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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

So what’s it going to be for GOP hotheads in Congress this fall?

A soul-satisfying episode of adolescent nihilism culminating in a government shutdown and yet another debt/default scare? Or an abject capitulation to political (and fiscal) reality and an acceptance of the Republican Party’s role as the loyal opposition?

As I write, there’s just no telling. It’s partly a contest between the GOP’s electronic infotainment/Tea Party wing and the party establishment. Talk-radio shouters and cable TV entrepreneurs thrive on melodrama, and a substantial proportion of the Tea Party base follows excitedly along. Defund Obamacare! Shut it down! To those of us of a certain age, this has a ring of nostalgia, like Abbie Hoffman’s 1967 vow to levitate the Pentagon. I don’t know what they’re smoking down at RNC headquarters, but on CNN’s State of the Union, party chairman Reince Priebus made a lame attempt to blame President Obama.

“I think all Republicans are unified on one thing and that is defunding, delaying, getting rid of, eliminating Obamacare,” Priebus said. “So we have total unanimity on that issue and the question is what are the tactics?…So Mr. President, if you want to shut the government down because you want to continue to fund this monstrosity…then go ahead.”

Nice try. No cigar.

Having wasted countless hours on 40 — count ’em, 40 — votes to defund Obamacare, you’d think House Republicans might be getting the message. Their scheme’s DOA in the Senate, and even if it weren’t, the White House holds veto power. The GOP’s last constitutional chance to prevent 30 million Americans from buying affordable health insurance coverage expired with Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy. End of story.

True, rising Republican celebrities like Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), and rising star Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) are breathing smoke and fire. However, it’s also true that none of these worthies hold leadership positions. Until very recently nobody knew who they were. They risk nothing by enrolling in a purely symbolic resistance.

Quite the opposite: True Believers in utopian right-wing crusades evaluate politicians according to their fervor, not their coherence. Did Ronald Reagan ever pay a political price for describing Medicare as the death knell of freedom? He did not.

Indeed, the best possible outcome for Senatorial rabble-rousers would be what now appears likely: A minority of GOP House moderates voting with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution, avoiding a party-line government shutdown that could doom the Republican Party’s national electoral chances. Speaker Boehner won’t have much choice but to allow it.

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  • Dominick Vila

    Blaming the President for the GOP threat to shut down the government by claiming that their threat is based on the President’s refusal to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is classic Republican scare tactics.
    The part that Mr. Priebus and his flock don’t seem to understand, or understand but don’t care, is the damage they cause to our credibility and our economy when they propose a government shutdown and the subsequent default. Most countries, including ours, depend on credit and trade to succeed. Acting like young teenagers when they don’t get their way is making us look like an immature nation either too arrogant or incapable of understanding the consequences of our rhetoric and actions.
    It is time for Republican/Tea Party politicians to start acting like national leaders and put viable alternatives to whatever they don’t like. If what they want is to take back America to the pre-Civil Rights days, to the days of the company store, and the days when our options were to use socialist Emergency Room medical care or lose our houses to get the preventive care we need to survive, they should say so and stop insinuating better solutions that, in reality, do not exist because they have not offered any.

    • Annemb

      What a wonderful post, Mr. Vila…very well-articulated and easily understood.



    • TZToronto

      You’re right. The lack of alternatives is what is missing in Republican rants. Lacking a viable alternative to ACA, Republicans House members and their supporters in the hinterland imply that going back to the way things were is a good thing. They want Medicare abolished so that seniors have to shop around for health care coverage like people who have a steady income. They want people without health care coverage to be treated in emergency rooms. (Better yet, they would prefer that these people die at home and stop sucking up all that public money.) They want children to suffer because they have pre-existing conditions, and they want sick people to continue to lose their homes–even when they do have coverage–because lifetime limits have been exceeded. These things are not alternatives; they are the pre-ACA status quo, which even the insurance companies have agreed is not acceptable.

    • jointerjohn

      Correct as usual Mr. Vila. I believe the real reason they are panicky over ACA is they know that once it is implemented and insurance rates start to fall the American public will see it was a great plan and embrace it. If they truly believed it was going to fail they would allow it to do so, enabling them to pursue their favorite pass-time, blaming President Obama. Their insistence on stopping it at all costs is absolute evidence that they know it will work for little people, and we all know how much they hate things that are good for little people. They are the ones that mockingly named it “Obamacare”, and if it goes into effect it will be his great legacy. That will give them heartburn for sure.

      • Mark Forsyth

        Better that it should give them all terminal heart attacks.Then as they die,we could listen to them wail and moan about how they should have gotten on the program and laugh.

        • jointerjohn

          That is a sick and cruel attitude Mark. I love it!

          • Mark Forsyth

            Yeah, I think I musta brushed up against one of em in the dark last night. I guess sumthin rubbed off on me and I had to get rid of it.

    • Recoloniser

      You’re right. It’s the classic terrorist’s tactic: “Give me what I want, or you’ll be responsible for the deaths of these hostages I’m going to shoot”.

  • jnsgraphic

    Republicans have nothing to offer to help move this country forward because in the end they will make the Presidents 2nd term a success; they would rather see the President and our country fail, than do their part to help create jobs or get involved in democracy. The GOP and their Corporate backers are attempting to bring us all to our knees so that they can control America; in their defiance they are seeking to destroy America, while Congress continues to drag their knuckles and get paid to do nothing.

    The GOP house has got to go, and will pay the price in 2014… just not soon enough!

    • Annemb

      I totally agree with you.

      Personally, I’m sick, tired and disgusted with their pseudo-representative tactics. The Teapublicants collect their pay for no work and are enrolled in government health care … for which WE THE PEOPLE pay. This is robbery and we should not stand for it!



    • TheSkalawag929

      jnsgraphic in order to make this “The GOP house has got to go, and will pay the price in 2014…” happen we democrats have to do our part to make it so.

      We can’t just sit back and expect it come to fruition. We have to get our people registered. We have to get our people acceptable IDs. And we have to get our people out to vote no matter what burdens republicans put in on us.

      We have to fight to keep the republicans from taking us back in time.

      • jnsgraphic

        I think what ‘will’ make this happen is that some Republicans in the red states aren’t happy with Congress either… the ‘middle-class’ has both Republicans and Democrats, once the Republicans start to feel it in their pocket or lack of programs they’ll WAKE UP… the rest of them are too ignorant to see the big picture and don’t realize all they want is their vote.

        • TheSkalawag929

          “…once the Republicans start to feel it in their pocket or lack of programs they’ll WAKE UP..” The question is who will they vote for? Would they continue to vote based on party in spite it being against their best interest or could they set party affiliation aside and vote for a democrat because it’s in their best interest.

          • jnsgraphic

            Lets face it… Republicans are fighting amongst themselves, make each other look bad and continue to dig the hole deeper; hopefully there are more Republican middle class voters, women, minorities, seniors and LGBT that have had enough!

      • disqus_il6KG9d3VM

        Agreed. We have to work harder to get sane people elected. Perhaps instead of ‘Souls to the Polls’ on Sunday, since the tea party are trying to put a stop to ‘those’ people voting, (Democrats) We should work to have ‘Souls to the Polls’ on Tuesday when everyone one votes. If they tried to stop voting on Tuesday then all their people couldn’t vote either.

        • TheSkalawag929

          I like your idea. The republicans would probably try to come up with some exception for their people.

      • Reddiaperbaby

        How about a 21st century version of Freedom Riders? Mobilize to make sure EVERYONE has a voter ID, help them to obtain one and get them to the voting booth. Long lines? Serve water, coffee, tea, snacks. Need a baby-sitter? Volunteer! Drive those without cars…bring folding chairs for the elderly…WE CAN DO THIS!! It’s our only weapon against all of the voter suppression laws being passed.

        • TheSkalawag929

          Totally agree.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Republicans act like Bull Male Dominators. In reality, to most women who have ever had kids, they are pulling tantrums like two year old brats. If they shut down the government, their party and anyone running for office will end up in the toilet. As it stands right now, most Americans are getting more and more fed up with these Tantrum Twerps.

    The time for acting like adults who know the value of negotiating and cooperating completely missed these idiots. In their minds, it’s the Bushian..”MY way or the highway.” Oh really? When WE the people pay their salaries?

    Let’s see now…how much value are our employees who subvert the government and try to hand it on a silver platter to the Koch Billionaires and the rest of their crony capitalists? Not much value at all. Time to cut out the dead wood.

  • Annemb

    WE THE PEOPLE can make a difference to have Citizens United overturned.

    Check Ben Cohen’s website on how we can be actively involved. Ben Cohen is one of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. www, is the web address.

  • FT66

    Anyone who thinks that these nuts can threaten the shaky economy and sink it deeper and go without being punished, may take another thought and ponder it deeply. Those days of saying something which hurts people, and it happened as you said, still get a pass and go through it are gone. Not at this time and age of social media. I will give the few examples: where is: Sherry Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin, Sarah Palin to mention the few. The very day republican idiots will shut down the government, the very day they will feel the heat as far as they will be.

  • docb

    The last stunt the repub baggers pulled like this has cost the tax payer $95Billion in interest cost and a sullied reputation around the World because of the CREDIT RATING DOWN GRADE..The Children on the right are despicable.

    This time there could be real blood in the streets. Tyranny , lies, treason are their tools of destruction! Now they are hiding from the voter or behind their crazy ignorant base!

    Call them out daily at the local offices they are on VaCa till September 9th.

    • longtail

      I’m not sure America is rich enough to afford Republicans.

  • charleo1

    Gene Lyons the author here, I believe, saved the most frustrating, and potentially
    dangerous reality for last. The fact that we have millions of Americans who have
    been so misinformed as to the situation, they very much support the actions and
    of the House T-Party Caucus, and ideologues such as a Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz.
    For these misinformed millions, Fox News is their truth. And, one could watch it
    all day, and many do. And, never hear that the public debt they have been so
    intentionally scared to death over, is actually in decline. No, they are told “The
    Liberal Press is now saying the deficit spending is shrinking, even as companies
    hire more part timers, to avoid the disastrous effects of the ObamaCare tax.”
    This will be, “reported,” in a tone, and look of incredulity, looking directly at the
    camera, clearly rhetorically asking, “What do you think?” “We report, you decide.” Yes, Fox viewers decide alright. Using the tens of thousands of snippets, lies, half truths, and mischaracterizations, Fox has been feeding their loyal viewers for years. So, Fox really doesn’t need to ask it’s viewers what they think. Such a masterful job of coning them it has done. A political pundit once said, “In politics, perception is reality.” Actually, reality, is reality. And this trip into a fantasyland created to champion the corporate agenda, pretending to speak for the people, will wind up costing all of us dearly. If we can’t somehow manage collectively, to find at least one vein of truth on which we can all can agree and act on that.

  • Elisabeth Gordon

    The TEA party (Threatening EVERYTHING American)…may they rot in he !!

  • Ford Truck

    With the Republicans and their Tea Party cohorts working to limit voting rights, refusing to compromise on any measure brought before Congress, and now talking about shutting down the government, they remind me of the stories I’ve read about Hitler’s early “beer hall speeches.” In those speeches Hitler was adept at using popular themes targeted at his audiences, including the use of scapegoats he could blame for economic hardships of those in the audience.

    When Hitler got real power, he immediately transformed the Weimer Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian, autocratic ideology of Nazism.

    Makes me wonder if the Tea Partiers got real power, how long would it be before they did the same thing!

    • Faraday_Cat

      The scariest part of your statement is that it is true, and Godwin’s Law doesn’t apply, based on their actual rhetoric regarding governance and religion.

    • Mark Forsyth

      Exactly! The only difference though is that instead of the Third Reich,we would have corporate government.Doesn’t matter though,it is still fascist and still totalitarian but most importantly still unacceptable.

    • Sand_Cat

      You have to wonder if the tea partiers would have a dictatorship if they gained power, or are you just using understatement to make a point:) ?

  • Allan Richardson

    The current occupants of Tea Party seats in Congress know that WHATEVER they do, their OWN jobs are doomed: they will EITHER be “primaried” by MORE extremists (so their seats will go, depending on the intelligence of the voters, either to a Democrat or to a TP replacement); OR they will fend off primary challenges by acting more stupid than they already have, risking a loss to a Democrat. Since the latter situation gives them SOME probability of saving their jobs, as compared to NONE, they are becoming more stupid than ever. It reminds me of that comedy film in which an average American soldier (a lazy, Beetle Baily type) and a hooker are put to sleep in an Army suspended animation experiment and wake up 5,000 years into a future in which NOBODY is smart enough to do ANY job competently, and the President is a professional wrestler who dresses like Rambo.

  • elw

    So in fewer, more straightforward words, the GOP is full of it and they know it. Their biggest problem is the fact that we are better off now then when President Bush left office, their second is the buffoons they have to choose from for the 2016 presidential campaign. As in the last two Presidential elections it will be the Democrat’s to lose. Which will be hard to do considering that Republicans seem to almost universally suffer from diarrhea mouth.

  • Lovefacts

    Since the 1980s, Republicans have played this song. They’re proof that if you tell a lie, especially a big one, often enough people will people it’s true. As for the current crop of young Republicans, they don’t care about the country, only their agenda and power. The results of an election–such as Obama being re-elected–are irrelevant. The rule of law is immaterial. The Constitution is inconsequential, especially if following it means it undermines their position, ability to raise money, and get elected to higher office.

    They remind me of small children. They’re the bully on the playground with ball–in this case it’s their votes–who if they don’t get their way will take their ball/votes away. And when it doesn’t work out, it’s never their fault. In this case it’s the Democrats and, in particular, Obama. I’m so tired of their spiteful, childish behavior. I just pray most Americans see these bullies for what they are, spoiled little boys who’ve grown into spoiled, angry men who are willing to destroy our economy because the Democrats didn’t cave under their temper tantrum.

  • tdm3624

    “Talk-radio shouters and cable TV entrepreneurs thrive on melodrama, and a substantial proportion of the Tea Party base follows excitedly along.”

    To be fair, both sides love drama and look for the most extreme examples they can find to fire up their base.

  • Michael Kollmorgen

    Why should any of these people give a crap about anyone else.

    They got enough loot stashed all over the world, our country could collapse overnight and all they’ll do is move to another country somewhere else and start the entire process all over again.

    It’s probably true. They aren’t loosing anything over it.

  • irishtap

    When your predominant philosophy for governing is based upon circumvention of the general well being of your constituents – it will inevitably catch up to you. The ‘so called Republican Party’ has been reduced to little more than a cult of ‘alarmism’, to the point the few reasonable representatives and operatives that remain have become outraged at the bizarre cannibalism going on within the GOP. Only fragmented factions of disorganization remain, each incessantly blending a virulent cocktail of willful representative incompetence, leaving only a form of full blown political dementia. For decades they remained viable with shrewd messaging campaigns – enabling them to begin killing off unions and effectively neuter the ‘fourth estate’, their corporately funded propaganda networks aka “think tanks”, created a new atmosphere, culminating with forcing Democrats: to not just listen – but succumb.
    ALEC, Citizen’s United, United States Chamber of Commerce, the Koch’s and others are complicit in the unethical tactics dedicated to the goal to undermine representative government at local – state and federal levels. This greed driven, incendiary cult have unwittingly started a fire to the ‘house of cards’ they built, that will before too long deliver them to ashes. You might call it karma, I prefer to see it from the standpoint of the ‘law of diminishing return’. When your political ideology is fashioned from a foundation of contrivance with layer upon layer of finely tuned prevarication as your brick and mortar, the structure may appear sturdy as the Rock of Gibraltar; for when first launched, a well crafted lie may soar like a rocket but always burns out. Time and time again we’ve seen this. But the GOP, having reinvented itself and fully dedicated to the seed and practice of dishonesty has begun to whither and die. Citizens employing common sense are reacting against the hideous scarring left from inhumane GOP legislation and distancing themselves from the field of poison weeds.

  • Mark Forsyth

    Those of us who have been paying attention have known for a long time that thegop/t party has nothing to offer America and even if they did have something,they wouldn’t offer it.Yet they trip over themselves trying to give away the whole shooting match to mega-corporations. Could the reason for it be that they all feed at the same communal pig trough marked GREED?

  • howa4x

    Its not like the republicans ever had a health care plan. GWB allowed 50K a year to die because of lack of access to healthcare so we know this is not the party of caring empathetic people. The republicans have tried to outdo each other to see who can be meaner whether is to take food out of children’s mouths or try to deny young adults health benefits. There is no physical cliff , or runaway deficits. Just like there was no real communist scare. Republicans need a boogey man because they have no policies to make the lives of the majority of people better. Just the richest few. Scare tactics got us into Iraq. this is what the republicans have done for a very long time. So far they have convinced a large number of people to vote against their own self interest by all these tactics but events like a child’s major illness with no insurance when health care reform could have saved them, or being wiped out by an F-5 tornado, or wild fire or hurricane will make people not believe anymore that climate change is a hoax, It is a dangerous game that republicans play, trying to change reality. Just like they say: You can fool some of the people, not all of them and just not all the time.

  • Angel Perea

    is nothing more than arrogant, privileged hypocrite. His articulate stupid
    insinuations and dismissive over-the-top comments in the Senate has
    disrespected senators on both sides of the aisle. He is “foreign born
    Canadian” where his father worked in oil business. Cruz says,
    “I’m Cuban, Irish, and Italian, and yet somehow I ended up Southern
    Baptist.” For the record, his father strongly supported Castro and the Cuban Socialism
    Revolution until he fell from favor. But later, his family left Cuba on boat and
    did not wait in any line to their immigration papers or to get their govt.
    taxpayer benefits! Yet, he is against Immigration reform for others! His lack
    of people of skills with extreme views will make him a one term Senator. This
    man insults our intelligence!