The Catholic University of America
Jul 30 2011

The Triumph of Bullying

Posted by Ernest Zampelli at 10:53 AM
- Categories: Economy

At the time of this writing, the front page of The New York Times reports that second quarter growth in U.S. GDP was an anemic 1.3 percent, that Boehner’s pressure tactics were unsuccessful in swaying House Republicans on his debt ceiling proposal, and that President Obama continues to call for a bipartisan solution to the debt ceiling problem.  There really are no words to describe this unprecedented state of affairs.  But, I will tell you where the blame lies.  It rests squarely on the shoulders of House Republicans, especially the freshmen Tea-Party members.  They are a gang of congressional thugs, unworthy of being called legislators never mind statesmen.  They are little more than bullies, holding the economic recovery and the credit-worthiness of the United States hostage for the sake of a misinformed and dangerous anti-government ideology.  And they certainly do not display even an iota of informed appreciation or understanding of economics. 

If any blame should be borne by President Obama and the Democrats, it stems only from the fact that they have allowed themselves to be bullied.  The stimulus package was only half the size it should have been and was poorly designed in large part to placate House Republicans.  Though the economy and job growth continue to stagnate, there is certainly no talk of additional stimulus as this would never stand a chance of getting by House Republicans.  The Democratic proposals for addressing deficit and debt reduction are long on spending cuts, almost a trillion dollars up front, but short on revenue increases because of House Republicans. 

What President Obama failed to realize is that you can’t play nice with thugs, you can’t play on their terms or by their rules.  When Mitch McConnell first announced that the objective of Congressional Republicans was to make Barack Obama a one-term President, President Obama should have taken out the baseball bat, kept it at his side, and used it to show the bullies who’s boss.  He didn’t, he hasn’t, and we have and will continue to pay the price.


Steve McKenna

Steve McKenna wrote on 07/30/11 11:46 AM

All this demonstrates that the Tea Party "movement"--with apologies to some of its earnest and well-intentioned if mal-informed supporters--is not a political movement. It is as anti-political as it is anti-government. It much more resembles a jihadist sect, thoroughly committed to a doctrinal orthodoxy that has nothing to do with reality, and indeed is blissfully unconcerned with reality--meaning not just economic conditions, entailments, and consequences--but the political reality of people trying to live together in society with the aim of achieving or even approximating some common good. The Tea Party thus does not really exercise political power--it never was even a "party" in that sense--since power (as Hannah Arendt so eloquently distinguishes it) is something formally sourced in the possession of authority and reason in human relations to persuade others towards common goals. What they exercise is more akin to force (again, see Arendt), and we should not be surprised if indeed at some point it leads to violence. Here I'm not thinking of Anders Breivik sorts of violence (though sadly that is not entirely unthinkable) so much as the violence that will be exacted upon the poorest among us, who stand to suffer the most should the US default.

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