BY RICHARD L. FRICKER
The “debt deal” – as everyone who woke up on the planet Earth Monday morning now knows – is no deal at all. This “deal” is a capitulation by both Democrats and Republicans to a minority group of well financed and ballyhooed extremists who pose as much a danger to the wellbeing of the republic as any wide-eyed bomb thrower.
Actually, their threat is greater. Having convinced seasoned politicians to forego patriotism and governance for political expediency, pandering has replaced legislative prowess.
Both parties shrank from duty in order to secure re-election based on policies, programs, platforms and philosophies which prove meaningless in the face of a Tea Bag threat. All of which decries the depths to which American politics has sunk.
Regardless of how one may perceive Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, watching the Speaker tremble and acquiesce to a small group of members who want not a viable, healthy republic, but an ideologue-based system of government rendering all other elected officials powerless flies in the face of every tenet of a democratic system. Boehner has rejected democracy for expediency; he has, like so many conservative quislings, traded middle class America for a place at the banquet table of the corporate tribe.
In the Senate the situation is not much better for rank and file Americans and the controlling Democrats cowered to Republican Tea Bag demands. There will be no new revenue sources: the Bush tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy will remain in place.
In the end the “debt debate” charade orchestrated by the Tea Bag people left the Democrats to clean up the napkins and paper cups while the wealthy continued to sip tax deductible champagne aboard their tax deductible jets and yachts.
But the most remarkable action of the “debate” was the inaction of President Barack Obama. When the American people wanted and needed a champion to lead the masses out of the darkness of fiscal uncertainty, debt, joblessness and war, he retreated into the cave of “consensus.”
Obama possessed the very mechanism to stop the charade, the 14th Amendment. He chose instead to take the “high road.” This left his administration a silhouette against the political horizon, to be sniped at and shot until there was no administration position left to save.
Giving this administration the power to govern is not unlike giving Cro-Magnons a nuclear arsenal. They don’t know how it works, but the lights and buttons are amusing.
The president left the very people who placed him in office, the middle working class and hopeful poor, at the mercy of Tea Bag people and congressional ideologues with little or no experience in governing a nation. He allowed his office to be gutted in the name of consensus, which was not consensus at all, rather a game of chicken he could have stopped at any time.
The final fallback position for the American people is the American people. There is a lesson to be learned from the teachers of Wisconsin. Failing response from their elected, they made their voices heard, and they found support. They did not win the battle, but they may win in the courts and failing that they have put the elected on notice for the next round of elections.
In the meantime, Rep. Eric Cantor and his cadre of Tea Bags have shown they can bring the process to its knees. They have also shown that they brook “no” dissent from within their own supposed party.
The president and the Democratic Party must learn that “consensus” is buzzword leading into a political trap. Consensus is not respected by ideologues that see it only as a weapon in their arsenal, not as a means to equal governance.
In short, the debate has shown this: seeking “consensus” while not using the power of office at critical times is tantamount to debating which method of execution is most moral. Meanwhile, Cantor and his ideologues lead any perceived opposition, the hopes, aspirations and dreams of the middle class up the stairs chanting with Madame Defarge, “Guillotine!! Guillotine!!”
– Richard L. Fricker lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Martian Llama Racing Explained, is available at http://www.richardfricker.com.