Point of View Columns

Death by Tea Party

As this column is being written we seem to have avoided The Rapture and Armageddon is probably several months away. Nevertheless, during the past two business days the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped by over 1000 points and Standard & Poor’s has dropped the AAA rating of United States debt for the first time in history.

To paraphrase an old line, the G.O.Tea Party will try to pour water (or something like it) on our heads and tell us that it is raining. The canned caterwauling of the right wing of the right wing is already claiming that these financial calamities are totally the fault of Barack Obama because the events happened “on his watch”. Of course, as usual, the G.O.Tea Party is allergic to facts and deathly afraid of the truth.

The dangerously bad economic news of the moment is totally and absolutely due to the Congressional hi-jinks perpetrated by the G.O.Tea Party during the debt ceiling debacle. While Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader McConnell would mouth the right words about avoiding default, they did nothing to quiet the Kamikaze Korner of the right wing of the right wing that seemed to welcome the idea of default.

The rest of the planet (and Standard & Poor’s) saw leaders of the American government playing with matches in an ammunition dump. These same leaders, Boehner and McConnell included, showed absolutely no inclination to engage in rational dialogue with President Obama by refusing to consider any tax revenue increases even if it meant damning the country into economic hell. And by Friday, August 5th, the heat that you felt wasn’t the dog days of summer; it was the fiery breath of an economic hell storm that is the clear progeny of the right wing of the right wing.

In the past that I have written that the G.O.Tea Party is so offended by the idea of the President of the United States being Barack Hussein Obama that it would seek to destroy American rather than see him lead it. I thought I was engaging in rhetorical hyperbole of the type that the right wing of the right wing has mastered. But I was wrong.

When irrational actions take place it becomes necessary to determine the irrational basis for those acts. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Michelle Bachmann have to be held accountable for their actions. By engaging in an adolescent game of “chicken” with the greatest economy in history the right wing of the right wing and its supporters and enablers have wreaked havoc on the people of this country and on the global economy.

They have to know what they are doing.

The G.O.Tea Party blaming Barack Obama for this country’s latest financial woes is like the arsonist blaming the fire department because the building that he set on fire burned down. That would be the same arsonist who also stole the fire hoses and let the air out of the tires of the fire trucks.

They have to know what they are doing.

The financial debacle is not just a matter for historical reporting or historical analysis. Real men and women are losing their jobs because of this plummeting spiral into which America’s economy has fallen. In the days and weeks to come homes will not be purchased, companies will not open or expand. In the weeks and months to come flickering hopes will be extinguished by the icy breath of a recession that will not go away because it is welcomed by the G.O.Tea Party.

They have to know what they are doing.

In effect the right wing of the right wing is engaging in the “honor killing” of the United States. Rather than see this country under the leadership of a black American named President Obama they would kill it – not through bombs or guns, but through slow, but thorough, economic strangulation.

As the life’s breath wheezes out of the American people their strategy is to “blame Obama” even as they tighten the noose with every nihilistic tactic, with every statement of nullification. The only thing that matters to them is to build a pyre high enough and flammable enough to consume the Obama Presidency – using the American economy as fuel and the American people as kindling.

They have to know what they are doing.

For too long the Democratic Party, progressives and those of us interested in our own survival and that of our children have allowed the right wing of the right wing to dominate the center stage of public discourse, in the process setting the agenda – no government revenue increases, no public spending to stimulate the economy, no increase in the size of government (even for food inspection, airline safety and education) – no, no, no.

The miasma of negativity has traversed every part of this country. The right wing of the right wing is, in this country, entitled to its point of view. It is not entitled to dominate.

Remember – They have to know what they are doing.

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8 thoughts on “Death by Tea Party

  1. Jackie Williams says:

    They know what they are doing – their goal, above all else, is to destroy the Obama presidency. It is up to those of us who care about our country, and are not blinded by racism, to stand up to the G.O. Tea Party as well as some Republicans and Democrats who are covertly walking in lock-step with the G.O. Tea Party beliefs. It is sad that they do not understand that the majority ethnic group, the whites, will suffer far more than African-Americans or any other minority group as a result of their actions in Congress.

  2. Debbie Meyer says:

    The best thing we can teach the world is that this can be done PEACEFULLY through a democratic process. I’m proud of the Arab Spring (maybe not the Egyptian Army, but I need to be more informed). But London right now makes me proud to be an American where our outliers and misguided people are using words and not rioting.

  3. While I agree with the premise of your article, the President has to step up his game and stop reacting to his adversaries. President Obama has to understand the gravity of the hostile environment toward his presidency, and take proactive actions to minimize the dire consequences. He ran a flawless campaign to get elected but seem to be underperforming in his management of the Presidency. The president seems to always be two steps behind in this game of political chess; he was outmaneuvered during the last impasse where he had to back away from his objective of not extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups just so he can extend unemployment benefits to the long term unemployed. While his decision was humane, he allowed himself to be backed into a corner and did something that further contributed to the deficit and not benefit the long term economic health of the country. In this latest debate over the debt ceiling, he assumed that his adversaries would do the right thing and raise the debt ceiling to keep America from defaulting on its obligations to its creditors, again he underestimated his opponents desire to make him look weak and destroy his presidency. The President was once again outmaneuvered this time around by caving in on an agreement that pleased no one. The President and his advisors have to get ahead of the game and not allow themselves to get cornered by his adversaries in addressing these critical policy issues. The President had two third of the American public backing him up on moving forward with a balance approach towards debt control which is to reduce spending and raise revenue. This approach would have allowed the United States to reduce a bigger chunk of the deficit; instead he chose to follow congress’ lead and punt this very important debate to a committee that more likely will end up making more cuts and not fully accelerate the rate of debt reduction or invest in job creation. I hope I’m wrong in this assessment, but watching the turn of events over the past few years, I’m not betting on black. Furthermore, with unemployment still at 9.2% and about 20% in the African-American community the President cannot afford to sit on the sideline and wait for the next election for him to take action in addressing these challenges. More tax cut policies and trickle down economics doesn’t seem to provide enough incentives for companies to stop hoarding cash and put people back to work. Similarly, the Keynesian approach seems to have limited success in today economic environment, so logic would dictate a more balance approach to addressing our economic challenges. Rather than more deficit expenditures on new government programs, the President should work to raise more revenue through tax reform and invest in critical infrastructure projects that will create jobs. This deficit neutral approach would provide certainty to taxpayers regarding the tax code; address the unemployment challenges; thereby, creating more consumer demand that should contribute to the long term growth in the economy. Finally, it’s important to note that President Obama’s adversaries will not go away and will more likely continue to work toward his demise. Therefore, the President must stick to his convictions and lead in a manner that requires cooperation more than compromise.

  4. In reality President Obama is systematically killing America. President Obama’s failure is not because he is a black American rather because he lacks the skill to get the job done. A President’s failure hurts all Americans.

  5. Miamor says:

    Of course they know what they are doing. Here is the problem. Obama went into this job knowing the right wing of the right wing was against him. Yet he still tried to put out his olive branch and “work with them”. Seriously, if you were hired in a high profile power position job knowing there were a set group of people at the company that made it incredibly known that they would do everything they could to make sure you were a failure would you still try to be friends with and work with them? Maybe the first time you might try and if they hurt you or attack you once you leave them alone. Surely after the second attack you might just have to wise up and realize that they don’t want to be your friend no matter how many cookies, or trips to the bahamas, or pats on the back you give them. Therefore, if you are in a power position, and all your family and friends are in the proper position to do what you need done and you still go out of your way to accomodate the people that dispise you when they don’t even have the power to effect you then you are truly asking for it. This is why he is in the position he is in right now. Because of his misinformed actions these fools have enough seats in congress to play these games. Overall, I think that we are realizing that despite Obama’s election race is still an issue in America. However, Obama needs to wise up and realize he is in a dirty game. He needs to stop trying to be friends and gain acceptance from people who never liked him in the first place and never will. He might as well do what he needs to do for his own people. Like why doesn’t he give Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornell West a poverty committee position to tackle the unemployment rates for blacks who are twice above the national average. Give them something to do other than attack him from the other side. Leave the Ghandi tactics alone. They are not working right now. Period point blank.

  6. Victoria says:

    The out pour of criticism expressed by pundits and President Obama supporters in the past days is nothing less than heartfelt disappointment with the President for his lack of leadership in handling the debt ceiling crisis. Worst, the outcome reveals that the President has been duped. His performance in handling the debate gives no indication of the presidential candidate who ran campaign as a politician who understood leadership and one who would lead. Instead on this important issue, the President chose to outsource the debate. With this issue as with others, the timing of his decision to step into the arena, proved too late. The course of the congressional committee was irreversible (aren’t congressional committees formed to navigate the charting of new legislation) and the decision of House Majority Speaker — non-negotiable. Perhaps, this way of stepping back, entrusting task to others is a political ploy begun during the early stages of Obama’s presidency (health care reform) to gain bi-partisan consensus and to quell Republican anger (they are still smarting over having lost the presidential election to an African-American). Who knows what the whispers have been behind closed doors. The president should, “lead from behind” is what has come forth as the defining leadership position.

    Admittedly. I might be indulging in pure fantasy but if at all real, what a miscalculation of the GOP’s agenda. What poor judgement on the part of the Administration to the opposition’s unbridled disdain for President Obama. But, Republicans shouldn’t bare all the blame. The President has a fair share of mea colpa. Since January 21, 2009, the GOP has been transparent about their intent to bring down Obama’s presidency, ‘we shall work to make Barack Obama a one-term president’. They’ve dedicated 2 ½ years to doing so. Finally, they’re convinced to have speared or at least punctured his Achillean heel. Will he recover? Perhaps? Depends on his ability to muster the courage to stand up to the bully and his proximate move(s).

    You ask, ‘who’s got the President’s back’? Joe Biden – the seasoned statesman known to have crossed the isle as a Senator – was sort of suppose to have it covered. If Biden saw this political juggernaut coming down the isle, we’ve no signal that the grenade was thrown to stop it. The GOP’s thuggish effort to trespass onto presidential turf is an attempt to take control over executive power – run the country applying their rules.

    So the blatantly visible racial epithets strung around the neck, across the chest and embellishing headdress of campaigning Tea Partiers last autumn, are no longer necessary. The GOP has pinned Obama with one of the most discriminatory stigmas of the 20th century: “Black people do not pay their bills hardly ever and certainly not on time.” It is a widely held belief among lenders that African Americans have the worst credit rating among Americans – the majority are considered a credit risk. So the government of the United States of America has been downgraded on the watch of the first African-American president.

    That’s a lot to swallow but worst is the sly way the GOP has held yet another public lynching of a Black male. It is sad to see that race played an integral part in this entire scenario. Race was (still is) the elephant in the room played out under the auspices of a 2010 election mandate from voters, except the congressional GOP wing has gone further, they’re taking liberties that have nothing to do with voter discontent.

    This time, it is not acceptable to take the “high road”. Obama shouldn’t say, I don’t take it personally (we’ve heard that said in the past). This is not only about him – it is about “us”. It is Personal.

    Victoria

  7. LET ME BE CLEAR!

    I don’t believe the President is a failure and I think that assessment may be a bit premature. This type of criticism is what a lot of folks in the African-American community is concerned with, that President Obama is being judged by a standard that is stricter and less sympathetic in comparison to past Presidents. I know life isn’t always fair, but we can at least be somewhat reasonable and logical in our judgments.

    For example, former President Bush, who was seated in office by a decision of the US Supreme Court after a contentious election against former Vice President Al Gore, was afforded the authority of embarking in two wars, an expensive drug prescription law, both were unfunded and all while making deep cuts in the tax code. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you spend beyond what you take in, you tend to create a deficit, but yet he was re-elected to office because Americans wanted to give his policies a chance to work. This approach proved to be a failure and the country is paying for it through high unemployment and slow growth in the economy. Former President Bush could have made the argument to the American people that the sacrifices our troops were making on the field of battle also demanded some sacrifice from the folks back home. What I mean is that I am confident that the American people, if they had been asked to contribute more to the tax system to support the wars and our troops in tracking those who brought death and destruction to us on 9/11, we would have done it, proudly.

    I’m not making this point to re-litigate the past, but rather to make note of the events that led us here. Often as Americans and perhaps as people in general, we have short memories of historical events because we live in the internet world where events take place at light speed and we quickly move on. Consider for a moment the hand the President was dealt, two wars, an existing debt from the previous administration, consecutive quarterly job losses; a housing crisis; state and local governments facing huge deficits; an auto industry near fatal bankruptcy; near collapse of our nations financial system; unflattering and damaging criticism from the international community and crumbling infrastructure, etc… More damningly, a hostile Republican congress that refuses to cooperate on any initiatives that President Obama has put forward. While we should be critical of our Presidents, we should also be fair and balance in our criticism.

    During his short term in office, President Obama have been hard a work trying to address the challenges facing America. He did not shy away from taking actions that he believed was in the best interests of the American people. He signed the TARP legislation with minimal Republican support and bailed out the banks in an attempt to keep our economy from going into a depression; he signed a stimulus bill with little Republican support, of which one third went to tax cuts for all taxpayers, one third went to support State and local budgets and the other third went to support job creation in construction and research & development, all in an effort to jump start the economy and control unemployment. The president executed a plan to bail out the auto industry to keep it from going bankrupt with little Republican support, if it were not for the President’s insistence and belief in American industries; we would all driving foreign vehicles, and not by choice.
    Additionally, President Obama has made it his mission to travel around the world to re-assure our allies and adversaries that America is still the beacon of democracy and justice, and when attacked we will defend our interests. So, whether you agree with him or not his attempt to put together health care legislation was for the benefit of covering more Americans who suffer due to poor health because of the economics of their situation, it was also to put some sort of control in government spending in our health care system. By the way, did I mention that it was under President Obama’s leadership that we found and killed Osama Bin Laden, and as a New Yorker, for that alone he will get my vote in the next election.

    My point is that President Obama has accomplished quite a bit in his short time in office and I believe he has the capacity to do more. However, he cannot do it alone and needs congressional cooperation to get this country back on its feet. My initial critique was that given his adversaries public decry to make him a one term President that he needs to work smarter on strategizing a smarter battle plan to dealing with a hostile Congress and those who are working tireless for his demise. Finally, I am bullish on the President’s re-lection chances because I believe that when fair minded Americans thoughtfully review his record they will realize that it took more than two years to get us in this mess and it will take this President more than four years to get us back on track. We should give him the opportunity to finish the job and get our country back to a path of recovery and prosperity.

  8. The President of the United States of America must play the cards he or she is dealt. President Bush did not bomb the US September 11, 2001 – Muslim Terrorists did. President Bush’s immediate leadership brought the nation together and prevented senseless violence and unwarranted discrimination against Muslim’s living in America. President Bush made mistakes and missed historic opportunities all the while fighting with congress; hated by some, respected by others and supported by the balance.

    Neither President Bush nor President Obama caused the so called Sub-Prime crisis. The crisis was caused by lack of liquidity and Wall Street Greed. I believe if The Glass-Steagall Act had remained intact the crisis never would have happened. Significant portions of Glass-Steagall were repealed in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. Should we blame President Clinton? I say no. President Clinton and to some extent the congress meant well – but they were wrong. Congress needs to find a way to re-instate the protections of Glass-Steagall and Repeal the Frank-Dodd Financial Responsibility Act of 2010 immediately!

    President Obama is more concerned with raising money to keep his job than he is to help the poor and so called middle class get or keep a job. He just doesn’t have the character or leadership ability to make a difference. The People need real help not empty promises.

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