One of the nicest things about having a bully pulpit is, of course, sharing. It will take me another 3 or 4 years to convince my father that he needs to have his own blog, but he’ll get there. In the meantime, this is the first of a series of occasional updates from the Father of the Big Ugly Man Doll. You will note that I come by my ranting skills naturally. Without further ado:
The Tea Party Downgrade
I haven’t read it yet but it’s out there. I just know it’s out there. Somewhere amongst all those Op-Ed opinion makers’ musings there’s a fractured, tortuous, and twisted slice of burnt logic through which the Tea Party Downgrade can get blamed on the President.
I’m talking about the short term of course. Over the long haul, there’s plenty of blame to go around starting with us, the American people who want more in the way of benefits, services, and infrastructure than we’re willing to pay for. Next, are the political parties where the Democrats never saw a social program they didn’t like and the Republicans start wars that are “off the books” in terms of the budget and cut taxes at the same time to implement Republican rules one and two: 1) Protect then enhance wealth for the wealthy; and 2) Ensure big profits for big corporations.
Getting back to the short term, Capitol Hill and our Congress have always been somewhat unfathomable, but the last six to seven months are a true mystery. The Tea Party freshmen came to office vowing to reign in the size and spending of the Federal Government. Using the debt limit vote as leverage, they almost succeeded. Victory was theirs (and ours by the way) for the taking, but they didn’t know what victory looked like.
Boehner and Bama came up with a grand bargain that would have cut almost $4 trillion over the next 10 years but the Speaker couldn’t sell it to the Tea Party folks who objected to the relatively small amount of revenue increases included in the deal. Showing their true colors, they remained loyal to Grover Norquist. I sure wish they’d take a pledge to the American people instead. Every poll shows that most of us, even those declaring themselves as Republicans, believe we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes spending cuts and revenue increases.
So we came down to the wire with a small compromise that nobody liked very much, but at least it precluded the U.S. from defaulting on its debt. Then guess what – many Tea Party folks voted NO including I believe Michelle Bachmann who believes she should be the President of the United States. I haven’t studied the reasons but I can only think of four, any of which would deem her unfit for office in my judgment:
- She was more wedded to her right-wing ideology than to the good of the United States
- She understood that the measure needed to pass that day and that it was indeed going to pass without her vote, so she cynically cast a NO vote so she could preach about how bad a deal it was
- She truly didn’t understand the potential dire consequences of a U.S. default
- She was simply carrying out Republican Rule #3: Do anything and say anything to get in power and stay in power to better carry out Rules 1 and 2.
In any case, we breathed a small sigh of relief, and then watched the stock markets tumble as S&P downgraded U.S. treasury bonds because there’s no evidence that our political system is capable of reaching a long-term solution that reduces our debt while keeping our economy rolling.
We now have another chance. The special committee could go above and beyond their call of duty and strike that grand bargain. In fact, Charles Krauthammer, a very conservative columnist provided an outline of a surprisingly balanced approach. They could do it. I’m not holding my breath, but I am praying.
Please note that the opinions expressed above are solely those of the FOBUMD, although in this case they go a long damn way with my own.