I watched about 20 minutes of the Iowa GOP presidential candidates "debate" last evening. I wasn't impressed. But, then, I knew I wouldn't be.
Except for a few sparks of true insight by Ron Paul concerning our failed and disgraceful foreign policy...every candidate, with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman, simply let go and let their full freak-flags fly. Last night's GOP debate was all the evidence a person needs to conclude that the Republican Party, as politically disfigured and hideous as it has become, is in dire need of reforming.
Let's focus on only one question and answer. That's about all I can stomach this early in the morning.
Fox's nauseating Brett Baier asked all 8 GOP candidates whether they would reject a budget deal that was $10 in spending cuts to every $1 in tax increases. In Baier's hypothetical, for every dollar the government cut in spending only ten cents in new revenue would be required. The question: Would you reject such a final deal?
All 8 candidates raised their hands. All 8.
Not one GOP presidential candidate would raise taxes....UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE.
Two points need to be fleshed out about this GOP extremism:
1) Raising taxes, when necessary, is not a sign of weakness in elected officials. St Ronnie wasn't as stubborn and rigid as today's GOP candidates. Reagan was actually willing to compromise on raising taxes, doing it 11 times during his 8 years in office. Who ever last night's GOP presidential candidates were....they were not following in the footsteps of their revered Father, Ronald Maximus. Saying that you would carefully consider the need to raise revenues through new taxation or increased tax rates is not similar to aiding and abetting communists or Islamic extremists.....and yet, all Republican presidential candidates for president today think that it is. That's extreme. That is not reasonable. That is fringe thinking.
Almost all GOP candidates must enter Grover Norquist's Funhouse of Insane Blood Oaths before running for office.....agreeing to never raise taxes, or even close tax loopholes in the code, if elected. It is not clear whether GOP candidates must offer their firstborn as security to Grover before being cleared to become a "legitimate" GOP candidate.....but judging by the eagerness of GOP candidates to denounce any new forms of revenue, it wouldn't be shocking if it were true.
What this knee jerk reaction to revenues should inform us is that today's Republican Party will not compromise. They have rejected the key to the democratic process...which is, negotiating a compromise with other fellow Americans, each side giving a little to accomplish a greater good for the nation. Even at a 10-1, spending cut-to-tax-revenue ratio.....all 8 presidential candidates would reject such a compromise. Presidential candidates who will not work towards any agreement which requires compromise.
The Tea Party infested GOP no longer accepts compromise as a strength in a democracy, but rather, a weakness. That position is a rejection not only of compromise...but a rejection of over 200 years of American history where a compromise was almost always negotiated between the two major political parties.
2) By answering no to a 10:1, spending-cuts-to-revenue ratio, all Republican presidential candidates are displaying their utter ignorance over current tax rates as compared to historical U.S. tax rates. Republicans don't do facts because facts conflict with their make-believe Mother Goose version of reality....but if Republicans did do facts, actually considered today's tax rates in relationship to past tax rates....they would be forced to acknowledge that, yes, today's federal tax rates are as low as they were during the presidency of Harry Truman....back in the 40's.
Each GOP candidate claimed faithfulness to the Aesop's Fables version of tax policy. They insist, without any evidence, that lowering taxes on the rich will create jobs, stimulate the economy. And yet, the evidence of the last 11 years disproves such a faith-based notion. Taxes at the federal level have never been so low...and yet unemployment is rivaling that of the 30's.
During a period of higher tax rates in 1993-2001, on the other hand, over 20 million jobs were created and the nation's economy boomed.
But as I said, Republicans, whether presidential candidates, or TeaBag-draped Partiers.....don't do facts. Facts, to Republicans, are a constant evil to be avoided.
What, then, do we have when we consider those 8 GOP candidates in Iowa last night? We have an institutional rejection of democracy as compromise....and we have wannabe-leaders who reject, or simply ignore, a reality based perspective of....reality.
In other words.....stubborn and stupid.
Lincoln would weep.
About This Blog