Remember how Republicans "won" the 2000 election? Remember how they tricked the country into going to war in Iraq? They used non-democratic means to get what they couldn't get legitimately, and it worked, so they did it more. They got used to getting their way using bullying, so they did it more. Now it's flat-out hostage-taking. And they're doing it more.
Again and again, Republicans take a hostage and demand something they could not get through elections or the legitimate constitutional legislative process. The hostages over the last few years have included (but are not limited to) unemployment benefits, the Federal Aviation Administration, the "fiscal cliff," disaster relief, government funding, even the debt ceiling. Manufactured crisis after manufactured crisis...
Again and again, they take a hostage and demand they get their way. Never mind election results, House and Senate majorities, and especially never mind the will of the people.
And then they have the nerve to mock democracy, saying, "How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya?"
The Ongoing Obstruction And Today's Hostage-Taking Are The Same Game
Here is something to recognize as part of what is happening today. They have also used obstruction to take hostage the power of We the People to legislate. They have used the filibuster in the Senate and the "Hastert Rule" in the House to obstruct almost everything We the People tried to do to make our lives better in the last several years.
They have blocked bills to hire millions to fix the infrastructure. They blocked bills to remove the incentive to move jobs out of the country. They blocked further stimulus to get the economy going. They blocked efforts to fix immigration laws. They blocked the "public option." They blocked nominees and judges. They have blocked ... everything.
This obstruction is part and parcel of what we are experiencing with this shutdown and the threats to force the country to default. It is about getting what they want but can't win in elections or through legitimate legislative means.
It Will Not Stop Here If They Win
They continue these tactics because it is getting them what they – and the billionaires and giant corporations who fund them – want. They do it because it works. And then they do it again, because it worked.
Here's the thing about this budget "standoff." If Democrats or President Obama give in again, Social Security and Medicare will certainly be targets, sooner than later. What else?
Things Republicans hate:
- #1 of all time: Social Security.
- #2 of all time: Medicare.
- Public schools.
- Environmental Protection.
- The Food and Drug Administration.
- The minimum wage.
- The eight-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek.
- Unions and the National Labor Relations Board – the right of workers to organize.
- The 47% of Americans who they say are "takers" and "moochers."
- Anything other than fossil fuels to provide energy.
This is not a complete list. Think of things Republicans hate, and then try to picture them not using hostage-taking to dismantle whatever you are thinking of.
Constitutional Crisis: Self-Government Under Attack
It has to stop.
This is a constitutional crisis – as in Republicans have thrown out the idea of following the Constitution, democracy and law, recognizing only power. Republicans have one power that We the People have not yet managed to take away from them: the power to destroy. And they're using that power to get what they want for the billionaires and giant corporations who fund them.
If we are going to maintain the idea of government by We the People, using elections and the legislative process and everything else the country is supposed to be about, we can't let them win again. If they win again, they'll just escalate.
* * *P.S. I looked through just a few of the posts I have written covering the hostage-taking of the last few years...
March 31, 2011 Budget Fight: Why Are Republicans Forcing a Shutdown?
Sept. 23, 2011 ANOTHER Hostage-Taking Threat To Shut Down Government,
Just weeks after the “debt-ceiling” hostage-taking, forcing trillions to be cut out of the economy, the hostage-takers are at it again. Now they are threatening a government shutdown, demanding even more cuts in the “continuing resolution” that keeps the government operating. This time they even want to cut the disaster-relief spending that helps people hit by wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Sept 26, 2011 Shutdown and Hostage-Taking — It Is NOT Both Sides Doing It.
Dec. 15, 2011 Republican Hostage-Taking Threat Again Guess Who Benefits,
Once again, Republicans are holding government hostage, trying to force through unpopular cuts to the things We, the People — “the 99%” — do for each other and our economy, while giving handouts to the 1% who pay for their campaign ads and smears. Once again they are threatening to just shut down the whole government if they don’t get their way. This time the hostage is unemployment benefits for 2 million people and the payroll tax cut that is the only stimulus left to keep the economy going. Here’s the thing, they say they want “cuts” but what they are really doing is shifting costs from the 1% on to the rest of us.
The “fiscal cliff’ was the result of the last debt-ceiling hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier capitulation to hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier capitulation to hostage-taking and threats and lies, which was enabled by earlier capitulation to hostage-taking and threats and lies…