Charles Pierce: The clearest vision of politics

He has the whole sorry lot of the 113th congress pegged.

This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government "was" the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being "over," through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find "common ground" and a "Third Way." Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.

He breaks it down into the individual Republican idiots who are screwing up the country, and not to be unfair, he also characterizes the Conservacrats who’ve been enabling them.

What else did people think would happen when we started fetishizing the notion that government was bad, and electing people to govern who just wanted to shut government down and sell it off to the plutocrats? Libertarians and Republicans are all poisoned by the same lunacy that infected the US in the 1980s, and the Democrats are all lurching towards the lure of money and the same damn attitude.


This seems appropriate, from last night’s Daily Show.

Comments

  1. md says

    There were 12 government shutdowns under Speaker Tip O’Neill. Chris Matthews remembers him fondly. We will muddle through.

  2. David Wilford says

    Eh, Pierce is being unfair as it sure isn’t Sen. McCaskill forcing the current shutdown. In this case, both sides aren’t doing it and it’s silly to think otherwise.

  3. davidnangle says

    Charles is great when he is angry. And all the other times, too. That particular post went viral.

  4. carter says

    This is analogous to the situation at boards of education, both local and state. People have been on boards for decades, whether by election or appointment, who don’t believe in public education, and whose initiatives and votes chip away and defund the structure.

  5. stevem says

    Aren’t the Republiturds asking for (i.e. DEMANDING) a “pyrhric victory”? Where their “spoils” are burned to the ground, providing value to no one? “Defund Healthcare or we’ll defund everything! Negotiate!” “Kill those sick people or we’ll kill everyone”. “And don’t call us ‘hostage takers’, we hold no ‘hostages’”. “Yes it IS a Law, but a bad law”. “oh, it is declared Constitutional, but only by State Supreme Courts, the US Supremes passed it over to them, it’s such a bad law it *should be* defunded.”
    This is so disgusting, I can’t even make a coherent point. I guess I’m just (unintentionally) following their model of spouting incomprehensible bull$hit(e). They are such masters at it.

  6. David Marjanović says

    “And don’t call us ‘hostage takers’, we hold no ‘hostages’”.

    And take no prisoners, eh?

  7. peptron says

    I always had the feeling that the main goal of the GOP was to render the government so ineffectual as to make the point that government is bad. Kinda like refusing to put gasoline in a car to “prove” that it doesn’t work.

  8. Paul K says

    David Wilford, at #2:

    Eh, Pierce is being unfair as it sure isn’t Sen. McCaskill forcing the current shutdown. In this case, both sides aren’t doing it and it’s silly to think otherwise.

    I read Charlie’s blog every day, and he sure does not believe that both sides are doing it. In fact, this is from the piece PZ links to:

    The first and most important thing is to recognize how we came to this pass. Both sides did not do this. Both sides are not to blame.

    What McCaskill and other Democrats are doing, and have been doing for decades, is allowing the debate to move steadily to the right, all the way to wherever it is we’ve gotten to. In the middle of all this, that McCaskill is willing to give the Republicans something, anything at all, is not helping. She wants to get back to fixing the deficit problem? They already agreed to go with the funding that the Republicans demanded for the budget, and where did that get them?

  9. says

    There were 12 government shutdowns under Speaker Tip O’Neill. Chris Matthews remembers him fondly. We will muddle through.

    That would be a salient point, if it wasn’t a lie.

    Five of the “shut downs” took place before the current interpretation that requires the government to shut down during a lapse in appropriations. In those cases, funding lapsed, but the government didn’t shut down. So, right off the bat you’ve got a blatant lie.

    The remaining seven “shut downs” that came after the Civiletti memos lasted a combined total of 13 days. Most took place over a weekend, and as a result, didn’t result in any disruption of operations. By contrast, the two shutdowns during Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker lasted a total of 26 days, and massively disrupted government operations.

    In an effort to draw a false equivalence md, you have just made it clear that you are willing to parrot a lie.

  10. David Wilford says

    Paul K @10:

    McCaskill is a Senator from Missouri, so given that it’s not surprising she’s talking up the fiscal responsibility line. If she wants to say that she’s willing to discuss fiscal issues with Republicans to better position herself with the voters back home, what’s the problem? I think brogressives are so enamored of the Overton window analogy and the BULLY PULPIT! to realize that if McCaskill talked a more progressive line she could have lost to the likes of Todd Akin. I’m happy to have her in the Senate even if she’s sometimes more moderate than I’d like.

  11. dianne says

    a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions.

    Interesting. Now prions are the disease of choice to use as an analogy for social badness. It used to be cancer then, in the AIDS epidemic, it was viruses. I guess cancer and HIV got too controllable and it was time to move on. If our collective brains haven’t been eaten too badly, maybe we’ll start working on finding ways to make the “prion” analogy seem silly too.

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with the main point of the article. Except that we’d still be talking about cancer if it weren’t for the NIH the Repubs et al are trying to defund.

  12. dianne says

    Another Reptilian congressman compares this to the Civil War… no, to his bizarre imagination of what the Civil War was like.

    And compares his side to the Confederates. If there were any justice in the world, the statue of Lincoln on the Lincoln memorial would rise out of its chair and go slap this guy all the way back to wherever he came from…before collapsing in despair at what his party has become.

  13. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    @ David Marjanović, 6; dianne, 14:

    If you click through to the full story, you’ll see the unnamed gop congressman doesn’t mean the comparison to be complimentary to his side: he’s saying that almost everyone was caught by surprise, and didn’t expect a fight, but now that one’s come they feel they can’t back down.

    Of course, if you’ve studied US history, you’ll remember how Gettysburg turned out: the Confederates lost when they tried a brave but idiotic charge against a heavily fortified position and an enemy that wouldn’t budge; the charge resulted in a 50% casualty rate and the retreat of the Confederates.

    Here’s hoping that the current mess ends like Pickett’s Charge (without the bloodshed, of course).

  14. dianne says

    he’s saying that almost everyone was caught by surprise, and didn’t expect a fight

    What exactly did they expect to happen when they shut down the government and held the country hostage? Not expecting any fight seems…overly optimistic.

  15. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    dianne,

    If you click through to the full article, you’ll find this:

    When the September 30 deadline for funding the government was still weeks away, the lawmaker explained, he never thought Republicans and Democrats would fail to reach agreement on a continuing resolution. “To be honest with you, I did not think we’d be in a government shutdown situation,” he said. “I’m surprised that we’re here.” The congressman frankly admitted that he never saw the intensity of the party base’s opposition to Obamacare that came to the fore in the August recess. “I think that probably the Cruz phenomenon had a lot to do with that,” he said, referring to the campaign by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to raise support for an effort to defund Obamacare. “I think it disrupted everybody’s plans, both in the administration and certainly the House Republican leadership.”

    So basically the gop leadership, the government, and the whole country is being held hostage by a small group of fanatics.

  16. stevem says

    Just to chime in my *unbiased* opinion (i.e. Rant). The “sequester” was Obama’s “bluff” to the Republicans. Proposing something so outrageous they would have to “fold” and relent to his more reasonable proposals. The GOP “called” his “bluff” and decided, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”, and proposed a “counter-bluff” of shutting down the government if Obama implements that “new-fangled” healthcare proposal (aka “Obama-care”). It serves the GOP right to be “shocked” that he then called their “bluff” and tells them to fix the shutdown. All the speechless GOP can say is “Negotiate, or else we call your bluff. This is YOUR fault, not ours”.

  17. David Marjanović says

    Why the hell do people use “mouthbreathing” as an insult?

    Probably because it looks like a facial expression. But then, so does pretty much anything else…

    BTW, this use as an insult is entirely limited to the English language. I’ve never encountered it elsewhere.

  18. kantalope says

    and as far as not expecting a fight – expecting the dems and Obama to cave is not exactly fighting precedent.

  19. anuran says

    Eventually you have to bite the bullet and admit the Kochsucking teabaggers are waging war against the United States and its government as in “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

    The whole Confederate thing? Treason AND Terrorism. This time make Sherman’s March ten years longer and don’t coddle the bastards.

  20. vaiyt says

    @stevem

    Just to chime in my *unbiased* opinion (i.e. Rant). The “sequester” was Obama’s “bluff” to the Republicans. Proposing something so outrageous they would have to “fold” and relent to his more reasonable proposals.

    Small problem with your opinion: Obama hasn’t proposed anything outrageous at all and the middle ground has only shifted in favor of the Republican side. The shutdown happened because the Republicans don’t give a shit about compromise, their only objective is to obstruct everything Obama tries to do.

  21. says

    @#17, Dianne:

    What exactly did they expect to happen when they shut down the government and held the country hostage? Not expecting any fight seems…overly optimistic

    They expected what they got every single time they threw a tantrum during the previous 5 years, which was for Obama and Congressional Democrats to back down and give them what they wanted or at least something else “just as good”. I suspect that’s what’s going to happen here, too. We have 5 years of examples showing that the Democrats have this deep longing to push to the right which they can only satisfy when they have an excuse, and that “the Republicans made us do it” is always acceptable to Democratic apologists, who will never admit that the party has moved so far to the right that it makes Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon look like wild-eyed leftists. (More wars? Sure! Austerity? Obviously! Abortion? “Nobody likes it”. Now stop asking questions and let’s go spy on some citizens! It’s the Glorious Third of Way!)

  22. Paul K says

    David Wilford at 12:

    McCaskill is a Democrat. She just got re-elected. She doesn’t need to beat Todd Akin anymore. She doesn’t need to worry about appealing to voters back home at this exact moment. In fact, she’s got several years before that needs to happen. Right now, the Republicans need to be held accountable, and Democrats would do well to leave them nothing. Not just for political reasons, as so many people discuss, (especially in the ‘courtier press’, as Charlie calls it), but because the Republicans are just plain wrong. Now is not the time to discuss deficit cutting and reigning in spending, especially in the ways Republicans demand.

    I am not a ‘brogressive’ (whatever that means; silly term). I’m a socialist, and I care about people more than Overton windows. Though the Republicans jumped out of theirs long ago.

  23. madtom1999 says

    I still wonder whether this is all about greed – if it goes to default then the interest rates on loans go up and the loan holders gain at the expense of the US – I’m guessing a lot of the TP and GOP stand to gain a huge amount financially at very little risk if it goes that far. Once the government has no assets left it doesnt matter who votes for what – it becomes irrelevant.

  24. Anri says

    What a Maroon, el papa ateo @ b16:

    Of course, if you’ve studied US history, you’ll remember how Gettysburg turned out: the Confederates lost when they tried a brave but idiotic charge against a heavily fortified position and an enemy that wouldn’t budge; the charge resulted in a 50% casualty rate and the retreat of the Confederates.

    And, of course, if you’ve studies US history, you’ll recall that the Confederates fired the first shot.

    “Forget Hell!” is something you still see on bumper stickers down there… purely carried by people who have forgotten.

    But to get off of the Derail Train – yeah, I must admit to being amazed that the far right was really willing to drive this enthusiastically off of the cliff. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but there we go.

  25. unclefrogy says

    anri
    I think their enthusiasm may have something to do with their faith and that other way of knowing

    uncle frogy

  26. nathanaelnerode says

    There’s one important thing you & Pierce are not saying clearly here.

    It’s not that the right-wingers want to break or shut down government per se.

    It’s that they want to *be* the government — in the autocratic style of Louis XIV.

    They want to break our *democratically elected* government. But make no mistake: they want to replace it with another government. A “Christian Dominion”, in the case of some of them — some form of autocratic dictatorship, in the case of all of them. I think each one of them imagines that he will be the “Decider”.

    They hate democracy.