for this issue is that Republicans like Speaker John Boehner are oblivious to the message being sent to Washington by the American people. Shortly after the elections on Nov. 6, Boehner made the statement that by giving Republicans control of the House, the “American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.”
Republicans are attempting to convince the public that the gerrymandered election results prove that the American people are against higher taxes. Much like their embarrassingly inaccurate understanding of polling prior the election, this insistence shows that Republicans haven’t learned their lesson.
Recent polls show the following:
- 53% of voters blame George W. Bush for the country’s economic problems.
- 60% of voters support raising taxes.
- 53% of voters will blame Congressional Republicans if we go over the fiscal cliff.
- 72% of voters had a negative view of last year’s debt ceiling debate, with Republicans taking the brunt of the criticism.
- The president’s approval rating is 52%
- Congressional Republicans’ approval rating is 16%
So as John Boehner considers his options for the fiscal cliff debate, he should recognize that voters do not support his positions. And while his willingness to take the world economy over the fiscal cliff is not what we would typically consider an act of terrorism, forcing the American people to accept a position they do not support and using economic stability as your threat to accomplish this goal isn’t typically associated with democracy either.