Bring in the clowns? As the song goes, “don’t bother, they’re here.” We’ve elected them.
Rational people of all political stripes know that the last thing the fragile recovery needs is a government shutdown, but every time the Republicans and Democrats seem to be making progress toward an agreement, the GOP’s Tea Party wing throws a tantrum and demands that the goalposts be moved. As Steve Benen reported this morning over at Political Animal, the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity held a rally yesterday across the street from the Capitol. Several dozen people gathered to listen to speeches from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), and others. The Republican voters chanted, “Shut it down!” during the rally, and every other sign at the rally urged the GOP to shut down the government.
In fact, Indiana’s own clown, Pence, has been prominent among those urging a shutdown–ignoring the effect on our fighting men (whose pay would be affected), seniors (Social Security would stop processing applications) and public servants (who would be furloughed without pay during the shutdown) among many others. He also seems indifferent to the problems a shutdown would cause state governments, including Indiana–evidencing the depth of his concern for the state he proposes to run.
The clowns who populate Congress and state legislatures pontificate endlessly about a constitution they rather clearly haven’t read. They spout nonsense about government spending, displaying an appalling ignorance of economics and the difference, for example, between operating costs and capital investments. (A reader sent me a graph showing U.S. investment in infrastructure as a percentage of GDP since 1950–that investment has declined from 1.4% to barely two-tenths of 1%. The closest analogy would be a person who spent the mortgage money on a trip to Vegas.) They are contemptuous of any science or empirical evidence that is inconsistent with their ideologies, and they sneer at those “elitists” for whom evidence matters.
Depressing as it is to watch these un-self-aware clowns, it is more depressing to remember that the American people elected them.