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80 members of the House's Republican Tea Party Caucus sent a letter to Speaker Boehner on August 21. The letter encouraged Boehner and Cantor to refuse to pass a clean continuing resolution funding the government unless Obamacare was defunded also.
Those 80 House GOP'ers are known as the "suicide caucus" in the progressive blogosphere. Uncivil, I know....but very accurate.
What's interesting about those 80 Republican House members is that their districts, half of them in southern states, only represent 18% of the U.S. electorate. Eighteen percent.
What we have, then, is 18% of the national electorate shutting down the government. In ten more days, perhaps we'll witness that same 18% destroying the national economy, placing the world's richest and most powerful country on an irreversible path of decline. 18% of the voting base closing the government and perhaps defaulting on the national debt is called "taking our country back." "Freedom."
The point screams off the page. Tea Republican House members and the constituents who elected them.....reject out of hand anything which smells of majority rule or honors our 2+ century experiment with small d democracy.
If you read here regularly, you know this has been a theme of mine. The problem we're facing as a nation isn't Obamacare or the deficit or the debt or the federal government spending too much, or entitlements, or food stamps, or any of the look-over-there diversions spoken by conservatives and Republicans.
The problem is that the 18% is keeping a "clean" continuing spending resolution and a clean debt limit increase from receiving a vote. 18% is a small minority.....yet they are directing the course of the Republican House with Speaker Boehner, apparently, powerless to stop them. The problem is that a small minority of the far right contingency of the GOP reject majority rule, reject basic democracy.
That's the problem.
Squishy Republicans in the House and Senate are now described, mockingly, by the 18% suicide caucus as liberals, establishment Republicans, RINO's, and appeasers. Those "squishy" Republicans still cling to the silliness of majority rule and small d democracy....and still use outdated things like arithmetic to determine where the majority is found. Silly squishes. Don't they know that everything has changed since America elected it's first black president?
Whatever it is that these suicide caucus members and the constituencies who love them believe in.....it has no resemblance to historical, constitutional American democracy. When 18% of the the voting public can close the federal government and threaten, at gunpoint, the full faith and credit of the U.S......that's the tip off that our national, majority representative democracy is under siege.....with the possibility that it won't survive.
I've been explaining this fundamental truth about the Tea Party since 2009 when the Teas began getting astroturf funding from rich people outfits which demand fewer regulations and lower taxes. The Tea Party rising was the result of a smallish minority of Republicans, conservatives and libertarians refusing to accept majority rule in November, 2008....refusing to accept the outcome of the 2008 small d democracy general election. Do the research...it's true.
The Teas took what had sometimes been a loyal opposition, a small d democracy-believing contingency of Republicans and turned them into a wrecking ball of minority obstruction, threats and shutdowns. Fear of losing their next primary to a Tea Party suicider was the incentive.
Finally for today....the stupid in corporate media over the shutdown, etc.....burns with a hellish heat. Both sides are responsible, why won't Obama "negotiate", Democrats want the shutdown, Americans "overwhelmingly" hate Obamacare, and the extra-stupid tossing about of the word "leverage"....are just a few of the insults to Americans' intelligence being repeated hourly by 'responsible journalists.'
But those things are not the story...at all. The story is singular here. Elected Republicans have been overwhelmed with fear of Tea.....and because of that fear of Tea...are allowing a minority of the House to turn their entire political party into enemies of small d democracy.
In other words....the 18 percenters, those taking their country back one shutdown at a time and one default at a time, don't really believe in America at all.