Whether or not V.P. Biden tagged the Tea Party "terrorists," other sentient beings have dramatized their politics of crude intimidation with howls about ransom demands, hostage-taking, blackmail and extortion. The stolid NY Times' Joe Nocera condemned this "jihad against America" intent on "blowing up the country." Right, an unholy war by a minority of fanatics who take no prisoners, nor apologize for innocent victims.
We've gone way beyond states' rights on hot-button cultural fixations, even nullifying objectionable "liberal" giveaways. Does not the manufactured debt fallout -- nullification of government integrity -- demand strong retaliation by the adults before this unholy war impales the ultimate casualty -- it's the future, stupid? What defines a third world debtor nation more emphatically than obsolete infrastructure, no new growth industries or updated labor force, paltry education and research commitments, no master environmental, regulatory and/or energy planning? What distinguishes the Tea Party insurrection (and backers) from suicide bombers or unhinged shooters of House members or abortion doctors, is scope, funding, and organization -- plus collusion with a radicalized GOP and the 87 rogues the rightwing shoehorned into Congress.
The first, worst casualty in this holy war -- all policy contradictions aside -- isn't just the truth but majority rule, the result of transforming government from gridlock to self-inflicted paralysis that kills the golden goose capable of solving big problems. More or less, America was plodding along towards only moderate inequality when 2000 kicked off body blows against majority rule. The rightwing Bush-Cheney gang viewed majority will as a problem open to manipulation, rarely the solution or heart of America. Cheney scorned the public.
Follow this calamitous storyline: 1) the Supreme Court wrongly trumps the 2000 Florida election when installing a minority president (in popular vote) who ends up widely hated. And why? Because 2) W. unilaterally, deceptively drags us into the Iraqi quagmire, then loses popular support when innumerable WH deceptions surface. Plus, 3) terrible wars plus terrible tax giveaways cost 3-4 trillion while shredding the budget-deficit. 4) On his own, Bush tortures innocents and abuses our civil rights -- deflecting Congressional approval and in short order inviting public outrage. 5) Finally, while the middle-class gets ambushed by the criminal minority causing the Great Recession, the Supreme Court awards corporate treasuries the money leverage only tin-pot dictators inflict. Though highly unpopular, Citizens United only reflected the sabotage to the democratic spirit when the top 1% seizes 40% of assets and 25% of income.
Majority Held in Contempt
This survey only captures the high points of democratic low points, as endless wars are rejected by increasing majorities starting in '06. Not that that stops any of them in five years, in fact more get added, few with open debate or declarations. And I jumped over the Clinton Impeachment, the most high-handed act of minority arrogance in decades. And now, every time President Obama caves instead of fighting for the majority's clear agenda (fair taxation, quick war exits, public option-price controls-true health care reform plus Wall Street indictments), majority rule withers. Today's Tea Party's hissy fit simply finalizes the rout of democracy as 20% drive the other 80% of us into double-dip recession, maybe worse. When has sustained minority rule -- whether by white, male, slavery-accepting landowners in 1800, robber barons of the Gilded Age, ideological Supreme Courts, or economically-illiterate know-nothings -- not produced unspeakable pain and suffering for the majority?
What makes the debt ceiling fiasco more onerous than Gingrich's 1990's political theatre -- or racist '60's civil rights Senate opposition (defeated), or reactionary assaults against FDR (turned back) -- was its utter, needless absurdity. What was gained and how much was lost? Eventually, non-stop crusades that undermine the legitimacy of every Democratic president since LBJ -- and now our credit ratings and chance to fight unemployment -- torpedo Lincoln's ideal of government for and by and of the people -- in short, our collective future. If Tea Party obstructionism is about 20% trumping what 60 or 80% want to do, the magnitude of permanent damage will be incalculable, making 9/11 a blip on the radar.
Majority Rule, the Soul of Democracy