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Political Rant: Crackpots in Congress

The federal government has been shut down. In two weeks the country may default on its debt. There has been much head-scratching about how we got here. Here’s how:

The crazy tail currently wagging the GOP dog wanted this government shut down. They have been plotting it for years. They want the US to default on its debts as well. Unless the grown-ups among the Republicans in the House come to their senses they will get precisely what they wish. From Ted Cruz to Mike Lee, Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, the Tea Party faithful were giddy with delight when the lights were turned out and the doors shuttered. They are rubbing their hands in cheerful anticipation of a default.

Obama first grasped how insane this faction is back with the sequester. He went into those debates thinking that no one would be idiotic enough to actually cut that much from spending when the economy was still so fragile. He found, to his and now our dismay, that not only were they happy to have the sequester, they actually thought it was too small — and now that it’s in place they will never agree to remove it.

You cannot reason with them by pointing to the damage being done. They do not care. You cannot argue with them by noting the inconsistencies in their positions. They do not care. You cannot bargain with them because they do not want bargains. You cannot compromise with them because they want nothing short of all-out capitulation.

Accusations against Democrats that they are not compromising are merely vaguely transparent goads to extract ‘give backs’ – a strategy that worked in the past, before Obama came to understand what he was dealing with. Its use now is merely rhetorical, to make it appear to the American public that somehow both parties are complicit in this crisis. They are not. It is wholly the product of one extremist faction of the Republican party and anything they can do to continue it, they will.

The media have been implicated in this farrago as well. For the most part the MSM tries to be fair. It’s a badge of honor in journalism to give both sides a chance to express themselves, not to approach a topic with a bias. The right wing realized decades ago that there were gains to be made among the media by accusing them of a liberal bias. It worked. Liberals are prone to guilt. The result has been totally misplaced reporting where the typical article is one that glosses over Tea Party bull crap and talks about how both sides are implicated and compromise is needed. It is painfully reminiscent of reporting on Joe McCarthy’s bizarre assault on mythical communists – though eventually even the most neutral of journalists eventually came to recognize the bleeding obvious, that McCarthy was a lunatic and a thug.

This current slouching toward Armageddon is central to the long-term goal of the crack-pot radicals on the right: to reduce the central government to a mere shadow of itself, to diminish its role to national defense and perhaps one or two other functions such as adjudicating inter-state commerce and squabbles. Grover Norquist famously said he wanted to reduce government to the size where he could “drown it in a bathtub.” Well, these folks took his metaphor literally and even he and his partner in obfuscation, Karl Rove, are gob-smacked with horror at what they created.

Have the truly bizarre right wingers thought this through? Have they envisioned what the country would look like? What people’s lives would be reduced to? Of course not, any more than a fundamentalist creationist has thought through the end result of a country where its physicians think that evolution is “just a theory” or its policy-makers think that climate change is “a hoax.”

Anyone who thinks that Obamacare is the key to this movement is being naive. It is merely the cause du jour. If they win this they will move to another issue. If they lose, they will move to another issue. In either case you can count on immigration, abortion, civil rights, voting rights, environmental regulation, the progressive income tax and a host of other causes to line up like stuffed dogs in a carnival game.

They have become true anarchists with no regard for the Constitution. Never before has a political party hijacked the government because they did not like the laws that were passed. Their appeals to the sanctity of the Constitution are empty rhetoric, just like their overt calls for compromise. No one with a dot of understanding of or respect for the Constitution could act this way. No one with any serious concerns about the quality of life in America could act this way. No one with even a dollop of common sense could act this way. It is beyond pathetic.

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