Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Thorn by Any Other Name

What would you call a person whose actions kill more people than were murdered by Osama Bin Laden? What would you call a person who holds a metaphorical gun to the head of the United States threatening its very existence?

What you call that person doesn't matter. But the fact that the Republicans, epitomized by John Boehner, fit that description is frightening.

It's bad enough that the Republicans, much more than the Democrats, stonewall the confirmation of important presidential appointments. But John Boehner's misuse of his power as Speaker of the House to hold the nation hostage to his party's economic policies is a shonda. If he believes the American people want fewer government services and tax breaks for millionaires, he should follow the established legislative process and introduce a bill to implement these changes. But he knows that such a bill would never pass. Instead, he is using the debt crisis as a bargaining chip and is willing to inflict more pain and suffering to advance his failed political mantra.

And what a failure the Republicans have been. Their Ivy League MBA president brought on the fiscal crisis (and the unnecessary wars) that were repudiated in 2008 and will define America's path in the 21st century.

What Boehner and his ilk fail to recognize is that government is the art of compromise. So while President Obama capitulates to just about every Republican demand, Boehner would rather see the nation default than participate in a shared victory with a president whose legitimacy has never been acknowledged by the Right.

The Republican stench has already hit one agency. Portions of the Federal Aviation Administration have been shut down over a dispute about another bogeyman of the right, unions. The shutdown does not affect air traffic control (yet), but the GOP has shuttered important work in safety and training.  While Bohner and his comrades are still able to fly home to their districts, they have also added thousands of Americans, who had productive jobs, to the unemployment rolls.

Unfortunately, the Boehners of the world put ideology over pragmatism and corporate welfare over compassion. If the outcome of the current crisis is as bad as many predict, the financial ruin of the United States will fall directly in the lap of people like John Boehner. And the number of people who die because the GOPs aversion to health care, the environment, and product safety will be orders of magnitude more than were murdered by an equally fanatic partisan almost a decade ago.

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