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The Overton Window Fanatics

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In this climate of rage Republicans all across America have redefined the boundries of political lunacy and what was once considered extreme and politically unthinkable is now defining the once conservative mainstream.   The present debt ceiling debate has exposed the lunacy that has gripped Washington ever since gullible and petulant American voters fed up with timid Democrats fell victim to Republican demagoguery and bullying and swept Tea Party zealots into power.

Today, progressive Democrats, liberals and independents alike are all taken aback at the intractable, all-or-nothing, take no prisoners attitude of Republicans.   Rand Paul the House budget czar is the darling of the Tea Party Movement who would end Medicare and Medicaid among other extreme measures to bring down the deficit.

Another, Congressman Paul Ryan would do away with the Department of Education and sees no problem with business owners deciding who to serve and who should shop in their businesses. Then there is Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and versions of both all vying to out extreme each other as they shove the Republican Party further and further to the extreme right.

Tea Party and conservative Republicans of both houses of Congress now believe that no matter what President Obama, or for that matter ANY Democratic president, say or does it must be blindly opposed.   He should be depicted at every turn as incompetent, weak and ineffective. The modus operandi is to behave in the most intransigent way imaginable that conjures up a picture of squabbling children caught up in a schoolyard fight.

For the more moderate Republicans the issue of the debt ceiling is not about if to lift it or to what extent but how to deal with this rabid, rigid and unyielding wing of the party. This lunatic element has a serious negative effect on the saner members of the party. Democrats can find common ground with some Republicans -- at least the sane ones -- but the Tea Party Republicans led by people like Michelle Bachman and others would shout down any such deal.

She, and other Tea Party Republicans, has been doing the rounds on sundry talk shows and pushing television ads saying that there is no reason to raise the debt ceiling. She's even gone so far as to say that anyone in the Republican Party who votes and agrees to raise it is a traitor (of course that includes President Barack Obama even if she did not say so). This simplistic, ignorant, all-or-nothing position has scared the saner members of the GOP who fear Tea Party wrath and reprisals next year if they do not give in to insanity and lunacy.

Let us discuss this insanity a bit.   President Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to reach a compromise with Republicans in respect to the debt ceiling. He's said that he will cut spending and reform entitlement programs -- including Medicare eligibility -- something that has rankled his Democratic base, independents and social conservatives.   In fact, he's offering a version of the same things that Republicans are asking for only using different language.

A done deal you say? Nah. Republicans keep saying no. As the party of "no" Republicans have opposed, criticized and beat up on any and all policies that President Obama institutes. This leads to an important feature of the Republican Party and the lunacy of extremism.

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The Republican -- mainstream and Tea Party -- Party does not recognize the legitimacy of any Democratic President. The hoopla over where President Obama was born from the Overton Window fanatics who thrust a foolish, hilarious and stupid political position into the mainstream is but one example.   This of necessity leads to a Republican political behavior to automatically oppose anything that President Obama wants regardless of   the real benefits to the American people and even if they supported similar issues and policies in the past.

For example, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's healthcare reform system instituted when he was governor of Ohio was first celebrated by Republicans as a progressive model for healthcare across America. Yet, when President Obama pioneered a similar program for all Americans, Republicans pounced upon it as wrong-headed and bad policy. It became an assault on American freedom by a Democrat in the White House.

It is this same illogic that guides the present Republican and Democratic debate on the debt ceiling. And Americans are finding it hard to believe that these extreme positions are now mainstream American political views and tactics. The other side of the coin is that if a Republican was the occupant of the White House his approach -- exactly like President Obama's - in context and time, would be hailed by Republicans as a stroke of genius to be revered by talking heads and political pundits.

To his credit President Obama has risen above the bickering and has focused on reaching a compromise. But he must know that this debate is not really about the debt ceiling but the 2012 Presidential elections. So the unwillingness of Republicans to play ball is not about concern for an event that would place Americans in a serious financial position but pure, unadulterated politics.

This kind of irresponsibility and recklessness has been the modus of the Tea Party Republicans. Indeed, sane people are now scratching their heads in amazement and wry amusement at some of the silly pronouncements of some Republicans in the House and Senate.   Tax Magic that cureth all things is the favorite economic fix-all tool of these Republicans.

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For them America's budget deficit, the debt ceiling and job creation will all be fixed when the rich get more tax cuts that miraculously pay for themselves. Tax raises, even if limited and targeted to a special segment of the population are a no, no. It's a non-starter for any negotiations with the "Party of no." So now a new version of this mantra is the unproven conclusion that tax cuts increase revenue. For Harry Potter Republicans simply cutting taxes by waving a wand will reduce America's budget deficit.

Such boil down consistency of complex economic and financial problems to a simple, magic wand solution as tax cuts is the dangerous lunacy that has spread throughout the Republican Party. Such fanaticism and hypocrisy by politicians bent on making President Obama a one -term president speak volumes about a party and its leaders only concerned with political power.

The sad thing is that, we the people, have allowed this lunacy to enter the mainstream and become acceptable to many Americans. Republicans entered the White House after the Clinton presidency with a budget surplus and wasted no time in splurging on everything. They dragged America into two costly wars that did very little to improve American security at home and jumped to bail out greedy banks at the evening of the Bush Administration's term in office.

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MICHAEL D. ROBERTS is a top Political Strategist and Business, Management and Communications Specialist in New York City's Black community. He is an experienced writer whose specialty is socio-political and economic analysis and local (more...)
 

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