"The long, tortured debate exposed toxic partisanship and legislative dysfunction in Washington just when judicious efforts at reform were most needed," the contrived and completely unnecessary debt-ceiling crisis also exposed that America's real problem is not financial but political.[http://news.yahoo.com/debt-deal-set-pass-were-costs-045917154.htm] The debacle over the debt ceiling was not completely resolved when Senator Tom Coburn [R Oklahoma] said he would use parlimentary maneuvers to block Senate action to restore full operating authority to the FAA. This will cost the federal government to lose $1.2 billion in revenues. So much for the sincerity of Republican concerns about the deficit! At the same time, this minority rule tactic undercuts safety inspections and other things the FAA does to ensure that planes are safe and reliable modes of transportation. This action is one more in a protracted line of examples that the contemporary Republican Party is a frequent sabotuer of Constitutional due process or even actively subversive of it.
In order to impose their miserly view of a just society on millions of Americans who do not now and probably never will agree, Republicans falsely linked the federal budget deficit to the anachronistic debt ceiling and took the nation hostage. None of this is honorable; none of this is necessary. Republicans are seeking to get through extremist tactics what they have not won in elections and cannot enact via normal legislative procedures. Despite gaining control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections, the Republicans are the minority party in the federal government. The true danger to the nation is that political discourse is so contaminated and the citizenry so alienated, that the extremists may succeed in wooing sufficient votes to gain a majority by 2013. To show precisely the breadth and depth of their cynicism, Republicans cast their willingness to raise the debt ceiling and end the crisis they provoked as an heroic concession on behalf of the national interest. It was nothing of the sort, but due to shoddy media coverage and the general stupor into which dysfunctional politics has beaten the American electorate, Republicans may succeed in selling this blatant inversion of the truth. It is imperative that Americans come to their senses, manage their anger, and vote for people committed to and capable of responsible governance in the 2012 elections.
According to the U S Constitution, three power centers must act in concert to transform bills into laws. These are the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. If each of these centers is assigned a value of one, the Republicans have a single point and the Democrats have two points. The Republicans have one-third of the power they need to enact their vision of proper and beneficial legislation. By using dubious tactics and deceiving the American people while they do it he Republicans are not merely the minority party they are a tyrannical minority. By relentlessly pushing an ideological agenda, the Republicans obstruct reasonable, responsible governance and recurrently incite one fabricated crisis after another to extort concessions from the majority party. This has happened many times and it will happen again as soon as this September in the matter of the continuing budget resolution.
The first part of this tyrannical gambit is now nauseatingly familiar. This is the linking of the debt ceiling increase with professed concerns about the federal deficit. The two items have no real relation to one another and should never have been linked in the first place. Because the Republicans did link them for political warfare purposes, the independent media needed to relentlessly expose the illegitimacy of this ploy. In addition, the Democrats should have made it clear that the Republican motives were suspect and their tactic ignoble. Neither of the institutions responsible for exposing and thwarting the Republican skulduggery did an effective job. Therefore, the Republicans have succeed in making a spectale of the United States government and pushing the Republic to the brink of an historic malfunction.
Due to their control of one of the three power centers, the Republicans have been able to prevent the other two from dealing with the routine manner of the debt ceiling increase in the expeditious and nonthreatening manner it deserves. Because the minority Republican Party has within itself a fanatic minority faction, it is even less able and willing to play a constructive governing role. It lacks both unity and power to do what it wants to do and it has no conception of what should be done. Consequently, the Republicans can only thrash and trash what the majority Democratic Party is attempting to do. In fact, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate repeatedly declares the highest legislative priority of all committed Republicans is to deny the Democratic President as second term. This is in no way a constructive program, and it provides a basis only for obstruction of Democratic efforts.
In this recently contrived crisis inflicted upon the nation by Republican obstructionism, the fate of Majority Leader Reid's proposal is a good example of minority tyranny. If the Senate operated by majority rule, the Reid measure would easily have passed. But the Democrats needed to get 60 votes to avoid having the bill talked to death, and McConnell sent Reid a letter with 43 of the chamber’s 47 Republicans vowing to vote no. (The exceptions are Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe.) Therefore, 43 out of 100 Senators prevented a genuinely reasonable measure from due consideration. Because the bill produced previously in the House is irredeemably bad and justly opposed by a majority of the Senators, this means no bill is advancing toward becoming law on a timely basis. The minority imposed phony crisis continues to draw nearer and the tyrannical minority has no qualms about this. The Republicans are not seeking to govern in the best interests of the nation. They practice the philosophy of "rule or ruin." As the bogus debt ceiling crisis demonstrated, if they cannot rule, they are more than willing to ruin.
The Republican Party is the minority party in the current divided government of the Republic. In the Senate and in the House, they have used bully tactics to force their minority views in to prominence. In the Senate, Republicans have made the threat of filibuster so routine, that virtually nothing is done without sixty votes. It should be understood that the super majority requirement for regular business in the Senate has no Constitutional basis. In fact, due to the specifically limited use of super majorities by the Framers, it is logical to assume they intended both the Senate and the House to function on the basis of majority rule. In fact, in 1789 the rules of both houses were virtually identical. Among these common rules was something known as the previous question motion. Today this allows a simple majority to end debate in the House, but the Senate no longer has such a rule.
The Senate today lacks a previous question motion rule because in 1805 Aaron Burr suggested, for reasons best known to himself, that they drop this rule. Unfortunately, the Senate at the time took Burr's suggestion and thereby created the possibility of a filibuster by hasty and mistaken action on the suggestion of a man who would spend the last twenty-nine years of his life in disgraced obscurity. While it took decades for the minority party to begin to exploit this chink in the majorities armor, this technicality has now become a chasm wide enough to fly a B-52 through. The consequence is that the minority party can now bring the process of governance to a grinding halt. In fact once they became the minority party in the Senate, the Republicans began requiring 60 votes to bring any major legislation to the Senate floor for a vote. This is unprecedented. Senate Republicans use the filibuster almost three times more often than the Democrats did as the minority party in the 109th Congress. The reality is the current pattern of Republican obstruction in the Senate is a way of imposing the tyranny of the minority and thoroughly frustrating the intention of the Framers that Congress function routinely on the basis of majority rule.
As this article was being written, the Senate is prepared to vote on a bipartisan deal that will temporarily resolve the phony debt ceiling crisis. If the Senate approves this bill as the House did on Monday, reports are the President will sign it into law., This deal will demonstrate that what the Republic, the citizenry, and the country truly need is not bipartisanship, but non-partisanship. As the saying goes, two wrongs do not make one right. A blend of truth and lies does not yield the whole truth. In order to deal fairly and effectively with all the challenges confronting the Republic and the nation, the citizenry must arouse themselves to insist that candidates pursue, attain, and hold office as Americans rather than Republicans and Democrats. The citizenry must further insist that those they elect understand they are to responsibly govern, not to relentlessly campaign. When people gain office and take the required oath, it is their solemn duty to intelligently exercise the just powers granted by the Constitution to the Republic for the good of America and all Americans. People in federal elective office must ensure that justice is established and liberty secured for the entire citizenry not merely the wealthy and powerful. The process of governance must promote the general welfare and foster domestic tranquility. These are not partisan matters. So let us say farewell to appeals for bipartisanship and call upon those who would seek and hold office to demonstrate a nonpartisan commitment to the founding principles and fundamental purposes of the Republic in which they serve.
The federal deficit is not the biggest problem confronting the Republic. The anemic recovery, huge unemployment, falling wages, and declining home prices are bigger problems, but the biggest problem threatening America is the capture of the federal government by a fanatic faction which seeks to diminish it to the point of impotence. In the meanwhile, this faction will obstruct the process of responsible governance and push the country backward to the late nineteenth century. We don't have a budget crisis. We have a manufactured budget crisis out of the Republicans' extortionate demands over raising the debt limit. They have succeeded in hoodwinking the public in 2010 and 2011 as they have through thirty years of slandering and libeling the government at every opportunity.
We do have a jobs and growth crisis. Nevertheless, until we, the people, assert our sovereignty and elect people who know they have a duty to govern for the benefit of the entire nation and all Americans rather than their contributors or fellow zealots, no genuine national problem will be improved and the state of the Union will grow increasingly decrepit and perilous. This is vital! If the Republican lies, distortions, deceptions and deplorable tactics are not accurately identified and soundly rejected, the only things which will be exceptional about America are the dysfunctionality of its politics and the rapidity of its decline.
During this debate much has been made of the ratio of national debt to GDP, this ratio is high, but it is not historically high. In World War II, the ratio stood at 120% of the total economy. In the solid economic times of the 1950's this ratio fell as it has in every genuine recovery. During good economic times, revenues pour into the Treasury and much of the apparent budget crisis vanishes. The best way to get the economy humming again is for the federal government to spend more, not less. The national infrastructure is crumbling and a twenty first century WPA and Civilian Conservation Corp would be a good way to address both this issue and the excessive unemployment problem. Given the misplaced fixation with debt and deficit, however, this course of action is virtually impossibe, Therefore, a fabricated fiasco pushed by the minority party in the federal government precludes action on authentic problems actively harming and endangering the nation. The only good thing about the so-called bipartisan deal now approved by both chambers of Congress is that it will prevent default. That is not enough to outweigh all the land mines it contains.
Economically, the debt deal will further weaken a staggering economy. Politically, the deal is an IED. It locks in a path to deeper cuts in programs that Democrats should be defending. Programs which should never have been entwined with this bogus issue in the first place. Under the deal, the hostage crisis of default versus massive budget cutting that worked so well for the Republican zealots this time will be repeated next year.
The Republic now resembles countries that at various periods of their history have been either been paralyzed by minority extremist groups; or worse, have elected them to office. In many European countries, far-right populist parties now typically get 20 or 25 percent of the vote. This is about the same portion of public support enjoyed by the Tea Party faction in the United States. Because of the multi-party, parliamentary systems in Europe, however, ideological minority parties do not get to govern. Due to the two-party system and the Constitutional separation of powers and check and block machinery in the United States a zealous and unified minority in one party can bring responsible government to a standstill. This is the fundamental crisis in America today. This gives practical meaning to the observation of William Butler Yeats, "The best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity." If we cannot change this situation, we must change the system.
In 2008, just under 70 million people voted for Barack Obama. In 2010, slightly less than 31 million people voted for the current House Republicans. Most of the people who voted in 2010, however, were right-wing opponents of President Obama. Many people who voted for the President in 2008 could not motivate themselves to vote in 2010. Consequently, Republicans are behaving as though they won a mandate that far exceeds the actual support for their priorities, policies, and tactics. Add a zealous faction that has no desire to govern, but ardently seeks to impose their ideology on the entire country and you set the stage for a fearsome time in the history of our Republic. The rule or ruin politics of the Tea Party Republicans will not end now that this deplorable deal has been reached. On the contrary, it will only recur with greater ferocity.
In a Fox News interview Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) said that the debt crisis which threatened to destroy the global financial system was just a “template” for what Republicans hope to do in the future, when the U.S. debt ceiling comes up again.
“No president, in the near future, maybe in the distant future, is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a reignition of the same discussion of how do we cut spending and get American headed in the right direction,” he said. “I expect the next president, whoever that is, is going to be asking us to raise the debt ceiling again in 2013, so we’ll be doing it all over.” [http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/08/mcconnell-republicans-will-block-debt-ceiling-again-in-2013/] We will not be able to say they did not warn us.
"In the coming months I'll continue also to fight for what the American people care most about: new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth," President Obama said in addressing the nation from the White House on Tuesday after the Senate passed the debt ceiling deal and ended the hostage takiing.
"To do this, though, requires that Americans understand the truth. But where will they learn it?
The radical right has not only captured the federal budget. In convincing so many Americans the problem is the size of government rather than their shrinking paychecks and growing economic insecurity, the radical right has also captured the American mind." [http://www.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/6871-the-hostage-crisis-continues]
Patriots need to build a mass movement of their own based on a non-partisan commitment to the founding principles and fundamental purposes of the Republic. The financial frustrations, cultural fears, and covert bigotry that incited the Tea Party will be exacerbated, not ameliorated, by their reactionary agenda and the makeshift debt ceiling deal. We need to make it clear to the Democratic Party and President Obama that they must return to the fundamental values of the world’s oldest functioning political party. We must insist that they preserve, protect, and defend the world’s oldest surviving Constitutional Republic. If we fail to rise to meet this authentic threat, we will witness the fall of the American Republic as surely as thousands of years ago Romans watched the fall of theirs. In the absence of a rise and success of a genuinely patriotic mass movement, a fanatic minority will continue to subvert governance and impose a tyranny of the minority upon us all. If they cannot rule, they will unhesitatingly ruin.
Arise citizens , now is the time for all true patriots to come to the aid of their country.