Getting depressed over America’s future is easy these days. Just reading last Sunday’s New York Times could do it. First Maureen Dowd’s column, “Welcome to Ted Cruz’s Thunderdome,” and following that with the front-page story, “A Crisis Months in the Planning,” was enough. Between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the Koch brothers and former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, (is he still alive?), it is easy to give up hope for the nation’s future.
You could literally become ill when reading this paragraph in the Times: “Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the nation’s Capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.”
These gentlemen, and referring to them as such is much too polite, with Cruz as the front man, are leading their party down the garden path into oblivion. We can only pray that Rep. John Boehner has one final lucid moment left in his speakership and takes up the cause of the increasing number of moderate Republicans who are speaking out against the insanity. Let’s hope that the tanning bed that turns his skin orange hasn’t infected his brain cells.
A moment of hope came last week when it appeared that Boehner had come to his senses at last. He stood at the podium and angrily declared, “We aren’t playing games here.” Then the letdown when everyone realized he wasn’t talking to the Tea Party. The Tea Party, whose members are an irrational minority, was described by Dowd as, “Infected with a mutant form of ideology. …In the infected Tea Party politicians, brain function decreased and social devolution occurred. They began ignoring their basic survival instincts.” The first political results of their craziness will be to ensure that a Democrat wins the governorship of Virginia and other polls are indicating that Republicans in 16 swing House districts are in trouble.
But those like Cruz, the modern Joseph McCarthy, don’t really care about their party or the nation if it interferes with their own aggrandizement. Cruz clearly doesn’t care about the other Republicans in the Senate, the institution of Congress in which he serves or even the concept of governing. He and his acolytes care only for the few who will hail them as heroes while they proceed to destroy the country. In the long run as Dowd suggests they will also destroy themselves.
But through this insanity what we can’t do is give up hope. We need to support the president and remain hopeful that the majority of Congress will somehow reclaim their voice and speak out, drowning out the voices of Cruz and his minions. It is clear that the votes are now there to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling without all the histrionics.
We must fight allowing the Republican Tea Party members and House leadership to talk about issues like closing NIH and keeping a child from getting cancer care, as the fault of Democrats. That is an obscenity. Reporters like Dana Bash who asked Harry Reid if it wasn’t worth opening NIH to give hope to one child with cancer should be ashamed of the question. They know better and should be directing those questions at the Speaker of the House who has the votes to open the entire government immediately and instead is playing games with the nation’s future.
There is a cynicism pervading the public when they talk about politicians and we need to change that perception. It isn’t fair to the many who are actually doing a good job, or at least want to. There are Republicans as well as Democrats who fall into this group. They want to move the nation ahead and do what they actually believe in their hearts is the right thing. The Republicans in this group understand that opposing giving every American health insurance makes no sense. They understand that instead of this insanity we should be working on modernizing the tax code; passing new immigration policy; passing legislation that will ensure equal employment opportunities to members of the LGBT community; and passing new legislation that will ensure every American has the right to vote.
There is much to do to ensure that the economy will continue to grow and that middle class Americans, and those who want to enter the middle class, have the opportunity to work hard and do so. It’s time to move on and it’s Boehner who can stop the nonsense and finally say no to the insanity of the right wing of his party.