Out standing in my field

ImageUnusual times I find myself in of late.  My view on several issues is well-represented in the opinions expressed in Congress and among the public in general, even if it is not necessarily shared by the majority.  As an example, on the Affordable Care Act, while certain provisions are useful and I’m glad they were included, I am overall opposed to it and believe it should be repealed.  On the legality of President Obama’s actions as Commander-in-Chief, I believe that the President has committed impeachable offenses, and would be in favor of articles to that effect being drawn up and debated in the House of Representatives.  Both of these stances should place me squarely within the ideological grounds of Congressional Republicans, and perhaps within their vocal “Tea Party” minority.

However, dig a little deeper and things start to diverge rapidly.  I am opposed to the ACA because I believe it will raise premiums overall due to a lack of price controls, as happened when it was implemented in one of the states – by the President’s Republican opponent in the last election.  Who was opposed by Massachusetts Democrats, and championed by the Heritage Foundation, when he did so.  I also feel that there was a better plan offered – a Democratic House member, Rep. Grayson of Florida, introduced a measure to take an existing plan that majorities in both duopoly parties acknowledge is working well – namely, Medicare – and extend it to all U.S. citizens.  While the ACA was concocted into a confusing, bureaucratic muddle as the President finagled in order to get his own party on board (as opposed to the Republicans, none of whom voted for it at all), Congressman Grayson’s bill was five pages long.  The Democrats thanked Grayson by removing support for his re-election campaign.

As for the impeachment statement, the President has fully acknowledged the assassination of multiple U.S. citizens, who, in an Orwellian twist, were charged with crimes after their drone-launched killings.  They are based on secret kill lists which are drawn up by a committee operating from inside the Executive Branch, which reports to the President directly; no one knows the members of this committee, nor its methods of choosing, nor its methods of voting, if any, nor are its minutes acknowledged as being recorded anywhere, nor is there any record of review or oversight by another agency or branch of government…add to this the questionable legal grounds on which the U.S. bombed and invaded Libya during the overthrow of Muammar el-Qaddafi, and there are enough Constitutional violations which rise to the level of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” for an impeachment to proceed.

However, none of these details are acknowledged by the Republican Party, or especially its Tea Party tendency, in any but the most cursory way.

Their opposition to the ACA has been reduced to tantrums and theater; repeatedly voting to repeal or defund it without any amendments offered, without any alternative plans advanced, and without any goal but being a nuisance.  Their biggest objection to Obama’s overseas record, far from being anything unbecoming a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is Benghazi, a tragic embarrassment for the State Department resulting in four deaths, which is being dressed up in some somewhat desperate conspiracy theory and sounded in Two Minutes’ Hate fashion on Fox News partly to provide red meat for the viewers, but mostly in a ridiculously transparent and ultimately plainly futile attempt to pre-emptively derail the Presidential aspirations of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  (There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton for President.  In a similar note as above, I suspect that if she runs, the Republicans will concentrate ceaselessly on Benghazi, and the fact that she is a woman.  The effect is like watching a soldier brandish a rocket launcher in order to stop an armored vehicle – then instead of firing the weapon, the soldier turns it around, charges madly up to the tank, and pummels it with the stock end in a fit of rage.)

Others who wish to see the President impeached do so because they believe him to be a socialist, a Muslim, a falsifier of birth certificates, or similar idiocy that is still depressingly common among the Republican rank-and-file.  (To be honest, I also resent Democrats a bit for bringing up these nonsensical reasons for opposing President Obama – as if there are no reasons for sane people with a decent knowledge of public policy to oppose him.  It’s magical thinking at its worst.)

A common-sense political strategy would dictate that if I wished to achieve my political goals, I should find common cause with the Republicans, even if they are in outer space when compared to my views…but I really don’t see any way that I can.  Yes, I long ago chose a third party because I felt that having two choices in a country of over 300 million people was plainly too limiting on its face, without even considering the effects on ideology and policy of these two particular parties – but that’s not the main reason.

The Tea Party Republicans are in fact carrying out the wishes of their voters.  Countless “town hall” meetings during the most recent recess brought out Republicans who absolutely, frantically demanded that their representatives stop negotiating with the other party, or anyone or anything which wasn’t going to simply give them what they wanted.  While they successfully carved out their place in the Republican Party, they did so with hammers – and now, there was nothing left to do but look for nails.  Accordingly, several GOP Congresspersons chose to cut these meetings short, or avoid them altogether.

While it’s nowhere close to the same scale, I have seen similar behavior within the Green Party during my tenure in the leadership.  Those who suggested that Ralph Nader may wish to change his rhetoric after the 2000 election so that the Greens could elect candidates in down-ticket races free from Democratic rage were savagely attacked by old-line and in some cases authoritarian socialists, who insisted that the Democrats be attacked without ceasing – and without any true future plan.  “Compromise” and “nuance” became literal dirty words to this bloc, the subject of invective-filled screeds about the alternative candidate, David Cobb.  Because this was the Green Party – whose principles nominally included non-violence – this heavy-handed approach backfired, and Cobb took the nomination.

The Tea Party doesn’t seem to have that ideological firewall, however; the conservative activist’s need for an “Other” to hate and to blame fits very comfortably with the Tea Party’s dark populist rage.  No compromise is possible.  No one can stand alongside them (which is why I’m not trying).  The “other”, whatever it may be at the time, must be soundly and utterly rejected.  Really, this leaves one route open for the Tea Party and its Republican helpers: secession.  While there has in fact been some rhetoric in that direction – a recent speech by the Republican candidate for Attorney General in Texas, for example – this has been, to turn a phrase amusingly, the elephant in the room with regards to the Tea Party and the GOP.

I’ll certainly have more on this subject later…

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