Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Republican Party is destroying America

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's pretty much as simple as that:

With the federal government on the brink of a default, a House Republican effort to end the shutdown and extend the Treasury's borrowing authority collapsed Tuesday night as a major credit agency warned that the United States was on the verge of a costly ratings downgrade.

After the failure of the House Republican leadership to find enough support for its latest proposal to end the fiscal crisis, the Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders immediately restarted negotiations to find a bipartisan path forward. A spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Mr. Reid was "optimistic that an agreement is within reach" with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

With so little time left, chances rose that a resolution would not be approved by Congress and sent to President Obama before Thursday, when the government is left with only its cash on hand to pay the nation’s bills.

"It's very, very serious," warned Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. "Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable."

A day that was supposed to bring Washington to the edge of resolving the fiscal showdown instead seemed to bring chaos and retrenching.

McCain, pragmatism renewed, is right. But the problem runs deeper than he imagines. His party has embraced an extremist, anti-American right-wing ideology and policy agenda that is simultaneously nihilistic and absolutist. The pragmatists are recoiling, but they've been playing along for years now, and now it's coming back to bite them. (Consider how McConnell is one of the key players trying to get a deal done. This is a guy who made it his mission, and his party's mission, to obstruct Obama at every turn, to paralyze the government with its disloyal opposition.)

And it's so bad that the relatively sensible House leadership can't even control its own caucus, to the point that John Boehner's speakership is simply a joke.

It's a party that is dominated by a minority of its own members on Capitol Hill, the Teabaggers led by Ted Cruz in the Senate and his ilk in the House, but the views of this minority dominate the base and dominate the party as a whole. There is at least some pragmatism in Congress. Out in the Republican heartland, there is really only extremism.

The federal government has been shut down, the country is about to go into default on its debt, and observers around the world wonder what the hell kind of crazy has taken hold of the United States, and these fucking Republicans won't even accept a deal that, as I wrote yesterday, would have given them a way out of their self-created crisis on rather favorable terms.

They're stupid, they're delusional, they're insane, and they're destroying America and threatening to take down much of the rest of the world with it.

This is the story: One half of the two-party American political system is dangerously crazy. It must be stopped before it's too late, but time is running out.

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