I called this death spiral months ago – July 4th, actually; see it here.
Now comes word that the Gallup Poll (one of the most conservative and least accurate) finds that Americans’ approval of the Republican Party is at an all-time low, and favorable ratings for the Tea Party are even worse, thanks to the government shutdown and the “debt ceiling” crisis.
Makes sense; the shutdown threw 800,000 people out of work, while blocking the “legal authority to pay our bills” threatens a worldwide depression. Keep this up and we’ll all be living in tents in the woods, with shotguns to keep away scavengers.
Interest rates will soar, millions won’t have a home anymore; that’s what default would mean. The whole world depends on U.S. currency; even the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The whole world depends on our dollar.
So hey, Americans are no dummies – though often as not, we vote for them.
So poll numbers are dropping, but people are still confused. Listen up: the “debt ceiling” doesn’t allow more debt! It allows us to pay the debts Congress already voted for.
If you don’t like the “debt ceiling,” you don’t like the Congress you voted for. We shouldn’t even have a “debt ceiling” law, it’s only a politician’s cosmetic to cover up how much your Congress has already voted to spend.
If you like Tammy Faye’s eye shadow, you’ll love the debt ceiling.
In the past few days I’ve heard more TV commentators say “Republican death” out loud. I’m no prophet, and I don’t blame them for being cautious up to now, because the mass media aim for the masses, which mostly want to hear what they’ve already heard. But now, things are starting to change.
However the current mania turns out, we need to keep track of two things: how political parties die, and how they live to fight another day.
America’s Whig Party died because of two mistakes: they took positions Americans repudiated (on slavery; what else). Then the Whigs held a convention and nobody came.
Today’s Republicans are only at step one. Last week the government shutdown was all to destroy Obamacare, but now it’s not. The Affordable Care Act looks popular, if you judge by web traffic so heavy it caused healthcare.gov to crash. So Rep. John Boehner, the Speaker no one listens to when he speaks, has stopped talking about the healthcare law at all, and now yammers about coaxing the President into a “conversation.”
- Which took place tonight, with no conclusion, because Boehner’s offering was paltry to the point of useless; even if President Obama does negotiate, Boehner can’t deliver his own party’s votes.
There’s no one for Obama to negotiate with; nobody speaks for these Republicans. They’re at war with each other, a mere array of factions. Boehner can’t deliver, Paul Ryan can’t, Eric Cantor, Peter King, Steve King, none of them.
There is no “Republican vote” anymore in the House of Representatives. So six weeks of kick-the-can, even if Boehner could get the votes for it, is pointless. The result is national repudiation – fulfilling one, but only one, of the criteria for killing off a political party.
Republicans still control a majority of governorships and state legislatures. That’s why we keep seeing states passing right-to-work laws, abortion restrictions, voter suppression laws, cutting people off unemployment, defunding public education, closing hospitals, refusing Medicaid expansion and more. Rush Limbaugh’s still on the radio, Fox is still on cable, Republicans still control my county courthouse, and I have no doubt that if someone called a convention, thousands would show up, hoping for “Obama’s a Kenyan” red meat. Killing off a party takes time, even when you’re Bonehead Boehner.
In this leadership vacuum, he’s hanging on as Speaker day-to-day. He has no strategy for how to get out of this, because he never wanted to get into this. But he never had the balls to tell the Tea Party to go to hell.
The biggest component of power is fear. No one on earth is afraid of Boehner.
Meanwhile people suffer, which is why GOP poll numbers drop.
I have no insight into how this all will end, though I dearly hope we don’t go into default and ruin the entire world economy.
Perhaps as a partisan Democrat I should wish for that to happen, because it would surely sound the GOP death knell. But I can’t. I’m an American first and a partisan second; I’m a world citizen and I don’t want more people to suffer.
If we default it would mark the end of the American Empire. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want us to prove we are ungovernable, so I’m hoping the GOP splits up and the President comes out on top.
He’s a good man, though his policies are often deeply flawed. I trust him; I feel like I know his heart.
He’s a patriot; John Boehner is not. None of the Republicans are anymore; they’re willing to risk the full faith and credit of the United States, when after Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s all we’ve got.
Boehner’s sole motivation is riding around in his limo, telling himself, “I’m the Speaker of the House! Third in line, hey, look at me!”
He won’t bring up a “clean CR” out of fear it would pass, and then he’d be deposed by the Insane Party.
To me it would be an honor to be kicked out by this Republican Party. But he can’t adapt to how things have changed from 1956, much less yesterday.
It’s no crime to be “old school,” but it’s a serious crime to put your own title, salary, prestige and perks above the national interest. He should call the psychotics’ bluff, or resign.
In 1956, no Republican would have considered such dishonor as putting self above country.
What makes a death spiral fascinating to watch is that the longer it goes on, the closer the skater gets to the ice, until at last s/he falls down and the music ends.
Once Boehner collapses, there will be no music and no applause.
I just don’t want him to take the rest of us down with him.++