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Republicans Are Fixated On Using Extortion To Rule America

Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 02:45 pm

Read: Samuel Alito Is The Insurrectionist Threat To Democracy On The Supreme Court

When an individual or group reaches a state of mind in which they become obsessed with, or inordinately attached to, an idea or a stated goal they are considered by psychologists to be fixated. Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of being close to a person fixated on an idea can attest that nothing will deter the person’s obsession, even if there is a danger to themselves or others. There is a fairly substantial number of conservatives who are obsessed with bringing the federal government to its knees because there is an African American sitting in the Oval Office, and they are fixated on shutting down the government if their efforts are thwarted by the President or Senate Democrats.

The truth is that since teabaggers became de facto leaders of the Republican Party, they have contemplated various schemes to shutdown Washington. After U.S. Senator Ted Cruz took control of the Republican House and masterminded the government shutdown last October, many Republicans complained bitterly about and railed against other Republicans who voted to re-open the government and they have been obsessed with shutting it down again. In fact, their fixation with a shutdown is so overwhelming they have promised that if they gain control of both houses of Congress, their approach to “ruling America” will be predicated on the perpetual threat of closing the government to force President Obama to assist their “bring the government to its knees” obsession.

After the shutdown last October, 18 Republican Senators and 114 House Republicans voted against ending the government shutdown and by all accounts they have not gotten over the fact their efforts failed and they are apparently Hell-bent on forcing another shutdown. One may think the October shutdown was over defunding the Affordable Care Act, but with a new round of excuses to force a shutdown, they obviously just want the government closed if they cannot rule as dictators. The true extent of their obsession is evident in that they have proposed several unrelated “reasons” to shut down the government despite there is a midterm election on the horizon. Since his last government shutdown failed to produce the desired results, Ted Cruz has come up with an idea that one senior Senate Democratic aide called a “Ted Cruz-Sponsored Government  Shutdown 2.0” because in Cruz’s mind shutting down the government is part of Republicans’ goal of “using every tool at our disposal” against President Obama.

Cruz’s big idea is to attach language abolishing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the important must-pass continuing resolution that if not passed by September 30, means a shutdown is highly likely. According to Cruz, shutting down the government is a valid legislative ploy to counter the Bush-signed 2008 legislation responsible for Central American children seeking refuge in America. The DACA program has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2008 law, but Republicans claim it is the sole culprit driving the unaccompanied minors coming to America. House Republicans already passed legislation ending the deportation-relief program and demand the Senate take up the measure. Since the Senate is not following Cruz’s Republican House demands, he wants to force a shutdown by including the divisive immigration provision in the continuing resolution.

Cruz’s plan is not the only Republican scheme in the works to force a shutdown by any means. Earlier in the year shortly after the President announced the Environmental Protection Agency would seek a reduction in carbon emissions, a rash of Republicans beholden to the Koch brothers and power-generating industry rushed to threaten a shutdown by refusing to fund the government past the September 30th deadline if the EPA dared go forward with the carbon reduction rules. It is part of the “use any and all means necessary” against the President to protect the dirty energy industry.

Yesterday it was reported that Republicans had a “meltdown” over the President’s “request that authorization to arm the rebels in Syria be added to the continuing resolution.” The President coming to Congress to “request” authorization was apparently too much for Republicans that they had to postpone a scheduled consideration of the continuing resolution with only a few working days left before the September 30th deadline to fund the government.  What is telling, is that House Republicans had to “schedule time to consider” the continuing resolution they were already threatening to block at the request of two powerful and prominent conservative groups.

The political arm of the Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action, and the Club for Growth called on Republicans to vote against funding the government because it includes “harmful provisions” including extending the Export-Import Bank. Heritage threatened to include each Republican vote to fund the government on its legislative scorecard as a threat to kill the CR and shutdown the government. The issue with the Export-Import bank that has Republicans in a rage is that it provides critical support to help American companies compete with their foreign counterparts around the globe that conservatives claim belongs to Wall Street and private banks. Killing the government aid to American businesses has been a top priority for conservatives despite major business groups attempts to save it as a “critical support mechanism” for American companies to remain competitive in a global market.” Heritage and Club for Growth wrote a letter to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy demanding he stand by comments he made in June to vehemently “oppose the bank’s continued existence.

What is apparent is that none of the reasons Republicans are giving for not passing the continuing resolution are even remotely related except they involve the federal government that Mitch McConnell promised the Koch brothers Republicans will “go after” if they control Congress. Using the EPA’s carbon reduction rules, DACA, Export-Import Bank helping American businesses, or authorization to combat the Islamic State are simply, as Cruz asserts, tools to shut down the government if President Obama and Democrats fail to help Republicans dismantle the federal government.

Threatening to shut down the government is not a valid means of governance; it is extortion and Republicans are obsessed with using it to rule, not govern. What reveals their fixation is that despite they accomplished nothing with their last shutdown in October, they began using the extortion threat again in June due to the new carbon emission rules within a few months of the midterm elections. Now, with an extremely short number of days on the job before government funding lapses, and a bit over two months before the midterms, Republicans are ramping up their obsession to fulfill a sick fixation with shutting down the government as a valid means of ruling by extortion.

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