Thursday, July 28, 2011

Default Vs. Non-default: From negotiated disagreements to cheap press conferences driven by ego from both aisle of congress, to a complete grounding of the ball?

Keywords or Terms: Economic Armageddon; Political Ideologues; Die-hard conservatives or liberals; Speaker of the House; Tea Party Lawmakers; August 2nd Deadline; Unemployment; Purists, Proposition 13; Tax revolt; Failure to reach agreement 

Every lawmaker, even the most astute die-hard conservative or liberal, does not want the good old USA to default on its financial obligations and debts. In pursuit of ideological line however, lawmakers have shown preference for bill(s) coming to the floor of congress, bill(s) supposedly designed to help the country avoid default by raising the debt ceiling, with potential disparate time frame of extension, consequences or results; all of which could be interpreted in different ways regarding their implications for the nation’s ability to survive Economic Armageddon. Hardly any of the bills in consideration today is probably going to satisfy everyone in congress, no matter their political affiliation or ideological leaning. The Speaker of the House couldn’t even guarantee that he can get every member of his party on board, with a call and recall of possible voting on the preferred house bill. And while it seems possible that the foremost house bill that is being considered for voting may receive a thin hair support; that is if the Tea party lawmakers will accede to compromise, it is probably unlikely that a positive vote on the bill will amount to the silver bullet for addressing the current stalemate and cloud surrounding congress.

The Democratic majority in senate have indicated that that bill is dead on arrival. It is hardly a perfect time to advance a bill passed in the House to Senate, if the domineering representatives in Senate have promised not to move it along or kill it. And, you’ll be fooling yourself, if you believe that the Whitehouse will not veto the bill as packaged by Speaker Boehner; even if passed through senate. Congressional lawmakers have led the fight over the debt ceiling to get to the wires and it seems the August 2nd deadline is hardly attainable. From the stellar position of the Republican majority in the House with the ability to do whatever catches their fancy to wobbly statements from the Speaker of the House, casting doubts on the possibility to make a difference in this long and difficult fight over raising the debate ceiling, congressional extremists have moved congressional leaders from crafting bills that could ameliorate unemployment to a group of lawmakers hardly able to convince themselves about the right thing to do in the interest of the nation.

How did we come to this cross-road? How did we allow the extremists in our congress to hijack the democratic process? To answer these questions, we must go back to some recent events in the annals of congressional calendar and political elections. Many voters in the 2010 congressional elections chose to send ideologues to congress, men and women, who do not understand the concept of compromise. Many of these new lawmakers were seeking to make a name, not necessarily building the democracy, an assertion each will vehemently or readily dismiss. However, the truth is these groups of lawmakers, many of whom will like the accolade of being called tea party members, are now cog in the wheel of progress. If you are mystified about what is going on in congress, then you must ask yourself, why I sent a person who hardly understands what it takes to govern to congress in the last election.

The United States Congress today is filled with ideologues, many holding seriously to their purported values and hardly appreciating the essence of compromise or the history of this country; and, why many of the greatest progress of this democracy have only been achieved through compromise. Yes, compromise not recalcitrance! From the triumph of the Civil War to enactment of Civil Rights Laws for minorities; from the tense political battles of the 1970s and 1980s to the election of the first African American President in the history of the union. Short of suspicion about the intensions of lawmakers who subscribe to no-compromise, one is tempted to believe that the hold out by these people will only foment more trouble for the law making process in congress as time goes on. In addition, the gradual escalation of refusal to play ball will probably amount to anarchy in American Congress with Tea Party members in driver’s seat.

Tea party is equal to tax revolt groups, all their membership are not necessarily recalcitrant, but ideologues with strings to pull and a devious objective to accomplish. Their ability to galvanize power within the Republican Party is not only notable, but is now giving the jitters to the republican leadership. Further, the current wave of tax revolt which had its foundation in California’s preposition 13 of 1978, which the Republicans have been riding ever since to dominate America’s democracy or challenge the Democrats dominance of the past century, is finally or about to explode in the face of the nation, as the tax revolt groups metamorphosing into the Tea party faction of the Republican Party are realizing their voice or power; and, are flexing their muscles to derail all that is good about America’s Democracy.

Could the Tea Party members subsume the moderates or centrists republicans? Could Democrats experience similar challenges from the extremists among them? No one can answer these questions affirmatively for the coming decade. For now, here are some relative challenges that are debarring congress from doing its work: 1) The catalytic impact of 2008 general elections is now being felt in the 112th Congress, with newly elected Tea Party faction of the Republican Party creating a lot of hassle for the party’s leadership, including holding out on reaching a compromise on raising the debt ceiling; 2) Most of the difficulties experienced in passing the health care reform law of 2010, came from ideological fights, nursed and perpetrated by the extremists in the Republican Party; and, 3) Less dramatic and tenacious stance of the Republican leadership are emboldening the insurgence of the extremists in that party; and, probably spilling over to the law making process or status quo in congress. All these and many more are probably why most of the nation are exasperated about what is going in congress, from self-inflicted wound of the failure to raise the debt ceiling, to the cantankerous attitudes of many of our lawmakers, especially those in the Republican Party.

As recent as last week Friday, ideological purists among republicans, who are attempting to take over the republican party, prevented the party leaders from reaching accord with Democrats, even on little things as signing-off on negotiated agreements. The Speaker of the House was made to walk away from negotiated agreements with the Whitehouse. In a cloak of holier-than-thou, the extremist republicans are articulating the position of leadership in the Republican Party and are gradually moving up on the food chain, ready or already challenging the leadership of the party. How about a hold out that prevented Speaker of the House to return the phone call from the leader of the free world? How about call out for some ultra-extremists that were members of the initial negotiation group with the Democrats? The attack on congressional leadership agreements from the tea party lawmakers, have made it difficult to reach any meaningful agreement in congress and is probably playing to the wishes of some ultra-conservatives in congress who could hardly stand the fact that Barack Obama is the President of the United States.

Further, last week, the republican leadership launched a public relation press bonanza to garner support for the foremost house bill for raising the debt ceiling; one that enough republicans can vote for; or, to put pressure on their undecided members to come around to the leadership’s position. Most recently, this week, each party leadership further launched press conferences to highlight the pit-falls in the bills swirling around the two chambers of congress; and, to ask for support for a bill that enough lawmakers can support and which the President can sign into law. The grandstanding, particularly from the Speaker of the House of Representative, gave one the impression that the republican leadership have put its house in order and there was going to be some truce regarding the two echoes coming from the republican congressional members: One from republican leaders who understand why it is essential to raise the debt ceiling; and, other from the extremists who believe that they are right and the rest of the country is wrong.

And while it may seem too early to postulate that the Republican leadership in congress is in a flux or totally in trouble with their Tea Party membership, the challenge ahead seems to indicate that the reality of political give-and-take is not floating among the republican lawmakers in the 112th Congress. Further, while it may seem too early to form the conclusion that Tea Party members of the Republican Party are out of whack with reality, it is safe to assume that as their membership gains ground in the party, the Republican party may end up becoming a neo-fascist organization, always willing to pull down anything that is good in governance. Without some miracles happening and with tea party membership gaining more clouts, it is obvious that the citizens will remain exasperated by the demands of this fringe groups on governance and leadership both in congress as well as in the country as a whole. Today’s absence of notable agreement on the foremost bill put forward by the Republican leadership in congress indicates that all is not well within the party. The absences of notable collaborations among republican lawmakers on raising the debt ceiling is making everyone wonder: Is the Republican Party going to the dogs?
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