Walter Rhett: The Negative Consequences of Friendship
Congratulations Barack Obama! Your second inaugural was sublime and passionate, and the weather offered a beautiful, brisk day. But Iím thinking about poor William Henry Harrison in 1841, who spoke for two hours in the cold without a hat or coat during his inaugural. He died thirty-two days later, from complications of pneumonia.
His impulse of the ridiculous lives on in the attitudes of todayís Congressional Republicans. They too have Harrisonís meaningless tenacity and his willingness to ignore the impending damage. In this vein, the first bill the House will consider is one that cuts off the salaries of Senate millionaires.
Michelle Obama was right to roll her eyes. The Boehner-directed legislation that demands a budget resolution also raises the debt ceiling for three months. During his tenure, Boehner has turned the House into a legislative assembly line, passing versions of the same bills over and over, including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act thirty-four times!
Boehnerís dysfunction is accepted as a part of the political game, the differences between the parties. Itís not. The real difference between the parties is in their commitment to differences in ideology. The Republican positions are mistaken for policy, as variations of a broad approach to governing that reduces government spending and oversight. This persistent idea is absolutely contradicted over and over by the words and actions of Republicans themselves; their policiesí common feature is its ideology of power, power in its worst and best cases, its hidden relationships, its strategies and paradoxes, its pursuit as the prize...