Petulant, small-minded, and hoping to impeach the President before the rapture… the story of today’s GOP told in four chapters

    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.

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      31 Comments

      1. EOS
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

        FIVE: Democrats have a plan to continue adding to the national debt at record-breaking speed. They need a majority of both houses to accomplish this. The promise is, just like in the past, that as soon as the ceiling is raised they’ll tackle the budget, rein in the excess, and balance the budget. But experience has shown that they won’t and a significant number of elected representatives will not vote to further increase the debt.

        So what is the plan forward? Mark seems to think that ridiculing the personal beliefs of opponents will make them more willing to sacrifice their principled stand and cave. It’s not going to happen. All eyes are now on the Senate, where McCain and Graham think they can devise a plan that will get enough votes for expanding the debt if only they can secure a few meaningless concessions thrown in the mix. But they are no longer respected as leaders and won’t get the votes needed in the House.

        The only rational plan is to reduce the budget so that an expansion of the debt ceiling is no longer necessary. The only question is will they do it before we default?

      2. Posted October 16, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        Poor right wingers. They’ve never had it so bad.

      3. Demetrius
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

        Welcome to America’s strange new “Cold Civil War.”

      4. EOS
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        Actually, in my lifetime, the “right wingers” have never had a stronger voice. There may yet be hope to save this country. People are fed up with Congress. A conservative/libertarian coalition could run away with the next election.

      5. anonymous
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Republicans change the rules of the House to keep a funding bill from being brought to the floor, and somehow Obama is at fault for the shutdown. The logic escapes me.

      6. John Galt
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        If Obama loved this country, he’d give us what we want. The fact that he doesn’t proves to me that he wants the United States to fail.

      7. Edward
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        A few years from now, when the House is controlled by the Democrats, you know that the Republicans will pitch a fit about that rule having been changed.

      8. Bob Reich by proxy
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Suppose a relatively small group financed by a handful of billionaires (1) takes over state governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority; (2) secretly bankrolls candidates for these safe seats who pledge to shrink and dismember the government; (3) then, once these candidates are elected, has them shut down the government in order to repeal or amend laws the plotters dislike; (4) then forces the nation to default on its debts and thereby throws the economy into a tailspin in order to get their way; and (5) runs a vast PR campaign to convince the American public of big lies about laws the plotters dislike or policies they seek. Would you call this an attempted coup d’etat? If not, what would you call it? And what would you do about it?

      9. Stupid Hick
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        @EOS: on this blog I value your comments more than anyone else’s (except perhaps for John Galt) and I ask you, with genuine respect: look with honest eyes at what the Republican party has become over the past 30 years, and tell me that in your lifetime the “right wingers” have never had a CRAZIER, and frankly, more desperate, voice. Do you think the right-wing posturing over the ACA and their government shutdown (yes, they own it, NOT Obama) strengthens the GOP? It doesn’t. We need to excise the CRAZIES, and rein in the rest.

      10. deleuzean
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Religious belief can be a positive thing.

        It has no place in US governance – hence the whole “separation of Church and State” thing in, you know: The US Constitution.

        This whole thing needs to come to a place where the “principled stand” being taken is to solve problems in the long term, instead of throwing fits and making doomsday pronouncements and speeches about “battles between good and evil” in the short term.

        The problems need to be solved based on guidance from historical precedent, statistical evidence, and research-supported economic theory rather than religious beliefs, conspiracy theory, and philosophical novels by Ayn Rand.

        Unfortunately the latter 3 make for much better TV than the former 3.

        The so-called “culture war” truly might bring this country down – or at least kill off a whole lot of its less fortunate citizens (many of whom likely won’t even know what hit them).

      11. Mr. X
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        All of this was inevitable. We could all see the demographic shift on the horizon. Is it any surprise that, with the decline of religiosity, the right would throw a tantrum, desperately hoping to hold on to power? Just as gay marriage was inevitable, so too was this conservative backlash. They don’t want change. They can’t accept it. The Taliban is the same way. They see girls going to school and they lose their shit. No one likes being made irrelevant. No one likes losing power. No one likes the unknown. But guess what? We’re headed into a future with more unknowns than ever before. The suburbs will likely disappear. Gas prices will likely continue to rise. Working condition will likely deteriorate as corporations grow more powerful. The surveillance state will likely grow stronger. And, with this change, the insanity will grow, on all sides.

      12. Meta
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Talking Points Memo says the Republicans are preparing to given in:

        Republicans demanded a king-size ransom and are poised to walk away with virtually nothing.

        The majority House GOP has flamed out, unable to settle on any proposal to lift the debt ceiling and avert a catastrophic default. And now, according to Senate sources, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has agreed to vote on a deal negotiated by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

        The expectation is the House will go first, the sources said, which would speed up the process of Senate passage by several days. Most House Republicans will probably vote against the bill, which means he’ll have to pass it with the support of Democrats — a move he has tried to so hard to avoid he shut down the government over it 16 days ago and has come within one day of hitting the debt ceiling deadline.

        “No decision has been made about how or when a potential Senate agreement could be voted on in the House,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner.

        The Senate deal lifts the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, re-opens the shuttered government through Jan. 15 and sets up bicameral budget conference tasked with sending policy recommendations by Dec. 13. It will include a provision to enforce a part of Obamacare where subsidy recipients have to verify their income eligibility first. It won’t include a previously considered plan to delay a reinsurance tax under the health care law. Ultimately neither side will make big concessions.

        “I don’t envy the position Speaker Boehner has been in but to allow it to come up for a vote and to get it resolved on behalf of the nation,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said Wednesday on CNN. Even if it lacks GOP support? “I know he’s been in a difficult position but we’re at the time when we have to get it done,” she said, “so I believe that he needs to bring it up for a vote.”

        The move would be a total surrender for Republicans, which had demanded a defunding of Obamacare (or at least a dismantling of it) to fund the government and a grab-bag of conservative goodies to lift the borrowing limit ahead of a Thursday deadline. The shutdown that took place on Oct. 1, egged on by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his arch-conservative allies, has badly damaged the GOP’s standing among voters, multiple polls show.

        Read more:
        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/gop-prepares-for-surrender-on-debt-ceiling-and-shutdown

      13. Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Gas prices had a quick run in the early 2000′s, dropped at the financial crash, rose again back to previous levels, and have been flat for quite some.

        It’s worth noting that autos get better mileage, and gas consumption is down over all. Really, gas prices are somewhat misleading. It would be better to look at how much money households are spending on gas every month. I’m not sure it rises proportionally with gas prices.

        Are you suggesting we go back to the bad old days of rampant fuel consumption of the late 90′s? I hope not.

        I don’t see it as a doomsday issue.

      14. Meta
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        The Houston Chronicle says they regret endorsing Cruz for Senate.

        http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Why-we-miss-Kay-Bailey-Hutchison-4898405.php

      15. Meta
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        From CNN:

        Formal announcement of a Senate deal to reopen the government and avoid a possible U.S. default will come at noon on the Senate floor, a Republican Senate aide told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

        Stocks rallied on the news.

        Earlier, GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte said Senate leaders had worked out a deal. “I understand that they’ve come to an agreement but I’m going to let the leader announce that,” Ayotte said.

        Both the House and Senate will have to take special steps to get a measure passed and to President Obama’s desk before the government’s ability to borrow money runs out on Thursday.

      16. EOS
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Stupid Hick,

        Thanks for your comments. I personally think the downfall of the Republican party happened when they abandoned their principles and started nominating moderates who they thought would be more likely to win elections. A candidate who is slightly to the right of the extreme liberal/socialist candidates does not appeal to me. Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney were losing propositions from the get-go. The Bushes were somewhat more conservative on the social issues, and G.W. played the evangelical vote, but they both spent enormous amounts of money and ran up the debt, second only to Obama. Bush even added prescription drug coverage to Medicare just in time for the Baby Boomers to take advantage of the new benefit and speed the insolvency of that program.

        I am a Conservative, not a Republican. I will vote for a Republican candidate only if they are actually conservative. Conservatives want less government and more individual responsibility. I won’t vote for a moderate as the lesser of two evils. I vote in every election and I register a vote for 3rd party candidates as a signal to the Republicans that they have abandoned their principles. If Rand Paul and Ted Cruz lead the Republican Party back to conservative principles then that would be a very good thing. If not, then our financial future is bleak. I think Lindsey Graham will be defeated in his next primary, and McCain should think seriously about retirement.

        I do think that those representatives who campaigned with promises to rein in the debt are winning the support and loyalty of their constituents by drawing a line in the sand and refusing to raise the debt limit. A democracy is a tyranny of the majority. 51% can do whatever they like. But a Constitutional Republic must adhere to the the written laws, the checks and balances of the three branches, and this administration can’t ignore the 49%. I would love to see the Senate Republicans compromise and then watch the House stand strong and reject it.

      17. toad hall
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        It looks like your fellow travelers are abandoning you, EOS. Apparently they don’t hate the Devil Obama as much as you do.

        “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says he will not hold up the deal cut by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and end the 16-day-old government shutdown. Cruz says there is “nothing to be gained” by delay though he still opposes the deal.” – WaPo

        I’m so sorry for you that you won’t see the armageddon you were hoping for. Better luck next time.

      18. Demetrius
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        As the deal seems to be shaping up, even if it passes, we’re still in for “Debt Limit 2: Electric Boogaloo” only a few months from now … just as the 2014 Primary Election races are beginning to heat up.

        So basically, instead of spending their time tackling education, job creation, or global climate change, etc., the day after this is passed our politicians (on both sides) will immediately begin working overtime on figuring out ways to turn the ongoing struggle over whether (or not) to pay the nations bills to their political advantage.

      19. EOS
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Too bad. Every time we increase the debt, Armageddon is a little closer.

      20. toad hall
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t that what you want, EOS? You can be truthful with us. Don’t you want a word war to end all world wars, so that Jesus will come back and take you to his mansion in the sky?

      21. EOS
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Actually, every day is one day closer to Armageddon. No one knows when it will happen. No one can do anything to speed it up. But many will be caught by surprise.

      22. anonymous
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        i applaud eos for sticking with one pseudonym

      23. toad hall
        Posted October 16, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        EOS is “the one”!

        Does anyone remember when the Republicans tried to portray Obama as the devil, calling him “the one”?

      24. Posted October 16, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        One of my conservative “friends” just posted about how America doesn’t know anything about Barack Obama.

        I’m thinking that we don’t know anything about EOS.

      25. Posted October 16, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Pete, I say that at every blogger meet up…any one of us could be EOS! I do think he/she can be very well spoken even if we don’t agree.

        It will, however, surprise the shit out of EOS when Armageddon DOES come and *I’m* the Messiah! (Don’t laugh…Jewish teacher, works with the blind, turns water into alcohol…I think I’d be a great Messiah, personally. After I paid off my house and bought my mom a bigger house, I’d start curing and smiting!)

      26. EOS
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        Republican Leader Mitch McConnell used the “near default” to add a $2.9 billion dollar pork project for his home state of Kentucky, for the massive Olmsted Dam Lock in Paducah. There’s no difference between most Republicans and most Democrats.

      27. Elizabeth Warren
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I’m glad that the government shutdown has ended, and I’m relieved that we didn’t default on our debt.

        But I want to be clear: I am NOT celebrating tonight.

        Yes, we prevented an economic catastrophe that would have put a huge hole in our fragile economic recovery. But the reason we were in this mess in the first place is that a reckless faction in Congress took the government and the economy hostage for no good purpose and to no productive end.

        According to the S&P index, the government shutdown had delivered a powerful blow to the U.S. economy. By their estimates, $24 billion has been flushed down the drain for a completely unnecessary political stunt.

        $24 billion dollars. How many children could have been back in Head Start classes? How many seniors could have had a hot lunch through Meals on Wheels? How many scientists could have gotten their research funded? How many bridges could have been repaired and trains upgraded?

        The Republicans keep saying, “Leave the sequester in place and cut all those budgets.” They keep trying to cut funding for the things that would help us build a future. But they are ready to flush away $24 billion on a political stunt.

        So I’m relieved, but I’m also pretty angry.

        We have serious problems that need to be fixed, and we have hard choices to make about taxes and spending. I hope we never see our country flush money away like this again. Not ever.

        It’s time for the hostage taking to end. It’s time for every one of us to say, “No more.”

      28. Bob Reich by proxy
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        The President has now scored a significant victory over extremist Republicans. But the fight will continue. He mustn’t relinquish ground during the upcoming cease-fire. It’s doubtful House Republicans will try to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised next February, given the upset among business leaders and Wall Street executives who bankroll much of the GOP. But there’s a significant chance of another government shutdown in January since every House member is up for reelection next year – mostly from safe (often gerrymandered) districts in which their major competitors are likely to be primary opponents from the Tea Party right, challenging them to show what they’ve done to sandbag Obamacare and shrink the size of government. The President and the Democrats have made it clear they’ll protect Obamacare at all costs, which means the real action between now and January 15 will be over the federal budget.

        Here, I fear, is where the President is likely to cave. He’s already put on the table the so-called “chained” consumer price index, which makes no sense for seniors who already spend a disproportionate share of their income on healthcare whose prices have been rising faster than inflation. Besides, Social Security isn’t responsible for our budget deficits. For years its surpluses have been used to fund everything else the government does. The President has also suggested “means-testing” Medicare. The danger is this becomes a slippery slope that eventually turns Medicare into another type of Medicaid, perceived to be for the poor and therefore vulnerable to budget cuts. But why even suggest cutting Medicare at all, when the program isn’t responsible for the large budget deficits projected a decade or more from now? The real problem is the rising costs of healthcare, coupled with the aging of the post-war boomers. The best way to deal with the former – short of a single-payer system — is to use Medicare’s bargaining power over providers to move them from “fee-for-services,” in which providers have every incentive to do more tests and procedures, to “payments-for-healthy-outcomes,” where providers would have every incentive to keep people healthy.

        Our real economic problem continues to be a dearth of good jobs along with widening inequality. Cutting the budget deficit may make both worse, by reducing total demand for goods and services and eliminating programs that lower-income Americans depend on.

      29. anonymous
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Thank you Republicans for wasting our time and our money, and putting our recovery in jeopardy.

        “The first federal government shutdown in 17 years, triggered by a Republican demand to defund the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1, cost the U.S. $24 billion in potential economic activity — equalling at least 0.6% of projected annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth, according to ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.”

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/s-p-shutdown-cost-u-s-24-billion-0-6-gdp-in-projected-growth

      30. Posted October 17, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        The Tea Party won. Hands down.

        If you only measure “winning” as obtaining seats in Congress or creating immediate policy, then you really don’t understand politics.

        The Tea Party has effectively undermined American confidence in government even among those whose livelihoods depend on it. This was the Tea Party’s goal all along.

      31. Elliott
        Posted October 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Arrest them.

        http://imgur.com/nhG486F

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