The Republican Party created the bulk of the debt that we’re now trying to address.
The Republican Party chose to make the debt ceiling debate– where the downside of failure to pass a bill authorizing payment of bills for which Congress already authorized payment is catastrophic to the economy– the most important, line-in-the-sand vote in the whole session, breaking with common practice and common sense.
The few supposed grown-ups in the GOP, like Mitt Romney, are busily saying crazy things in order to gain the approval of GOP voters, whom they believe to be crazy. Romney staked out a position to the right of the House Republicans on the debt ceiling, and has been embarrassing himself with various other insane, factually false pronouncements.
As we’ve seen in the past decade, Republicans don’t have any policy views. They loved and supported Pres. Bush right up to the end, buying an endless supply of fawning biographies and tchotchkes that the conservative “intelligentsia” pumped out. This despite running up a mammoth debt, invading and occupying a country for no reason, expanding executive authority to unheard of levels in Padilla and with warrantless wiretapping, and taking a strong stance on federal authority in Raich and with NCLB.
(All of today’s GOP leaders, like Boehner, Ryan, McConnell, and Cantor, were on board with all of this debt-exploding and executive-authority-enhancing. They have evinced zero capacity for reflection or learning from experience).
Today, of course, the GOP claims to care most passionately about… federalism and the debt. But we remember that history didn’t begin yesterday, so we know that’s not what’s animating them.
The right-leaning FrumForum site has floated the theories that, Charlie-Sheen style, they just like “winning,” or that Republicans like being jerks. We need not wade too far into that psychological thicket; we do know that they don’t care about policy.
And yet, this is their self-image:
But they don’t have any principles to compromise! Conservatism today is a “psychological protest,” a lifestyle choice– and a deviant one at that.
Not the way things always have been, nor always shall be, but it’s where we are today.