TP Freshmen have captured Congress

Let Freshmen be Freshmen

Washington, DC, July 30, 2011--Take a moment to saunter with me through a maze of metaphors, a bouquet of disparate literary allusions and a cautious trek through the briars of animosity toward the Tea Party Republicans and their enablers, the sole group for which I find prejudice and stereotyping appropriate—in fact obligatory.

Frank Perdue (Le roi de poulet) Sr’s tagline was “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” Given the glaze in House Speaker John Boehner’s eyes lately, with the strutting Tea Party peacocks in Congress we might invert Frank’s line: “It takes tough chickens to make a tender man.”

For those who have been hiding in Bin Laden’s recently vacated metaphorical cave, let me explain: In the last round of national elections, They-The-People, in their infinite wisdom, elected a pride of young Turks (Apologies to my friends in Istanbul and Ankara) to “Trow da bums out.”

There is no administration worse than the current one. Ever. That is to say, whatever ails the country is unique and originated with whatever administration is in office. Currently, that happens to be this one.

So, with a mandate to cut taxes (who doesn’t want to pay less in taxes?) these untested and untried novices claim that they are just following orders (And that has never gone wrong) when they refuse to negotiate or compromise with their elders and betters in the matter of raising the debt ceiling.

Abraham Lincoln famously observed: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.” That was June of 1858. Lo! These many years later, the only necessary change in the first sentence is capitalization: “A House divided against itself cannot stand.” (You cannot imagine how proud I am of that sentence.) I would continue with: “I believe that this government cannot endure, permanently, half Democrat, half Republic, and ¾ obstinate Tea Party smarty-pants who simply stamp their feet and say, no No.! No! No! And sometimes, “Hell, no” when they feel especially defiant and have several fellow TP-ers backing them up.

As it stands this climactic weekend, it is Democrats against Republicans, Tea-Party Republicans against seasoned Republican statesmen, and everyone against the President, who foolishly insists on calling for reason, discussion, negotiation and compromise. Even television ads claim that it is time take away President Obama’s checkbook. Cute line; great impact. But who in the country, believes that the president is one with the checkbook? How does Congress with earmarks and special treatment for the job creators whose checkbooks fill their campaign coffers and hunger for the pork that bursts the barrel staves ‘scape whipping?

Of course, I don’t want to reduce myself to name-calling—(Eric Cantor!) that is why I use “metaphors” and hope that gentle readers will intuit the names I would call (Eric Cantor) without my having to actually do so.

There’s a reason that they are called “freshmen,” this fresh crop of novices who have invaded the House of Representative. The Tea Party Republicans who have captured the House and seem to be holding it for ransom are the personification of Samuel Pepys’ observation that “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” Like any rebellious teen, they know more than those who have worked in Congress for years. More aptly, they are the exemplar of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation in “Self-Reliance:” A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” At some point, I might be able to work in an allusion to Nero’s fiddling while Rome burns, but you have to admit that Emerson nailed it.

This little band of puffed up popinjays, led by a supercilious, sneering little man from the Old Dominion (Eric Cantor, 7th District), are so impressed with having been elected that they have forgotten that they are ostensibly in the people’s House to represent the People, Instead they hide behind their mandate to obstruct progress, in the name of keeping taxes down and reducing spending.

I must add that I want to reduce spending and pay lower taxes, but the reality often doesn’t allow me to do so. I could choose to pay less for gas and electricity, water and food, but because the companies involved are not my constituents, my family would indubitably have less air-conditioning and cook fewer meals on our electric range, find ourselves in a fight with the IRS or enjoy fewer municipal services, bathe less and enjoy an effortless diet.

However, the freshman Tea Partiers, who apparently are unaccustomed to the realities and ramifications of one-sided debt reduction, are collectively “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

I have always advocated a flat tax—5%, 10%, whatever. A wage-earner paying $250 - $2500 on his $25,000 feels the pinch a good deal more than the “job-creator” left with a mere $900,000--$950,000 of his $1,000,000 or $1800,000-$1900,000 of his $2,000,000. Yet, not only do they succeed with repeating the potato-potatoe (Well, Dan Quayle would appreciate it (but they also have a few hundred demonstrators on the Mall encouraging them to hold that line. Millionaires (with private jets), though, are characterized s job creators (were that so, it seems, our economic situation would be better.)

And the swaggering little cockerels are too busy puffing out their poultry chests and crowing that they are doing the People’s work, following the implicit orders in their election, without questioning whether the People really agree with their intransigence and obstructionism and maybe, put the People before their own posturing and political ambition.

Everyone knows how this debt ceiling crisis will end: The debt ceiling will be raised and crisis averted and no matter how that resolution jibes with TP objectives, they will stand atop the Capitol (metaphorically, mind you), capes billowing behind them and TP write boldly in crimson on their expanded chests as they gaze out over the country they have hijacked by holding their breath and stamping their feet…sometimes metaphorically…to demonstrate that they could.

All they are proving is that they are unfit to serve in Congress. And this time, I will be among those eager to throw the scoundrels out. Maybe they could stand for election when they prove that they have matured, at least into the admittedly “wise fools” we know as sophomores.


(Eric Cantor)
(Eric Cantor)

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