Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Sequester Just About Sums Up Our Political System's Dysfunction

I've said it before, and I will keep saying it: the Republican party is no longer a political party in the traditional American sense, but has become a vehicle for a movement of radical conservative ideologues.  Like all fanatics, they are bent on following their ideological dictates no matter the cost, since any price should be paid for purity.  Their fanaticism is the dominant force in American politics, and all positive change is paralyzed because they will throw their bodies on the gears of our democratic system if it means they can get their way.

The sequester is a perfect example of this.  The whole thing was set up by president Obama to force the GOP congress to negotiate with him, since everybody knows that the kind of broad, untargeted cuts it calls for will damage the economy and make it difficult for the government to operate.  Despite those obvious facts, John Boehner gleefully refused budge, and declined negotiation because he rejected any increase in revenues out of hand (even the old standby beloved of conservatives to "close loopholes.")

Never mind the fact that we just had a presidential election where the candidate who supported a combination of cuts and tax increases won handily, or the his party won a majority of the voters' ballots in both the Senate and House races.  Gerrymandering and the luck of the draw gave Boehner his power, not the will of the people, who in opinion polls favor the president's approach over that of the conservative fanatics.

The gang of ideologues does not care that the sequester will have harmful effects, or that they are going against the stated will of the people.  They want two things too badly to care about real world consequences: to embarrass the president who they hate so zealously, and to limit government spending, no matter how inappropriate it may be at the current time.

Each and every month we seem to be stuck in yet another political hostage crisis.  Perhaps it's all well and good that Boehner refused to talk with the president.  After all, we know it's best not to negotiate with terrorists.

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