Instead of doing anything worthwhile, the 21st Century Know Nothings demand actions that harm American families and hinder economic recovery. And they're demanding all this destruction all to hurt President Obama politically.
Why? Why are they so hell-bent on endless crisis and dangerous destructive behavior? New York's Jonathan Chait recently attempted to explain what we once considered unexplainable and unimaginable.
The rational way to view these events is that Republicans have marginalized themselves. But the hard-liners see it differently. In their minds, every bill that passes is a betrayal by their leaders. They know that letting Democrats carry bills through the House has been the leadership’s desperate recourse to avoid total chaos, and since chaos is their leverage, they are now working feverishly to seal off that escape route. This year, an increasing proportion of conservative media is given over to conservative activists’ extracting pledges from Republican leaders not to negotiate with Democrats. In the wake of the tax-cut deal, Republican leaders in both houses had to pledge that they would not engage in any—to quote the ubiquitous buzzword—“backroom deals.” Since all deals get made in back rooms (there is no such thing as a front room, and leaders in Western cultures like the United States habitually transact their business in rooms), this means no negotiation at all.
A recent joint op-ed by National Review editor Rich Lowry and his Weekly Standard counterpart Bill Kristol denounced the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate as “a stew of deals, payoffs, waivers, and special-interest breaks.” This echoed the conservative critique of all major Obama-era legislation—Liz Cheney, launching her Wyoming Senate race last week, called on Republicans to stop “cutting deals”—but it applies just as well to any major bill in American history, including the ones passed by the sainted Ronald Reagan. Crafting a major piece of legislation means cutting some side deals. That’s how lawmaking works. But conservatives have increasingly come to see the entire process as a morally unacceptable compromise of their ideals. “The idea of Boehner’s negotiating with Pelosi over how to proceed is implausible,” a recent story by Jonathan Strong, a National Review reporter, noted as an aside. “It would telegraph weakness.” [...]
In the actual world, the economy is recovering and the deficit, currently projected at half the level Obama inherited, is falling like a rock. Yet messianic Republican suicide threats in the face of an imagined debt crisis have not subsided at all. The swelling grievance within the party base may actually be giving the threats more fervor. The reign of the Republican House has not yet inflicted any deep or permanent disaster on the country, but it looks like it is just a matter of time.
As we've discussed many times before here, it's a
minor miracle that our economy has recovered at all considering all the austerity we've had to endure. If it weren't for all the austerity the G-O-TEA "culture warriors" have been demanding, we'd likely be seeing stronger and more stable economic recovery.
But that's not all. Apparently, austerity programs alone aren't destructive enough for the 21st Century Know Nothings. They also want comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) dead. And they're willing to great lengths to kill the bill.
We've noted before how CIR will benefit the economy. Even several prominent conservatives have made this point. But at this point, the 21st Century Know Nothings care more about their precious ideological purity than any real economic stimulus.
And now, House G-O-TEA "leaders" are not just making excuses for their intransigence. They now expect us to celebrate it!
And of course, Nevada's G-O-TEA Congresscritters (Joe Heck & Mark Amodei) are following their lead. Sure, every so often they claim they "support reform". But when push comes to shove, they just do what the 21st Century Know Nothings tell them to do. And as a result, CIR is stalled in the House.
This is no way to run a Congress. This is no way to run a country. This is just plain stupid. What will it take for them to learn?