By Joan Trossman Bien
They Were Late for a Very Important Date
What is wrong with the Republican Party leaders? Have they completely lost their minds? When they finally were shoved out of the way, late last Tuesday night, the Senate passed the “fiscal cliff” bill by 89-8. Too bad it was after the deadline had passed.
The Tea Party-infused House showed up even later. After more than a year to get this done, they didn’t. Even after the deadline had passed, with global markets holding their breath, these guys were still speechifying and hogging the spotlight, like a bunch of spoiled children.
House Majority leader Eric Cantor put his dazzling leadership skills on display saying, “I don’t like it.” So who really does? As is often said, if both parties dislike an agreement, then it has found the middle.
At the thirteenth hour, the House passed the bill, as is, 257-167 with a lot of Republican support.
Apparently, having more than 300 million Americans hate your guts was too much even for some Tea Party stalwarts. Could this issue not have been resolved before it threatened to devour our economy?
So what is really the problem? It is the Tea Party and the fear they have instilled in their own leaders. But the days of Republicans marching in lockstep as if all of their brains had been wired together like “The Borg” from Star Trek are numbered.
Fellow Republicans voiced their disgust with the Tea Party. Out-going Ohio Republican Congressman Steve La Tourette said, “It’s the continuing dumbing down of the Republican Party and we are going to be seen more and more as a bunch of extremists.”
La Tourette then pointed to “forty chuckleheads that all year…have screwed this place up.”
Charlie Christ, former Republican governor of Florida as recently as 2010, explained why he is now a Democrat.
“What changed is the leadership of the Republican Party…I didn’t leave the Republican Party, it left me.”
Bruce Bartlett, a prominent political advisor to Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush, vented about the recent changes in the Party.
“The Republican Party was the Party of ideas and now it’s the party of crazy people, ignorant Tea Party people – people who know nothing and are proud of it.”
The Real Reason
Rightwing activist and power broker Grover Norquist once said, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
For 20 years, Norquist has been the bully behind the “no new taxes” pledge. He made good on his threat to get rid of Republicans who refused to go along with him. He was feared. And you thought Republicans took the pledge because they actually believed in something.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, was furious with Congress for failing to vote through an aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Americans are tired of the palace intrigue and political partisanship of this Congress which places one-upmanship ahead of the lives of the citizens…There is only one group to blame for the continuing suffering of these innocent victims: the House majority and their Speaker John Boehner.”
Perhaps these leaders will finally hear the truth and actually do their jobs when it comes time to cut spending and raise the debt limit. Or not.
Joan Trossman Bien has been writing news most of her professional life. She started writing as an intern at KNX Newsradio and wrote as a freelancer at nearly every television station in Los Angeles. She graduated from law school in 2004. At present, she is a regular writer for cover features at the Ventura County Reporter and Pasadena Weekly. She enjoys writing about an array of topics including health care, politics, women’s issues, and social justice. Bien lives with her journalist husband in Ventura County. They have one grown daughter who is also a journalist. Bien hales from Glencoe, Ill., a small suburb outside Chicago.