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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/6/10

Bin Laden's Flunkies

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Doesn't the GOP-backed Tea Party Movement's anti-government "take back my country" crusade essentially make its followers de facto allies of Osama bin Laden?

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"Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem" - Ronald Reagan

"We had to destroy the village in order to save it" - quote originating from the Vietnam War

When Republicans gripe about what they perceive as the Obama Administration's failures, for example, its inability in little over a year to completely revive the economy, Democrats often respond by citing the severity of the economic catastrophe left behind by the previous administration.

What generally follow is more Republican caterwaul about the Democrats' constant finger-pointing back to the bygone Bush era. Blaming Bush for the nation's present economic condition, insists Republicans, amounts to little more than a whiny cop-out -- something akin to a sour grapes attitude coming from within, of all places, the ranks of the winners. In dealing with similar matters, the Republicans' position is: "Let's not talk about the past; the Bush era is over," followed by charges that Democrats now controlling all branches of government would rather avoid responsibility for failing to resolve one of America's major problems by insisting that at least for now, the buck halts at the cowboy booted feet of George W. Bush.

Recently, amidst the uptick in acts of political terrorism linked to the Tea Party Patriots, a movement which has apparently discovered a way to be both anti-government and pro-GOP, many Democrats began complaining about the Republicans' tepidly-conveyed effort to encourage an end to these acts, some of them having occurred during March's anti-health care reform demonstrations on Capitol Hill, and which in general have included death threats; smashed windows; severed gas lines; brandishing nooses; threats of violence; spitting at members of Congress; racial epithets; and engaging in anti-gay behavior. Ultimately, Republicans simply brushed aside the Democrats' complaints by not surprisingly -- talking about the past.

"There was all kinds of very threatening tones and language used (against Bush during his terms)," equivocated Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele during a March interview with Sean Hannity. "So, you know, I think people just need to understand it and put it in context."

Steele's artless circumvention of the issue offers a great illustration of the GOP's prevaricatory modus operandi. It's the sustained practice of the politics of expediency by the GOP that for some, conjures thoughts about the potential for danger ahead, not just for the Republican Party, but for the nation as a whole. At issue is the Republicans' unwillingness, obviously out of sheer political expediency, to directly and forthrightly address important matters, combined with their willingness to shamelessly toggle between support for opposing legislative positions based on pure self-interest. It is a disposition that has helped generate from the GOP, a steady stream of knee-jerk reactions and approaches to virtually every issue of major importance going back to the Clinton Administration.

Regarding the pace of the economic turnaround, Republicans undoubtedly realize the absurdity of excluding from the equation, the causal relationship of the negative economic continuum unleashed by the Bush economy during his Administration's eight year reign of "error." Considering the havoc wrought upon the economy by the greatest recession since the Great Depression, it would be not only inappropriate but, for the sake of the nation's future, downright foolhardy not to look back.

Yet, the Republican strategy for resolving complex issues involving climate change, global politics, social and economic policy, and of course, health care reform has essentially been "me first." In fact, Country First, the GOP's mantra during John McCain's presidential campaign, has little to do with the direction of its legislative agenda; it's for bumper stickers and Palin rallies. In reality, within the Republican Party, what's good for America falls far short of what's foremost on their list of priorities -- establishing and maintaining incumbency at all costs.

It was that type of "win at all cost" power-tripping that shortly after the start of Bush's second term, contributed to the GOP's loss of overall public support, followed by their loss of both branches of government and ultimately, the Oval Office itself. And it is what has now led to a dangerously shrill and increasingly desperate effort by Republicans to regain power. So desperate, in fact that they refuse to disengage themselves from, or even mildly repudiate, a movement that is clearly hell-bent on taking down the federal government in a crusade to "take my country back" from the Obama Administration.

Just Playing the Base

Fair weather politics, or politics du jour, could eventually wind up rewarding for both sides the vote-seeker and the vote-giver -- when practiced within a close-knit society. However, it seems highly unlikely that any legislative success achieved through narrowly-focused, political base-pandering within a society as fractious as America's would yield outcomes that work for the good of the nation as a whole. This is perhaps even less likely when it is the fringe of a nation's society that is being wooed. And certainly at this point, there is little doubt that the term "fringe" serves as a fair description of that part of American society from which the GOP-backed Tea Party movement has emerged.

Despite attempts by Tea Party leaders to convince us otherwise, it takes no more than a cursory examination of the head-shaking anti-government antics, sentiments and beliefs of far too many of that movement's followers to realize that this movement is certainly not the vocal offshoot of a previous era's "Silent Majority." The Nixon-era Silent Majority, unlike today's Tea Party movement, represented a large demographic whose patriotism was rooted in a pro-government school of thought. It sought not the destruction of the federal government, but instead the marginalization of so-called "counter-culture" groups within American society.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a left-handed leftist. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the (more...)

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