Thursday, August 11, 2011
Will and Disgrace
These days, particularly with the political divide in Washington as substantial and insurmountable as it is, there's very little that's more offensive than a politician arrogantly invoking the supposed will of "the American people." Think about how often you've heard that phrase in just the past few weeks, from dozens of different leaders from both sides of the aisle. It's generally the worst kind of cliché: a pompous politician claiming to speak for the entire republic and to be doing its collective bidding. But recently it's become flat-out insulting, given that it's impossible for any representative from either party to bridge the gap between the highly polarized political extremes and only the most lunatic among the electorate actually want to see government gridlocked to the point of threatening the world.
Still, if you needed confirmation of that which you very likely already knew, a new poll proves unequivocally that when guys like John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint claim that their intransigence is nothing more than a case of succumbing to the will of the people, they're basically full of shit. The Tea Party and the ever-widening extremist wing of the Republican party may be loud, but they're not very big. According to a CNN/Opinion Research survey, just 33% of the American public currently hold a favorable view of the Republican party, compared to 59% who have an unfavorable view. If you're looking for context, yes, those numbers are as dismal as they sound. The Democrats, meanwhile, are holding relatively steady -- and even -- at 47% favorable and 47% unfavorable.
Both sides have played a role in creating a profound nationwide distrust of and distaste for our current government, but make no mistake -- the Republicans are rightfully getting most of the blame. What's most noteworthy about this, though, is that as of this morning the usual suspects within the GOP are continuing to tout their absurd stance on slashing entitlement and social programs while waiting in line to slavishly get on their knees and blow Grover Norquist as a simple case of doing the people's work. And you can be damn sure this will continue unabated.
The people have spoken loud and clear, saying that they overwhelmingly want to see corporate tax breaks ended, loopholes closed, and the wealthy forced to pay their fair share -- but if you think for a moment that something like verifiable reality will stand in the way of the Republicans' agenda and a lot of propagandistic nonsense about how it's all being done under the direction of the masses, you're crazier than one of those old people sitting in a lawn chair cheering the U.S. credit downgrade.
That's because they don't work for the average American. They don't work for you, and they never have -- not lately anyway.
Salon: Could the Tea Party Actually Be Obama's Salvation in 2012?/8.11.11