We’re in the silly season now. The network news shows have run out of mud to sling at Chris Christie and none of it has stuck. (Though, take another look at the Zapruder film and tell me that chubby baby in the stroller on the grassy knoll doesn’t bear an uncanny resemblance to the future New Jersey Governor). It’s too early to actually run for the 2014 midterm elections, but too late not to start worrying about them. This is the time when Congressmen and women contemplate treason. It’s the time strategists begin strategizing, and the Taliban wing of the Republic Party starts strapping on their suicide vests.
It is the season when the GOP, recipient of Obamacare, the greatest electoral gift since the Nazis burned down the Reichstag, starts trying to give it back. The Taliban wing, made up of true believers, are on a mission to cleanse the party of apostates and heretics. They want to destroy John Boehner, and Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell, because they have broken their promise to do everything in their power to repeal Obamacare. That they actually have no power to do so doesn’t enter into the calculations of the Taliban. They want to fire Cruz missiles at the enemy, shutting down the government until Obamacare is repealed.
It’s hard to imagine a more stupid line of attack These people don’t understand that the public blames them when the government is shut down, even when it is impossible to shut down the government. They flourish poll results showing that a majority of Americans think government is to big. What they don’t understand it this same majority, when so instructed by the dominant media, will blame the GOP for shutting down the government.
The Taliban blame the grown ups in the party for recognizing that true reform cannot occur until they have veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress, and that won’t happen as long as they are seen as irresponsible bomb throwers. They recognize that the dominant media, and their Democrat opponents are ever ready to tar them with the brush of extremism, and they understand there is no better recipe for forcing Americans to keep voting Democrat than for the extreme right wing to force their party into an ideological straight jacket.
Recognizing the danger, GOP leaders are trying to find some common ground. Paul Ryan hammered out a two-year budget agreement with Patty Murray that did little to rein in the deficit, and nothing to slow the growth of government. But it did have the benefit of postponing bitter budget battles and the temptation to shut down the government until after the elections. Ryan held his nose and signed the agreement not because he’s become a tax and spend enthusiast, but because he wanted to take a weapon away from the Democrats and their media lapdogs.
Apparently they are trying to do the same thing with immigration reform, which has the right wing reaching under their turbans to scratch their heads. Why, they wonder, would they take that on? Considering most polls show only 3% of the population gives a rip about immigration reform, why move that front and center? Probably because Republican leaders understand that, absent action, the media will use it to drive a wedge between the party and the voters who would otherwise vote for them.
How is it possible that inaction on an issue only 3% of the public actually cares about will result in voter hostility? Perhaps because people are too stupid to know what is good for them, or even what is real. Back in the 1980's, when true crime cop shows, those precursors of “Reality TV”, had their heyday, surveys showed that 80% of Americans considered crime the number one issue, even though that same 80% said they thought their neighborhood was safe. Thus, for most Americans, the reality of television trumps the reality of personal experience.
No doubt it will be the same with immigration. Despite the fact that they don’t care about immigration reform, most Americans will absorb the steady media-driven condemnation of Republicans for “standing in the way” of immigration reform. They will conclude, “I can’t vote for that guy because he doesn’t care about an issue which means next to nothing to me.”
This is the only possible reason for Republican leadership to contemplate pursuing such an agenda. They are more afraid of the media than their own lunatic right wing. It’s an ugly situation. A classic example of the GOP’s uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It is exactly the sort of lunacy one can expect in a country in which local television news is the primary source of information for three out of four people. This is lunacy. This is further support for my view that people generally get the government they deserve.
I suppose the only question remaining on the subject of immigration is why do people still want to come here?