The nation’s unemployment rate continues to improve. Obamacare has already saved lives and caused health care premiums to go DOWN in places such as New York State. The stock market continues to break new high records weekly. The housing market continues to improve by leaps and bounds. The deficit has been cut in half. American consumer confidence continues to rise.
All things considered, including the fact that all of this is happening during the second presidential term of a democrat, one might think that republicans would see the handwriting on the wall and realize that the GOP of President Dwight D. Eisenhower is probably where today’s republican party needs to go if it wants to remain relevant.
However, this is not your grandfather’s republican party. The group in control of the GOP, known as the Tea Party, is far different from anything that would have passed for republican 5o years ago. In fact, except for the racial extremism that had historically marked many elected officials from the deep south, this group 50 years ago would probably been identified as fascist infiltrators.
The Tea Party believes that both the federal government and taxes should be at an absolute minimum. They believe that there is no such thing as too much military or too much military spending, an exception to their “limited federal government” philosophy. They think that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety net programs such as food stamps are nothing more than give-away programs that should be summarily eliminated. They realize that they could never accomplish such a thing in one fell swoop, so they propose “changes’, which are primarily focused on starving the programs to death and transferring whatever is left to private for-profit corporations.
And finally, they believe that unbridled, unregulated free market capitalists should be allowed to operate in any fashion they so desire. There should be no minimum wage laws because market forces can be depended upon to take care of that. There should not safety regulations, because that interferes with corporate profits, and interference with profits means less trickle-down gains (crumb’s actually) for the lower classes. There should be no limits on the harvesting of natural resources and no limits on corporate plans and deals. Again, the interference thing.
The Tea Party is also heavily populated by people who believe that there is no such thing as a separation of church and state. They believe that the 1st amendment to the US constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion does NOT mean that people are also guaranteed freedom FROM religion. As a result, they believe that their personal version of Christianity should be the major player in whatever government is still allowed to exist.
Over the past several years the Tea Party has consolidated political power primarily via the near-limitless funding of very large, wealthy corporations run by free market fanatics such as the Koch brothers. As a result, the more moderate factions within the republican party began to take these folks seriously. In fact, as the Tea Party’s power grew, they issued ultimatums to their fellow republicans to “tow the Tea Party line or else” face a primary challenge during the next election. For members of the US House of Representatives, elections come around every two years, so the threat of a primary challenge was urgent. Even members of the US senate facing re-election every 6 years consider threat very real.
Thus, since the mid-term elections of 2010, the Tea Party has become more and more reckless in their pursuit of “shrinking the government to a size that they can “drown in the bathtub“, as well as wrap their compacted government in their religious dogma To achieve their goals they formulated a war strategy, declaring:
- War on social safety net programs;
- War on the environment;
- War on renewable energy;
- War on progress;
- War on the poor;
- War on immigrants;
- War on students;
- War on minorities;
- War on Gays;
- War on Muslims;
- War on government;
- War on education;
And, lest we forget…
- War on Women.
The Tea Party has succeeded in having the US government’s credit rating reduced as a result of their idiotic debt ceiling debacle of 2011. Now they’re threatening a repeat when the US government faces a similar debt ceiling issue later in 2013.
However, while exuding overconfidence, the Tea Party has failed to acknowledge that many Americans, including traditional republicans, are fed up with their unrealistic ultra-conservative views. When Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently threatened another debt ceiling crisis to shut down the government unless the senate agreed to defund Obamacare, many republicans went on record emphatically stating this was a stupid idea.
Lee has since recanted (sort of) , but the handwriting is finally and clearly on the wall. The Tea Party’s new “War on republicans” brings within reach a turnover of power in the US House of Representatives in 2014 to democrats.
We’ll be watching…and hoping.