Timothy Egan: GOP on the wrong side of history

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Related to an earlier post, Republicans on the modern GOP: An anti-government, Neo-Confederate insurrectionist party of radicals, Timothy Egan at the New York Times writes today, Wrong Side of History:

Screenshot-9In shutting down the government, leaving 800,000 people without a
paycheck and draining the economy of $300 million a day, the Party of
Madness also took away last-chance cancer trials for children at the
National Institutes of Health.

And now that the pain that was dismissed as a trifle on Monday, a
“slimdown” according to the chuckleheads at Fox News, is revealed as
tragic by mid-week, the very radicals who caused the havoc are trying
to say it’s not their fault.

It’s too late. They flunked hostage-taking. About 30 or so
Republicans in the House, bunkered in gerrymandered districts while
breathing the oxygen of delusion, are now part of a cast of miscreants
who have stood firmly on the wrong side of history
. The headline, today
and 50 years from now, will be the same: Republicans closed the
government to keep millions of their fellow Americans from getting
affordable health care.

They are not righteous rebels or principled provocateurs. They are
not constitutionalists, using the ruling framework built by the
founders. Just the opposite: they are a militant fringe of one party in
one house of Congress in one branch of government trying to nullify an
established law by extortion. This is not the design of the
Constitution.


Nor are they Martin Luther King Jr., or Rosa Parks or Winston Churchill —
preposterous comparisons made on the floor of Congress by those whose
only real fight is with progress.

In truth, they are the Know-Nothings from the 1850s who fought Irish
Catholics and other castoffs from distant lands, vowing to keep them
from becoming citizens. Their incarnation today is the Tea Party
Republicans who call Latinos drug mules and would rather strangle the
federal government than take up immigration reform
.

They are the opponents of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in
1965, labeling what are now the two most popular government programs as
socialism that would destroy the country. They are the foes of science
and modernism, denying evolution, climate change and, on election
nights, math.

Over the years, whether Democrat, Republican, Whig or Dixiecrat, the
members of this club have one thing in common: they are left at the
train station of destiny, and never realize it until it’s too late.

So of course they have no exit strategy. “We have to get something
out of this,” said Representative Martin Stutzman, Republican of
Indiana. “And I don’t know what that even is.” Truer words have not been
spoken by any member of the Crazy Caucus since they took the House in
2010.

You have to step back from the breathless tick-tock of the 24-hour
news cycle to put this grim chapter in larger perspective. “Can you
remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was just
sitting around, begging for America to fail?”
So asked a perplexed Bill
Clinton a few days ago.

* * *

And let’s never forget that these sacrifices, real and lasting, are
being made for one thing: to block health care reform. Obamacare, when
its component parts are explained to people, is enormously popular.
Take one of the most profound features of the law — the ban on denying
insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half of all
Americans fit that category. The insurances exchanges, for all their
computer glitches, are flooded with interest.

We know now why Senator Ted Cruz, the most hated man in Washington,
said he fears that once Obamacare is up and running people will like it —
and then it will be too late for the obstructionists.

Politically, the shutdown is terrible for a party trying to rebrand
itself. When Bobby Jindal said Republicans have to “stop being the
party of stupid,” he swallowed a teaspoon of common sense. That’s been
washed away by a river of stupid.

* * *

[Poll] numbers won’t penetrate the gerrymandered fortresses that produced
the people who have made our democracy a laughing stock of the world.

“We’re right,” crowed Representative Steve King of Iowa.

“We can always win,” seconded Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho.

Say it enough times, and it’ll be true, like Karl Rove’s gasping on
election night that Obama had not yet won. But the die is cast. They
wrecked the car, dug their own grave; no matter what you call it,
history’s verdict came early.

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