During the “fiscal cliff” crisis, the Tea Party was once again playing its favorite contrarian game: stone-wall obstructionism. In this new year, we’re going to see more of the same-o, same-o from legislative obstructionists.
The original Tea Party goals had at least a semblance of merit: fiscal responsibility, a limited role for government, trimming spending. Soon, however, giddy with their victories, most morphed into do-nothing, dead-end obstructionists dedicated to the proposition of No, No, No.
The following would seem to be the new “principles” of most Tea Party members: starve social programs, privatize everything in sight, bring the government to a standstill and – at the tip of that lopsided iceberg – further aggrandize millionaires and billionaires, especially by not raising their taxes by so much as a dime.
These self-described neo-patriots, united by their sacred motto of “No New Taxes,” are beholden to Grover Norquist, the tin god who convinced so many Republicans to sign his “no-tax” pledge. They are also united by a deep-seated contempt for President Obama. They were enraged when he was first elected, even more enraged by his re-election. The Tea Party is dedicated to making Obama look bad by nixing anything he proposes in a constant jeering chorus of “Nays.” One of those naysayers is the titular head of the Tea Party, our “very own” Rep. Michele Bachmann, who squeaked through in the last election thanks hugely to campaign bucks from super-rich outstate organizations.
One of the bullying tactics of the Tea Party is to challenge moderate, intelligent, rational Republicans in primaries, replacing them with zanies – many of whom, fortunately, lost elections thanks to voters, including some right-wing ones, who rightly view such candidates as beyond the pale.
There is a bloc of about 50 Tea Party folks in the U.S. House who strong-arm their fellow Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, into giving the thumbs-down on anything proposed by the Obama camp.
How sad it is for America this damaging obstructionism will continue. It will likely sink any progress toward the upcoming debt-ceiling resolution (as happened in 2011, thus deflating the nation’s credit rating). Tea Party obstructionism will also probably put the kabosh on gun control, immigration reform, tax-code changes, clean-energy proposals, reasonable spending cuts and long-overdue infrastructure improvements.
The Tea Party doesn’t just want to limit government; it wants to weaken or destroy it by undermining representative democracy. These perpetual naysayers are not fit to govern us. They are not part of the solution; they are the problem.
Wouldn’t it be nice if these mule-headed politicians would have enough sense to heed the prescient warning of Bob Dylan when, a half century ago, he sang these words:
Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call.
Don’t stand in the doorway,
Don’t block up the hall.
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled.
There’s a battle outside
And it’s ragin.’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin.’