A Real Cool Killer
Once again no drama Obama has quietly out maneuvered the Grand Obstructionist Party. He did it with the stimulus; he did it with Health Care; he did it with the auto-bail out, and now he has tricked them into making moves that could prove suicidal on the debt ceiling issue. As always, ideologues mistake their ideology for reality. It is unreal to believe that it is a good political strategy to demand draconian cuts in government programs that benefit the poor, elderly, working and middle class Americans – the overwhelming majority – while refusing to ask the rich and super-rich to pay a dime more in taxes. This is especially true at time when the distribution of wealth between the richest and poorest Americans exceeds that of many Third World “Banana Republics.” Still the GOP continues to insist that they are willing to allow the US treasury to default and destroy the “full faith and credit” of the United States for the first time in our history rather than raise taxes on the rich!
As always President Obama has shown a steely calm as he called the Republican’s hand and proposed a historic budget reduction plan of four trillion dollars, which exceeded anything the Republicans have proposed in spite of their budget cutting zealotry. However this plan would include tax increases on the richest Americans, and eliminate the absurd tax subsidies to the rich that presently distort the tax code and reduces the effective tax rate at a time when the stated tax rates are at an all time low.
For instance, during the Eisenhower years when the great American inter state highway system was built and the economy flourished, the tax rate on the top earners was 91%! Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence for the Republican claims that reducing taxes on the rich will produce jobs in theUnited States– especially in this age of globalism when amoral multi-national corporations can make higher profits investing overseas. The proof that this argument is a dangerous myth is that we have ten years of the Bush tax cuts and it has led to a collapse of the financial system and one of the highest sustained unemployment rates since the great depression of the 1930′s!
By presenting the Republicans with a plan for historic reductions in the deficit the President has put the Republicans on the spot…and the leaders of the Republican Congressional caucus don’t know what to do next. Especially since the President has put them on notice that he will veto any short term gimmicks that the Republicans come up with to save face by avoiding the disaster that will result from a US Government default. And last night he got up and walked out of the meeting with an intransigent Eric Cantor - a dangerous ideologue and transparent fool - admonishing the Republicans to call him when they are serious about tackling real solutions to the debt ceiling crisis.
The Republican plan to blame the President for the failure to find a solution to the debt crisis is now in shambles and it is clear that they are courting disaster – economic and political. The real pros in the Republican Party know this, that’s why the leaders in the House and Senate – McConnell and Bohner – are desperately seeking a way out. Not only is the business community turning against them, many CEO’s and Wall Street bankers have gone on record stating that they would rather pay more taxes than suffer the disastrous consequences of a US government default. And the recent threat from moodys, the all powerful credit rating agency, to lower the Triple A credit rating of the US government – which would dramatically increase the interests rate we would have to pay to sell the bonds that finance the daily obligations of our government – has the entire financial community on edge.
But as the economic illiterates in the Tea Party Republican cabal continue to insist that they will force a default rather than vote for any tax increase, the American people are beginning to slowly recognize how dangerous and irresponsible the Grand Obstructionist party really is. That growing realization may well explain why contributions to President Obama’s reelection campaign has now exceeded the record breaking contributions of his first campaign…which set an all time record at the time!
All the polls show that most Americans, including quite a few rank and file Republicans, think the rich should pay more and don’t want any cuts in Medicare. Although the polls show that at the moment most Americans think the Republicans are right on the budget, conservative columnist David Brooks is also right when he says that this support will evaporate like a snowball in a pizza oven when people actually experience the consequences of a government default. Forcing the government into default has no foreseeable benefit except that it allows Republican politicians to honor their pledge to anti-tax fanatics like Grover Norquist and the Tea Party zealots – who have promised to run primary candidates against any Republican who votes for a tax increase of any kind. Obviously this is no way to run a great nation.
Earlier in the day Senate majority leader Harry Reed got these shameless Republican lackeys of the plutocrats to actually go on record opposing raising the tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. They took this vote after Senator Reed read an analysis detailing how the rich are getter much richer as the income of working class Americans have dramatically decreased. It was a masterful piece of statesmanship conducted by the soft spoken tough guy from Nevada, who many forget was once a prize fighter. This experience provides certain insights into human character and the nature of combat that can be useful in politics. The first lesson is to maintain your cool while provoking your opponent to get angry, lose their head and do something stupid that you can turn to your advantage.
That’s what happened when Senator Reed got the Republicans to vote on a “Sense of the Senate” resolution on tax equity. I think that this vote could prove suicidal for the Grand Obstructionist Party; unless the American electorate is even dumber than I think. Hence the President timed his walk out just right. He has refused to bow to the hostage takers who thought they could bully him. Now, like all bullies once you smack them in the face, they don’t know what to do. Mr. Obama says he is willing to stake his presidency on this issue. As well he should!
The question is whether the Republicans are willing to stake the future of their party on it. These guys refuse to learn from even recent history. For the last time Barack was confronted with hostage takers – remember the Somali Pirates? – he ordered them shot through the head! Now he is forcing the Republicans in Congress to shoot themselves through the head. It appears the Grand Obstructionist Party will have to learn the hard way: No Drama Obama is a master at the blood sport of politics and he is silent but deadly!