This is who shut down your government

Much of what the Republican Party has done in the past month takes me back to the day after the 2012 election. Like a lot of people, I listened to Rush Limbaugh in a sort of intellectual masturbation. I wanted someone to suffer for making me listen to Mitt Romney and his merry band of sociopathic primary opponents for six straight months.

A number of really awful events come to mind. At the Tea Party debate in Tampa, Florida, Ron Paul asked a rhetorical question: should a person without insurance be allowed to die? Paul’s answer was no, but several people in the audience enthusiastically shouted “Yes!” in response. Mark Williams, former chairman of the Tea Party group that sponsored the debate, was forced to resign from it in 2010 after displaying bigoted views of no fewer than three hot-button groups: Jews, Muslims, and African Americans.

A week later in Orlando, a gay soldier serving in Iraq asked a question about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. The service member was booed by the GOP-friendly crowd and not a single Republican candidate for President spoke out against it. Rick Santorum didn’t answer the question and frankly didn’t seem to understand it, saying that “Any type of sexual activity has no place in the military.”

DADT doesn’t address sex in the service, something that’s already covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a sort of second set of laws that only apply to the military — it allows gays to serve only if nobody knows they are gay, a reprehensible and bigoted law that was repealed in 2010 in lieu of being struck down as plainly unconstitutional.

As for other events, I had three in mind but I can’t remember the third.

Having to sit through what seemed like at least a hundred contests between mostly old white men to see who could be the biggest asshole will certainly be one of the low points of my life, in retrospect. Someone should have to pay for putting America through that, and who better than tone-def radio pundits?

My only regret is that I didn’t tune in a couple of hours earlier than Limbaugh’s program to catch the TV simulcast of Glenn Beck’s show, so that I could watch him cry while trying to stab himself with a civil war cavalry sword. Beck was mostly depressed and aimless for the rest of that week, but Limbaugh was determined to find someone to blame for what happened. I’m sure you can guess who.

Rush acknowledged that there were more of “them” than “us”, and although he should have been talking about Democrats and Republicans, he was actually talking about the poor, middle class, and minorities. Mostly minorites. Race has always been problematic for the Republican Party, and a sort of reverse class resentment — hating the poor for being poor, essentially — is a standout pillar of modern conservatism.

Paul Krugman talked about this a little bit on Friday — the GOP’s idea of small government isn’t about scale, or freedom, it’s about rolling back programs that benefit poor people and minorities, with minorities tending to be poor in this country.

Despite unemployment above seven percent, Republicans passed a bill earlier this summer that would have gutted SNAP, the food assistance program for poor and middle class Americans (these days it’s mostly poor where the middle class used to be, and outright poverty stricken where the poor were), yet would have barely scratched the budget deficit and isn’t any sort of mandatory program that people have to participate in, so “freedom” as an excuse is out, too.

Whatever arguments can be made about how the Affordable Care Act makes you do something that you don’t want to do — the Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan “me first” generation argument if you will — it primarily benefits the poor, middle class, and elderly Americans by helping them buy health insurance at the expense of the wealthy of clueless healthy. Those are the people who would be hurt the most from not having Obamacare.

Republicans furious that the World War II memorial is shut down — by their own shutdown — are oblivious to the national near-shutdown of WIC, a program whose sole purpose is to keep babies of poor mothers from starving to death. They’ll whine for days about closed memorials, parks, and White House tours as if they mean something compared to social welfare programs that literally keep many families alive.

Voter ID laws aside, most red states are also rolling back early voting as well, a process that has nothing at all to do with alleged vote fraud. But it just so happens, a total coincidence I’m sure, that minorities vote early in large numbers.

And speaking of that memorial, apparently a couple hundred jerks broke into it to hold a protest, although nobody is quite sure what they were protesting since everyone there is a member of the party that closed the memorial in the first place. Larry Klayman, a stooge for one of the GOP lobbying firms hired by the health care lobby to oppose the ACA in 2010, called for President Obama to “put the Qur’an down” and resign from office. I guess the election we just had which Obama ended up cruising through wasn’t quite free enough for Freedom Works.

Racism and anti-Islamic bigotry is nothing new for the Tea Party. Sometimes it holds interesting views on issues like civil liberties, and sometimes it’s just a bunch of hard core southern racists that want the America back where they can openly tell nigger jokes and be lead by a nice gentle and thoughtful white man for a change.

Some of these people actually thought it was a good idea to march on a closed World War II memorial carrying the battle flag, a symbol or racism, oppression, slavery and anti-Americanism. Two sitting U.S Congressmen, Mike Lee (R-AZ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) attended the event with Sarah Palin. It was, in essence, a big back of dicks who were desecrating a memorial in support of their efforts to rob poor people of affordable health insurance.

These are the people that shut down the federal government on October 1st, 2013, and have a 50/50 shot at gaining control of the U.S. Senate next fall.

Think about that while you try to sleep tonight.

Paul Tenny

Paul Tenny

I'm not a journalist but I do it anyway. I cover elections and have interviewed television writers and producers.
Paul Tenny

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