Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Pox on Both Your Houses

Republicons (misspelling wholly intentional), having proven themselves wholly incapable of:
- competent governance,
- serious fiscal responsibility,
- impartial stewardship of the economy,
- intelligent command of the armed forces,
- engaged foreign policy,
- honest defense of the Constitution,
- or anything else that should matter in a representative democracy such as our Constitutional Republic -

... have spent the last two years acting like the spoiled neighborhood rich kid who grew up as only child of overly-doting parents. 

Lacking siblings while simultaneously having had his every petulant demand appeased by libertine custodians, he never learned to share. Inadequately socialized from isolated, privately-tutored home-schooling [likely featuring a religiously-inspired curriculum - God forbid he should endure the purging miasma of a public education], he never learned the social skills or cooperative spirit required to function in society.

So, when confronted by the prospect of being the last one picked for the neighborhood sandlot baseball game, he pouts and throws a temper tantrum, grabs his bats, balls and gloves, declares he's going home and walks off in a huff.

The ball game, of course, has to be canceled, since he's got all the gear.

And this is exactly what the Republicons have chosen to do since Obama was elected President.  They have sat on their hands, and have done absolutely nothing except obstruct, obfuscate and occasionally outright lie to prevent the political process from moving forward.  The rest of us be damned.  That's the plan, anyway.

This petty abdication of responsibility compels me to vow:  Never again.  I don't see how I could ever vote for a Republican again.  The neighborhood brat is never invited to play ball again.

Which leaves me, for the present with only one significant alternative:  the Democrats.

What about the so-called Tea Baggers, er, Party, you ask?

It is not a party at all.  I am not quite sure what it is.

It seems largely ill-informed and intolerant, to the point of seemingly championing ignorance.  How else do you explain the preponderance of 9-11 Truthers and anti-Obama Birthers, Islamophobes, gay bashers and Stormfront racists?  When did ignorance become a virtue?  For that matter, when did fear, intolerance and hate become All-American values?

It professes love for, variously:
- freedom/liberty (who doesn't?),
- the Constitution (ditto),
- low taxes (Here! Here!.. but, lower than what?  And, by the way, why is it that my income, earned as salary by the sweat of my brow in an IT job, gets taxed at a higher rate than income earned by a hedge fund manager or a trust fund baby living off the dividends & capital gains of a legacy that incentivizes dependency far more effectively than any government welfare program?),
- limited government and minimal regulation (ok, but can we maybe at least talk about optimal government/regulation at some point?).

Simultaneously, it uses:
- loud-mouthed bully tactics (remember the town hall meetings during recess on Health Care legislation?),
- threatens violence ("2nd Amendment remedies"), and
- ignores legitimate public/societal needs (almost as if they didn't believe there was such a thing as a "Common Weal", i.e., the Public Good, nor [sometimes] that there are values other than economic ones).

It claims grass-roots foundations, but appears to be largely funded, promoted and guided by a small cabal of small-minded, self-interested turd polishers & billionaire string-pullers. Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, the Koch Bros. Americans for Prosperity; Rupert Murdoch's Fox News & the attendant legion of right-wing sycophant anti-journalists.  Like the bedazzled citizens of Emerald City awed by pyrotechnics, Tea Baggers don't seem interested in looking behind the curtain.

It is certainly angry.  I even share some of their anger.  Some of it. 

But being angry doesn't mean I've lost my mind and decided to toss critical thinking out the window.  
- Christine O'Donnell? (Believes, among other things, that masturbation is adultery, and that US scientists have cloned mice with fully functioning human brains.  'Nuff said.)
- Sharon Angle? (Believes, among other things, that Social Security, Medicare, the Dept. of Education and a large number of other generally accepted governmental functions & programs should be eliminated.)
- Rand Paul? (an ideological Libertarian who refuses to recognize the impracticality and/or of certain Libertarian principles, if they were to be fully implemented & taken to their logical conclusion... ergo, his remarks re: repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)
- Joe Miller? (Believes unemployment insurance/compensation is unconstitutional.)
- Sarah Palin ?  (Walked away from her responsibilities as Governor of Alaska, revels in her lack of policy knowledge and/or critical thinking ability,
- Carl Paladino?  (Are you kidding me?)
- Newt Gingrich? (What ever happened to the thinking-Newt?  Now he's a Clash of Civilizations, anti-Muslim warmonger?  Oh, that's right, it's always been culture warrior-Newt.)
- [here in Maine] Paul LePage?  (Creationist, property tax cheat, clearly no ideas of his own [standard Republicon Contract On America playbook], and almost as big a loud-mouthed bully as Carl Paladino.)

From an economic perspective, collectively their policy prescriptions seem to me to be warmed over versions the very same schemes that brought us to this point in the first place.  Or worse (e.g., Occam's Razor-defying Creationism,, Justice-impaired Zero Tax Rate on Capital Gains;  Freedom-challenged No Exceptions Ban on Abortion, Poverty-blind Unfettered Laissez-Faire Corporatism).

The Romans would call it a mob.
And we all know how that ended [hint, in case you forgot: The Dark Ages soon followed.]

At the end of the day, the Tea Party, despite its profuse professions to the contrary, seems very much to me like the Republican Party's illegitimate little brother... with anger issues & inadequate coping skills.

But, I digress:  I wanted to talk about the Democrats.

The Democrats have a long-standing reputation, at least during my lifetime, of being like a herd of cats.  Have you ever tried herding cats?   Not a pretty sight.  Also, they have a reputation for being afraid of their own shadows.  Especially lately.

Now - having been virtually handed a near-certain legislative victory by Minority Leader Boehner's concession that even he, too, would vote for extension of the middle class tax cuts being trumpeted by the Obama administration and allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% to expire, if that were all that were on the table - we learn that the Democrats have decided to call it quits, for now, on taking a vote on just that very issue.


I sent an e-mail to Chellie Pingree, my Congresswoman, asking why.  Are Blue Dogs, who claim to be concerned about the deficit above almost all other issues, really as hypocritical as their Republicon brethren? Also, I gave Chellie a couple suggestions, while I was at it.  I would share it in its entirety, but this is a family blog. Sort of.

Long story made short: 
If the Democrats cannot pull themselves together to extend middle-class tax cuts, while allowing the cuts for the 2% to expire, before the mid-terms, they are done. 

Or, as The Axe, a die-hard Yankees (ugh!) fan & frequent caller to the local sports talk radio show, likes to say:
Done, done!

Pull it together, Dems, or I may start taking a vow against you, too.

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