The only way the Republican right wing in this country can get America to be the kind of country they want it to be, one in which a minority rules the nation in the interest of the 1 percent, is to make sure the 99 percent majority stays out of politics.
One of the best ways of doing this is to get everyone disgusted with even the idea of politics – and to this the tea partiers and their ilk have been busily applying themselves.
It goes something like this: Keep waging nasty and prolonged fights over anything and everything that might be progressive. Make people believe that nothing is settled in America, that nothing can really be won, regardless of what the people do.
Take health care, where the tea party Republicans excel at whipping up lies and wacko conspiracy theories. They scream the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is not the law of the land; it is a hoax! It is government interfering and wanting to pull the plug on grandma! The right wing is making its proposals to defund it and threatening to shut down the government, even though they are well aware they won’t succeed.
But where they could succeed is making people believe that the matter of health care too is not settled; that Obamacare is not something good that has come about because of struggle, but something bad that has been imposed.
The antics of Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas, are only the latest example of this. You have a senator so lacking in seniority that he is yet to earn a place on the coffee line in the Capitol telling the House to “defund Obamacare” by shutting down the federal government. Right-wingers in that body signed up for the scheme while Cruz knew full well he didn’t have the support in the Senate. None of it will defund Obamacare.
So what does it accomplish? It pulls the political discourse further to the right. Cruz, for example, has called for making every vote in the Senate dependent on a 60 percent super-majority, trashing majority rules. It turns off ordinary Americans to politics, thereby ceding the battlefield to right-wing nut jobs.
That is what happened in 2010. The right-wing Republicans went on the offensive attacking the president and health care, and ordinary people got turned off and didn’t show up for the midterm elections. What did we get? A tea party Congress and dozens of statehouses run by zealots paid for by the worst of corporate and right-wingers, like the oil tycoon Koch brothers.
While there are any number of moves made by Democrats that we have questioned and opposed, let’s be clear: The right wing’s bare-knuckled obstructionism cannot simply be dismissed with “all politicians stink.” These tactics are geared to enabling something really dangerous: permanent rule by the one percent over the 99 percent.
Think for a minute. If the Democrats pulled the kind of crap the tea party pulls, the howls and cries of “treason” would reverberate from sea to shining sea. Yet, these Republicans are given air time to spout their lies and hypocrisies, and hold the entire country hostage to their minority opinions. Right after the House voted to defund Obamacare and food stamps, John Boehner and Eric Cantor had the nerve to call press conferences saying they want to get down to business of creating jobs. What planet are they living on? The responsibility for this mess lies with the Republicans and their enablers.
Contact your union, community group, campus organization or church and find out what plans they have to keep up the pressure against the tea partiers. We need those who are willing to stand up to Republican bullying and treasonous tactics to wage serious campaigns in 2014 for Congress and statehouses.
Photo: Texas Sen. Cruz. His brand of right-wing politics is aimed at turning people off and promoting himself. Flickr (CC)