Tea Party Republicans Want America To Fail For The Sake Of Their Ideology, Not Patriotism
Liz Warren has written recently about the specific harms caused by the Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, and correctly observes that their intransigence on the budget and the debt ceiling is throwing a major wrench into the economic recovery of the United States. She also states the obvious, that their specific focus is on repealing Obamacare, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The reason today’s Tea Party Republicans are impeding the recovery under President Obama is not simply the manufactured outrage over his Affordable Care Act, nor is it as simplistic as racism directed to our first African American president. There is a significant racist contingent in the Tea Party movement, because the racists have nowhere else to go politically, but that is not the whole story by a long shot.
What Obamascare is really all about is an extreme ideological fear that wants to see the American economy fail under Obama’s leadership. That would be true under any Democratic president elected in 2008, because if a Democratic president’s policies were to succeed, after the debacle created by Bush’s tax-cutting and deregulation, it would be the third time in the memory of living Americans when a Democratic president has successfully rescued the nation after Republican “small government” ideology has failed, and failed miserably when put into actual practice as policy.
FDR’s non-ideological policies, mixing socialist and capitalist principles in a pragmatic way and implemented by a “big” federal government, rescued us from the Great Depression caused by unregulated Wall Street excess. FDR is still a much reviled figure on the American right. The FDR haters cavil that it was the war that turned the economy around, not FDR’s progressive policies, but what was it about the war that could possibly have done it?
What was the economic thrust of WWII here in America? It was massive public spending by the “big” federal government, with significant borrowing and deficits exceeding $100 billion. It was, in other words, governmental stimulus on a massive scale, and it worked. For the know-nothing American right, that’s o.k. because it was needed to support our young men going overseas to defend our "liberty" by killing other people and being killed, but God forbid we should ever spend that kind of money for peaceful purposes like helping fellow Americans escape the cycle of poverty.
Still, where was the wingnut outrage when Ronald Reagan began borrowing to create deficits exceeding $100 billion for the first time ever in peacetime. Where was their outrage when George H.W. Bush inherited a marginally successful economy from Reagan, one with fair unemployment figures bolstered by about 20 percent public sector jobs, and then saw the economy start to decline? But, boy! They sure were outraged when Bill Clinton took office, weren’t they?
Bill Clinton’s pragmatic approach, raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for stimulus while maintaining reasonable levels of regulatory oversight, brought unemployment down to below four percent, increased median household income by over 15 percent and saw significant annual increases in GDP over eight years. Clinton inherited a $250 billion deficit from Bush senior, plus a stagnating economy with rising unemployment, and he turned the deficit into a $250 billion surplus by the time he left office.
Clinton, of course was and still is an object of scorn on the American right because he managed to do all that while schtupping a young female aide in the Oval Office. That, of course, far outweighs any of the real economic benefits his pragmatic progressive policies achieved, because the Tea Party Republicans desperately want the American public to forget how Clinton's progressive and pragmatic policies. with "big government" borrowing, taxing, spending and regulating once again turned the economy around after twelve years of GOP small government policies created nothing but stagnation and decline.
Enter George W. Bush, who immediately cut taxes again, gutted the regulatory agencies, borrowed us into two trillion dollar oil wars, squandered the huge surplus he inherited from Clinton while creating even greater deficits than his father, and then tanked the entire economy after eight years, all based on reinstating the GOP’s anti-tax, “small government” ideology. Today's GOP deficit hawks, of course, had no objection to Bush's increasing the national debt by trillions of dollars to pay for his dirty little wars instead of asking the intended beneficiaries in Big Oil to pay for it by increasing taxes.
That is what Obama inherited, and the last thing the Republican ideological fanatics want to see now is yet another pragmatic recovery under a Democratic leader implementing progressive, "big government" policies. That is the real reason why they came out of the blocks in 2009 saying their primary objective was to make Obama’s presidency a failure. It was not anything as simplistic as racism, but was instead an ideological obsession that overrides all other concerns, including the general welfare of the United States and We the People.
Such conduct, technically, may not be treason as defined in the Constitution at Article III, Section 3, although it surely does give considerable aid and comfort to our enemies while scaring the bejeezus out of our allies. It is, however, equally if not more harmful to the American people than the treason alleged by GOP icon,“Tailgunner Joe” McCarthy when he was hounding supposed “Communists” in the State Department back in the nineteen-fifties.
The avowed objective of the Tea Party Republicans is the same as McCarthy’s purported Communists’, to dismantle the Constitutional government of the United States. McCarthy’s Communists were allegedly going to overthrow the government, while today’s Tea Party seeks to dismantle the government by defunding it. This has been expressly stated by the arch conservative Grover Norquist, to whom almost all Republicans have pledged their allegiance, including Massachusetts’ own GOP pretty-boy Scott Brown.. That pledge is in direct conflict with their oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States under which our strong federal government is established.