Hopefully by the time you read this the Fox-Republican-TEA Party will have released its American hostages, reopened the people’s government, and honored the full faith and credit of the United States by agreeing to pay our bills. I’m not optimistic. Even if the anarchists in the House majority and their minority allies in the Senate agree to only a short-term continuation of funding, they will create another crisis within a few months.(Note: Since this was written, the Elections of 2014 gave the Republicans control of the Senate, increasing the probability of more fabricated crises and making them more serious.)
Anarchists, of course, do not believe in government, so the current government shutdown should be no surprise. Since the GOP nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964, nearly the entire party has been systematically taken over by people who campaign against the government. Right now, our federal agencies are not able to prevent our food from being contaminated, keep our national parks open, pay our veterans what they are owed, et al. We all remember what “a heck-of-a-job, Brownie” did at FEMA during Katrina, and that has become the stereotype of what happens when anti-government presidents appoint anti-government administrators to vital agencies.
Conservative columnist David Brooks and others have referred to those seeking a shutdown of the government over the issue of defunding Obamacare as being Kamikazes. Kamikazes were those Japanese pilots during the last days of World War II who believed their emperor Hirohito to be a god and were willing to die for him. Those fanatics were issued enough gasoline to get to their targets but not enough to get home. They used their bodies and planes as missiles against the Allies.If Mr. Brooks and others also think that the fanatics who have taken over the Fox-Republican-TEA Party are leading the GOP to suicide in future elections, I have to disagree. The GOP may show no understanding of the lessons of history in general, but they do remember their own history of the past thirty years. After the Iran-Contra Affair in which the Reagan administration secretly and illegally sold missiles to Iran, the Republicans still won the next presidential election in 1988. Even after Newt Gingrich (Khan) and his Republican hordes took control of the House of Representatives in 1995, shutdown the government in 1995-96, and then impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, they still maintained a majority in the House until 2007! Consequently, they are convinced that no matter how viciously and irresponsibly they perform, the voters are unlikely to hold them accountable – and I agree: anyone who voted for them before, will do it again.
Nevertheless, the current fanatics are indeed Kamikazes. In 1945, it was almost impossible for our soldiers and sailors to overpower or outmaneuver an enemy that was determined to die and would just keep coming. The same is true about trying to work with today’s right-wing extremists in Congress. They are sociopaths who know what they want, are determined to have their way, and don’t care how many innocent people get hurt as a result. If they’ve been outvoted on legislation in Congress, outvoted on the Supreme Court, and outvoted in the presidential election, then democracy itself must be sacrificed. They will hold the nation hostage until they get their way!
The lead Kamikaze pilot in Congress is Ted Cruz, the anarchist junior senator from Texas. He reminds me of another outrageous Republican junior senator from the early 1950s, Joe McCarthy from Wisconsin. Physically, they even sort of look alike, with Cruz being a younger version of McCarthy. They also sound alike: Obamacare will lead to the end of American civilization as we know it; communists within our government will destroy the nation! Their motives appear to be similar as well, savoring the publicity and being the center of attention more than anything else – mostly just a game to them, with a sociopathic disregard for the consequences of their actions.
McCarthy merely wanted to maintain his Senate seat, so he lied about having a list of known communists in the state department, won re-election, and was content with having a subcommittee to pursue his malicious communist witch-hunt. On the other hand, Cruz, , representing the-rich-are-Taxed-Enough-Already (TEA) Party, is believed to have aspirations for the GOP nomination for the presidency! Fortunately, that’s unlikely. Traditionally, since WWII, the Republican Party has reserved its vice-presidential nominations for its never-ending succession of lunatic fringes. Ike got stuck with Richard Nixon, Nixon picked Spiro Agnew, the elder Bush chose Danny Quayle, W. Bush wanted Dick Cheney, McCain went with Sarah Palin, and Romney selected Paul Ryan. Sadly, that’s a scary lot for any party to place within a heartbeat from the presidency!
For a nation that’s expected to be a world leader, we’re really in an embarrassing and dangerous situation now. How do you use facts, reason and logic, justice, and common sense against Kamikazes, anarchists, and sociopaths?
by David Offutt
A version of this essay was published October 25, 2013, in the El Dorado News-Times as a Guest Column and in the October 17, 2013, edition of the Arkansas Times as a letter to the editor.