Collapsing + The Horror of What Is Happening
07 May 2012 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
The Horror of What Is Happening
It had its earlier nominal start with Newt Gingrich. More contemporarily, it has been strongly redoubled by Republicans Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy, joint authors of the immaturely titled and unintentionally self parodying book, “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders.” If the title conjures up images of the Wild West and shoot outs at OK corral, it is not far off the mark.
Gingrich, these Young Guns, the Tea Party Republicans and the huge number of other Republicans in Congress who have also signed Grover Norquist’s pledge of ‘no new taxes so that government can be cut down to a size where it can be drowned in a bathtub’ – are the core cadre of Republicans who are out to destroy government as we know it, if they cannot get the legislation they want to do the same thing.
No matter that they are a minority. Their guerrilla legislative tactics, spoil sportism, hostage taking, resentment of Obama and take no prisoners approach in Congress are rendering government dysfunctional. That is the thesis of a new book by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, entitled "“It is even Worse Than it Looks . . .”
As Mike Lofgren, a thirty year veteran Republican congressional staffer has put it this way: "It should have been evident to clear eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less like a traditional political party in a representative Democracy and more like an apocalyptic cult or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe."
A perfect example of the new Republican style was this cadre's opposition to raising the debt ceiling unless they got the deficits cuts they wanted. They didn't give a damn if America’s credit rating could be (and was) damaged in the process. They wanted government cut.
As former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said in the Financial Times, his party has become "irresponsible" and he was 'disgusted" by their antics over the debt ceiling. Gone are responsible and moderate Republican leaders like Eisenhower, Bob Dole, Everitt Dirkson, Howard Baker Gerald Ford, Hugh Scott and others who were pragmatic and who would and could work things out. As the well respected political historian Geoffrey Kabaservice explains it in the title of his book, "Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party" -- the term moderate Republican has become an oxymoron.
On the debt ceiling crisis, Speaker of the House John Boehner – the man in the middle -- and the less radical elements in the Republican party were only able to team up with the Democrats and – to stay with the metaphor – “head the Young Guns and their gang off at the pass,” at the last minute, but too late to prevent Standard & Poor’s from down grading US creditworthiness, in large part for our dysfunctional government, as Standard & Poor’s explained it.
I could go on, but you know enough to fill in the blanks yourself. Paul Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Eric Cantor is the House Majority Leader. Kevin McCarthy is the Republican House Whip. These Young Guns are at the levers of power in their party. They and their Republican colleagues I describe are deliberately sinking our ship of government. They want government to fail and are becoming emboldened at their effort.
What they want is to destroy the federal government as we know it and the Norquist Pledge makes that clear. All but 13 Republican members have signed the Pledge and three Democrats have. That is a total of 338 members of the House and 41 members of the Senate, as of late 2011. Make no mistake about their goal: it is to starve the "beast" of government down to a size where they can destroy the rest of it. They hate the US government with a passion. Their patrons, the rich, conservative Plutocrats in America, want to rule and control and the US government stands in their way.
Now here is the real horror of it, as described by Thomas Mann and Norman Orenstein in their book: The American voting public is badly out to lunch and can’t keep matters straight, at least in the face of the myriad Republican lies and propaganda. This is proved by what happened with the 2010 midterm elections:
“In 2010, an angry and frightened electorate had put the Republicans in the majority in the House and strengthened the GOP’s hand in the Senate. What that produced was a year of hostage taking and wrangling in Congress, misdirected steps to deal with the deficit and nothing whatsoever to remedy the public’s greatest concern – chronic unemployment. Democracy’s most essential power – the ability of the citizenry to “throw the bums out” – proved wholly inadequate to the task of governing effectively.” Mann and Ornstein
These are the grounds to believe that America is in very serious trouble unless something like Abe Lincoln’s dictum is true that most of the people cannot be fooled all the time. But is that enough in these circumstances? Republicans have been voting against their own interests for years now.