After two years of controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, Democrats took a significant hit in November 2010. Americans, tired of the nonstop spending and lack of economic progress, gave Republicans some unprecedented victories heading into the 2011 year. And while the GOPers have made significant strides in applying the brakes to an out of control federal government, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from stirring up trouble.
Here’s our list of the Top 10 Democratic Blunders of 2011:
10. Pelosi Running For and Winning Minority Leader. After leading her party to historic losses in the 2010 election, losing 63 seats, the highest of a party in a House midterm election since 1938, Pelosi still wasn’t ready to give up power. As Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) told Fox News, “It is inescapable that the message that was sent by the American people is that they want a change in direction. And a change in direction means a change in leadership.” Apparently Pelosi didn’t get the memo.
9. CLASS Act Repeal. From the get-go it was clear that the “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports” program, better known as Class, was a budgetary mess. Internal emails revealed that the administration knew what many numbers-crunchers had figured out – the CLASS Act wouldn’t work. Nevertheless, the Democrats manipulated it to show savings, used it to help pass Obamacare, and finally admitted it wouldn’t work and eliminated it this fall.
8. Green Car Bonanza. During passage of the stimulus bill President Obama promised his green car investments would finally reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create 5 million jobs, and would lead to “the birth of an entire industry in America.” Three strikes, you’re out. None of those things happened. Instead we were left with companies like A123 systems, a battery maker that received $380 million and recently announced losses of $412.3 million; EnerDel, a recipient of a $118 million grant whose stock now trades at 27 cents; and Fisker automotive, who was given a $528 million loan that will be building all its cars in Finland.
7. Obama Moves the Goal Posts on Debt Deal. Debt ceiling negotiations had been a long and rocky road, but after many meetings President Obama and John Boehner appeared to have a deal in place that would substantially reduce our debt. Until, that is, President Obama caved to the leftist elements of his party and demanded another $400 billion in tax hikes as part of a package to lower the deficit. That was a bridge too far for Republicans and ultimately the talks were suspended, along with the chance for any “grand bargain.”
6. Fast and Furious. It this case it’s hard to figure out which was worse, the fact that the ATF allowed Mexican drug cartels to walk off with thousands of high powered weapons, or Attorney General Eric Holder’s failure to admit what he knew about the botched program. Either way, the program, which used $1.25 million taxpayer dollars to purchase guns which have been linked to 180 crime scenes, including the murders of several Americans, was an unmitigated disaster.
5. Harry Reid Goes Nuclear. During debate over a flawed bill aimed at punishing China for its currency practices, a procedural show down between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell led to a historic setback for democracy. Sen. McConnell filed a “motion to suspend the rules,” a standard tool used by the minority to try and force votes on their amendments. Reid, fearing Democrats would have to take a vote on Obama’s deeply unpopular stimulus bill that had been filed as an amendment, filed a “point of order” to prevent the GOP from suspending the rules. The Senate parliamentarian advised that Reid can’t do that, but Reid appealed the ruling, which only requires a simple majority. It’s a whole lot of gobbledy gook – but it now means that Senate rules can be changed with a bare majority. Pandora’s box is officially open…
4. Obama Goes Back to the Stimulus Trough. As if Americans hadn’t had enough of Obama’s unstimulating stimulus packages, Obama went back to the well again. Surprise, surprise, it was empty. The package would have been a $447 billion mishmash of repackaged and reheated spending programs, a bailout for certain government workers, and paid for with a new millionaire’s surtax. Which brings us to…
3. Democrats Man the Front Lines of Class Warfare. While Republicans are selling the notion that everyone deserves a “fair shot,” Democrats were playing up the class warfare angle, saying everyone deserved a “fair share.” And while the most apparent scheme was a new proposed surtax on high-income earners, the divisive yet pervasive rhetoric pitting America against entrepreneurs, business leaders, and job creators was the most unsettling.
2. Mediscare. In what was without a doubt the worst attack ad I’ve seen, a liberal group had a Paul Ryan lookalike literally wheel an elderly lady off a cliff, an ugly attempt to discredit Rep. Ryan’s Medicare reform plan. The Democrat attacks against conservative reforms were labeled by Politifact as the “Lie of the Year 2011” – for their use of “falsehoods and exaggerations about Medicare and Social Security” as a “scare tactic that works.”
1. Solyndra. While Solyndra itself may not be deserving of the top spot, the crony capitalism that it symbolizes, puts this scandal atop the list. As early as 2009, analysts at the Department of Energy, had known that Solyndra was on the fast track to bankruptcy. Nevertheless, President Obama ignored the warnings and urged approval of the taxpayer backed loan guaranty. Why? Whether it was the President’s desire to promote clean energy, the need for a symbolic stimulus project, or most troubling, the company’s ties to a large Obama donor, Americans were left holding the bag for this monumental screw-up.