Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Facing the Reality of Political Warfare in 2011--And Why It's Important



The demagogic thugs, bullies, and gangsters who run and control the Republican Party are as usual out to destroy us all in the name and at the behest of the super wealthy elites and are more determined than ever that structural and institutional forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism, and corporate domination rule the country with an iron fist. All these venal politicians need to succeed is electoral complicity and consensus by millions of reactionary, braindead, and largely bigoted and predominately white American poor, working, and middle class citizens who wouldn't know how to vote in their own objective political and economic self interest if their lives depended on it--- which tragically and not so ironically enough it actually does. So the real challenge for the many millions of the rest of us who don't subscribe to or support the blatant greed, hatred, mendacity, authoritarianism, and hypocrisy of the Right is to not cave in to and be shamelessly intimidated by these political cretins and their economic/ideological sponsors and benefactors. What that is going to require from us more than anything from this point on is real courage, commitment, and a sustained, well organized tenacity and insistence on an alternative vision that will systematically DEMAND of ourselves, the President, and Congress that we not be assaulted, exploited, defamed and openly subjected to contempt, ridicule, condescension, and abandonment by our government and other major social, cultural, and economic institutions. In other words: This is WAR and anyone who thinks that the phantoms and delusions of "bipartisanship" and unilateral "compromise" (read: abject submission) is not only fooling themselves but are ensuring that the Republican rightwing agenda will ultimately triumph in 2011 and far beyond on a massive scale that will make what the deadly criminals of the Bushwhacker regime did from 2000-2008 look like--dare I say it!--a mere tea party...



Get Ready for a G.O.P. Rerun
January 3, 2011
New York Times

You just can’t close the door on this crowd. The party that brought us the worst economy since the Great Depression, that led us into Iraq and the worst foreign policy disaster in American history, that would like to take a hammer to Social Security and a chisel to Medicare, is back in control of the House of Representatives with the expressed mission of undermining all things Obama.

Damon Winter/The New York Times
Bob Herbert

Once we had Dick Cheney telling us that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and belligerently asserting that deficits don’t matter. We had Phil Gramm, Enron’s favorite senator and John McCain’s economic guru, blithely assuring us in 2008 that we were suffering from a “mental recession.”

(Mr. Gramm was some piece of work. A champion of deregulation, he was disdainful of ordinary people. “We’re the only nation in the world,” he once said, “where all of our poor people are fat.”)

Maybe the voters missed the entertainment value of the hard-hearted, compulsively destructive G.O.P. headliners. Maybe they viewed them the way audiences saw the larger-than-life villains in old-time melodramas. It must be something like that because it’s awfully hard to miss the actual policies of a gang that almost wrecked the country.

In any event, the G.O.P. has taken its place once again as the House majority and is vowing to do what it does best, which is make somebody miserable — in this case, President Obama. Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is now chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said recently on the Rush Limbaugh program that Mr. Obama was “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” He backed off a little on Sunday, saying that what he really thinks is that Mr. Obama is presiding over “one of the most corrupt administrations.”

This is the attitude of a man who has the power of subpoena and plans to conduct hundreds of hearings into the administration’s activities.

The mantra for Mr. Issa and the rest of the newly empowered Republicans in the House, including the new Budget Committee chairman, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is to cut spending and shrink government. But what’s really coming are patented G.O.P. efforts to spread misery beyond Mr. Obama and the Democrats to ordinary Americans struggling in what are still very difficult times.

It was ever thus. The fundamental mission of the G.O.P. is to shovel ever more money to those who are already rich. That’s why you got all that disgracefully phony rhetoric from Republicans about attacking budget deficits and embracing austerity while at the same time they were fighting like mad people to pile up the better part of a trillion dollars in new debt by extending the Bush tax cuts.

This is a party that has mastered the art of taking from the poor and the middle class and giving to the rich. We should at least be clear about this and stop being repeatedly hoodwinked — like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football — by G.O.P. claims of fiscal responsibility.

There’s a reason the G.O.P. reveres Ronald Reagan and it’s not because of his fiscal probity. As Garry Wills wrote in “Reagan’s America”:

“Reagan nearly tripled the deficit in his eight years, and never made a realistic proposal for cutting it. As the biographer Lou Cannon noted, it was unfair for critics to say that Reagan was trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, since ‘he never seriously attempted to balance the budget at all.’ ”

We’ll see and hear a lot of populist foolishness from the Republicans as 2011 and 2012 unfold, but their underlying motivation is always the same. They are about making the rich richer. Thus it was not at all surprising to read on Politico that the new head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton of Michigan, had hired a former big-time lobbyist for the hospital and pharmaceuticals industries to oversee health care issues.

I remember President Bush going on television in September 2008, looking almost dazed as he said to the American people, “Our entire economy is in danger.”

Have we forgotten already who put us in such grave peril? Republicans benefit from the fact that memories are short and statutes of limitations shorter. It was the Republican leader in the House, Tom DeLay, who insisted against all reason and all the evidence of history that “nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes.”

But that’s all water under the bridge. The Republicans are back in control of the House, ready to run interference for the rich as recklessly and belligerently as ever.