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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:24 PM

The Rude Pundit: Sequester and the GOP Brand of Crisis, Part 1

The Rude Pundit hasn't written much about the sequester-mageddon torching the nation on Friday because there's a part of his whiskey-addled brain that doesn't believe it will happen; there's another part that thinks it won't be nearly as bad as the Chicken Littles on all sides, defense and non-defense, believe it will be; and there's yet a third part that thinks, "Are you fucking serious? Are we really fucking doing this catastrophe dance again? Oh, fuck me with a rake."

Allow for a moment of dime store psychological and historical synthesis here: Republicans crave crisis - it is their water, their air, their food. It used to be that we were in a state of perpetual crisis in our endless (mostly) Cold War with the Soviet Union. Look at who led us during the later years of it: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, with a brief detour with Jimmy Carter, who was attacked for, among other reasons, not honoring the crisis mentality enough (hence his idiotic, politically-driven boycotting of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow because the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, for fuck's sake).

When the Soviet Union crumbled, the driving force behind American foreign policy, and, to a large degree, the Republican brand crumbled, too. Republicans needed crisis, goddamnit, threats domestic and foreign because without crises that required immediate action, people would realize, "Oh, hey, howzabout we spend some money on education or roads or some shit we need?" And that would be the end of the GOP. So we got Grenada. Central America. The Persian Gulf War. (You could throw crime in cities and welfare recipients onto the the threat pile.)

But it wasn't enough. When Bill Clinton got elected, he was able to shift, at least a bit, the conscience of the country away from the GOP's "Holy shit, we gotta do everything to protect you from communists" to "Why not see what we can do to make life a little better?" That doesn't mean Clinton got it right (he certainly fucked up on a lot of things, like health care, welfare, and GLBT issues), but it was a change in the way that citizens and the government interacted. It wasn't about constantly bugging out at world-ending nuclear nightmares, but, in a very general sense, it was a move to governing in the sense of running the country at a smooth pace, not acting like the whole thing was on the verge of collapse. So, of course, of course, Republicans had to create crisis after crisis, -gate after -gate, to bring down the President, yes, but also to keep the anxiety level of a large part of the population high.

Does it even need to be said that the Bush years, post-9/11, were one prolonged crisis? That terrorism was manna from heaven for Republicans? That war was the coolest thing the GOP could ask for?

Now, under Obama, with terrorism pretty much under control (even though, yes, yes, we have to remain ever-vigilant against threats, as we always fucking have, as every fucking nation has to), the GOP has needed to have another crisis in order to extend its brand of politics, so we have the debt, and with it the debt ceiling, budget cuts, intransigence against tax hikes, and more.

The point is this: since the Cold War, and for a large part of that even, and except for 9/11, nearly every crisis this country has faced in the last generation, has been manufactured by the Republican Party as a means of promoting its brand of conservatism, whatever that conservatism has been at the time - anti-Communist, family values, fiscal, whatever. And the current sequester and upcoming debt ceiling fight are part and parcel of that. No, Democrats are not immune to such manipulations (Gulf of Tonkin, anyone?), but since Nixon, that has been the way Republicans govern. If Democrats could make infrastructure repair into a threat to the lives of Americans (which they easily could), you would see the nation demanding something be done to fix roads and bridges. The GOP knows how to hold a knife to the throat of the country.

Which is what they are doing now, again, again, again.

The worst punditry going on right now ascribes blame to both parties. That is a lie. That is believing in the GOP's version of crisis. If someone sets a fire, are you going to complain if the firefighters are yelling too loudly while they try to put it out?

The country needs to chill the fuck out. Republicans won't allow that.

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/

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