Speaker of the House John Boehner is stepping down. Old news by now, I know, but I’ve been looking at some of the responses and his own statements in the wake of the decision and while this is not a new opinion on my part I have come to the conclusion that a sizable element of the GOP, especially in the House, are simply batshit crazy. I no longer believe they have an agenda. As long as it’s not The Other Guy’s program. When they announced back in 2009 that they intended to do anything to obstruct Obama, regardless, it was annoying but easy to assume that the more rational members of their party would temper their zeal and business would get done as it should. And that’s been more or less true. There are procedural tactics that have always been used by the opposition to appear to reject a policy while allowing that policy to proceed. The GOP has been relying on them more and more so that the People’s Business can get done even while they must look to their base and present a facade of uncompromising opposition.
Boehner has been wrangling this circus now for almost 5 years. His rhetoric has often made it seem he is one with the BSC contingent (Bat Shit Crazy people) while his deft handling of floor votes, positions, and other alignments of planets has seen more accomplished than one might expect. But it’s a shell game and he knows it and it must be wearying to have to continually lead with a false face.
Mind you, I am no fan of Mr. Boehner’s policy stances, but he is far more a mainstream politician than appearances suggest, and he is fed up.
Such has been clear to anyone paying attention for a long time. He has been undercut, encircled, compromised, and used by the BSC contingent and he has from time to time let it show. Personally, I think he should have taken the high road and called bullshit on these people while he still held the gavel, but who knows what else he has had to deal with that is not public knowledge which may have stayed his hand. Certainly he’s talking about them now.
The question I have, and have had for some time, is: what is it the BSC faction wants? What is it they think they’re going after?
The end of welfare?
The privatization of everything the government does?
The cessation of taxation? All of it?
The building of a military on par with the levels of World War II?
Complete return of all internal policy to the individual states, regardless of constitutionality?
The establishment of a state religion?
The end of any discussions about things that seem to impede the headlong rush toward American hegemony and domination? (Including climate science, minority and women’s rights, economic justice, environmental science, and judicial reform? This list could go on and includes just about everything that constitutes a criticism of business as usual.)
I look at the list, by no means complete, and all I see is a lot of flag waving in the wrong direction and rejection of reality.
No wonder the rest of the world is looking at us in dismay, wondering what ever happened to the Wise America that seemed imminent in the post WWII era.
Boehner is calling bullshit now on his colleagues who, by his assessment, seem to have no clue what this country is all about. Of course he’s not saying it quite that way, but that’s what it amounts to. They are living in a land of fever dreams and non sequiturs, refusing to compromise over the simplest things because they believe compromise leads to—
What? I see vague, indistinct fears voiced. Socialism? They don’t appear to know what that is. If they actually believe Obama is a socialist, they clearly have no idea. But even so, they seem unaware that we’ve been using socialist tools since the 1930s and what do you know, our spines are still straight, our knuckles do not drag on the pavement, and a good number of us can think. We have become the largest economy on the planet (whether you believe that’s a good thing is another matter, but the point is they think it is, so how has socialism been a problem?), the most powerful military force in history (again, mileage varies on how one feels about that, but they see this as a positive), and until we started enabling the top 1% to suck all the money out of the economy, we had the highest standard of living on the planet, even while incorporating those evil socialist programs. Of course, they (the BSC faction) believe that if we’ve slipped on that a little it’s because of those socialist programs, not because they’ve been doing everything they can to enable the pillage of our national treasure, but the problem is they still talk about things as if we still had that position in the world and that we’re about to lose it.
Causation is one of those scientificky concepts they seem not to grasp.
But I don’t know what kind of country they think they’ll have when and if they get their wishes. From the evidence, I don’t think most of us—including them—would like it very much. They have no vision that I can see.
What I see is a lot of nativist warmongers who think by handing over the keys to the kingdom to the top 1% everything will be marvelous for them. They remind me of Grima Wormtongue.
But I believe they are caught up in a mania. They have no program, because that requires reasoned deliberation, and that has become an enemy to them. They are headlong rushing toward the eradication of the institutions and people they think are their natural enemies, but it’s panic-driven. It’s like some dark, twisted form of Beatlemania. Reasonless and ultimately empty, but in this case even the music sucks. They are a mob. You speak reason to them and they do not understand.
They have been told so often and for so long that America needs to be great again and they seem never once to stop and ask what that would look like.
A job for everyone?
Minorities in distinctly small numbers who are nothing but grateful just to be here?
Men calling all the shots and women reduced to sex toys and brood mares?
God plastered all over everything, especially those things that should exist unquestioned?
Industry and invention but no actual science?
And what about all those people who simply don’t fit that kind of construct?
Well, that’s what prisons are for, I suppose…
A large part of the problem is that too many of us, even those of us not charter members of the BSC contingent, live too much by labels. Even when we seem to be on the “right side” of an issue, very often we don’t know what’s in that issue. This makes it difficult to argue effectively against people who don’t care about any of that but just want to win. Win at all costs.
We have some serious issues that don’t get any real air-time. The presidential debate was a demonstration of how little any of these people are even aware of them.
For instance, whatever your feelings about the causes of climate change may be, the fact is we’re seeing it, and one of the consequences will be a dramatic redistribution of potable water. This is already happening. None of those people even raised the issue. Of course, we’ve been told our real concern is oil, and consequently we’ve seen this horrible practice of fracking take off, to the quick benefit of certain shareholders, but also to the gradual detriment of water. Now, there may well be a lot to be discussed on either side of that issue, but it doesn’t even raise a blip on the radar of presidential campaigning!
For another instance, we have a growing number of displaced workers and a shrinking pool of traditional jobs to absorb them. If anything gets said at all, it is couched in terms of entitlements and lazy people without a single nod to the fact that we are building our own replacements and jobs are simply not there. No discussion of it at all on the level of local communities devastated by standard Big Business practices that often obliterate local economies.
Oh, can’t talk about that! That implies a need for Regulation and we all know that regulation is inimical to growth.
But my point is, these kinds of things, which are real and current and need to be dealt with do not get a reasonable public debate because we’re so damn caught up about someone’s fucking email account or whether angels are real.
I did not side with Mr. Boehner, but he has my sympathy. He has probably felt like the only rational person in the room most of the time. He has been bludgeoned by stupidity.
The problem, however, is that the GOP is losing its reasonable members. They are becoming increasingly shrill because the BSC faction thinks it’s winning because people like Boehner throw up their hands and walk away. You can only be in the same room with idiocy for so long before you begin to doubt your own sanity. But it is that shrill, loud whine of lunacy that most people hear and it has the unfortunate attribute of overwhelming everything else.
It would be nice for a change if the quiet, thoughtful ones would stop demurring in the face of what is becoming criminal irrationality. I kind of like a two-party system, but in order for it to function properly both parties must have credibility. Right now, judging by the rhetoric and who they have running for the top position, the GOP has no credibility. Not with me, anyway. And I don’t think that’s a good thing.