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The GOP Abdication

Updated on December 14, 2011

A Cynical Guide to Throwing the Public Under the Bus for Political Gain

....Must....destroy....Obama......must....destroy..... | Source

...Or How They Learned to Hate Governing Without Really Trying

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If Obama’s approach is anachronistic, imaginatively wanting, and ineffective, the Republicans are decidedly worse. The strategy they’ve devised is a three-pronged approach that involves slashing budgets, refusing to tax the wealthy, and attempting to demonize all forms of government regulation.

In other words, the Republicans hate government and its assumed functions and are abdicating them. Putting the GOP in charge of governing would be akin to letting a child molester baby-sit your kids and later wondering why it didn’t go well. The Republicans openly mock and loathe the very job they’re asking for. Under the insidious influence of the Tea Party (heretofore referred to as Tea Baggers), the GOP has morphed into a party of pseudo-anarchy, espousing no government action whatsoever. The undoing of government, the gutting of federal programs (see Medicaid $ to the states as but one example), and federal regulation is not only their trump card, but the only cards in their deck.

The abdication of governing responsibility is shocking. Government exists largely to fulfill its oversight role; making sure businesses operate fairly (no monopolies), safely (no toxic dumping, no unsafe machinery), pay their taxes (so services operate), and so on. Slashing budgets requires no leadership, no imagination, no problem-solving skills. It punishes the most vulnerable and rewards the most privileged. In short, it's void of morality during an economic meltdown where the middle and lower classes are being battered and yet the Republicans seem bent on promoting as harrowing a Social Darwinistic reality as possible.

This country has embraced the graduated taxation since the 16th Amendment established the federal income tax some ninety years ago. The more you earn, the higher percentage of tax you pay. The Republicans are fixated on having the rich pay a far lower proportion of their earnings for some reason, and then call it "class warfare" when Obama points this out. The reason they extoll for not ending the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy is that the rich create jobs. However, those tax cuts went in place in 2002 and we’re still waiting for that influx of job creation to occur. In the ensuing decade, jobs have instead flooded out of this economy while the wealth gap between the rich and poor has hit record margins. The “trickle down” approach has never worked toward job creation and isn’t working now. Warren Buffett, the wealthiest man in America with a fortune valued at some $47 billion, has said that he isn’t taxed enough compared to his office workers who pay a far higher percentage in actual taxes. (Note: Buffett’s employees pay income tax whereas the wealthiest Americans like Buffett gain money through investments rather than income and thus pay capital gains tax on their earnings. The capital gains tax is capped at 15 percent currently. Buffett contends it should be significantly higher.)

I doubt the GOP actually thinks that trickle down economics will create jobs. I seriously doubt that they want to actually create jobs any time before next November. Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the GOPs leader in the Senate, gave the game away in 2010 when he said that his primary political goal was to see that Obama was a one-term president. That was at the top of his list, as he clarified to an incredulous reporter, above creating jobs, improving the economy, national security, anything else. The monomania that the GOP and Fox News types have about Obama apparently also precludes the desire to govern. So the proposed slash-and-burn economic proposals during a quasi-depression are bound to only further stifle and divide, And the GOP knows it.

The Nevada Syndrome

Exhibit A that the Republicans' shallow plan of slashing taxes and gutting regulation won’t fix the economy is Nevada. That state has the lowest income tax rates in the U.S. and extremely lax environmental regulations. (Nevada has been a GOP stronghold for awhile now.) Yet, Nevada’s unemployment rate stands at 14 percent, five percent higher than the national rate, and its home foreclosure rate is the highest in the country. The ideologically and morally bankrupt “cut everything” philosophy will serve the Republicans well though, because playing the blame game, trying to deflect all manner of bad repute onto Obama, Pelosi, and their ilk in the hopes of capturing the White House and the Congress is the party’s only goal.


The Democrats aren’t the answer, though. They are as bad in their own way as the Republicans and have been just as partisan-obstructionist when it suited their interests. Gridlock is the game, not governing. The Republicans are just more cynically open to admitting it. In the name of sabotaging Obama, they’ve cost the country its superior bond rating. They refuse to extend the payroll tax deduction for working Americans [because they won’t tax billionaires to pay for it, they say.] The ‘supercommittee’ created out of the self-inflicted debt ceiling fiasco, also failed to reach any compromise on budget cuts and taxation, leading to another gridlocked failure. Finally, the GOP refuses to endorse even the parts of Obama’s current jobs bill that they themselves had initially proposed.

James Madison, the main architect of the Constitution, viewed parties with suspicion and disdain. He envisioned them as toxic for the good of the country as a whole. Smart guy, but the main problem isn’t political parties in general, but rather the two-party system specifically. With no viable political alternative, the American electorate is held hostage by the asinine partisan whims of the Democrats and Republicans as election cycles loom.

Take This or Take Something Worse

A third option, whether that’s a party and an associated movement, must exist for this system to function. Logically, this movement would be either moderate-pragmatic-common sense based or truly positioned to the left of the Democrats, who despite the inane rantings of the Glenn Beck lunatic fringe, aren’t anywhere close to “Socialists.” Most of their views are rather similar to the GOP’s. It’s hard to envision this third movement being to the right of the GOP given its current ‘tea party’ inclinations. (What's to the right of Mitch McConnell, the Aryan Brotherhood?)

A viable third option would, by definition, end the confrontational gridlock and sabotage politics that now dominate Washington. Neither major party would be able to behave irrationally, knowing that an electable, critic-watchdog party could take votes, seats, federal funding and campaign contributions from them. The Republicans and Democrats would have a rival both in front of them and behind them, and the American people would have enhanced democracy and an actual choice.

“It’ll Never Happen/ It can’t work.”

This will be the inevitable message from the major parties and their minions in the media, but ask yourself why it can’t work. Regular people have the power to organize and wield great influence – both the Tea Baggers and the OWS movements illustrate this point clearly. The British voters broke the stranglehold of their two major parties – the Conservative and New Labour – in 2010 by forcing a coalition government of the right-of-center Conservative Party and the leftist third-party Liberal Democrats. This odd coupling has created a curious marriage within the government, forcing creative approaches and compromise. The British people don’t possess an extra gene of intelligence, insight, or perseverance that Americans lack. They simply used their votes and made it happen. Powerful and moneyed interests will inevitably do everything in their power to kill a third option movement. They already do in fact, by limiting ballot access, requiring signatures to field candidates, banning third-party candidates from debates, and denying them federal campaign funding. These obstacles can be overcome and are worth fighting against. If change can’t be achieved politically, it will almost certainly come through more divisive and destructive means.

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    • keithmitchell5 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Otis: Agree w/ all your basic assertions re. Americans and American Idol, the parties, and so on. I think you and I are more common than we imagine, however. At least, I hope so. It's obvious that the 'majors' have no interest in changing the status quo, so we have to change it for them.

    • profile image

      Otis Tharp 

      6 years ago

      Hoping for a third party option is admirable. The actual electing of a third party is, most likely, impossible. The American people, as a whole, have no interest in voting for anything that makes sense. This is largely due to the fact that they have been spoon fed their politics by the major two parties for generations, and have been told what to believe based on who their parents are and where they live. The unfortunate thing, something you touched on in a response, is that most Americans simply do not care enough to be informed about who they are voting for. Or worse, simply do not care enough to vote. For most Americans, should they actually go to the polls, they simply choose to elect the candidate that sounds "the shiniest." Which is to say that they elect whomever seems to be promising them a better life. Obama was the candidate of "change" in 2008. People didn't like the way things were going, so Obama wins the election. Now Obama has not done anything in office except bankrupt the country and authorize the action to kill Osama Bin Laden, so Americans think we need a new candidate (which we do). Unfortunately, that is where their thought process stops. They are spoon fed a series of Republican candidates that espouse the need for a change in government (never mind that the presidency is only one branch of the government and is unable to do anything on his own), and proceed to tell you why you should be afraid of what the Dems are doing. They are, as you said, the only voice that people hear because they are the only ones with the ability to talk freely and openly thanks to the stranglehold that the two parties have on the media. So, Americans will blindly follow this trend and vote more Republicans back in to power whose only real interest is in keeping their jobs and telling you why you should be afraid of what the other side is doing.

      This, unfortunately, is exactly what the government of the United States of America is after. Since the time of FDR, the government has been taking steps to ensure that each future generation is slightly more dependent on the federal government (or state government, which relies on federal subsidies...) than the generation before them. This makes them easier to control. We are quickly coming to the day when we will lose all control in this country. We are practically there now. We, as a people, have consistantly told our elected officials, "No, that's okay... you think for us and tell us what we should do next." The average American is more interested in who is winning American Idol than who is winning the American presidency, and the federal government wouldn't have it any other way. Republicans and Democrats are really two sides of the same coin. They are only divided by positions on a handful of issues. You are right, KM. We need a third party of pragmatic and innovative thinkers. Unfortunately, it will most likely require a revolution to make that happen. We have the ability to affect the change peacefully, but history has shown that it takes an act of unspeakable violence to get the American people to wake up long enough to turn off Survivor and fend for themselves.

    • keithmitchell5 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Indianapolis

      The Lib-Dem/ Tory coalition is less than ideal (less than logical), but it beats the alternative of no choice whatsoever. It's like in Mexico with the PRD, PRI, and PAN...options abound for more fluid change or bolder governing combinations than merely cynical, frustrating gridlock. The bastard GOP TeaBaggers who just killed the payroll tax break illustrate this. Congress is hated by the American populace and the Teabaggers realize most of the public isn't interested enough/ astute enough to know the difference between "House Republicans" as opposed to 'politician in Congress' period. They will paint the Democrats with the same brush strokes, in a metaphorical attempt to commit 'congressional suicide.' To me, it's either a third option of some sort or street action that bypasses politics altogether and makes the OWS movement look like a 4th of July parade. We're closer to a precipice than many think, I would contend.

    • Timmymorgan1129 profile image


      6 years ago from Indianapolis, IN

      Hey man...this was a good read. I like when you write about politics; I think it was too taboo a subject at Scecina for me to really get a picture of what you think. I don't think coalition government/3 party or more system is the answer, at least not in the United States. I like the way it has worked in the UK in the past, but with Nick Clegg and the lib dems entering the coalition, my faith in the power of a third party has shattered.

      I don't think Clegg should have entered the coalition. He should have forced the hand of the Torries -- they soon would have had to call for another election I think. And although the torries would probably snatch up an outright majority had there been another election, it would have left Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems in a better position to be a more powerful and influential watchdog. I know the lib dems have been starving for some real power throughout their entire history, and with the 2010 election they saw their opportunity to grab it. However, I think it was too soon. They don't want this coalition, and their supporters sure as hell don't want it. Now Nick Clegg is in the awkward position of having presided over a number of unpopular austerity measures, whether he went along quietly or not, and his party will suffer for it. I think this third party power in the UK will be over quicker than it began come the next election.

    • keithmitchell5 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Indianapolis

      Jon, great to hear from you. It might be what they're proposing, but what's that matter if any compromise on raising revenues (or other salient issues) is off the table. And who who are the GOP going to form this coalition with? What electable third option are they approaching? And the Tea Party House frosh element seems to hold the rest of the party hostage anyway. If Boehner wanted such a pragmatic coalition, his own party would never allow it - they didn't listen to him over the Debt Ceiling, for instance.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Keith: the Conservative - New Labor coalition is doing in the UK what Republicans are proposing in the US.

    • profile image

      Angie Jones 

      7 years ago

      Las Vegas is a good example of the 'bubble market.' Late 90's early 2000's it was as easy to get a mortgage as it was to pick up gum at the grocery store. Zero % down, though, meant borrowing against the equity and being upside down before you moved a singe piece of funiture in. Then the economy went south. Without equity to borrow against most of these people lost their homes. Unfair lending, selling people a dream they couldn't afford, is the reason. It's sad really. Indy is the #4 market for foreclosure, but as a state IN doesn't even make the top 10. Interesting. The 2 party system just doesn't work...there has to be a better way.


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