While Republicans have had control of the House, and obstructed progress in the Senate, they fundamentally brought governance to a halt. However, that has been only part of their plan as evidenced by their year-long dream and plot to shut down the government using whatever was religiously expedient; seemingly their raison d’être. When Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he was finished being whipped like an ugly stepchild by de facto House and Senate leader Senator Ted Cruz, it was a particularly bad portent that the next couple of months, and likely longer, are going to be one major government crisis after another. If Congress passes a clean continuing resolution to keep the government operational over the next two-and-a-half months, it will be the closest thing to normal governance as is humanly possible with a Koch Republican Congress that a long-serving Republican legislator confessed has been taken over by crazies.
Funding the government for fiscal 2016 is only one of the deadlines Republicans will continue using as yet another showdown before the end of the year, and when Boehner conceded defeat to Cruz and his House Freedom Caucus, all he did was embolden hardliners who believe that any semblance of compromise is defeat. Conservative House Representative, Peter King, summed up precisely what Boehner’s resignation accomplishes. He said,
“It’s like throwing raw meat to some of these people. They’re not going to see it as a gesture of peace, they’re just going to look for more. It’s a signal that the crazies have taken over the party.”
Boehner’s surrender has in no way changed the dynamics driving the teabagger caucus, the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), and in their minds it was a major victory in their plan to seize power over the government they want to shut down and transform into a theocracy. In fact, it is not just Republican Peter King concerned about the crazies. On Wall Street there is palpable fear setting in over the near-certain prospect that Republicans will threaten the government’s ability to pay its debts, support its export businesses, or stay in operation; none of which concern the crazies whatsoever.
It is not going to matter one iota who Cruz allows House Republicans to appoint as Boehner’s replacement; he will either toe the Cruz-HFC line or go the way of John Boehner. It is also not going to matter which particular deadline looms or whether or not evangelical maniacs allow Planned Parenthood to remain in existence; Cruz and the HFC have myriad hostages lined up to either get their way or close the government. As has been the case throughout President Obama’s tenure in the White House, there are just too many potential crises on the horizon for Republicans to ignore, and make no mistake; they will not pass up any and every opportunity to create a crisis to impose their will on the nation or shutter the government.
Before the theocrats made Planned Parenthood their government shutdown cause célèbre, one of the crazies’ plans was using the impending federal funding deadline to increase the “sequestration cuts” to domestic spending from 2011’s debt ceiling showdown. Despite the cuts are job and economic growth killers according to reality and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the “crazy caucus” consider the 2011 default crisis, the resulting S&P credit downgrade, cost to taxpayers, job losses, and economic damage as a major victory and their finest hour; a feat they plan to exceed now that they chased Boehner out of Congress.
At the same time extremist conservatives are celebrating their defeat of Boehner, they demand one of their acolytes be elevated to Speaker who will be uncompromising and lead the charge to confront the President on every issue near and dear to their barbarically cruel hearts. The same conservatives on and off Capitol Hill who called for, and were awarded with, Boehner’s demise have already issued warnings that under no circumstances will they compromise on anything; but particularly on raising the debt limit and increasing domestic sequester cuts. They claim that if President Obama dares to threaten a veto of their agenda, there will be a Christmastime government shutdown; it was a promise – not a threat.
Republicans have little to no interest in governing; they have made that abundantly clear over the duration of President Obama’s tenure. However disinterested in actually working for the people as “Republicans” are, the “crazy caucus” have a slightly different approach to serving in Washington that has nothing whatsoever to do with governing. Their definition of “governance” is imposing their theocratic and anti-government agenda on the nation by teabagger dictates; not compromise. It is the “my way or the highway” mindset that outsiders like Donald Trump, et al, claim is lacking in Washington, and why Trump, Carson, Bush, Fiorina and the other GOP presidential candidates have spent no small amount of time “castigating Republican leaders in Washington” for not imposing harsh religious and conservative policies on the country.
Now, with the crazy caucus claiming that forcing Boehner out of Congress was a major conservative victory, they are promising to instigate Earth-shattering showdowns with the President over budget limits and the debt ceiling at the end of the year; to shut down the government and create a credit default in one fell swoop. It is the definition of crazy and why Americans should be terrified of a seriously dangerous crazy caucus now running Congress.
If Congress does pass a clean continuing resolution, the next Republican hostage on the agenda is funding the highway trust fund; the deadline for which comes at the end of October and gives the crazies an entire month to devise another hostage crisis. Shortly thereafter, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt ceiling will need to be lifted by late November or early December and give the crazies the opportunity of their dreams to shut down the government indefinitely.
The HFC, Cruz, and teabaggers envision using a credit default as an opportunity to “drown the government in a bathtub,” eliminate all domestic programs, eliminate Planned Parenthood, stop the Iran nuclear agreement, thwart climate change deals and every other “line in the sand” agenda important to Ted Cruz’s cohort in the House and Senate. It will be the crazies’ perfect “my way or the highway” moment with the proverbial highway being shutting down the government.
In fact, during a crazy tirade on the Senate floor, Texas Ted, the man claiming to be anointed by someone’s god to lead America, was incensed that, “we’ve still got that 30, 40, 50 strong conservatives, so how is it that Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell promise there will never, ever be a shutdown?” Cruz exposed his, and his acolytes’, belief that by all and any means necessary, Republicans have to shut down the government. The cause du jour, Planned Parenthood, is just a means of bringing evangelicals on board to support the current shutdown effort.
It may be true that not all Republicans want to shut down the government, but now that the crazy caucus controls the party, it is inevitable that they are going to make a valiant effort to live up to their “anti-government” label and shut down the government if they cannot dictate policy over America. What is curious is why there are so many Americans supporting these extremists who any sane person would consider dangerous to the country, and the population’s, well-being. However, now that the “crazies have taken over the party,” it is safe to say that the Republican base will fall in line and join the crazy chorus demanding a government shutdown; no matter what the reason.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.