Point of View Columns

Taken for a Ride

The G.O.Tea Party debatathon barrels along, coming to a city near you, no doubt. There is a basketful of silly, stupid and mean items of interest. Part of the reason is that presidential politics has turned into the silly season in the land of the G.O.Tea Party as the frantic search for the A.B.O. (Anybody But Obama) candidate reaches a fever pitch.

In the rush to unseat President Obama, the Republican Party has jettisoned all sense of reason, logic or facts. Any ABO candidate is a credible candidate. The only qualification is meeting the ABO test. That rather flimsy bit of litmus paper has produced a political clown show that would put Barnum & Bailey out of business if it ran more than once every 4 years.

The G.O.Tea Party abandonment of reality and common sense has led to some rather bizarre results. Take, for example, the recent Republican debate in Michigan. And keep in mind that if you don’t know anything else about the state of Michigan, you probably know that it has been heavily reliant upon the automobile industry for over one hundred years.

According to the Center for Automotive Research (“CAR”), if the automobile industry had collapsed in 2009 approximately 3,000,000 jobs would have been lost – including direct and indirect jobs as well as spin off employment. In a state as reliant upon the auto industry as Michigan the results would have been beyond brutal.

Of course the automobile industry did not collapse due in large part to a bill that was signed into law by President Barack Obama that pumped billions of dollars into the automobile industry in the form of a massive bailout. That bailout dragged General Motors from the brink of bankruptcy and allowed Chrysler the opportunity to have an orderly merger with Fiat, thereby saving that company.

While Ford Motor Company did not directly participate in the bailout, it certainly benefited from the fact that the surrounding economy did not simply implode. No one wants to own the last house standing after a firestorm.

The bailout that saved the automobile industry saved millions of jobs, millions of families, thousands of communities and a major component of the American economy. Arguing about saving the largest building on the block while it was on fire didn’t make much sense. Arguing that the building never should have been saved once the fire is extinguished sounds pretty stupid.

Yet, during the G.O.Tea Party debatathons we have heard candidate after candidate decry the bailouts as contrary to American ideals. Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rodeo Rick Perry, Jon Hunstman, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have all pledged to stand by and watch the next American economic building burn to the ground if they are faced with a similar crisis as president.

Incredibly, these Republican presidential candidates went to Michigan – Michigan!!!!! – And stuck to the party line. They stated that the bailout of the auto industry was wrong and that they would never support that course of action in support of the auto industry or any other American industry – or the people who worked in that industry.

Incredibly, the Republican citizens of Michigan who were in attendance at the debate did not hurl rotten tomatoes or walk out in protest. Even if there were no autoworkers in the room I have to believe that most reasonably intelligent residents of the state of Michigan understand the importance of the auto industry to their own livelihoods as bankers, lawyers, barbers or plumbers.

Instead, the G.O.Tea Party zealots in attendance drank the Kool-Aid and asked for more. Whether it is tax cuts for the wealth and the reduction of health and social services for 99% of this country, it seems that these zealots cannot help but vote and campaign against their own interests.

It is amazing that the Koch Brothers and their billionaire cohorts have funded fake grassroots movements like Americans for Prosperity in order to hoodwink and bamboozle a reasonably literate and reputedly intelligent American populace. Today many self-labeled liberals and progressives agree with the Koch-inspired mantra that government must be reduced in size even as the population of this country and its needs grow larger.

If the 2012 election were held today the Koch Brothers and the G.O.Tea Party will have won even if Barack Obama is re-elected. They have already fundamentally rewritten history and erased common sense, compassion and vision from public discourse, replacing these values with self-interest and a warped view of this country that ignores the expectations of the people who live there.

The G.O.Tea Party zealots are being taken for a ride. Unfortunately they are taking us with them.

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One thought on “Taken for a Ride

  1. T Byrd says:

    No recent comments from the GOP or Tea Party on bailing out Wall Street/ financial services industry. We know who provided the impetus for this salvation. Lots of lobbying funds from that industry propels the current situation and will continue to do so unless we reform the lobbying/campaigning system. Corporations are now defined as people as per the Supreme Court… the flood gates of money make the Katrina disaster look like a small pond of water.

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