It has only been a few short weeks of the Obama administration, but it is already beginning to seem excruciatingly redundant to note that the Republican-led Washington which in the past created the problems Obama is currently charged with solving has zero credibility when it comes to challenging Obama’s sense of fiscal responsibility in crafting the stimulus package they’ve been emoting over this past week. Still it remains rather difficult to initiate most sentences on the topic without having to at least mention the 8 trillion dollar elephant in the room.
Just to recap: First Republicans spent us through the last eight years like crack heads with credit cards, wiping out a budget surplus and doubling the national debt. Among other achievements, their gargantuan tax cuts slashed revenue making it impossible for government to ever again afford a surplus, much less meet its expenditures without borrowing money.
Republicans then bloated the size and complexity of the federal government by creating our biggest single bureaucracy, the Dept. of Homeland Security; and they did it by spending even more of that good old borrowed money. They also vastly expanded military spending at the same time they were cutting revenues to pay for them; and then went the extra mile and bought themselves an estimated three trillion dollar war that arrived damaged goods and remains broken. How was this afforded? Same deal, debt. Trillions in debt. What was purchased? Death and fear and tax cuts, the GOP troika.
Now out of power, the GOP, with all the honor due any gaggle of reformed whores, glance askance at that spend crazy Obama who wants to waste your children’s inheritance over silly things like schools.
Of course, ever a portrait of restraint, Obama didn’t go into such details when he chided the GOP during his first primetime scheduled press conference Monday February 9, 2009. But even President Obama himself repeatedly felt impelled to utter the “lack of credibility” epithet in what amounted to a Stimulus Package Monday Night Halftime Show. Those few cutting and a couple of other thoroughly accountable remarks aimed the GOP record was as far as the newly embattled but not perceptibly bloodied Obama ventured into the realm of calling the elephants out for the rats they’ve been.
Obama was so generous that he barely noted that by squandering their first opportunity at seriously reversing some of the disasters they’d knowingly created over the last dozen years, Congressional Republicans, with their mudslinging and hand-wringing song and dance over the Stimulus Package this past weekend, showed themselves, and not the Democrats, to be the Asses.
However, having shifted through hours of CSPAN Senate coverage of the detritus of lame Republican attempts at shape shifting the issue from “them as the scumbags and Obama fixing the mess they made” to “them as the heroes because they insist they get to make a mess once again,” I, on the other hand, am far less inclined to be polite. I say, why even give the GOP the benefit of a doubt, and I am ready to rule that based on the evidence we have in our possession the GOP has declared war. God knows the GOP loves wars, except this time it’s on you.
Guided as ever by stalwart Republican chief economic adviser, Herbert Hoover, GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell, John Thune, David Vitter, and Arizona’s twin disgraces, Jon Kyl and John McCain, tried to dismiss the crisis and the need for action and resorted to the kinds of artless rhetoric and twisted data that would’ve made a Bush blush. McConnell opted for the conveniently current, though thoroughly erroneous rewriting of history that seeks to discredit FDR and the New Deal. McConnell insists that it was only the war, WWII that is, that saved America from the Great Depression. While saying this McConnell failed to either offer Americans a fresh war to die in for the cause of national economic health, or to acknowledge that the “shoot an Arab for oil” type war he’s already bought us couldn’t chase Al Qaeda from a wet paper burqa.
Of course, that war, the holy American/Christian war neocons and evangelicals promote, as bad as it is, is not the GOP war that has me most concerned. I am much more worried about the GOP’s war against US, the one they seem to be winning.
It’s not surprising that the GOP could go to war against our own people. As Milo Minderbender showed in Catch-22 the most profitable war is the one you get the people to wage against themselves, it eliminates the middle man. Somehow, despite discrediting themselves at a rate of 8 times per sentence every day since back when Reagan used to claim to be your friend by claiming that the federal government, of which he was the head of, was your enemy, the GOP has again and again turned the American people against themselves.
The actual war declaration came in the May 14, 2001 posting of The Nation, when top GOP strategist Grover Norquist was publicly quoted saying, "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years … to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." Well since the Constitution explicitly states that among the purposes of government are to promote the general welfare and tranquility, any plans that destroy or weaken our national capacity to do so are by definition treasonous.
Thus the hidden beauty and actual purpose of the GOP tax cut, which is widely acknowledged to not do much economic stimulus good--tax cuts aren’t meant to do our country good, they’re meant to destroy it. What tax cuts do is shrink the budget of the government thus imperiling it when it attempts to maintain a stable budget, thus also weakening it when it deals to deal with expanding populations or expanding problems. No project can long be fully funded or committed to, no matter what its success, as long as some Repug thinks they can appeal to American greed by calling for a tax cut.
The term tax cut, ultimately means budget cut, especially if you create your currency from bragging about not going into debt. The rhetoric about letting people keep their money in their pockets has a hollow ring when one considers all the things our government does poorly because the GOP insists on saving you money.
But, like Obama, I too am an eternal optimist. Just as he gave a hint that there might yet be some truth and justice regarding the GOP backed Bush junta when asked about Patrick Leahy’s move to establish such a commission, Obama also gave a hint he was aware of the Republicans war of attrition against the republic. Following the lead of Arizona’s state Republican which the week before slashed its state ed budget despite widespread protest, the US Senate GOP managed to claim they were doing America a favor by cutting over forty billion from education out of the Stimulus package, called it a waste of time and money--educating your children that is.
But Obama let slip he understands that with their latest press to not educate our public, the GOP war of rhetoric had risen to a shooting war, when he acknowledged, “There have been [those] on the Republican side or the conservative side who said, "No matter how much money you spend, nothing makes a difference, so let's just blow up the public school systems."
Of course Obama was joshing, just engaging in hyperbole. Me, I’m not so sure. The way they work against our country it is hard to tell where the joke ends and the killing begins.
--mikel weisser writes from the left coast of AZ.