It is so interesting, this Neoconservative Republican Party has quite probably fallen to its lowest ebb…perhaps…in its history. The disgusting and moronic tea party placards and vile, ignorant shouting and screaming at government officials, hardly reflects the image of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant or Dwight D. Eisenhower. Nor does it reflect the attitude, quite probably, of Ronald Reagan, although much of this mood began with some of Reagan’s campaign people later in his Presidency. Nor does the bigot Joe Wilson’s reckless abandon of tradition to shout out “You lie!” reflect as much on Wilson as it does a Party whose members sat with sophomoric smirks on their faces, blandly waved pieces of paper reflecting a tiny health care pamphlet and later pretended that that Wilson had not helped them disgrace themselves.
The Republicans have a clear, simple political plan. For some reason, they believe that trying to obstruct the Democratic policies, including an attempt prevent health care reform from being enacted will equate to victory in 2010. So, apparently their idea now is to use the funding from the AHIP and the AMA and the American Hospital Association and PHARMA to incite a certain rabble to pretend to be outraged citizens. They apparently are the future of the Republican Party. Instead of clarifying issues on health care, they attracted members of FreedomWorks and the Right Wing lobbying groups funded by the health insurance industry.
The ironic part is that the Republicans came to power with the election of Abraham Lincoln. After the Civil War, they created a party wherein former slaves actually participated in government, if chaotically, during Reconstruction. Now we have a Republican Party that is the Party of Strom Thurmond, who was probably the greatest racist in Congress since Jefferson Davis, and other Senators like Jesse Helms, Trent Lott, Jim DeMint and house members like Joe Wilson and Virginia Foxx. It is the party of Rush Limbaugh…anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-feminist, anti-abortion, anti-health care reform, anti-civility, anti-gay, anti-environmental, anti-education and anti-middle class.
Rush Limbaugh’s $400 million contract from the ultra-right-wing Texans who own his network and his programming company is paid for through his efforts to fool the lower-middle-class hicks, plus the totally intolerant plus the gun-control nuts. The old-line Reagan Republicans (after 29 years we can call them that) simply do not understand that the Neoconservatives who took over the Party carried Reagan’s cynical ploy of courting the Southern racists to its ultimate conclusion. Reagan was not a bigot. He simply wanted to split up the South and win elections, even if it meant taking the bigots, guys like Thurmond and Lott, and Helms That led ultimately to current Republicans like DeMint and Foxx and Joe Wilson.
There may still be some Republicans who honestly do not understand what has happened to their Party. They can’t or won’t acknowledge that they are owned, lock, stock and barrel by AHIP, NRA, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Hudson Institute, the Koch Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AMA, the American Hospital Association, the American Petroleum Institute, EXXON/Mobil, and General Electric and anyone else who will pony up funds in six figures or more.
Reagan wanted the hicks. He hoped he could convert some of the bigots, but, if not, he figured that he may as well have their votes as the Democrats. Lee Atwater, who led many of the dirtiest of the Republican campaigns against decent candidates in the South and elsewhere, when dying of a brain tumor, had a “come to Jesus” moment–perhaps literally. He said that he regretted all the nasty things he did, the lies and the false scandals and the dirty tricks that ruined reputations for no good reason, just to get another person elected to the House or the Senate. But his pupil, Karl Rove, did not yet have a brain tumor, and even if he were to have one is probably too cynical and too agnostic to care. He elected George W. Bush, the widely acknowledged dumbest and worst President in our history.
Why wouldn’t these tea bagging protesters, if they were in fact merely people fed up with government, hold up signs decrying the political sins of George W. Bush? George W. Bush, it can seriously be argued, personally caused the deaths of 9,000 people–through his impatience with complex national security issues and by ignoring or being unable to understand warnings of the Chiefs of Staff about Iraq and by disregarding the advice of the Corps of Engineers about the levees in New Orleans. The attack of 9/11 about which he was continually warned, first by Bill Clinton and then by Richard Clarke as early as February 2001, cost nearly 3,000 lives. The War in Iraq, which was totally unnecessary (and criminal), cost more than 4,000 (American) lives as well as those of untold innocent Iraqi civilians. The flooding of New Orleans cost almost 2,000 lives because of his inattention to warnings and failure to respond in a timely faction. Did the tea baggers know this or do they not care? Are they just paid demonstrators? Or are they ignorant fools being led around by the paid propagandists for the health insurance lobby?
In addition to the war and the neglect and the impatience, George W. Bush was pro-actively destructive. He encouraged his Administration to be both political and pro-Republican in all of its functions. He brought in Gale Norton to sell off National Park land to oil drillers and mining and timber interests. He encouraged Congress to keep hands off the SEC, installing Harvey Pitt, a 25-year lobbyist for the securities industry and then Chris Cox, who is not only a Right-Wing ideologue but a lobbyist-panderer. As a result, many SEC cases were never brought. The more serious and more costly to the public they were, the less chance that they would ever be prosecuted. SEC staffs were never filled; attorneys and investigators were encouraged to leave, causing huge turnover. The financial markets by 2007 were in full speculative mode, with no restrictions. This resulted in financial markets inflated and holding paper that had no value.
In the Fall of 2008, only three months before George W. Bush could walk away and let everyone else clean up his mess, the market crashed. The market in two years went from over 14,000 points to under 7,000. It dropped 900 points in one day. It was the greatest stock market and financial disaster since 1929–one–thanks to Cox and Bush–we will feel in our pocket books for another several years. Bush and Cheney also introduced ENRON to the White House, encouraging them, taking their corporate jets, and denying that ENRON had any part in the deaths and bankruptcies in California, as energy prices went up 400% and hospitals and nursing homes and private residences of the poor had to shut down air conditioning and many, many people died. It was this same energy department that looked the other way as oil companies raised gasoline prices to over $4.00 a gallon. Now we know that it was mere profit-taking, with the acquiescence of our two oil-patch chief executives, Bush and Cheney.
The Bush Administration left the nation with a financial catastrophe–not the rich–but everyone from the middle class on down to the working poor, and especially the less skilled manufacturing and white-collar workers. The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress wrote legislation encouraging sending jobs overseas, encouraging corporations to locate headquarters off-shore to eliminate their having to pay any taxes. The Bush Administration cut taxes for the wealthy, resulting in the greatest shift in wealth in this country’s history. You hear that the top 1% pay 50% of the taxes. That is because they own 50% of the country’s wealth and earn 50% of the country’s income! We are the least-taxed wealthy of any industrialized country in the world. And the old statement “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” well, that has been true since the year 2000 and continues to be true today.
So why are the tea bagger Republicans so incensed and yet they do not care that they were looted by Bush? If we subtract the bigots, and posit that the rest are average citizens (morons with signs, but not paid bigots) then why would you not be concerned about such things as, for example, the huge loss of jobs in America? When George W. Bush came into office in 2001, the unemployed were 3.9% of the population. By 2005, it was 5.2% or 7.7 million unemployed. Estimates of some of those job losses may be understood better when we realize that something like 1.2 million jobs were outsourced to other countries, 1.5 million jobs were lost in manufacturing that was not replaced when manufacturing went abroad. So if you felt during the Bush years that the economy was shrinking, it was. And so if you were worried about jobs, why not protest Bush, who lost eventually 7 million jobs…the largest number ever by any President in the history of the country? Why not protest with Hitler and Stalin signs with Bush’s face on them. Why not protest a guy who was in office for 8 years rather than one who was in office for six months and had a job loss of 700,000 the day he walked through the door?
In addition to the huge job losses, median income under the Bush administration fell by 4.2%. That compares, for example, with an increase of 8.1% under Reagan, even with a large recession in the early years. Under Clinton, immediately preceding the Bush terms, median household income grew by 14%. In addition, Clinton created tax surpluses that were large enough to begin to reduce the deficit and solidify the Social Security and the Medicare “trust funds.” The $1.5 trillion tax cut that Bush introduced and then another similar tax cut that persuaded his Treasury Secretary, the distinguished economist and CEO, Paul O’Neill, to resign, virtually sealed the fate of the country for the next twenty years. Adding insult to injury was the unnecessary addition of about $1 trillion in debt for the Iraq War. The result was deficit spending and another $5 trillion added to the national debt. Isn’t this one of the “tea bag” issues? Lack of “freedom” because of too much spending? Strange, but I am surprised that all these very savvy protesters don’t know all this.
Let’s be clear. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney gave two tax cuts, primarily to the wealthy. In order to do so, they borrowed money from the Treasury…because we did not have a surplus…which in turn was borrowed largely from the Chinese. So American taxpayers paid for their own meager tax cuts and also paid for the unnecessary tax cuts for the rich. (Which–if you remember–many wealthy individuals at the time said publicly that they did not need or want.) We engaged in two wars, disasters, did nothing about global warming, added five trillion to the debt, borrowed from our home equity and spent like drunken sailors, and ended up in a near-Depression which we will not be out of for at least three years. And this was President Obama’s fault…how…again?
And so, please, tell me again why we are ranting at a man in office less than six months who has put together an extremely bright team that has already saved us from economic disaster, a man who is winding down the wars, who is developing an alternative to our unsustainable health care system and who has given a tax break for once to the middle class? He’s a Nazi? I don’t think so. He wasn’t the one who ordered torture. He’s a Communist or a Socialist? No. If he were he would have planned a single-payer system for health care reform. He insisted on keeping the costly, heartless, greedy, private health insurance system in place. (Since most people are ignorant enough not to know how much better single-payer systems work around the world.) He’s a totalitarian? Sorry, but no. In fact, he has gone too far overboard in trying to bring a bunch of racist obstructionist, anti-Middle Class reactionaries into the democratic process.
Here’s some advice for tea baggers. Go home and read a book or a newspaper. To the President: Run the damned country without the Republicans until they find a political philosophy that says more than: “No” and an organization that does one, single, solitary thing for the People rather than the lobbyists.