What a riveting spectacle – the slow and horrid march to potential government shutdown. John Boehner looks haggard as he runs between the White House and the Tea Party Caucus. He knows what they are writing about him on Politico – that he is the creature of the Tea Party now. The Speaker has no real power anymore; it’s all in the hands of these new, uncompromising hotheads.
At first, the Tea Party Caucus insists that there must be drastic cuts to pay down the deficit – $100 billion, at the very least. “Impossible!” cry the Democrats. So for weeks they bicker, as the shutdown deadline looms closer. But then, we hear rumors of progress. They’ve agreed to a figure – $33 billion. It’s much less than the original 100, but still so much that it angers many Obama supporters. Still, they are making progress.
Suddenly, a new snag. Riders! The Tea Party insists on riders involving social issues. They want to eliminate Planned Parenthood. They want to stop the Federal Government from measuring greenhouse gasses. “No!” cry the Democrats. “These are core principles. We will not budge on these.” The deadline for the government shutdown is mere days away.
The President, the Senate Leader, and the Speaker huddle together in the early Spring evenings. But the Speaker explains that he cannot get the Tea Party to budge. They are adamant. They insist on these terms.
There is less than 24 hours now before the government shuts down. The president addresses the nation. He says that he expects an answer from the Republicans by the morning. He believes that there may still be a compromise possible.
But the GOP is not going to compromise. They want the government shut down. It has nothing to do with the deficit. It doesn’t even have that much to do with the social issues. It’s all politics – Presidential politics. They’ve calculated the odds. The odds are that this shutdown has put Obama in a political nutcracker. It can crush his hopes of re-election next year.
The GOP doesn’t even care if they get blamed for the shutdown – they want to hurt Obama that much more. Making him small is the only way they can beat him. Here is the way it works:
If the shutdown continues long enough, the country falls deeper into recession. Obama laid it all out for us tonight. Housing sales, weak already, slow even more as loans are delayed and mortgages can’t get processed. Small business loan processing is halted. All sorts of services cease.
Even worse, 800,000 people are suddenly out of work, and have no income. Talk about a drag on the economy! They can’t even qualify for the pittance that unemployment would give them. Spending is contracted, and that has a ripple effect. Obama is deprived off even the modest recovery he had. Soon, his polls drop below 40%.
But what if Obama realizes that he can’t let the economy collapse? He’s the one to give in, to compromise. The Tea Party makes him their bitch. He gives up Planned Parenthood – and betrays women. He gives up testing for greenhouse gases – and betrays environmentalists and believers in global warming. His support groups are furious. Obama has behaved treacherously, giving in to the Republicans like he always does. He has played them for the fool the last time! They won’t vote for him. They certainly won’t campaign for, or work work for him. There won’t be any great “people-powered” surge to defeat the Right’s advertising juggernaut in 2012.
Either way, Obama is screwed.
To top it off, look at the political hay the Republican leaders, and the Tea Party Caucus in the House, make within their own base. They are the guys who shut down the hated government, who schooled the Democrats. The Kochs love them, because they have fought for, and perhaps delivered, on continued improved regulatory conditions for their business interests. Conservative global warming deniers love them. Anti-environmentalists love them. Anti-abortionists love them. Evangelical Christians love them. They’ve delighted a huge swath of their base – AND achieved their boss’s goals. They get money and happy foot soldiers, which will both come in mighty handy now that election season has really started. It’s even turned out positively for John Boehner, who played his part of beleaguered errand boy perfectly. The base knows Boehner came through for them, and now he has their trust.
This is a win-win from GOP point of view. They won’t budge on the budge – not unless public opinion turns against the entire Republican Party, and fiercely.
This government shutdown is a crass and shallow political trick on the part of the GOP, who are cynically hiding behind their “useful idiots” of the Tea Party. It goes without saying the the Republicans don’t care about hurting people; of course, they have no qualms about misery this shutdown will create. But this incident reveals even more: they do not care about their supporters, either. All they truly focus on is the long-term plan to win politically.
The long-term political win is, of course, nothing more than the subjugation of the entire American populace beneath the “iron heel”.
“The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor. As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully-restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”. – Grover Cleveland, 1889