Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Coming Follies

I’ve been hearing a lot since the 2006 midterms about the collapse of the Republican party into a regional special interest group for angry old white guys. I dunno. They seem like they’re getting stronger to me. After turning us into the world’s most resented bully and crashing our booming economy during their six years of one party rule from 2000 to 2006, they managed to roar back into control in 2010 and 2014 by simply refusing to do anything to help the black guy clean up the steaming pile of shit they left for him. Now, things don’t look good for Democrats, let alone Liberals and Progressives in the coming years. Gerrymandering and redistricting at the local and state levels have virtually assured a Republican stranglehold on those governments’ “functioning” for the foreseeable future. At the national level, the right wing media has succeeded in saturating a sufficient number of citizens with enough mistrust and outright hatred of any non-Republican to keep if not the White House, then at least the Legislative and Judicial branches firmly in the hands of the Real Americans of the GOP.

Depressing, I know, so far as progress, our standard of living and simple decency go. But in terms of what the Italians call spettacoli, maybe not so much.

One of the most entertaining things about the GOP has always been the way they consistently overplay their hand and never seem to learn anything from it. Like how they bulldozed Democrats from power in the 90s with Gingrich’s Contract on America and then pulled their bait and switch, swiveling from "fixing" a stagnating economy to shutting down the government and spending 6 years and $60 million of tax payer money publicizing Bill Clinton's sex life. And they’ve been doing the same thing ever since, using the Presidency and House and Senate majorities to regulate citizens' morals, even bullying grieving families into conflating their private and personal sufferings into nationally televised political theater (2016’s up-and-comer Jeb Bush vs. Terri Schiavo’s grief-stricken family). After running against anything the President and Democrats tried to fix Bush’s mess they've been alienating everybody except their base by trimming women’s access to health care they don’t approve of, building walls to keep Latinos where they belong and curtailing everyone else's basic right to vote. Yet they keep getting stronger.

Well, being a glass-half-full kind of guy, I'm thinking that though the future looks depressing in the post-Obama world, it will likely bring some very entertaining spectacles for the rest of us after they succeed in muscling their trickle-down democracy up our asses again.

First, let’s look at the centerpiece of their plan for economic “recovery” from the Obama presidency: the Keystone Pipeline. Now, we all know the arguments – thousands of jobs vs. 35 permanent jobs; environmental disaster vs. job-killing regulations – ok, ok, ok. Yeah, as a Progressive, I’m supposed to be against it. I get it. But stop and look where that pipe actually goes: from Montana through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. These reddest of the red states are represented by a total of 51 Republicans to 14 Democrats in the Senate and Congress combined. They’ve chosen government-is-the-problem hard-liners to represent them in that same government by a better than 31/2 to 1 margin. This is the part of the country that regards our legally elected federal government as a foreign occupying force. There are no fewer than 162 anti-government militia groups operating in this part of the heartland. And every one of these states has opted out of anything to do with improving health insurance for their citizens because it means cooperating with the “President’s socialist agenda.”

I say, let’s pass it. That’s right, fast-track and approve the Keystone Pipeline and let them build it right where they want it. Because…well because it’s gonna leak. It will break, it will seep into the Ogallala Aquafer…the dirtiest kind of oily sludge on the planet will contaminate their drinking water, their rivers, their fishing and swimming holes, their lakes and their homes. Even the homes of the lucky 35 people who still have a job on it after it’s built. And then we’ll get to watch all these we-don’t-need-no-federal-help cowboys standing in line waiting to crawl up Capitol Hill with their 10-gallon hats in their hands. It’ll be better than 1980, when the company running the Three Mile Island nuclear facility sued Jimmy Carter’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission for not regulating them enough to save them from being held accountable for the way they operated their own plant. If the Liberal Media will actually do some reporting on it this time. Close your eyes and picture Sam Brownback explaining to the folks back home how Pat Roberts can't get any money from Big Government to clean all that flammable shit out of their plumbing because he, you know, well he drowned it in the bathtub, remember? I know, I’m smiling too.

And speaking of Obamacare and health issues, we have another George W. Bush Memorial Supreme Court case to look forward to in its upcoming second chance to gut the Affordable Care Act. Once Chief Justice Roberts makes it up to his sponsors by engineering a pro-King verdict we'll have the opportunity to make some popcorn, grab a couple of beers and sit back to watch Chris Christie, John Kasich and Scott Walker explain to their millions of constituents how they're better off being uninsured and uninsurable like they were before. Pre-existing conditions and health care cost related bankruptcies are among the Right's most cherished family values and these rising stars of the GOP will be the tip of the spear in the fight to preserve them from the President's Socialist assault. Theirs is the kind of populist heroism that's always fascinating and fun to watch. 

And how about when President Cruz appoints Priscilla Owen to the Supreme Court and Roe vs. Wade is finally overturned taking that huge step toward returning us to our path as a Christian nation? Abortions will no longer be performed in these United States and all those babies will be born into loving caring families. Except for those terrified early adolescent teens and impoverished single women who’ll go looking for their local coat hanger clinic. Imagine the Republican party’s talking points for the subsequent ballooning health care costs to their clamoring Tea Party base who still don’t get that what you don't pay for at the Federal level you pay for at the State. That would be the same State level that refused to accept Medicaid expansion because, you know, Obama. And speaking of ballooning health care costs, instead of only 3 percent of American children being delivered with birth defects, by how much do you think that percentage will increase in the absence of safe, clean abortions? So rather than costing the US economy in excess of $1.4 billion a year in medical treatment and insurance, the cost of dealing with this sudden windfall of babies with incurable, untreatable birth defects will multiply exponentially as well. Visualize the ripple effect on the US economy and the particularly entertaining results we'll get to see in all those red states refusing to buy into Obamacare’s destructive government takeover of healthcare. Not only will God be smiling down upon us as a nation but rape victims will finally learn how to dress appropriately and Republican state and national primaries will become a hell of a lot more fun (and way less predictable) to watch than Project Runway or IFC Cage fights. (For my money, though, I’m betting the insurance industry’s actuaries have already decided for President Cruz that Roe vs. Wade will simply cost them too much to overturn. And besides, killing babies is too big a stick for beating the Left with to give up especially now when people are starting to ask out loud when all that money’s supposed to start trickling down to the rest of us.)      

And how about the big one, Climate Change? Now, admittedly this one will take a little longer but the states most impacted by rising sea levels will be Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina (with the most regressive statehouse troglodytes east of the Mississippi), South Carolina, and even Chris Christie's New Jersey. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Jeff Sessions and Niki Haley will most certainly be gone by the time things really heat up, and I’m sure it’ll happen too slowly for Senator Inhofe to have to do the explaining but right now, even as I type these words, Young Republicans on some college campus somewhere in America are learning and practicing the intellectual contortions that will enable them to continue dismantling huge portions of the government, keep what's left choked and dysfunctional with parliamentarian subterfuges and media manipulation and then maintain a consistent winning record running against this very government they've so deftly neutered. Just knowing my kids have this to look forward to in their future brings a twinkle to my eye and reassures me that the Republican party will continue being the All American obstruction to progress, peace and fairness that it’s been since St. Reagan revealed to us that Government is the devil. Yes, our kids will have to face the consequences of unpredictable and rapidly escalating climate disasters on a crumbling physical and economic infrastructure, but watching the Republicans demonize any efforts to fashion a government capable of dealing with them and how they sell their destructive obfuscation to their complicit victims...well, that's some real entertainment, that is.      

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