Welcome, Mr. President: GOP ads, obstructionism are shameful

Welcome, Mr. President: GOP ads, obstructionism are shameful

July 30th, 2013 in Opinion Times

Just when we think Republicans can sink no lower, they surprise us with a deep dive.

They run a misleading ad on TV to welcome President Barack Obama to Chattanooga and Tennessee, and then claim the new jobs at VW and Amazon are here "in spite" of "liberal policies" and are here "thanks to Republican leadership."

Hardly. But then honesty and accuracy have not been recent Republican virtues.

Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, who is a Republican, were key in the successful recruitment of both Volkswagen and Amazon to Chattanooga.

And then there's also the Gig City infrastructure, as well as Chattanooga's smart and money-saving streetlights - all largely made possible by Obama's stimulus package, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. Pretty much no Republicans voted for the stimulus, by the way.

Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Brandon Puttbrese called the GOP effort to rain on Obama's Chattanooga visit "phony."

"The real record of [current GOP Gov.] Bill Haslam and the Republican majority is soaring unemployment, falling workers' wages and multimillion-dollar state contracts for old business partners and well-connected cronies," he said. "I doubt the millions of Tennesseans who work multiple jobs and still struggle to get by are impressed by this phony attempt to sell Republicans' failed top-down agenda."

The reality is simple and indisputable: Getting VW and Amazon here required officials of both parties - all parties - to work together.

A better future for Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the rest of the country still depends on that, but it's not happening now. The GOP is in total shutdown mode except to engage in juvenile name-calling and obstructionism.

Now all we hear are pathetically bad reenactments of the worst cat-fight reality shows ever filmed as our politicians send fake postcards and make trumped-up and misleading ads to bash the nation's leader no matter what the facts really show.

In the meantime, sequestration is robbing Tennessee:

• $25.5 million in funding has been lost for education - about 340 teachers and aide jobs.

• $2.2 million in environmental funding was lost and is not ensuring clean water and air quality.

• $1.2 million in grants were lost for fish and wildlife protection.

• $681,000 in funding was lost for job search assistance.

• $2.3 million in public health money is gone.

• $1.9 million was cut for Tennessee army base civilian work, forcing 7,000 civilian employees to take furloughs.

• $1 million was lost that once provided meals for seniors.

• Child care for 800 children was lost, and Head Start services for another 1,200 children is gone.

Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina have all faced similar cuts - as have states all across the country.

But the pain and cruelty apparently isn't over if the GOP's most rabid talkers have their way. Some Republican lawmakers are threatening a government shutdown unless "Obamacare" is defunded.

Fortunately at least one GOP senator from Tennessee has a better head on his shoulders: Republican Sen. Bob Corker said GOP senators are meeting with White House aides to "deal with our fiscal issues in more intelligent ways than now exist."

The president is in Chattanooga today to tell us there is hope with compromise and real leadership: Chattanooga proves it, with new jobs and new initiatives that make us attractive to still more new employers.

President Obama is in Chattanooga today because we're a city that can find ways to compromise and come out ahead.

Sen. Corker knows this. Let's hope he can prevail on others in Congress to be leaders, not just actors in childish games.