As bad as the Government Shutdown is, and as horrific as a Government Default will be, there also remains a question about which political party will survive, if any. The latest Associated Press/Gfk poll shows Congress with only a 5% approval rating. All parties are getting their fair share of the blame for the shutdown including the President.
There are some interesting numbers inside the poll though. It seems that 18% of Americans approve of the way Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid are handling the crisis. While 35% approve of the way the President is handling it.
Despite his 21 hour speech before the shutdown, only 16% view our Canadian Senator Cruz favorably. If he is truly running for President in 2016 that is not a good number with which to start off.
The one number that really scares me though is that 4 in 10 Republicans or 40% consider themselves as Pee Party Members. They like the idea of small government and low taxes. That is where the delimma comes in.
It is a known fact, and no Republican is arguing the point, that many states have districts made up by gerrymandering. So politicians in those districts are fairly safe from voter backlash. That will make it hard for the Democrats to make Republicans pay for the shutdown or possible (more than likely imminent) default.
We have all heard about the Pee Party and their “small government” attitude. But how much do we really know about them? So here is a little breakdown of their so-called platform and my interpretation of them. It has 10 points to it.
1. Eliminate excessive taxes. Of course they don’t say what these excessive taxes are or which taxes they want to reduce or eliminate. Is it possible that they just don’t want to pay any taxes?
2. Eliminate the national debt. This sounds good to everyone. But just exactly how do you propose to do that? If we are eliminating taxes, how do we pay for the debt already run up? Maybe that is why they seem to want a default. Their answer is simply don’t pay up. I suggest they try that with their mortgage or car loan. I don’t think they will find the banks too willing to just let them not pay.
3. Eliminate deficit spending. May I remind them that this country HAD a balanced budget, and the deficit was coming down, prior to putting two wars on a credit card? To be honest, I was not against the war in Afghanistan. I was against the war in Iraq. In either case, shouldn’t Congress have devised a way to pay for the wars instead of putting them on a credit card? Under the last President, we went from a balanced budget to record deficits. Even after the wars officially come to an end, the costs to our Veterans and the care they will need will dramatically add to the deficit burden.
5. Abide by the Constitution. Okay I am all for that since I served 20 years defending the Constitution. So, why did the House of Representatives refuse to negotiate with the Senate over their separate budgets for the last seven months? Why is the House of Representatives even contemplating a default on our deficit when the Constitution clearly states they are responsible to pay our countries bills? Why are the Pee Partiers so against giving the same civil rights to gay and lesbians in marriage as everyone else? Is it possible they want and ala carte menu so they can pick and choose the parts of the Constitution they want to abide by?
6. Promote civic responsibility. Here they talk about letting the American People be heard. So, why are they passing legislation at the state level to reduce people’s ability to vote? Voting is the first and major platform for the American People to be heard. So why they are putting up obstacles to make it harder for some to vote and why are they gerrymandering districts to make sure they stay in power? Is that really promoting civic responsibility?
7. Reduce the overall size of Government. However they don’t write here what departments they want to eliminate. Although many have spoken publicly. They want to eliminate the EPA, Dept. of Education. Dept. of Energy. They want to privatize Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. Notice how all these agencies are designed to protect the people from greedy businesses who don’t want to be burdened with clean air or water? Or to help schools teach our children what they will need in an ever changing economy? Funny you don’t see big oil subsidies and farm subsidies on their list.
8. Believe in the people. Here they talk about being able to thrive in a democratic and capitalistic society. Yet they don’t seem to mention just how we are currently burdened from doing so. Bullet points are cheap. Tell us what you want different. Yet they do believe that the minimum wage should be eliminated! It seems that $7.25 per hour is too much to pay workers! Are we to believe in people or corporations?
9. Avoid the pitfalls of politics. They think they are grassroots. Yet their major funding comes from people like the Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist, Citizens United and the Heritage Foundation. If that is avoiding the pitfalls of politics, then exactly what are the pitfalls of politics?
10. Maintain local independence. Isn’t that what local government and elections all about?
So, that is their so-called platform. Excuse me, but I always thought that a platform was supposed to lay out actual agendas that have real meaning. This is a bunch of talking points with absolutely no substance.
They also talk about being a “peaceful” organization and do not abide hateful speech. Yet, they are the loudest voices against gay marriage, abortion rights, immigration reform, and background checks. They are also the group that allowed attendees to their “political events” to carry arms openly! They really sound peaceful to me, how about you?
So, we get back to the question as to which political party will survive the current crises facing our nation. It is clear that the Pee Party is not interested in negotiating as Mr. Boehner claims to want. They would crash the entire government just to make their point. Problem is Mr. Boehner, in an attempt to keep his title is willing to go along.
I believe that if things keep going along as they are, one of two things is going to happen. Either Mr. Boehner will finally stand up to these “folks” and get things moving, or in an attempt to keep his precious title of Speaker will fold to them and let the government default and stay closed. In either case, I can foresee that the Republican Party will split.
Amazingly as it sounds, there really are Republicans who detest the Pee Party as much as we do. But, unless they can split the two apart into two separate parties, they will still be afraid because of the potential of being primaried. At least with three parties, maybe the gerrymandering’s impact will diminish.
Maybe that is best thing that can happen right now. Hopefully, a split in the Republican Party will decrease the Pee Party’s power just enough to get our government running as it was intended. Only time will tell.