There is No Debate — Republicans Are the Damn Problem

mitch-mcconnell-john-boehnerThese last few years, discussing politics has at times been absolutely maddening.  I’ve never seen such irrational denial of facts, reality, science or history in my entire life.  I really never thought I’d see a point in our society where indisputable facts were no longer viable tools to use to support an argument.

But that’s exactly what has happened.

I’ve never had any problems debating politics with my opposition.  In fact, I used to invite a difference of opinion because I really believed within that debate, good ideas could present themselves that neither side might have considered previously.  But those days seem long gone.

And while I’ll be the first to admit that the Democratic party has a lot of flaws, they’re not what’s wrong with our government.  Republicans are what’s wrong with our government.

The government as an entity will never be flawless — not even close.  Our Constitution doesn’t set up a government that’s meant to be streamlined and efficient.  You can’t take 535 people from 50 different states that are completely diverse and expect them to find a simple consensus on key issues.  Because let’s face it, the representative from New York City isn’t representing the same people as the representative from Mobile, Alabama.

But while our government has always had issues, they’ve never been as bad as they have been since 2010.  The emergence of the tea party, and its takeover of the Republican party, have left this nation in such perpetual gridlock that to call our government anything but broken would be a vast understatement.

And make no mistake, our government is broken.

We have a small section of Congress that’s currently holding our government hostage.  Mind you, this isn’t the majority — it’s a small minority.  How can they do this?  Well, it rests on the shoulders of John Boehner and his failure to lead.  He fears losing his position as Speaker of the House, and has been such a weak speaker that it’s constantly under threat.

Sure, Republicans have shut down our government before, but even in the 90’s it wasn’t for such asinine reasons as they did this time.  Most sane Republicans have said from the beginning that this shutdown had absolutely zero chance at defeating “Obamacare,” so any shutdown would ultimately be pointless.  It’s been nothing more than a symbolic nod to tea party extremists that has hurt millions of others in the process.

But that still didn’t stop Republicans from shutting down our government, did it?  Facts, reality, our process of government—none of it mattered more than the tea party rhetoric being pumped into the GOP.

Now we’re facing the second possible default as Republicans continue to use the debt ceiling as a hostage to try to win some sort of partisan gamesmanship.  Let’s not forget that Republicans had no problem voting to raise the debt ceiling seven times under President George W. Bush, but now it’s suddenly a big deal.

Funny how the moment President Obama came into office, the debt ceiling was something they cared about.  But the truth is, they saw it as a way to try to blackmail the president.  In essence, they’ve taken something that shouldn’t ever be used as a political bargaining chip and have used it to try to score political points.  Putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk in the process.

And like I said, our government has historically never been that productive, but they did at least get some things done.  Even in the most heated moments between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton our government found ways to find some kind of compromise.

Not anymore.  Not since the emergence of the tea party and the radicalization of the GOP.

The tea party is hellbent on destroying our government.  They’re borderline anarchists bankrolled by ultra-wealthy individuals like the Koch brothers who would greatly benefit if our government were reduced to rubble.  After all, these are the people who run for office shouting about horrible government is.  Why would they ever try to make it better?  Hell, they’re cheering this shutdown.

But the scary part is, these tea party Republicans are very dangerous.  Many of them sit in congressional seats where their antics are supported.  The overall polling numbers of the Republican party don’t matter, they are perfectly safe being representatives from a district where they stand no chance at being defeated.

No matter what happens, their constituents will never blame them.  Even though they are the problem.

Most Democrats I know want moderate Republicans to stand up and take their party back. They want to work with their opposition because they know as well as I do that this government doesn’t work with just one party trying to do everything.

As much as some Democrats might not want to admit it, we need Republicans.  We just need sensible Republicans—a breed that seems to be dying off.

Republicans are facing a stark reality — their party is in a lot of trouble.  As a nation we’re not becoming more conservative, we’re becoming more liberal.  So while tea party Republicans are celebrating this “coming together” of the conservative base, that only bodes well for those districts which are in no danger of ever becoming “liberal.”  For the other districts, Republicans are alienating themselves more and more from the mainstream while they embrace the fringe far right of their party.

So not only are tea party Republicans a huge problem for our country as a whole, they’re a massive problem for the Republican party in general.

And no one is denying our country has a lot of problems and needs a lot of fixing — which I believe we can do with a more informed electorate and politicians who see government as a tool, not the enemy.  We have problems that can be fixed — there are solutions to solve some of the key issues which have plagued our government, our economy and our nation as a whole.

But right now, Republicans aren’t showing a willingness to be part of the solution — which is a huge problem.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Anthonij

    I had always felt it was best for the country if the power was divided, i.e., that neither party held the presidency and both houses, but, well, so much for the old centre-based, middle-class friendly way of doing things.

    The Republican party has been paralysed by the lunatic extremists and the centrists of that party have proved themselves to be spineless cowards. To save us from the appalling Teabaggers and their corporate puppet masters, we really do need to have all three points of power in the hands of the Democrats for long enough to bring the other party back to something resembling sanity and respect for the democratic process.

    Then, hopefully, we can get back to having two major parties that are different flavours of centrist, both engaged in productive political debate and dialogue, that both put value in promoting the greater good while protecting the rights of minorities of all sorts.

    But alas, this is in the end not so much about average folks and their political representatives… The battle is between the general population, which wants and deserves democratic representation according to the system established by the constitution, and the corporate bandits and traitors, who seek nothing more nor less than the establishment of their ‘free market’ (what a hypocritical joke) utopia in which all economic and political power resides in the hands of their small circle… They want an oligarchy, not a republic, and their true inspiration is not the endlessly invoked ‘founding fathers’ but rather the successful modern day business-state oligarchies that rule Russia and China.

    • Gaylon Harden

      I agree with you 300%.

  • Geoffrey Harris

    I disagree. The two-party system has been an obstruction to democracy for a long time. America is a corporate plutocracy that uses the forms of a republic. I also would like to see the republicans disbanded, and to have proportional representation, an end to the winner-take-all system, and the institution of a parliarmentary system.

    • dominickJ

      We need a two part system BUT not this one. The GOP have strayed too far from any good ideology and they either need to remake themselves or be gone and make room for another party to take over and there are a couple of them out there.. FOR one thing we need to Make sure we get rid of the Tea Party….

    • Socialmedic

      Where would we find intelligent, well-informed, INTELLECTUAL people to form a parliament?

  • fairness_rules

    They have created an “alternate universe” in which they now live. I live in an area heavily populated by these people and it is indeed scarey! They firmly believe the far right dogma they hear all day from Fox and Rush, besides that is all they listen to. They go from one made-up talking point to the next all the time bashing Obama. I have never seen anything like it. Most of the time if they would just listen to what they are saying they would realize just how untrue and stupid it is. They used to be reasonable people, but no longer. Many are my friends but I don’t even know them any more. How sad!

  • dominickJ

    Republicans have been proven to be rotten Liars and for sure CAN NOT BE LEADERS in the FREE WORLD such as ours!!! You can’t lead a country on deceit, lies and misinformation!!!

  • Danny Mathey

    The Tea Party is to blame.thats the bottom line.

  • Jo Hargis

    “Funny how the moment President Obama came into office, the debt ceiling was something they cared about.”

    That’s also when they suddenly started caring about unborn brown-skinned babies.

  • Socialmedic

    The Republicans have been the problem ever since Reagan’s Neo-con fascist propaganda advertising and daytime radio machinery landed him a position in the white house. Stop pretending that this is about a tiny group of extremists. Republicans have been whittling away at us ever since and with every year they have become more brazen in what they are trying to pull. Republicans have screwed our economy, which pre-Reagan was relatively stable for about 40 years, they have screwed our military and political standing in the world making a big show of imperialist warmongering for oil, etcetera in the name of democracy no less and if people keep giving them power they are screwing us out of our powers of self-government with their political blackmailing. The WHOLE ideology is self-centered, far right, FASCIST, absolutist, and extremist. I don’t know about anyone else but to me the Bushes wars were an outrage. Reagan’s Star Wars and military spending and Iran Contra affair were an outrage. The world economic collapse (thanks to Republican deregulation machinery) was an outrage. Defunding the government by not taxing the very people who benefit most from our economy is an outrage. Republicans have gotten everything they’ve stomped around for and NOTHING has improved; to the contrary, EVERYTHING has gotten worse! If an untaxed private sector fails to produce the economy and jobs it promised then FIRE the private sector. We’ve had enough of their greed, their lies, their excuses, their wars, their destruction of our environment and their wealth squandering at the expense of the entire nation, especially their cowardly balancing it all on the backs of the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the poor and the low wage worker!