Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Radicals rule cowed Republican mod-erates

    The reason it’s been impossible for the U.S. Congress to pass an ongoing budget appropriations bill has become painfully obvious: Republican moderates have been cowed by their radical brethren.
    The outcome of the fight between the two factions is a government shutdown that has idled more than 800,000 people.
    Before the shutdown, right-wing Repub-licans trumpeted their hatred of the Af-fordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare. Taking hyperbole to new heights, one state legislator compared the ACA to the Fugi-tive Slave Act of 1850. A U.S. congressman called on his colleagues to stand firm in the current fight by using the 9/11-based catchphrase “Let’s roll!”
    Moderate Republicans believed they could control the radicals. They failed. House Speaker John Boehner threw in with the anti-Obamacare crowd, assuming he could work out a compromise. Now, he looks like a whipped pup.
    Traditionally, Republicans have repre-sented small-town, rural America, sup-ported business, and decried Washington, D.C. When the government shut down at midnight, Oct. 1, moderate Republicans proved to be the ultimate hypocrites by jettisoning those traditional interests in order to keep their cushy desk jobs.
    While secretaries and security guards won’t be able to pay their bills during the shutdown, senators and representatives will continue to get their paychecks.
    The extremists did exactly what they had said they have wanted to do. Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Michelle Bach-mann of Minnesota, and Marsha Black-burn of Tennessee had made no apologies for believing there is no need for a federal government.
    What’s appalling in all this is the will-ingness of rational Republicans to go along with this nonsense. Moderate Senate Republicans have even turned the de facto leadership of their side of the Capitol over to wingnut Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
    Had moderate House Republicans voted with Democrats, they could have stopped the march over the cliff. They may have risked losing their seats, but they would have retained their integrity.
    Dedicated right-wing fanatics have overwhelmed party regulars in some Re-publican primaries. Sens. Bob Bennett of Utah and Richard Lugar of Indiana, reli-able but reasonable conservatives with enormous seniority power who lost their seats in primary elections, are recent ex-amples.
    Senators and representatives take an oath to put the Constitution and the best interests of the American people over per-sonal reward. The extreme right has dem-onstrated its willingness to ignore that oath. Worse, moderate Republicans in Congress seem willing to ignore it in order to save their own glutei maximi.

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