Friday, December 28, 2012 at 6:45 AM
I have taken a lot of flak for repeatedly damning Tea Party congressmen as a bunch of political jihadists who are possessed of such misguided and dogmatic convictions that they consider any compromise political heresy:
It is clear that Republicans, driven by their Tea Party political jihadists, are the ones (mostly) to blame for the partisan gridlock that now defines politics in America. And they do not seem the least bit chastened by the deliberate, do-nothing obstructionism that has caused Congress to suffer its lowest rating in public opinion polls in the history of the United States.
(“A Super Committee to Deal with National Debt? Fat Chance!” The iPINIONS Journal, November 21, 2011)
Therefore, imagine my feeling of vindication a week ago today when Steve LaTourette, the very popular and respected Republican Congressman from Ohio, damned them in similar terms. He did so right after Tea Partiers blew up Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” – a bill to ensure that only millionaires and billionaires would be subjected tax increases. Ironically, this bill was intended to show the American people that Republicans are prepared to compromise to avert the looming fiscal cliff. What it showed instead is that Republicans would rather plunge the country into an economic depression than compromise on their doctrinaire pledge to never raise taxes … ever!
That’s the same 40, 50 chuckleheads [aka Tea Party members] that all year … have screwed this place up. [The Speaker] has done everything in his power to make nice to them, to bring them along, to make them feel included, but it hasn’t mattered.
(FOX News, December 21, 2012)
Naturally one might wonder how 50 bad apples can spoil the whole bunch of 435 members of Congress. The reason of course is that the Republicans who control Congress now regard it as an article of faith to pass party-line legislation to avoid even the appearance of compromising with Democrats. In fact, though incomprehensible to any sane person, compromise has become such a dirty word among them that even Speaker Boehner dares not speak its name.
No less a person than Speaker John Boehner betrayed their new jihadist approach to politics just weeks after Republicans won control of the House in November 2010. He did so during an interview on the December 12, 2010 edition of 60 Minutes when Leslie Stahl stated that ‘surely governing means compromising,’ and then asked why he was so unwilling to say that he and the Republicans would be willing to compromise with Obama and the Democrats. Boehner replied:
‘We are doing the will of the American people. As for compromise, I utterly reject the word.’
This, in a nutshell, explains why we’ve been treated over the past two years to the spectacle of Washington gridlock over every piece of legislation, including those merely extending policies Republicans once supported.
(“The Will of the American People? Really? The iPINIONS Journal, July 11, 2012)
And because 218 members are needed to pass anything and this Congress is comprised of only 242 Republicans, having 40 to 50 Tea Party chuckleheads dictating (and acting like enforcers of) party dogma can make doing business impossible.
Frankly, these days Republicans and Democrats are behaving more like Israelis and Palestinians. Which is why, instead of passing legislation to resolve this looming fiscal cliff crisis, they seem determined to ape the Israelis and Palestinians by pointing fingers and agreeing only on stop-gap measures to kick the can down the road to fight this same fight another day.
Of course there are the usual gaggle of nincompoops in Congress and on Wall Street who are doing their damnedest to make falling off this cliff a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Never mind that the automatic increases in taxes and cuts in spending that lie at the bottom of that cliff (if Congress fails to enact a credible plan by January 1, 2013 to reduce the budget deficit and national debt) will probably do more to stimulate the economy than Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus bill did. That is, once the economy gets over the initial hysteria.
But if you think I’m just too cynical or stupid to appreciate what this fiscal cliff portends, I urge you to simply reflect on the dire predictions professional Chicken Littles were making about the Y2K cliff.
(“Ignore the Chicken Littles. Fiscal Cliff about as Real as Mayan Calendar,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 3, 2012)
Call me crazy….