Two pieces of information came across my computer screen as I had my coffee and Special K this morning.
First, the Oval Office interloper had this to tweet about the budget fracas:
Then, Paul Ryan had this stirring battle cry for his caucus:
So, on the one hand we have our putrid chief executive rooting for a government shutdown, and on the other hand the House leader is telling his people that taking away health insurance is what will define them. (And he means this in a positive way.)
That the Republican Party is a pathology, not a political movement, has been evident for quite some time. But these two tweets crystalize where the Right is now. Its president is calling for the collapse of the government. Its legislative leader waxes rhapsodic about throwing tens of millions off of their healthcare. And their base, lied to and bamboozled, will continue to support them, because the sureties they provide are more comforting than a world in flux.
At what point can we call the GOP a totalitarian party? I mean this in the broadest sense: it's a party with totalitarian tendencies, not with totalitarian powers. It's not a party which sees government as the art of compromise; it's one which sees anything but total victory as an ignominious defeat.
It is a party devoted to cruelty. From healthcare to the Wall to civil rights it takes the most reactionary position. Nothing is ever cruel enough for it. And this is the party which has the nation's destiny in its hands now.
Poll after poll shows that GOP positions are as popular as a festering boil. And yet it keeps winning. Why? Part of the blame is on Democratic infighting. But a large part of the blame lays on the fact that while polls show they're unpopular, too many people don't then act by the way this Republic has to effect change: voting. Abstention is assent. If you don't vote, they win. And that's why the GOP puts up hurdles to the franchise.
Obviously, I have no easy answers. We are in a culture of complaint, not solutions. Solutions are hard, and have to be fought for, and it's much easier to just turn on Dancing with the Stars. But unless we change this culture, people like Trump and Ryan will continue to profit from their perfidy. All the well-intentioned answers given to pollsters won't change that.