Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Five (And-a-Half) Signs That The “GOPOCALYPSE NOW” is Upon Us

Chris Hayes of the Nation magazine subbing for Rachel last night summarized the perilous crossroads we’re at as a country as well as anyone. Using the game of “chicken” metaphor Chris laid out the dangerous, destructive and unpatriotic brinksmanship being played by Republicans in the House and Senate in their almost arrogant expectation that the President and Democrats will cave. After all, that's been their MO, and the Republican minority has heaped huge political rewards from being obstructionist bullies. Indeed, if President Obama and the Democratic Party do not hold fast against this oncoming GOP train wreck the results could be catastrophic, with unforeseen consequences for the nation.

President Obama and the Democratic Party. Feeling lucky, anyone? Watch:

1. FILIBUSTERING the START Treaty. Essentially, this treaty “would make modest reductions, cutting both countries' deployed arsenals by 30 percent, down to 1,500 strategic nuclear weapons each. It would also reestablish verification measures.” Valerie Plame, the CIA agent outed by Karl Rove and the Bush regime, is an in situ expert on the current state of nuclear proliferation in the world. She is emphatic that START must not be rejected.

In terms of nuclear arms treaties, it’s a no-brainer. Never before in the history of bilateral nuclear arms negotiations between the U.S. and Russia (the former Soviet Union) have Republicans been so reckless and irresponsible at playing politics with it. The consequences are severe; killing the treaty would: (a) increase the real likelihood that stray nuclear weapons in uninspected arsenals fall into terrorist or rogue state hands; (b) precipitate arms races worldwide once the two largest nuclear arsenals failed to make mutual reductions; (c) shatter U.S.-Russia bilateral relations, which are built on mutual trust (plus verify) and results; (d) weaken President Obama’s influence on the world stage, emboldening potential enemies such as North Korea and Iran, and adversaries such as China to flex their regional muscles, heightening the threat of regional war leading to a nuclear exchange. North Korea’s nuclear trigger finger is twitchy as it is.

It was Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg who said in 1947 that “politics stops at the water’s edge.” He meant that in matters of  national interest we set partisan issues aside and do what’s right. This has been a cornerstone of nuclear arms treaties honored by the two major parties and four Democratic and five Republican presidents from JFK to GWB.

Until now.

Senator John Kyl of Arizona (what is it about Arizona that produces such detestable politicians as Kyl, McCain, and Brewer?) announced his intention to block START despite ringing endorsements from world leaders and former secretaries of state from both parties. As Spencer Tracy said to the judge in that famous scene playing Clarence Darrow, this Arizonan cactus ass may have the POWER but not the RIGHT to block a treaty that has been fully vetted in the U.S. national interest.

2. FILIBUSTERING the debt limit raise. Not only are these hypocritical bastards RESPONSIBLE for our debt and economic plight, but now they have decided to engage in nihilistic anarchy, like so many spoiled children in their own private Lord of The Flies world, to destroy the good name and credit of the United States and plunge our country into another Great Depression. These scumsuckers, Teabaggers, and wingnuts are quite simply INSANE.

Only Paul Krugman could cast this showdown in Biblical, but accurate, proportions.

3. FILIBUSTERING an extension of tax cuts for rich oligarchs. The Republicans are shameful LIARS on this issue. There is ZERO empirical evidence that the super-rich getting a deficit-exploding tax extension will create jobs. Warren Buffett slammed the idea as did patriotic millionaires who said they do not need nor do they want their tax cuts extended.

What is the President’s reaction? He wants to talk, to reason with these scumsucking bastards, even after they turned down his invitation to dinner at the White House.


4. FILIBUSTERING repeal of DADT. Secretary Gates is for immediate repeal. So are the JCS, the President (ostensibly, you never know with him), even Senator Lieberman. Will it pass? In a word, NO.

5. FILIBUSTERING an extension of unemployment insurance. It will have expired for 2 million Americans whose benefits have run out at the height of the Holiday season. Will it pass? Again, in a word, NO.

What about our grandchildren, the rosacea-boy buzzword Republicans are instructed to repeatedly mention at every turn? The chutzpah of these Republicans is UNREAL.  If we leave it up to these bastards, our grandchildren will have inherited a dying planet with melting polar icecaps, rising sea levels, extreme climate, and ever rising temperatures. If you’re anywhere near your grandkids, stay away. They may want to KILL YOU.

The time has come for FDR-Truman-RFK Democrats to stand up and be counted. Progressives and liberals watch with growing alarm as our President continues to reach out to Republicans in the face of their growing insanity and extremism. Politics is a learning and adjusting process. But it is, fundamentally, about learning the right lessons. Progressives derive no “I told you so” pleasure at having been consistently right from the very beginning of this administration about the nature and tactics of the Republicans. Had the President been more like Truman and RFK I, for one, am convinced we would have a stronger healthcare law with a public option today and not suffered the losses the Democratic Party did in the midterms.

Part of Bobby Kennedy's appeal with conservative white Democrats that Obama never seemed to internalize is that these voters saw Bobby as a straight shooting tough guy who didn't owe anyone anything. The moment Obama embraced the economic elites with his awful appointments of Summers and Geithner, dropped the public option like a hot potato, and sent chief Clinton triangulator Rahmbo off to make sweetheart deals with key corporate players, the President lost progressives and the Heartland.

Sadly, we can no longer rely on a president who has decided it’s a good idea to break bread with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is is tough love, Mr. President, but honestly it's starting to look like a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Or that signature line used by progressive Pat Quinn to defeat his wingnut opponent for governor of Illinois: “WHO IS THIS GUY?”

Let's call it a preemptive critique. If President Obama as the Democratic Party's LEADER stands up to the Republicans, giving his party an injection of backbone, progressives will be delighted to echo Roseanne Roseanadana and say ... "never mind." Because the other choice is this:

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