The Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, brazenly told
POLITICO Tiger Beat on the Potomac this week that the anti-government insurrectionists of the Tea-Publican Party are plotting to take America hostage again to demand the ransom that President Obama accede to their every demand, or they will shut down the government and blame the hostage for their economic terrorism. McConnell’s plan to shut down Obama:
In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the
center right” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.
In short, it’s a recipe for a confrontational end to the Obama presidency.
“We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy,” McConnell said in an interview aboard his campaign bus traveling through Western Kentucky coal country. “That’s something he won’t like, but that will be done. I guarantee it.”
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[A]sked about the potential that his approach could spark another shutdown, McConnell said it would be up to the president to decide whether to veto spending bills that would keep the government open.
Obama “needs to be challenged, and the best way to do that is through the funding process,” McConnell said. “He would have to make a decision on a given bill, whether there’s more in it that he likes than dislikes.”
I posted about this last October, but it bears repeating in light of McConnell’s renewed threats of economic terrorism and government shutdown. Republicans on the modern GOP: An anti-government, Neo-Confederate insurrectionist party of radicals:
[Chris] Hayes interviewed Michael Lofgren who spent 28 years working in Congress, the last 16 of which as a senior analyst for the House and Senate Budget Committees, and who penned this controversial opinion two years ago for Truth Out, Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult; and Bruce Bartlett, former senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, and former deputy assistant secretary for economic policy in the George H.W. Bush administration.
These are Republicans with impeccable credentials who have had enough of the radical extremism of the modern Republican Party. Transcript for Tuesday, October 1:
MICHAEL LOFGREN: [T]this is not the 80s. This is something new. The party that I joined was the party of Lincoln, the party of Theodore Roosevelt. The party of Eisenhower. These were patriots all. They were for one nation, indivisible.
Now, what we have an insurrectionist, Neo-Confederate party that seems dedicated to all kinds of apocalyptic outcomes. I don`t know whether this comes from their fundamentalist religious outlook, or whether it`s just good fundraising for them among their base. But they are no longer a normal political party. They are an insurrectionist party that is bringing down the government.
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[I] think what we`re really seeing here is a crisis of democracy, where one party believes its principles are so correct, so strong and the other party`s principles are so evil that we`re essentially talking about God compromising with Satan, and you can`t do that, and therefore, they`re justified by using any means necessary, perhaps even revolutionary or military means, to get their way, despite the fact that the majority disagrees with them.
They don`t think that that matters in the slightest. The truth of their principles is the only thing that matters to them.
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BARTLETT: No, that`s right. One thing I want to add to what Mike said and I agree completely, is that there deeper historical forces at work here, namely, the takeover of the Republican Party by the South. We talk about Republicans taking over the South but actually it`s the other way around.
BARTLETT: And the politics of the Republican Party today can best be understood as the politics of the Southern Democrats. Now, don`t misunderstand me. I`m not saying that this is a racial matter. I`m just saying that the nature of the politics is the same, and I`ve been thinking a lot the last two days about a term that you`re probably familiar with called “massive resistance” —
BARTLETT: — which was a term that was used in the 1950s to people who opposed the Brown versus Board of Education decision and used any means necessary, constitutional, legal, illegal, whatever it took to fight the desegregation of the public schools. And that, in that sense, the Republican politics of today are the same as the politics of the Southern Democrats of the 1950s.
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One of the high priests of Beltway centrism, political scientist Norman Ornstein, has been ringing the warning bell about the radicalism of the modern Republican Party for a couple of years now as well. Ornstein’s latest warning in The Atlantic is The Republican Hardliners Aren’t Conservatives, They’re Radicals:
All [this] is part of a larger problem that exists, one that has had me referring to the drivers in the GOP not as conservatives but as radicals. Rod Dreher, writing in The American Conservative in a piece called “Republicans, Over the Cliff,” eloquently makes the same point. Conservatives believe in limited government — but also that the government we need to have — the services from national security to homeland security to interstate transportation — should be efficiently and competently provided, and that when government intervenes, it should do so with as much deference to the marketplace as possible.
The current drivers of the GOP are much more hostile to government. Thus, the assault on all federal employees via cuts in pay and benefits; the all-out attack to delegitimize the Internal Revenue Service and its employees by Darrell Issa and his cronies, designed to make it harder for them to carry out their basic functions; the enthusiasm for the sequester; and the lack of concern about the societal impact of mindless cuts to basic research, food safety, and homeland security.
Some of this impulse is libertarian in nature, as evidenced by Senator Rand Paul’s preferred budget, which makes Rep. Paul Ryan’s look New Dealish by comparison. Some of it reflects ignorance or willful suspension of disbelief — not understanding, for example, the impact of indiscriminate cuts on our health research infrastructure and on our nation’s seed corn in terms of our technological edge; or supporting the sequester but then decrying its cuts in medical research (without noting that these cuts would not occur without the sequester).
But a lot of it is an emotional, zealous reaction to America today — an ardent willingness to break crockery and demolish existing institutions to achieve the goal of eviscerating government as we know it, the good with the bad. As Dreher put it, “When I think of the Republican Party, I don’t think of principled conservative legislators who are men and women of vision strategy. I think of ideologues who are prepared to wreck things to get their way. They have confused prudence — the queen of virtues, and the cardinal virtue of conservative politics — with weakness.”
Not all congressional Republicans are in that camp. Many, especially in the Senate, fit a more traditional conservative mold. But few are willing to stand up to the zealots, and even fewer are willing to cast votes that depart from the pack. All of them dutifully recite the mantra that Obamacare is an abomination that ought to be eliminated, and none notes that it is basically the same plan as 1994’s Grassleycare/Hatchcare/Durenbergercare/Chafeecare, which was built around an individual mandate, private insurers on exchanges, and premium support for less fortunate Americans. More strikingly, no one notes that Ryan’s long-term plan for Medicare, built around regulated exchanges and premium support, is basically Obamacare for seniors. Every opportunity to reform and refine the Affordable Care Act through traditional institutional means, working with both parties, has been rejected by them.
Here is Dreher’s conclusion: “The Republicans cannot govern. These people aren’t conservatives. They are radicals. What on earth would Russell Kirk say if he were alive to see this?”
There is a consensus among Democrats, establishment Republicans, and centrist moderates: our national problem is the radicalized, far-right movement conservatism of the so-called Tea Party and its component factions, which includes the Neo-Confederate Birthers-Birchers-Secessionists, the Theocrats of the Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists, its billionaire-funded campaign structure (the “Kochtopus,” Club for Growth, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks. etc.), and crucially, the conservative media entertainment complex, which has mainstreamed and normalized radicalism.
It is time for a Grand Alliance between Democrats, establishment Republicans, and centrist moderates in a united front against this dangerous radical element which seeks to destroy the very foundations of our civic institutions and the long-cherished principles and values of American democracy.
None of the Tea-Publicans running for Congress in Arizona should be elected to office. They are part of the problem, not the solution to the purposeful dysfunction they have brought with them to Washington. Regardless of how you feel about the Democratic candidates for Congress in Arizona, none of them would resort to economic terrorism and taking the country hostage to their terrorist demands. Our GOP congressional delegation has done this, several times over.
The Tea-Publicans’ unpatriotic and undemocratic actions should not be rewarded by the voters of this state. They should be held accountable for their actions and kicked out of office. You have to power to stop these anti-government insurrectionists and a preventable tragedy.