Last week, right after I e-mailed my column (“What can we give the Tea Party?”), I heard a disturbing news bulletin. The reporter boldly announced the shutdown and debt ceiling crises could be settled by tomorrow. This meant that my column would look foolishly out of date.
“Can’t you wait a few days?” I shouted at the TV, instantly realizing that not only was I talking to myself (again), but that I basically cared more about me (my column) than my country. I suddenly got a glimpse of what it would be like to be Rafael Edward (Ted) Cruz.
Of course I needn’t have worried. Now, 16 days into the shutdown, Congress finally reached a settlement, begging the question, “What was all this hardship for?” One answer: Ted Cruz wants to run for president. (Even though he was born outside the U.S.)
There would have been no shutdown or debt ceiling crisis if Congress had been allowed to vote. But Speaker John Boehner is terrified of the Teabaggers. (They supply his tanning lotion?) And, though millions suffered and billions of dollars were lost even with a settlement, Cruz was having too much fun being famous. (After this humiliating defeat, I now think of Cruz as General Custer of the GOP.)
Even Pat Robertson knew the shutdown was a disaster. After Katrina and 9/11, Robertson said these tragedies were “God’s wrath for homosexuality.” And his solution to the “Hugo Chavez problem,” was, “We assassinate him.” But Pat was right about the shutdown showdown. Gang, when Pat Robertson is the voice of reason, the GOP is in deep trouble.
Some on the right hate President Barack Obama more than they love America. And it’s inescapable that race is a factor.
Take the Tea Party protester at the White House with a giant Confederate flag. Would he have brought that flag to the house where the president’s family lives if Obama were white? I don’t think so.
He was also carrying a Marine flag, not realizing that the Marines fought against the south in the Civil War. (I can’t help it, but such stupidity always reminds me of the Teabaggers’ protest sign, “Keep your government hands off our Medicare.”)
And this hate infects people who otherwise seem intelligent. Attorney Larry Klayman, founder of Freedom Watch, hates Obama so much it’s coming out of his ears. Outside the White House, Klayman shouted to Obama, “Put the Quran down, get up off your knees, and come out with your hands up.” The comment is so despicable it speaks volumes about the author.
When these sad individuals shout, “We want our country back,” I have a feeling as to what they are really saying. The vast majority are white, which has been the majority in this country from its inception.
But, unfortunately for these pathetic souls, we are becoming a country where the majority is comprised of minorities. And the trend is not going to reverse itself. But instead of embracing this new America, a country in which, at one time, we were all immigrants (other than the Native Americans) they live in a fear they don’t even understand. So they ignorantly show up with two opposing flags or don’t realize that Medicare is a government program and not the work of the devil.
Speaking of the devil, please humor me for a moment. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia believes wholeheartedly in the existence of the devil and worries as to why Satan has disappeared. (I couldn’t make this stuff up, folks.)
In “New York Magazine,” Scalia notes that in the New Testament, “The devil is making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot.” Scalia’s answer as to why we don’t “see him much anymore” is that “the devil has gotten wilier.” Wilier? So the devil’s like a really evil Wile E. Coyote? (Good grief.)
But back to Ted Cruz, who actually reminds me of another demagogic publicity-seeking senator, the infamous Joe McCarthy. In 1995, after graduating from Harvard Law School, Cruz pulled one right out of McCarthy’s playbook.
Cruz insisted that the majority of his professors at Harvard had been communists, but refused to give names, just allegations. Considering the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, it reminds me of the Teabagger with the two opposing flags.
So, we’re out of the woods until next February when, if Teddy Boy has his way, we’ll be right back at the debt ceiling crisis show once again. In the meantime, polling shows GOP popularity at its lowest in history. Eighteen percent of the country believes Elvis is still alive. Not much more think favorably toward the GOP.
McCarthy flamed out in four years until his own party in the Senate finally censured him. One can only hope this time it comes much faster.
Jack can be reached at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.