Today in the Reign of Morons: The Apotheosis, Starring Ted Yoho
A day that was supposed to bring Washington to the edge of resolving the fiscal showdown instead seemed to bring chaos and retrenching. And a bitter fight that had begun over stripping money from the president’s signature health care law had essentially descended in the House into one over whether lawmakers and their staff members would pay the full cost of their health insurance premiums, unlike most workers at American companies, and how to restrict the administration from using flexibility to extend the debt limit beyond a fixed deadline.
That is the state to which the whole thing has devolved. The denizens of the monkeyhouse are bringing the world economy to the brink of chaos in order to fk their own staffs over on health insurance. Or at least that’s what they say. In reality, what this is about is a rump faction of one of our two major political parties that doesn’t think we should have a federal government at all, that wants to roll back its functions to a state half-past the Articles of Confederation, and that is doing so while believing itself to be some unholy combination of the Founding Fathers and the X-Men. They have cast themselves in their own action adventure movie, and the rest of us serve pretty much the same function as New York City does in The Avengers. We’re the set decoration that gets demolished as Our Heroes fight evil. These are pathetic, worthless children, playing dress-up, and smashing things because they like the sound of things breaking.
By Tuesday afternoon, House Republican leaders were back with a new proposal to fund the government through Dec. 15, extend the debt ceiling into February and deprive not only lawmakers but all their staff members of employer assistance to buy their health care. By extending that provision to staff members, Republican leaders hoped to appeal to its far-right flank, but it angered more moderate Republicans and was not enough for the conservative hard core. Complicating the speaker’s task, Heritage Action, the conservative Heritage Foundation’s political arm, which wields great influence with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party, opposed the plan. “I think there’s always hope there can be a final package I can vote on, but this is not the one,” said Representative Ted Yoho, Republican of Florida, as he and two other Tea Party conservatives left the speaker’s office.
The power rests with Ted Yoho because the castrato Speaker Of The House, Boehner of Ohio, cares more about his job than he does about his country. The power rests with Ted Yoho because the American political system has tolerated carefully cultivated ignorance and carefully tailored bigotry for far too long. Ted Yoho has been coming for years. Ted Yoho was made inevitable by the NCPAC campaigns of the late 1970’s and by the elevation of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980 and, subsequently, to an artificially exalted place in our history after he left office. The Republican party revelled in all the forces that are now tearing it apart. The Democratic party was criminally negligent and abdicated its profound responsibility to fight against those forces; indeed, it spent the better part of the 1980’s and 1990’s trying to surf the wave itself. The Democratic Leadership Council, and Blue Dog Democrats generally, bear a heavy burden of responsibility for failing to demonstrate to the American people in election after election how extreme the Republicans were becoming.