Government Shutdown to End by October 18; Real Reason for Republican Intransigence is to Create Grounds for Impeachment
On October 16, the voters of New Jersey go to the polls to elect a United States Senator to replace Frank Lautenberg who died in June. The race is between two mayors: Steve Lonegan, an avowed Tea Party devotee who tried to ban Spanish billboards in Bogota when he was mayor (the town is 40% Hispanic), is against abortion and is in favor of the current government shutdown “unnecessary parts of the government have been closed down – good.” Lonegan is consistent. He opposed federal aid for Sandy victims in New Jersey as a budgetary measure.
Lonegan’s opponent is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Booker is a reliable liberal with a couple of conservative speed bumps. He is somewhat of a celebrity, but favors abortion rights, embraces diversity, and is against the government shutdown.
If the House of Representatives hasn’t caved by then, the election returns from New Jersey on the morning of October 17 are going to send shock waves through Washington. Booker is going to win by a handsome margin. The narrowest poll so far has Booker ahead 54% to 42%, normally considered a landslide; with the distance between the two being as high as 35% earlier in the campaign.
Unfortunately, reopening the government is not going to make any difference because the real Republican strategy is to use the shutdown to create the issues on which they can impeach Obama.
The reason the government is shut down is because of an 1870 law called the Anti-Deficiency Act. This act was designed, with amendments over time, to prevent any expenditure of money without the approval of Congress. Of course, there is an exemption for health and safety; but everything else must stop if Congress does not appropriate money.
And by stop, I mean stop. Federal employees are prohibited from volunteering to do their jobs without pay. Why? Because in the past, Presidents tried to end run the congressional control of money by getting people to work for free, and then making a claim against the government for pay. So, the law has been successively tightened to prohibit the executive from incurring obligations without the consent of Congress.
Once the government gets back to work, the irredentists in the Republican caucus in the House will start combing the books of the executive department looking for that errant expenditure that took place during the shutdown, but was not related to health and safety. Due to the diligence of previous congresses, spending money not appropriated is a criminal act. Violŕ. The eager beavers in the House will be sure to find a $4.58 expenditure spent outside appropriations but not for health or safety, perfect grounds for impeachment.
In this way, the Republicans will attempt to destroy the end of Obama’s presidency, in the same way they did to Clinton.
So, the real reason for the budget impasse has nothing to do with the Affordable Health Care Act, nor the deficit, but with the fact the Republican Party has become a racist religious organization. It is because Obama is black that they hate him; if they hated deficits, they would have at least objected once to Bush’s pursuing a war while simultaneously cutting taxes.
And that is the long and short of it. Andrei Gromyko, the late Soviet Foreign Minister, in his Memoirs refers to “mass ideological psychosis.” Beginning with Goldwater in 1964, and going through Nixon’s southern strategy, the base of the Republican Party has become white southern racists. There are no black Republican House members and only handful of Hispanics.
The Republicans, unable to appeal to the growing minority population, has instead turned to a religious belief in their program combined with tactics to reduce and change the voting population: voter ID’s; shorter and fewer early voting opportunities, and the end to same day voter registration; in short, administrative means of preventing the working, the poor and the young from voting.
And this applies especially to Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who masquerades as a moderate because he talks to right-wing Democrats. (In fact, he abuses the legal process to advance his political career. Most of his Democratic support comes from double-dippers who probably should be indicted.) The Special Senate General Election on a Wednesday in October; the primary in August; all designed to reduce turnout. In addition, he has manipulated the debate schedule for his own gubernatorial re-election campaign so that they all occur before the Special Senate election. The governor is trying to deep six his own race in order to deny coverage for his opponent and prevent an examination of his record. I’m glad I didn’t risk my life in Vietnam to defend the freedom and democracy of the Vietnamese. The political system in America is an outrage; and Christie is considered a serious candidate for president.
The good thing about this situation is that tens of millions of white American Obama supporters are learning, albeit vicariously, what race prejudice is all about. It doesn’t matter what Obama does or is. It’s just that simple.
But the racists have always been with us and slowly, over time, have been losing ground. In the old days, when racism was stronger, there were no blacks in positions of power like Obama. Now that there are powerful blacks, the racists are able to hide their racism behind legitimate issues; in this case, the Affordable Health Care Act and the deficit.
Systemic Issues – Gerrymandering and the end of the Draft
It is not just the racist Republicans who are to blame. It is also decades of Supreme Court decisions that have destroyed the non-partisan nature of the constitution and replaced it with a two-party system. Last year, more people voted for Democratic candidates for the House than voted for Republican candidates. So, why do the Republicans control the House by a large margin? Because of gerrymandering. The blacks and minorities have been bottled up in the central cities in virtually all black districts where their votes for the House of Representatives effectively do not count. Housing segregation and gerrymandered districts have created a situation where one party or the other is virtually guaranteed victory in November. This strengthens the extremists in each party, making compromise in policy matters more difficult.
And the second issue is the end of the military draft in 1973. All men born in the United States between 1922 and 1955 were subject to the military draft. They, by necessity, had to pay attention to world affairs and other people. They planned their lives on the assumption that two or four years of the prime of their lives would be devoted to public service. At the very least, this put people who served in the military at a competitive disadvantage in their careers to their peers who did not serve.
Since the end of the draft, a whole generation of people, many of whom are now coming into positions of power, have not had to spend a single nanosecond thinking about or doing for anyone other than themselves. And they haven’t. The explosion of CEO pay, the chicanery and disregard for the public good that permeates the highest reaches of government, business, academe; the misuse and rebranding of non-profits into predatory organizations: hospitals turning 33% profits; money losing arts organizations paying CEO’s million dollar salaries; the list goes on and on. The House of Representatives is only one of them.
The goal of the Constitution was to create a system of government of the people, by the people and for the people. The Framers were most suspicious of hereditary power and government by the betters, the elite, the wealthy. In fact, over the past fifty years, the United States has become everything the founders of the nation feared. A millionaire’s club in the Senate. A political system where, whether one is a Kennedy or a Bush, private fortunes held in tax-avoiding trusts buy political power and then pass it down from generation to generation like inherited property, whether they win the election or not.
Naturally, these people would detest Obama; an upstart, and black no less, who not only won the White House, but who actually delivered on a six-decade old Democratic promise to provide health care to the American people. Worse still, he refuses to use American military might to kill hundreds of thousands or millions of dark skinned third world people. And worse yet, actually wants to sit down and talk to America’s enemies. People whose only interaction with minorities is with them as servants hate Obama and understand, correctly, that he is a threat to their way of life. He must be stopped and destroyed at all costs and they are willing to destroy, not only the United States, but the world economy as well in order to do it.
It is the megalomania of a Hitler who felt that if the Germans lost the war, well, then they were just not worthy of his vision and victory. This is what Obama is up against. Religious, racist, fanatics who do not care about anyone or anything but themselves; and anyone who holds a differing opinion deserves to be destroyed.
[This article is dedicated to the memory of my mentor Robert Benedict Brady who taught me most of everything I know about electoral politics. He was a submarine veteran of World War II and while studying for the Navy at Harvard in November, 1942, pulled several people to safety from the Cocoanut Grove fire, the second most deadly fire in United States history, where almost 500 people perished.]