Among the things I just don’t get is why someone who doesn’t believe in government wants to be part of government.
Take Indiana Congressman Jim Banks. (Yes, please take him. Although why you would want him is a mystery…)
In the wake of the recent vote to keep the U.S. Government operating, the Washington Post ran an article identifying the 95 Representatives who voted no. Banks was one of them. Had the Democrats not bailed out the new Speaker by voting in mass for the continuing resolution, the measure wouldn’t have passed, and we would have had another government shutdown.
Right before Thanksgiving.
A shutdown would mean 3.5 million federal workers going without pay. A number of them– including over 50,000 airport security officers and 13,000 air traffic controllers–would have to come to work anyway, and work without being paid, because their jobs are considered critical to national security.
Federal criminal justice workers would also have to show up without pay– criminal proceedings would continue. Civil trials, however, would be put on hiatus.
National parks and museums would close. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid payments would continue, but services would slow and payments could be late. There’s lots more, including the international implications of shutting down the U.S. government at a time when two hot wars are raging.
Jim Banks is an ultra-MAGA culture warrior who wants to be Indiana’s Senator. He’s a member of what the New York Times has dubbed the “Wrecking Ball Caucus.”
Members of that Caucus believe that most of the governing Congress does is–in the words of one of them– totally unjustified. These hard-Right ideologues share an anti-government perspective that has led to what the Times calls “a historically dysfunctional moment in American politics.”
Washington is in the grip of an ultraconservative minority that sees the federal government as a threat to the republic, a dangerous monolith to be broken apart with little regard for the consequences. They have styled themselves as a wrecking crew aimed at the nation’s institutions on a variety of fronts…
Defying the G.O.P.’s longstanding reputation as the party of law and order, they have pledged to handcuff the F.B.I. and throttle the Justice Department. Members of the party of Ronald Reagan refused to meet with a wartime ally, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, this week when he visited the Capitol and want to eliminate assistance to his country, a democratic nation under siege from an autocratic aggressor.
And they are unbowed by guardrails that in past decades forced consensus even in the most extreme of conflicts; this is the same bloc that balked at raising the debt ceiling in the spring to avert a federal debt default.
“There is a group of Republican members who seem to feel there is no limit at all as to how you can wreck the system,” said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “There are no boundaries, no forbidden zones. They go where relatively junior members have feared to tread in the past.”
As one Democrat puts it, “The clowns are running the circus.
Banks is one of the clowns. He enthusiastically endorses Trump, which is no surprise–he also voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, confirming his distaste for small-d democratic self-government.
Banks has been dubbed “Focus on the Family’s Man in Washington,”and has been described as a “man who prizes ideological purity over pragmatism.” Banks supported loudmouth disrupter Jim Jordan for speaker, and Banks and his wife, Amanda, both worked in Focus’ in-house public policy division.
Jim Banks is a frequent guest on programs by the Family Research Council, founded by Dobson in 1981, and he joined Trump and other Republicans at September’s FRC-sponsored Pray Vote Stand Summit, where he spoke on “De-Woking the Pentagon.” Trump endorsed Banks’ 2024 Senate run at the event.
Amanda Banks serves as vice president of education at Family Policy Alliance, which was founded by Dobson in the 1980s and now oversees a network of conservative family policy councils in 40 states. FPA has taken the lead in enacting anti-trans legislation and other measures in GOP-led states.
I began this post by wondering why someone like Banks–who has shown no interest whatsoever in the nuts and bolts of actual governance, or in doing his job–wants to be part of an institution he despises.
Stranger still: why does a man who doesn’t think government has the authority to fund parks and pay air traffic controllers believe that same government has the authority to force women to give birth and forbid doctors from treating transgender children?
Why are zealots like Banks willing to use a government they are trying to demolish to impose their cultural, religious “anti-woke” views on other American citizens?