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Something to be Concerned About
seeker
The other day a poster on this site tried to blame Barack Obama for the state of the country at the present time. You'll hear a lot of the same rhetoric over this next campaign period. Fortunately I think that many people see through this set of Republican Party maneuvers but since this article serendipitously ran today I thought I'd make it available to those interested in such things. It very nicely sums up what is going on right now in Washington.

A few Key excerpts:

"The debt ceiling extension is not the only example of this sort of political terrorism. Republicans were willing to lay off 4,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, 70,000 private construction workers and let FAA safety inspectors work without pay, in fact, forcing them to pay for their own work-related travel - how prudent is that? - in order to strong arm some union-busting provisions into the FAA reauthorization.

Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation. For instance, Ezra Klein wrote of his puzzlement over the fact that while House Republicans essentially won the debt ceiling fight, enough of them were sufficiently dissatisfied that they might still scuttle the deal. Of course they might - the attitude of many freshman Republicans to national default was "bring it on!"

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant."


"The only thing that can keep the Senate functioning is collegiality and good faith. During periods of political consensus, for instance, the World War II and early post-war eras, the Senate was a "high functioning" institution: filibusters were rare and the body was legislatively productive. Now, one can no more picture the current Senate producing the original Medicare Act than the old Supreme Soviet having legislated the Bill of Rights.

Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic. As Hannah Arendt observed, a disciplined minority of totalitarians can use the instruments of democratic government to undermine democracy itself.

John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

"Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery.""


"Undermining Americans' belief in their own institutions of self-government remains a prime GOP electoral strategy. But if this technique falls short of producing Karl Rove's dream of 30 years of unchallengeable one-party rule (as all such techniques always fall short of achieving the angry and embittered true believer's New Jerusalem), there are other even less savory techniques upon which to fall back. Ever since Republicans captured the majority in a number of state legislatures last November, they have systematically attempted to make it more difficult to vote: by onerous voter ID requirements (in Wisconsin, Republicans have legislated photo IDs while simultaneously shutting Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices in Democratic constituencies while at the same time lengthening the hours of operation of DMV offices in GOP constituencies); by narrowing registration periods; and by residency requirements that may disenfranchise university students."


This is why the author left working in government:

Thus, the modern GOP; it hardly seems conceivable that a Republican could have written the following:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." (That was President Eisenhower, writing to his brother Edgar in 1954.)

It is this broad and ever-widening gulf between the traditional Republicanism of an Eisenhower and the quasi-totalitarian cult of a Michele Bachmann that impelled my departure from Capitol Hill. It is not in my pragmatic nature to make a heroic gesture of self-immolation, or to make lurid revelations of personal martyrdom in the manner of David Brock. And I will leave a more detailed dissection of failed Republican economic policies to my fellow apostate Bruce Bartlett.

I left because I was appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans, like Gadarene swine, to embrace policies that are deeply damaging to this country's future; and contemptuous of the feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in their half-hearted attempts to stop them. And, in truth, I left as an act of rational self-interest. Having gutted private-sector pensions and health benefits as a result of their embrace of outsourcing, union busting and "shareholder value," the GOP now thinks it is only fair that public-sector workers give up their pensions and benefits, too. Hence the intensification of the GOP's decades-long campaign of scorn against government workers. Under the circumstances, it is simply safer to be a current retiree rather than a prospective one.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
As a self proclaimed anarcho-syndicalist I have no great love for either of the dominant american political parties. But I must say that at least since 1994 the republican party has been enamored with being simply obstructive.

I can remember more congenial times when there was an honest attempt to address politics with a sense of getting things done rather than simply no.

I frankly think the republicans are behaving this way because in a way it resonates with the american public. I think people of all political beliefs find fault with their government. This belief is both understood and misplaced.
 
catman
It is one thing to be dissatisfied with the government, but it is another to support the party that persists in being the spanner in the works. That is like voting for the National Socialists to get law and order.
 
seeker
John, you and I seem to have a lot in common politically. I'm not really a big fan of dems either but when I look at the depth of dishonesty coming from the Republican side I'm appalled.

Want some fun, read up on Bismarck's attempts to placate Hitler by giving him the chancellery and then take a look at how Obama has been trying to deal with Republicans.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
Please Seeker, do not scare me more than I am. As I said in another thread the Homeland and the fatherland do not seem much different to me.

I will agree that the republican party has been very dishonest for a long time, maybe not since Goldwater, who's politics very much troubled me but at least he did what he said he would do. But I also had a great awakening when Alan Cranston of california was found to be a member of the Keating five. Cranston had always struck me as honest and consistent. He was not in the end.

Politics is a dirty business. We as americans and frankly most peoples leave politics to the corrupt and just shrug our shoulders about it even when we can do something.
 
seeker
LOL, I haven't even posted about Dominionists yet.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Bob of QF
seeker wrote:

LOL, I haven't even posted about Dominionists yet.


Yeah... those fuckers are some seriously scary people.
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
seeker
They'll make the Taliban look like a philanthropist group if they get in power.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
I will admit that I am quite comfortable that neither Bachmann nor Perry will be the republican nominee for president. Even the republicans recognize people who will fail on a national level.
 
catman
Don't count Perry out just yet. I wish I didn't feel the need to state that, but I do. He appeals to a great many anti-intellectuals out there, and you know they aren't in short supply.
 
seeker
Think about it John. In a country full of Christians can you really rule out a Christian Supremacist?
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
Seeker, I would like to believe I can. But, I must agree with you that it is possible. I will say that I do not think it probable.
 
seeker
Let's hope you are right, John. I do think that Perry is going to be the Republican candidate and Obama is struggling.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
seeker
Oh, and lets not forget the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements.

I was told that children are always a blessing, and that it was imperative to raise up quivers full of warriors for Christ, equipped to take back the culture and restore it to its Christian foundations.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
catman
seeker wrote:Want some fun, read up on Bismarck's attempts to placate Hitler by giving him the chancellery and then take a look at how Obama has been trying to deal with Republicans.

Bismarck? He died in 1898. Maybe you were thinking of von Hindenburg.
 
JohnH
Seeker, Catman has caught you out. Of course he caught me out also, I read right passed it knowing what you meant.

I have to comment on something, provoked by reading the linked to christian patriarchy article. My older sons wife (not by law) grew up in a fundamentalist house. Her birth mother disappeared at an early age and her step mother physically abused her. Then around age 13 when her step mother was now gone she was expected to do all the house work and cooking.

Now my son does most of the cooking for them, I like to think that I raised him correctly by not asking some imaginary god how to do it. Not to suggest that I was any where near perfect at it, as both my children will attest.
Edited by JohnH on 09/15/2011 20:40
 
seeker
catman wrote:

seeker wrote:Want some fun, read up on Bismarck's attempts to placate Hitler by giving him the chancellery and then take a look at how Obama has been trying to deal with Republicans.

Bismarck? He died in 1898. Maybe you were thinking of von Hindenburg.


You are right. I don't know why I confuse those two so often.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
seeker
JohnH wrote:

Seeker, Catman has caught you out. Of course he caught me out also, I read right passed it knowing what you meant.


Shhh, maybe no one else will notice.

I have to comment on something, provoked by reading the linked to christian patriarchy article. My older sons wife (not by law) grew up in a fundamentalist house. Her birth mother disappeared at an early age and her step mother physically abused her. Then around age 13 when her step mother was now gone she was expected to do all the house work and cooking.

Now my son does most of the cooking for them, I like to think that I raised him correctly by not asking some imaginary god how to do it. Not to suggest that I was any where near perfect at it, as both my children will attest.


I think that for every one that gets away from that fundamentalist background there are yen stick forever in those lives.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
Seeker, both my sons friend and the woman who wrote the article were allowed to go to college. That may be a determinant in who does escape.

Damn I wish I could spell.
Edited by JohnH on 09/16/2011 21:28
 
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