We are, I think, witnessing one of the weirdest and most problematical developments in the history of our country. It seems that Boehner, the Speaker of the House, cannot control the members of his party. He has been unable to muster enough votes to pass his latest version of a raising the debt ceiling bill and has to postpone the vote. At this very moment he is still trying. Apparently the only way he can succeed is by conceding more and more to the Tea Party minority. What this means is the House is out of control and if not, is being run by the Tea Party minority. How do they do this? First, there are quite a lot of them, and second, they are blackmailing otherwise more moderate Republicans by threatening to run candidates against them in the next election if they don’t vote their way (personally I can’t see this as much of a threat as by the time of the next election the Tea Party should have so discredited itself no one would vote for them anyway, but I guess it works at the moment).
More importantly, however, what this means is that the Tea Party is now in control of the House of Representatives, so nothing will be able to pass without their approval, and what they will approve of is not at all what our country needs. In effect, by refusing to govern (instead of politicking) our nation will be basically shut down and subject to the desires of a fanatical and extreme right-wing minority of inexperienced individuals who know very little but seem to think they know what is good for everyone. If the debt ceiling, that should not have been an issue in the first place, is not raised, there is going to be a financial blood bath. Either these Tea Party people don’t understand this or they just don’t care. They are so determined to accomplish their mission of cutting government spending and bringing down Obama they don’t seem to comprehend the monumental stupidity of this, or the importance of anything else (like jobs and economic recovery). As control of the House by the Tea Party seems to a reality, and as they can therefore dictate to the Senate and the President, threatening to block anything and everything, this would seem to me to be a genuine problem. So I ask you, what can we do about it? Given the nature of our (at least pretend) democracy I think the answer is nothing, at least not until the next election cycle when presumably these near morons might be voted out. If you look to what is happening in Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, and a few other places there would seem to be a good chance these kool-aid swilling true believers will be voted out, but don’t bet on it, the American voters are a strange bunch and often vote against their obvious best interests. The other possibility for action against this attempted right-wing coup is for President Obama to appeal to the public. He has done this, and apparently the phones are ringing off the hook (so to speak). Unfortunately, the idea that anyone in Washington, D.C. is going to pay any attention to what the public wants disappeared a long time ago. The public, for example, even the international public, was very much against the “war” in Iraq, but so what. The public was very much in favor of the so-called “public option,” but so what. The public is currently in favor of taxing the wealthy and the corporations, but so what. Here in the state of Idaho, if you are a non-Republican, you know that no amount of letter-writing or phone calls is going to influence your Congressman or Senator, writing or e-mailing these Republicans is akin to baying at the moon.
The control of the House by the Tea Party will no doubt continue no matter what happens tonight with Boehner’s bill. If he manages to get it passed it will probably be by only by one or two votes and will be seen as basically the farce it is. In any case the Senate has already announced it will be dead on arrival there, and failing that, President Obama will veto it. This is an artificially manufactured “crisis” that is unprecedented. The debt limit has always been automatically raised and is not actually linked to anything the Republicans are demanding in return for supporting it. It should have been simply passed as it always has, and the arguments over the budget should have been treated separately (as they always have). As virtually everyone, from Republicans as well as most others, have agreed the debt ceiling will be raised, it makes you wonder what all the fuss has been about. Of course as our “leaders” on both sides of the aisle have proven to be so incredibly inept they could fumble the ball at the last minute and we could, in fact, default on our debts for the first time in history. All I can say at this point is “I want my mama.”
I think we ought to have a contest to pick the most idiotic member of the House of Representatives. I should think Louie Gohmert of Texas would be a leading candidate, but Peter King of New York would certainly be in the running. Of course no one cares what I think (or apparently what you think either).
In the meanwhile, like schoolyard bullies everywhere, the Tea Party with their new found power, thumb their nose at government and challenge, “yeah, so what you gonna do about it.”