The GOP's Right Wing Cross To Bear
Thursday night we looked at how thoroughly the Americans people have rejected the Republican Party, both in terms of the untrustworthiness of it's leaders and, more importantly, the inappropriateness of its ideas and policies. So did Lawrence O'Donnell, as you can see in the video above. GOP leaders claim the president has no plan, an outright lie. Here's the plan he put forward, the plan Boehner, Miss McConnell, their cronies and apologists are assiduously trying to ignore.
And now the congressional Republicans are turning on themselves over-- what else-- military spending. Patrick O'Connor at the Wall Street Journal went through the unavoidable lament as the budget hawks and the plain hawks start turning on each other as the reality of the Sequester-- embraced by some liberals, like Howard Dean, Because of the Pentagon cuts-- comes into clearer focus. There are a lot of post-congressional careers and lobbying jobs with the war industries riding on what happens with the Sequester. Members of Congress most beholden to the war manufacturers-- that would be, for example, House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon, who has taken more in thinly veiled bribes from the war industries than any two other Members of Congress combined-- are slipping into freak out mode. And vulnerable Republicans targeted by the DCCC-- O'Connor uses Scott Rigell (R-VA) as an example-- are breaking with party orthodoxy to save their own necks.
The prospect of deep cuts in defense is troubling to many in the party, which has traditionally supported robust defense spending. But increasingly, that impulse is giving way to arguments from GOP lawmakers, many of them new to Congress, who say the most important goal is to rein in federal deficits. They believe that steep, across-the-board spending cuts due to hit on March 1, while an imperfect tool, are the only way to accomplish their goal.
Even some Republicans in defense-heavy districts are calling for the budget cuts to take effect-- a development that helps explain why the $85 billion in defense and nondefense cuts, known as sequestration, are now likely to go through. Part of the 2011 deal between the White House and Congress to raise the debt ceiling, the cuts were seen as a threat so dire that they would be replaced with a more nuanced spending-reduction plan. But that threat hasn't produced the expected effect.
"My community in Fayetteville is going to be gravely impacted, and I'd like to avoid it," said Rep. Renee Ellmers (R., N.C.), whose district includes the Army's Fort Bragg. Yet, she is committed to seeing cuts take effect, as will happen unless Congress and President Barack Obama strike a deal to avoid them.
Ms. Ellmers said she had become even more committed to cutting spending since Mr. Obama was re-elected, because she believes Republicans need to serve as a counterbalance to the president. "We're just going to have to stick to our guns on spending cuts," she said.
Other lawmakers, including those from defense-heavy districts, think the party has to work harder in the next week to avoid the cuts, which will be split between defense and nondefense discretionary programs.
That has left GOP leaders struggling to mask differences within the party ahead of the March 1 deadline. GOP leaders are left with a challenge in communicating their position: that they want big budget cuts, but not the ones about to take effect, which will fall heavily on the military.
The president, meanwhile, has the easier task of traveling the country and claiming congressional Republicans are the sole impediment to his call for offsetting the cuts by closing tax loopholes. And Democratic leaders in Congress face no contingent of members agitating for the budget cuts to go through, as GOP leaders do.
Most Republicans in the House would rather see the cuts kick in than agree to additional tax revenue, which Mr. Obama has said must be included in any plan to replace the budget cuts. Party leaders have counseled their rank-and-file to blame the president for coming up with the idea of the sequestration, while they highlight House-passed alternatives to find savings in Medicare and other programs.
A split within the GOP could occur if the cuts have drastic implications, particularly in communities that rely heavily on military spending. There are already signs that some Republicans from such districts might be willing to break from party leaders' pledge not to raise additional tax revenue.
Rep. Scott Rigell (R., Va.), whose Hampton Roads district is home to the largest naval base in the world and relies heavily on Pentagon spending, said he is reaching the point where he will consider whatever Senate Democrats offer up, even if that includes closing tax loopholes.
"I want our leadership to consider it and not reject it outright," he said.
The defense cuts proved a bitter pill for many Republicans to swallow in August 2011, when Congress first passed the measure that set the stage for this current fight. Party leaders sold the cuts, in part, by assuring the rank-and-file that they would never happen because negotiators would be able to work out a solution sparing the Pentagon.
Since then, House Republicans have shown an increased eagerness to cut defense spending. Last summer, 89 House Republicans joined with liberal Democrats to approve an across-the-board $1.1 billion cut to the Department of Defense budget. In January, 157 Republicans voted to cut more than $10 billion from the Pentagon to offset the costs of a disaster-aid bill approved to help communities ravaged by superstorm Sandy.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R., S.C.), the author of both measures, predicts a majority of House Republicans would rather see the cuts take effect than to postpone them again or offset them with additional tax revenue. "The problem is serious enough that it must be addressed, even with an imperfect solution," Mr. Mulvaney said.
|Founder & chair of the House Drone Caucus, Buck McKeon|
In the video up top, Orrin Hatch acknowledges employment cuts will be catastrophic for Utah familes... and says he embraces them. The party has lost its collective mind in its thirst for doling out Austerity and pain to the American public. They have transformed the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan into the party of sadomasochism. Even beyond Gene Lyons stunning summation of the GOP's latest evolution: “As with many religions, political parties have a tendency to start as a movement, transform into a business, and finally degenerate into a racket designed to fleece the yokels-- the Republicans have some basic problems they need to work on and allow President Obama to keep the ship of state afloat while they work out their inner conflicts. Max Blumenthal from Republican Gomorrah:
In his incisive book, Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse, [Professor Philip] Greven analyzed Dare to Discipline in detail, concluding that Dobson's violent child-rearing methods served an underlying purpose, producing droves of activists embarked on an authoritarian mission.
"The persistent 'conservatism' of American politics and society is rooted in large part in the physical violence done to children," Greven wrote. "The roots of this persistent tilt towards hierarchy-- so evident in Germany earlier in this century and in the radical right in America today-- are always traceable to aggression against children's wills and bodies, to the pain and the suffering they experience, long before they, as adults, confront the complex issues of the polity, the society, and the world."
But the infliction of pain on young children, social deviants, and other weaker beings is only one half of a binary solution Dobson has prescribed to his followers for curing America's social ills. As Dobson has consistently made clear to his flock, they must first purify their own souls of sin before striking out, literally, to purify the land.
...Dobson's emphasis on pain, simultaneously inflicted on weaker beings and the self, reflects the sadomasochism at the core of his philosophy, As Greven noted, books such as Dare to Discipline that urge parents to beat their children are hardly distinguishable from S&M manuals such as Larry Townsend's The Leatherman's Handbook," which advise men on erotic techniques of "discipline" and "punishment." The principle distinction between the two is that the methods Townsend advocates are applied to adults who have chosen to participate, whereas Dobson's techniques are wielded against the wills of small children.
"Wherever children suffer from painful physical punishments and humiliating submission [as Dobson claims he did when he was growing up in Mississippi] to more powerful authorities, sadomasochism will be present," Greven wrote. "Sadomasochism is thus one of the most enduring consequences of coercive discipline in childhood."
Erich Fromm, in his book Escape From Freedom, insisted that sadomasochism was more than a sexual kink. It was, he claimed, a defining characteristic of the authoritarian personality, finding its most dangerous expression in the political sphere. "These essence of the authoritarian character," Fromm wrote, "has been described as the simultaneous presence of sadistic and masochistic drives. Sadism was understood as aiming at unrestricted power over another person more or less mixed with destructiveness; masochism an aiming at dissolving oneself in an overwhelmingly strong power and participating in its strength and glory."
Dare to Disclipline and several of Dobson's subsequent tracts are little more than how-to guides for the cultivation of sadomasochists. As Dobson's own personal history shows, many of those raised on a steady diet of corporal punishment demonstrate a tendency later in life to reenact the painful experiences familiar to their childhoods, through either radical-right political activism or cruel impersonal behavior, or both. The appeal of illicit, even macabre sexual behavior to some social conservatives [again, David Vitter is a perfect example]-- a trend that has produced no end of colorful scandals-- further reflects their sadomasochistic tendencies.
The sadomasochism that is latent in so many figures of the new radical right is often activated by a traumatic personal crisis. As Fromm explained, "Both the sadistic and the masochistic trends are caused by the inability of the isolated individual to stand alone and his need for a symbiotic relationship that overcomes this aloneness."