GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

September 28, 2013

Letter: Destructive GOP forces push us to brink


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

As Oct. 1 looms ever closer, and the Tea Party “whacko birds,” primarily in the House, seem poised to make good on their threat to shut the government down in a desperate, and likely doomed, attempt to destroy “Obamacare” and, hence, the Obama presidency, I cannot understand why more people aren’t irate.

Here we have what amounts to a relatively small number of right wing extremists representing tightly gerrymandered congressional districts, where they have a stranglehold on political discourse and are, for all intents and purposes, holding the entire nation hostage to their extremist, ideological agenda.

One of the on line comments in response to my letter about Tea Party/Republican Senator Ted Cruz alleged that the implementation of “Obamacare” would be a much more neo-fascist development for the nation than the election of a right wing “whacko-bird” — you gotta love John McCain for coining that term — like Cruz to the presidency.

I, and many, many others, take exception to that assertion.

It’s so ironic that “Obamacare” is strikingly similar to the health care reform proposal Richard Nixon, a Republican president, put forth 40 years ago and that Ted Kennedy rejected because it was, and is, not even close to a single-payer, universal system.

“Obamacare” is also a national replication of “Romneycare” here in Massachusetts. In short, “Obamacare” is more of a Republican proposal than it is a Democratic one.

Yet, the right wingers who now dominate the base of the GOP, and much of the House Republican caucus, are woefully ignorant of that historical reality. They are so blinded by their hatred of this mixed race president, for whatever their reasons, they do not and cannot see the irony in their behavior and opposition to a health care reform measure their own party has long championed.

Should the Tea Party extremists shut the government down on Oct. 1, anyone waiting for a new or renewed passport to be processed so they can travel abroad in the near future could well be holding airplane tickets they will be unable to use.

Should the Tea Party extremists shut the government down on Oct. 1, elderly people and people with disabilities could be waiting for their Social Security checks for a good long time.

Should the Tea Party extremists shut the government down on Oct. 1, our brave men and women in uniform, and their families, will endure financial hardships because active duty service members will go unpaid.

The list just goes on and on.

But these extremists do not give a damn. They are also not just reckless, they are hypocrites.

Nothing exemplifies that reality more than the list of Tea Party congressmen and women, including Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who gleefully cut food assistance out of the Farm Bill but maintained the agricultural subsidies that have put hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money into their own personal bank accounts because they own “farm land” and are paid by the government to maintain it or not use it.

I actually feel badly for traditionally conservative Republicans of integrity like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and our own Bruce Tarr, along with other Bay State GOPers like Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei.

It must be painful, even if they are loathe to publicly admit it, to watch the extremists they all once thought they could control and use to their political advantage take the once great party of Abraham Lincoln over the cliff and into political oblivion — very painful indeed.

Shutting down the government and defaulting on the debt are both reckless and will do much damage in the short term.

But if that is what it takes for the majority of non-Tea Party Americans to see just what a destructive force this far-right, overwhelmingly white, and yes, racist movement within the Republican Party really is, well, in the long term, it just might all be worth it.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester