Saturday, March 2, 2013

Robert Reich and I both agree... the Tea Party is still winning

Back on New Year's Eve 2012, I wrote a post entitled "The Tea Party is Winning".  In it, I said:

ONE:  "This is what they want, actually.  They want the sequester.  They want a big f*cking slice out of the government, no matter how many people on the lower rungs get kicked off the ladder into the mud, no matter if you have to wait a year to get a passport processed by the one remaining employee who knows how to do anything at the State Department, no matter if another interstate bridge collapses due to inadequate inspections and postponed repairs and kills another 50 people or so."

TWO:  " So no matter what happens to the fiscal cliff and the sequester and the next round of debt ceiling hostage taking, by getting us this far, and by making the Speaker dance to their tune and Mitch McConnell sing their praises, remember - the worse it gets, the more that the Tea Party wins.  And also remember, the worse it gets;  credit  downgrade, recession, higher unemployment, lapses in national security, more brutal massacres of children and firefighters with assault weapons, less mental health treatments for those that need it, more hungry kids, more teen mothers who can't get abortions --  that's how the Tea Party wants it.  Even if they say they don't."

So imagine my satisfaction when I read the esteemed Robert Reich in the Huffington Post, "The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot":

ONE:  "Tea Party Republicans are crowing about the "sequestration" cuts beginning today (Friday). "This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington," says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a Tea Partier who was first elected in 2010.

Sequestration is only the start. What they set out to do was not simply change Washington but eviscerate the U.S. government -- "drown it in the bathtub," in the words of their guru Grover Norquist -- slashing Social Security and Medicare, ending worker protections we've had since the 1930s, eroding civil rights and voting rights, terminating programs that have helped the poor for generations, and making it impossible for the government to invest in our future."

TWO:   "A conspiracy theorist might think they welcome more joblessness because they want Americans to be even more fearful and angry. Tea Partiers use fear and anger in their war against the government -- blaming the anemic recovery on government deficits and the government's size, and selling a poisonous snake-oil of austerity economics and trickle-down economics as the remedy.

They likewise use the disruption and paralysis they've sown in Washington to persuade Americans government is necessarily dysfunctional, and politics inherently bad. Their continuing showdowns and standoffs are, in this sense, part of the plot."

Think about that for a minute.  It's pretty amazing (and a bit worrisome) that a noted voice like Robert Reich and my barely-noted voice in the hinterlands are saying the same things.  I already tweeted to John Boehner asking if he's going to take credit for the recession that the sequestration could very well cause.

What to do?  The Tea Party is still winning, and the next step is the Continuing Resolution to continue the remaining hamstrung government operations past March 27.   Here's how Reich ends his piece:

"Instead, the President should let the public see the Tea Partiers for who they are -- a small, radical minority intent on dismantling the government of the United States. As long as they are allowed to dictate the terms of public debate they will continue to hold the rest of us hostage to their extremism.
 I agree that's what the Prez should do.  But what, exactly, is the best way to accomplish it?

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