I have four things for you to choose from. If you’re at all delicate, like I am, I’d suggest attempting to process no more than two in one one sitting…
ONE: Footage of my Congressman, John Dingell, the longest serving member of the House of Representatives, calling out his “petulant and small-minded” Republican colleagues for their “shameless miserable behavior,” saying it’s like nothing he’s seen in his 57 years in Congress. You’d get better governance from the inhabitants of “monkey island” at your local zoo, the frustrated and clearly embarrassed Congressman says.
TWO: Footage of Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, on the floor of the House, inquiring as to why the rules of that legislative body had been changed by Republicans just prior to the government shutdown, so as to make it impossible for anyone other than the Speaker of the House, a Republican, to put forward a resolution asking for a vote on a Senate bill, essentially making it impossible for a Democrat to call a vote to restore government funding. “Normally an individual lawmaker would be able to force a vote on a bill where there is a dispute between the House and Senate,” explains the Washington Post, “but on Oct. 1, House Republicans passed a resolution, H. Res. 368, altering the rules to make that impossible.” The rules, in other words, were “rigged” to keep the government shut down. And “rigged” was the word that Van Hollen used on the floor of the House. He also made the observation that, “Democracy has been suspended.”
THREE: Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, when asked whether or not he would allow the government to default on its debt come October 17, said that it wasn’t up to the Republicans, who had initiated the shutdown and changed the rules of the House so as to keep a new funding bill from coming to a vote. No, he said, the responsible party, should the shutdown lead to our economic collapse, wouldn’t be the Republicans in the House, but Obama, who deliberately made a choice not to give them what they, like petulant children, were demanding. When asked what should happen to Obama, should this all come to pass, Gohmert said the default would constitute “an impeachable offense by the President.” So, not only would it be the President’s fault for not stopping the Republicans from sending our country into bankruptcy, but, if that’s what happens, they feel as though he should be impeached for it… If you didn’t think they were delusional before, I hope it’s finally starting to sink in.
FOUR: According to some, there’s no willingness on the part of the Republicans who brought all of this to pass to see it come to an end, because what they really want is an epic “good vs. evil” showdown, even if it means bankrupting our nation and bringing on a global financial crisis. Here, with more on that, is a disturbing clip from Think Progress.
…According to a remarkable Democracy Corps memo detailing the results of several Republican focus groups… Evangelical Republicans believe their culture is systematically being destroyed by an alliance of Hollywood, Washington, and public schools. Meanwhile, Tea Partiers believe that freedom itself will soon be extinct in the United States. Together, the Republicans who believe that Obama’s banishing God and those who believe he’s banished liberty make up the most dangerous of armies — the kind that believes it must fight to the end or be vanquished completely. And Ted Cruz is the general leading them to their final stand.
The vision Cruz paints in his Values Voters speech would terrify most Republicans. Members of the U.S. military face discipline if they “share their faith” with their fellow servicemembers. Obamacare forces Christian charities to pay for abortions. States rights have been “cut out of every copy of the Constitution in the Library of Congress.” And, of course, “no administration in the history of this country has ever come after guns like this administration.”
The thin red line opposing this assault on faith and liberty, according to Cruz, is the men and women gathered before him at the Summit. “Each of you is called to be here,” he tells the assembled conservatives. And then he compares them to Esther, a Biblical heroine who saved the Jews from genocide.
Any suggestion that Barack Obama compares to Haman the Agagite, the villain from the Book of Esther, is offensive. Yet, to Ted Cruz, America faces a millennial struggle with the President of the United States cast in the role of Nicolae Carpathia. “We have a couple of years to turn this country around or we go off the cliff to oblivion,” Cruz warns. History has seen “great nations rise and fall,” and America sits on the precipice at the edge of paradise.
This vision of America as Jerusalem surrounded by Roman soldiers, or perhaps as Rome itself beset by barbarians, is alien to most Americans. Yet, as the Democracy Corps memo lays out, a similarly apocalyptic vision animates much of the Republican Party base. “[T]he base thinks they are losing politically and losing control of the country,” the memo explains. To many Republicans, the Constitution itself is on the verge of dying, and Obama has already “won his socialist agenda.”
Conservative evangelicals and Tea Partiers, who make up a a third and a fifth of the Republican base, respectively, each have their own reasons to believe that America is approaching its endtime. Evangelical Republicans, according to the memo, perceive themselves as besieged by a culture demanding that they give up their guns and grant equal dignity to LGBT Americans. “We’re having to realize,” one evangelical man lamented, “that we’re going to be in a very politically incorrect minority pretty soon.” Worse than just a minority, rural evangelicals are a despised majority in the eyes of the new ruling class. To President Obama, another evangelical claims, “we’re all a bunch of racist, gun-clinging, flyover state, cowboy-hat wearing yokels.” People who “didn’t go to Harvard,” people who aren’t from “New York,” and those who “go to church” and “like our Bibles” have no place in the emerging America. And their place’s been given away to something they perceive as quite alien…
How do you negotiate in good faith with people who honestly feel that the democratically elected President of our country is illegitimate? How can you take seriously the opinions of those who claim to know, as Michele Bachmann has recently said, that the biblical “end times” are upon us? How can we be expected to find common ground with a sect that feels as though it’s acceptable to hold the nation hostage because they don’t like a piece of legislation that was passed by the Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court?
I asked you all a few days ago to call Michigan’s Republican members of the House, all of whom voted to shut the government down. It may be too little, too late, but, at this point, I’m not sure what other options we have available to us. All we can possibly do, as I see it, is appeal to the intellect of those Republican legislators who are somewhat less inclined to buy into the nonsense of Cruz and Bachmann, and help them to see that they won’t be served well by continuing to honor this suicide pact they’ve entered into. At least it seems to me that the only chance we have to avoid catastrophe is to get the remaining sane members of the Republican party to come together as one, and force Boehner to tell the American people the truth – that their party has been overrun with lunatics who don’t want to live under the same rules and laws that have served us so well these past few hundred years.
Sadly, though, that’s not likely to happen. The sane Republicans, if you can call them that, don’t seem willing… at least not yet… to accept the costs associated with undergoing a public exorcism.
If there were a way to guarantee them that they’d still be able to retain their power afterward, I’m sure they’d go for it in a heartbeat. But they know that, without the Tea Party, and the corporate money and grassroots enthusiasm that come along with it, their party is destined for the ash heap of history. And, as much as they might love their country, they love power more. So, for the time being, they’ll continue to delude themselves that they can somehow harness the power of the Tea Party, without being destroyed by it. The evidence would suggest otherwise, however…
One would hope that it’s finally getting through to them that this monster they’ve created will ultimately kill them, but I’m losing hope.