On Friday the congress of the United States of America went into recess for five weeks. At this time it is unclear whether the house and senate will be any less effective while absent than it was when its members were actually roaming the halls of the big domed building on the hill.
Perhaps that view is too cynical. After all in the waning moments before they took off to their home districts the House of Representatives did vote for the 40th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care. For the 40th time this shrewd and carefully crafted piece of legislation went no further--dying even before it reached the Senate floor, much less the president's desk and his certain veto.
Well, what are you going to do? Especially when your concept of governing is slightly less mature than a three year old child who screams mindlessly at the top of his or her lungs when told no.
Of course, despite my criticism, there are some ideas out there. Representative Frank Lucas, R-OK co sponsored a bill to reduce government food assistance by $20 billion over a ten year period. Hey, you have to save a buck somewhere, so why not eliminate two million people from the food stamp program? After all they are nothing but a bunch of kids, elderly and disabled people who probably aren't going to vote for the party anyway.
Others, like Senators Mike Lee, R-UT and the mad Canadian, Ted Cruz, R-TX have proposed shutting down the entire government if the next budget includes funding for the Affordable Care Act. Years ago this sort of behavior was known as, "cutting off your nose to spite your face." At least that is what my grandmother used to tell me when I went off into a senseless snit.
Unfortunately for all this well thought out republican statesmanship, signs of stress fractures are beginning to become evident among the ranks. In fact, at times, it appears they despise each other only slightly less than they loathe Barak H. Obama and the American people.
A sampling of quotes highlights a degree of in fighting that probably has ol' Dutch Reagan spinning in his grave.
John McCain, R-AZ said of the proposed shut down, "It is a fact. When there is a risk of a shutdown of the government, the congress is blamed by the American people." The aforementioned Mr. Cruz was outraged at this lack of right wing balls. He said of McCain and others, "They're scared of being beaten up politically."
McCain responded by calling, Cruz, Rand Paul, R-KY, and others who think shutting down the government is a valid political strategy a, "bunch of wacko birds."
That moved Representative Justin Amash, R-MI to ask McCain if he came up with the term, "at dinner with Barak?" Paul responded to it at a meeting with fellow arch conservatives by saying, "The republicans of old have grown stale and moss covered."
The republicans of old group Paul was referring to no doubt includes Senator Richard Burr, R-NC. His opinion of a government wide shutdown is that, "It is the dumbest idea I've ever heard of."
Not to be out done and in what looks to be a preview of the 2016 GOP dog fight for the presidential nomination, Rand Paul and NJ governor Chris Christie exchanged words. Paul opened with an accusation that Christie is a liberal republican who goes to the feds saying "gimme, gimme, gimme" when his state runs into minor trouble such as super storm Sandy.
Christie responded this way, "I find it interesting Senator Paul is accusing us of having a gimme, gimme, gimme attitude toward federal spending when in fact New Jersey is a donor state and we get 61 cents back on every $1 we send to Washington. Interestingly Kentucky gets $1.51 back for every $1 they send to Washington."
Paul, being the silver tongued devil he is, called Christie, "The king of bacon."
Yes, it would appear these are troubling times for the republican kingdom. The old guard, the ones who actually think the government should function, are pitted against a bunch of young guns who believe the government should be destroyed, or at least utterly paralyzed until they get their way.
The truth is McCain, Burr, Christie and others are looking at a national picture, one that includes the white house. Paul, Cruz, Lee and the rest haven't a clue when it comes to such things. They're delusional enough to think their home states and their constituencies reflect the nation as a whole. In their lack of vision and leadership they've become locked into a philosophy and political strategy that is crudely and dangerously nihilistic.
But hey, as Iggy Pop once said, "Nihilism is best done by professionals."
Indeed. Unluckily for the rest of us, we have to live with these cretins and their nonsense.
Next up on the GOP agenda, Gotterdammerung.
See you then. Just remember to spend your 15 minutes wisely.
Mr. Sulu you have the con.