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It’s important to have a sense of humor in life, but there are so many absurdities coming out of the Republican Party now that make one unsure as to whether to laugh or cry.
Two recent events, seemingly unrelated, demonstrate once again what a straightjacket, hard-core party of extremists the GOP has become.
During the debt ceiling debate, most Republicans were completely happy to see the government default just to promote their spending cuts parade. The leader of this was Eric Cantor, the ambitious, and dangerous, Virginia Republican.
Cantor and his ilk never paused once over the prospect that senior citizens, veterans, and others might not get their federal checks. They didn’t care. Now Cantor has said that federal aid for victims of Hurricane Irene should only be spent if we can find “savings” in other areas of the budget.
When did we get to the point in this country where even aid for hurricane victims – people who have lost homes and the lives of family members – can’t be distributed without “cutting spending” somewhere else? Pay attention, because this is where the modern “conservative movement” in the Republican Party is taking us.
Two of the leading GOP presidential candidates have shown they’re in lockstep with the right-wing, tea party stuff that so controls the GOP now. Texas Governor Rick Perry still describes Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.”
Shouldn’t we wonder what he would do with that program if he were sent to the White House with a GOP majority in Congress?
Michelle Bachmann mused (and later said she was “joking”) that the hurricane was sent by God to remind us spending should be cut. She’s just what we need, isn’t she? A female version of Pat Robertson.
Meanwhile, the biggest know-nothing in the whole crowd, Sarah Palin, is apparently still thinking about running for president. Surely we’re all holding our breath waiting for her decision…
As I hinted at the start, some of these things would actually be funny if they weren’t so serious. Can Republicans really believe what they’re preaching these days? If they do, then it’s clear they have abandoned middle class needs and concerns.
If you earn under $250,000 a year, you’re just not on their radar. They think only the rich should get tax breaks, and if you need health insurance, well, you’re on your own in “the private sector,” and good luck. Witness the persecution of Mitt Romney in his own party for having the gall to pass a health insurance program in Massachusetts.
In a time of high unemployment, it is misguided, to say the least, to worry so much about debt and deficits. Plus, Republicans really don’t want to do the things that would reduce either one.
The way to cut spending is to start with the Pentagon, a quarter of the entire budget. Revive the old military base closing commission – not just for this country, but for bases around the world – and close many of these unnecessary bases. Renounce empire, finally, and savings will pour in.
Then, eliminate corporate tax loopholes, and put an end to the so-called Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Surely these moves would put us on the path toward more responsible spending and debt reduction, not to mention still having the money for a jobs program to start putting people back to work.
But right-wing ideology is not about common sense, and it obviously isn’t about helping anyone.
If you work for a living, if you struggle, even if calling yourself “middle class” is just a dream or a hope, you have no friends in the Republican Party today.
Democrats aren’t perfect, but we haven’t forgotten the middle class.
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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at NewCenHowell@aol.com