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Tomasky writes: "America's problem is not Barack Obama and his alleged 'socialism,' but a political party that has become psychologically incapable of operating within the American political system."

Speaker of the House John Boehner holds his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center, 04/18/12. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Speaker of the House John Boehner holds his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center, 04/18/12. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The GOP's Sabotage of Democracy

By Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast

23 December 12


eally, what is to be done about this Republican Party? What force can change it—can stop Republicans from being ideological saboteurs and convert at least a workable minority of them into people interested in governing rather than sabotage? With the failed Plan B vote, we have reached the undeniable crisis point. Actually we’ve been at a crisis point for years, but this is really the all-upper-case Undeniable Crisis Point. They are a direct threat to the economy, which could slip back into recession next year if the government doesn’t, well, govern. They are an ongoing, at this point almost mundane, threat to democracy, subverting and preventing progress the American people clearly desire across a number of fronts. They have to be stopped, and the only people who can really stop them are corporate titans and Wall Streeters, who surely now are finally beginning to see that America’s problem is not Barack Obama and his alleged “socialism,” but a political party that has become psychologically incapable of operating within the American political system.

We all know that the GOP has become much more extreme in the last few years, and, taking the longer historical view, the last 20 or 25 years. But when that gets said, it usually elides an important point—the important point. It’s usually meant to refer to the party’s policy positions. And the move to the hard right is obviously true along those lines.

But politics, and certainly political parties, aren’t only about policy positions. There’s also the question of what I’ll call process, which means simply how a party practices politics on a day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year basis. This isn’t a question of the positions per se, but how the party attempts to advance and defend them.

And it’s on process far, far more than on policy that the Republican Party has gone nutso. You know this story, too, so I needn’t rehearse the details, except to describe the current end point, which is that to the GOP today, the Democrats must be denied any victory by any means necessary. The Republicans unwilling to vote for Plan B weren’t in the main loathe to give Boehner a win. The problem was that that particular Boehner win might have led to an Obama win. That was the issue that drove them.

In that sense, all these people saying they learned no lesson from the election are completely wrong. They learned a lesson, all right, but the lesson they took away is just the opposite of the kind of lesson normal small-d democrats would learn. Normal small-d democrats would learn that you’ve lost twice now, and while you should still stick to your principles of course, it was also time to play a little ball. But these Republicans learned that they have to be even more obstructionist. Their ideas are unpopular, their America is dying. But by God, they’re standing until the last man! They’re Paulus’s soldiers at Stalingrad, surrounded by an enemy that embodies evil—and is fated to outlast them. This is how they’ve been trained to think.

So they’ll give no ground. People are now saying that the only way to avoid going off the cliff is for Boehner to let the Senate bill come to the floor and let it be passed mostly by Democrats. But what reason is there to believe that even 20 or 25 Republicans would vote for a bill? And please, don’t tell me “because a large majority of Americans would support it.” That doesn’t matter to them.

And next year, in January or February, when Joe Biden’s task force completes its work and we have new gun legislation? We have now rafts of new polling showing that clear majorities will support the kinds of proposals that are likely to be in any such legislation. But that won’t matter. They have the votes to block, and they will. And then perhaps Obama will attempt immigration reform, again with a solid majority of Americans behind him. They showed a few post-election signs of yielding here, so we’ll see. But as the issue heats up, the usual sources will start warning even the softer-hearted GOP legislators that a vote for immigration is a vote for Obama, you quisling, and if you waver on this you can certainly expect a primary challenge.

They didn’t come to Washington to govern. They came to sabotage. So our working assumption must be whatever the issue, sabotage is what they’re going to do.

And they can do it all they want. Our founders didn’t assume that a cadre of people of such immense bad faith and cynicism would ever come to control key levers of government; they built a system that would work, albeit slowly, in the hands of people of reasonably good will. It’s a system that people of bad will can subvert and stop from functioning.

Someone has to tell them enough. The only people I can think of with the power to do so are the high-profile figures of Wall Street and the corporate world. They’re the only people these Republicans might conceivably listen to. They should have done it—and some did—last year during the debt-limit hostage-taking. But then, most of corporate American was still wagering that the Republicans could beat Obama in 2012. Now that that hasn’t happened, now that we’re four years away from another election and Obama will be retiring anyway, and now that the Republicans have demonstrated that they are interested in no compromise at all in any way shape or form, maybe the business elite will finally show some responsibility.

Once upon a time, the statists—Roosevelt and his brains trusters—helped save capitalism from the Bolsheviks of the left. Today, the capitalists have to help save the state. This time the enemy is the Bolsheviks of the right, our current GOP. They’re taking us over the fiscal cliff, and they’ll do far worse without an intervention. your social media marketing partner


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+60 # AUCHMANNOCH 2012-12-23 16:00
The Tea Party went off to Congress to serve a spell,
Screwing up the government and laws as well.
Took over Washington, I heard tell,
And widened up the cracks in the Liberty Bell.

-32 # indian weaver 2012-12-23 17:45
" ...Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier." However, that patriot patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell, not widened it. Where are Davy Crockett, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry et. al. now when we need them? Turning over in their graves. Am I supposed to take their place when I face lifelong torture from this government? The inevitability of evil from this government is certain now that the system shows its cracks which are rapidly widening with Obama at the wheel (he's not blameless, ergo NDAA, TTP, Afganistan b.s. war and b.s. "surge", Drone assassinations of innocent women and children from his TV Screen in the Black House basement, worldwide torture continuing) on and on, he's a player in this corrupt system and he's not helping anyone) and no one is here to patch it up anymore. I'm admitting I'm terrorized by our government and not by foreign "terrorists".
+55 # mdhome 2012-12-23 20:19
"now that the Republicans have demonstrated that they are interested in no compromise at all in any way shape or form, maybe the business elite will finally show some responsibility."
NO, NO They are going to rejoice when they see the country go up in flames, The republicans have been taken over by truely wack-job batsh!t crazy nutcases who will do anything to stop the government in its' tracks. They are wishing for another GREAT depression, they flat-out believe they really want this. It may be too late to stop the demise of our great country, , they are so busy trying to make it happen and blame Obama, they do not realize what they will have to endure to get things back under control.
+68 # davidr 2012-12-23 17:59
Wall Street will probably exercise some discipline over its party, but in the long run, this is not salutary. To conduct politics in such a way is essentially to ratify the political model of Citizens United — money rules.

Wall Street is no white knight. Its interests do not align with 99% of us. The only healthy way to move the Republicans into the mainstream is by voting against them until they square up to the prospect of being a permanent minority. Practically speaking, that means voting against Wall Street, not awaiting its assistance.
+25 # Dave45 2012-12-23 18:35
But--the problem is not just the Republicans; it is also the Democratic Party which has meekly collaborated with these Republican nutcases over the last 20-30 years. They COULD stand up for traditional democratic principles, but they WON'T, because they too are ultimately motivated by campaign contributions. The Ds could get rid of the filibuster; they could unite to support a vigorous safety net instead of the current program of corporate welfare; they could close Guantanamo; they could cut the ever, always growing defense budget; they could bring about serious gun control; they could remove the stench of US military presence from Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters; they could tell Mr. Obama--"No more assassinations! " They could accomplish all this, or at least they could clearly promote these policies and make the Rs clearly and openly express their opposition to the people's welfare. They could do all this, and more. But, they won't, because they are interested more in amassing their own political and financial capital than they are in ensuring the welfare of the people they so hypocritically "represent."
+12 # mdhome 2012-12-23 20:24
So, because the republicans want to and are working every second to destroy the country, you are blaming the democrats? Granted they have not tried as hard as they might have, but it has been a sisyphus punishment.
+59 # CAMUS1111 2012-12-23 19:28
How do you spell "evil" today?
Easy: "G-O-P-." There needs to be someone of the stature of an Edward R. Murrow to publicly and repeatedly call out these reactionary, obstructionist vermin.
+45 # 2012-12-23 23:48
I believe that Michael Tomasky has, in this article, described is the prosecution's case for charging the Republican leadership in the United State House of Representatives with Treason. Throw George Bush in with him if you like.
Is it not what Osama bin Laden tried to accomplish? Wreck the United States economy (2007-08). Frustrate efforts to repair the damage (threatening to filibuster the stimulus bills).Prevent the economy from recovering (various filibusters of jobs bills). Fail to enact a budget for the United States government (Fiscal Cliff failure to vote).
Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell have, through their obstruction, achieved what Osama bin Laden only dreamed of achieving; lower the bond rating, maintain high unemployment, destroy faith in the government by the people, and prevent economic recovery. What's wrong with the GOP? They are on the wrong side of history.
-53 # egbegb 2012-12-24 00:25
Going off the fiscal cliff is Obama's way of fundamentally transforming America. When he subtracts the $800B he added to the deficit, then and only then will America believe he cares about America.
+38 # rlhollow 2012-12-24 00:31
The Republican Party: It is many things, perhaps, but "political party" is no longer one of them. More of a...what? Gang? Corporation? Junta? Terrorist organization? Whatever, it seems to be unrelated to any needs of the citizens of America.
+2 # mdhome 2012-12-27 11:09
I would go for the term of terrorist organization.
+15 # terrison 2012-12-24 06:01
You're kidding, right? Wall Street? And risk regulation? Did you use "business elite" and "responsibility " in the same sentence? I don't buy it.
+5 # smendler 2012-12-24 06:14
That's kinda what Ralph Nader was saying in the book ONLY THE ULTRA-RICH CAN SAVE US, wasn't it?
+25 # genierae 2012-12-24 06:24
The crimes that Republican governors are committing in their states are under the radar of most of the nation, but they have far-reaching, long-lasting negative affects on tens of millions of people. They are cold, merciless plutocrats, bent on the destruction of the American middle class. The will of the people means nothing to them.

I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy last night on TNT and once again I wondered where the heroes of that caliber are in today's society? Then I remembered. Every human heart is heroic and divine, all we need do is to "Wake up!"

Merry Christmas! God bless us every one!
+19 # MainStreetMentor 2012-12-24 06:28
To “win”, it would appear, is the apex of GOP politics. Governing is no longer even a consideration, save as a propaganda tool. We’ve seen the same evolution in our justice system, i.e., to “win” litigation is more important than seeing justice served – and they are NOT synonymous. The scenario continues: It’s more desirable “to have” than “to have not” in our society, the former building tyrannical sway over the latter. So focused has the compelling force “to win” become, that all other ethical and moral considerations are rendered moot. The politically conservative American has divorced ethics in order to marry the dollar bill.
+12 # humanmancalvin 2012-12-24 08:18
The Radical Right Insurgency will see this country go down the proverbial drain if they do not get their way in any affair, while blaming the president for each calamity of their own creation. President Obama is the one that must draw a firm line that the righties cannot cross & if they do he must jump on national TV & spell out exactly what the radicals are up to. I do believe the American people, yes even some sitting in a Texas trailer park with their Nobama flags a'flying are ready to say hell no to the party of obstruction. The president's message has to be clear, concise & directly to the point. No pulled punches, a speech from the Bully Pulpit like no other before it. What other solution is there? This group would see this country drown rather than let President Obama lay claim to doing something great that would have his name attached to it.
-5 # orwell, by george 2012-12-24 08:45
good thing obama crushed occupy.
strange to see "progressives" supporting our fascist president.
our murdering president.
who cuts soc. sec.
and bails out banks.
strange.....and sad.....tragic
+18 # Jackpine 2012-12-24 09:05
"Bolsheviks of the Right?" I think the correct term is "Fascists."
+1 # Mannstein 2012-12-25 18:58
Let's not smear the Communists eh Comrade?
+1 # tbcrawford 2012-12-24 11:26
I wish Obama was a Socialist! He's not! Just more of the same belief that might makes right, there is no hope for redemption, attack the easy targets first (California medical pot attack for starters)--cont rol and punishment his operating ethos. Clever indeed, but where's compassion, concern for the poor from this Wall Street wannabe. You think Obama Care will do much good? Don't hold your breath. Co-insuring kids til 26 and patching the "donut" hole are tokens...which so many fell for as nirvana. Get a grip and do your homework the fine print (or lack of it) and take responsibility for where we are today.
+5 # qbsurf 2012-12-24 11:57
It will be difficult to purge our government of the traitors who infest it. Even if we could persuade the jejune children of the south to go read some books and get at least a little bit of book learnin' (so they're not so easily controlled by hollow right-wing shibboleths), the Americans with Disabilities Act would make it hard to directly attack the Republicans in office: they are after all victims of a potent mental deficit.
+1 # Jack Hammer 2012-12-25 02:22
Sir, There are only two ways to get rich when your stupid -inherit it -or win it, -I think the GOP know exactly what they're doing. I think the endgame for the Neo-cons is anarchy followed by A military/Facist Dictatorship. I hope I'm wrong, but...
+5 # reiverpacific 2012-12-24 13:01
"and now that the Republicans have demonstrated that they are interested in no compromise at all in any way shape or form, maybe the business elite will finally show some responsibility" .[Quote from article].
Aye right!
And maybe rupert Muck-Doc will liquidate and donate his empire to the ACLU!
ANY change has always come from the people in critical mass.
The "Business elite" will NEVER give up that power-base they already own in a large part, or advise on anything but their own interests as the Rethugs, Blue dogs, lobbyists and the current bent SCOTUS overwhelmingly act on behalf of.
+4 # Jack Hammer 2012-12-24 20:47
Obama is not a socialist -he is a democrat -he is the only democrat that I can recall that has even attempted to improve the availability of health care, yes the Republicans are evil (is that a newsflash?) -And yes this is a deliberate and treasonous attempt to bring his Presidency to a grinding halt. What next? Well first RIOTS, then TEAR GAS, then RUBBER BULLETS, WATER CANNONS, TASER GUNS, STUN GRENADES -and when all of these methods fail -as they will -they will HAVE to introduce MARSHALL LAW -and of what political persuasion is the MILITARY? the are fucking REPUBLICANS. I seriously think that his may be their END GAME -to provoke Civil unrest -til the point that Marshall Law is "necessary" and then take over the whole nation and send all the "lefties" and "cranks" and "intellectuals" -and anyone else that they deem "undesirable" to the detention centres that Haliburton is busily building for them all over the states. Maybe this is the pre-amble to their "Final Solution" -Then they release the flu virus which will eliminate half the population. "THE END OF DEMOCRACY Rest In Pieces USA" If that is the case then a pre-emptive strike is not only desirous -but NECESSARY. Seriously -the Republican party seems lead by psychopaths.
+4 # Joe6pK 2012-12-24 22:03
The problem and the problem makers are one, the gop right-wingers and the Wall Street-foreign corporate & Banksters are the same entity, there is no separation that this progressive sees or hears! This naive attitude of asking wall street to jump in reminds me of a country song, “Lookin for Love in all The Wrong Places”! Wall Street & International Corporations and the Banksters are the ones who paid for all of the teabaggers filth campaign. Asking them for help is as likely to work as trying to get the Taliban to OK female children into schools, like the rest of the human races civilizations do.
Further Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast use of corporate America as allies against Bolsheviks of the left, that is an ill conceived sentence and thought, the USSR and the American left were not our enemies in WWII, they were allies, it was the fascists Nazi [gop] and corporate American who were against us! Ever read any of the books by General Butler? Roosevelt went against his own class, used bully tactics against the bullies; corporate American, otherwise we would all be speaking German! The gop are trying to sell us out, international corporations are trying to sell us out, that is all that explains their anti-Democratic behavior. Joe6pK

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