The single greatest political strength of the modern Republican Party is their utter and complete lack of shame. They will say anything - literally anything, no matter how delusional or self-contradictory - if it gets them what they want, or at least deranges the political debate in America enough to keep the other side from getting what it wants.
I have written or spoken those words more than a thousand times in the last twenty years. It is a bedrock principle for me, one of the core underpinnings of my political world view. It has been true ever since the rise of Ronald Reagan and the injection of Supply-Side-Jesus evangelical Christianity (Video by Al Franken - G) into electoral politics and fundamental American economics. Every time I say it, and every time I write it, it is truer than it was the last time.
Case in point: on Tuesday afternoon, following President Obama's press conference regarding the shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner called a presser of his own to push the GOP's galactically shameless dialogue pivot about how the shutdown never had anything to do with defunding the Affordable Care Act, but has actually been about the debt and the deficit and the future of our children and stuff.
No, really, he said that... [...]
I just love this next ¶:
And while all this fuss and feathers was taking place, this: Senator Ted Cruz, who with each passing day appears more and more to be the likely product of a test-tube combination between a dented egg from Phyllis Schlafly and the weakest sperm Joe McCarthy ever produced, hates the very idea of socialized medicine. He did that little faux-filibuster to tell you about it. He has aired ten billion commercials about it. He has raised all kinds of money railing against it. He geeked up the House Tea Party caucus to fly face-first into a windshield because of it.
Yet the veterans are still getting screwed, the dead soldiers are getting doubly screwed, and all by the same pack of brazen liars who trumpet their love of the military after pouring body after body after body into the meat grinders of Iraq and Afghanistan. The amoeba in the mud puddle knows those were Republican wars, the soldiers and veterans know it for damn sure, and the American people know it, too...and now that this glad-handing pack of conservative hucksters with flags on their lapels and "Support The Troops" on their lips have gutted the basic services provided to those troops and veterans, a lot of scales are falling from a lot of eyes.Amen.
Veterans benefits offices are closing. Veteran's benefits are on the verge of ending, and until the Fisher House Foundation stepped in, the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty were well and truly screwed...but the posh, exclusive gyms for members of Congress that are funded with taxpayer dollars remain open, thanks to a word from Speaker Boehner, because they are "essential."
President Obama and the Democrats in Congress, to their great credit, have held the line. No "Grand Bargain," no deals of any kind. Pass a clean CR, raise the debt ceiling, period, end of file. Nothing, but nothing, is more important than standing firm on this, because hostage politics must end.
In the meantime, let their lack of shame do its brutal, corrosive work on the hull of the death ship that is the Republican Party. They are taking on water and listing badly. Let them sink, and let us finally bury Supply-Side Jesus and all his adherents under fathomless fathoms of cold, dark water.