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What Do We (Democrats, Us) Do For the Next Two Years of This Mad House of Representatives?

We have to deal with it, one way or another. We knew that it was going to be unpleasant; and even so, we may have underestimated how awful these people are, and what they want to do.

We knew that they should never have been let in, like you must never invite a vampire inside, or let one zombie get in through a door or window. You may never get them out.

We tried hard, we turned what looked like a 30-40 seat Republican House gain into an eight-seat gain. But that was enough to give them a majority;and as with all monsters of fiction or fact, they don’t need more than the slightest opportunity to start destroying everything. It’s been a week, and they are already starting the carnage, and promising much more of it.

Kevin McCarthy is a new Republican mutation. He is like a teenage boy who was ignored and scorned and thwarted for years, and now has managed to worm himself into a position where he can vent his anger at those he blames for it. He does indeed appear to have no guiding principle but that of carrying out every wish of the Far Right arsonists. Whether or not he believes in all of what they say, is really irrelevant, because he will carry it out, as he is their hostage.

Anyone who thinks that at some point he will say, “Too much,” or “I will not do something that no House Speaker has done before,” is giving him too much credit,I think. Or anyone who grew up, like me, on the general humanism of the writers of political novels or plays of the past, like “The Best Man, ” “Advise and Consent,” “Shelley’s Heart.” There were bad and dangerous people in those stories, but there were at least one or two decent people who defended and saved democracy.

So one still waits hopefully for the better people to stand up, but there is basically no one in the Republican Party in the House who will do it. They could have made some kind of deal with the Democrats to elect a halfway reasonable Speaker, but they did not, even when it was obvious that McCarthy was giving the insane radicals everything they wanted, enough to destroy the House as a legitimate legislative body. They, all but one, voted for a Rules Package which looks like something the Mob would write up when it took control of a city.

With those rules, they can do almost anything, and Democrats can do almost nothing And the insurrectionists who want to burn down the democracy, hold the gun aimed right at McCarthy’s head, as it takes only one of them to call for a vote on his removal. What did John Boehner call an earlier group of them, ”The Crazy Caucus”? He left the House rather than try to deal with them, and so did Paul Ryan. Now they are even worse. And McCarthy is afraid of them taking away the only thing which has mattered to him for years, the Speaker’s gavel.

The Republicans have actually made it impossible for the highly admirable Adam Schiff, and the forceful Eric Swalwell to remain on the House Intelligence Committee. If they could throw all the Democrats off every committee, they would. Does anyone doubt that they want absolute power, just like their leader Donald Trump?

I don’t need to go through all of it. Fortunately, the Democrats having a majority in the Senate means that these Republicans can never get any of their bills through to become law. They will pass them anyway, to excite their base, and because they have no self-restraint, or understanding that most Americans don’t want their policies. They just passed two anti-abortion bills, in the face of about 70% public disapproval of them. But this is the party which passed the ‘tax breaks for millionaires” budget in 2017, with 85% or so being against it.

They can’t get any laws enacted, but they can do great damage with regard to the two things they can do. They will hold an endless series of investigative Hearings, primarily designed to attack President Biden, his family, and the Executive Branch of government. The headlines and circus are what they want. Will the media give it to them, out of some misguided sense that since they criticized Trump, they now must talk about the allegations which the Republicans will make against Biden?” Will they show the variety of hearings every day? If they do, it will take up all their programming time, which is exactly what they want. That was their gameplan with the Benghazi hearings, a plan which McCarthy was so proud of. Do most people know that Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz, who led those hearings, ultimately admitted that they found nothing against Hillary Clinton? No, most do not. The performance was the point.

The other thing they will do is to try to wreck the American economy. They will call it all sorts of other things, but that is the goal. Make things so bad that the voters will grab on to the spar thrown out by DeSantis or Trump, and elect them. Meanwhile, they will defund programs and institutions designed to help the middle class and poor, and keep the very rich from taking away whatever money they have left.

The greatest danger is the Republicans refusing to raise the debt ceiling in September. The consequences of not doing it, the first time in American history, are not even known. I tried to research it, out of general concern, and also worrying about my own finances, but everything I read was somehow vague. It certainly would greatly damage the economic standing of the United States,; and the almost occurring default in 2011 damaged the country’s credit rating even for that short a period.

The government might well not be able to pay out money, such as Social Security checks and even Medicare payments to providers. There might be major layoffs and much higher unemployment. As to what would happen to people’s bank accounts, I could not find anything concrete, bu it is a concern. Would the dollar start to fall to the value of the peso?

And the incredibly stupid and spiteful Republicans do not seem to much care. They would think it was fun and interesting. I heard McCarthy yesterday trying to sound reasonable, and saying that it would be a matter of making some kind of deal on cutting debt–by which he means cutting Social Security and Medicare. The Republicans have continued to complain about government spending, even though economies under Democratic presidents are almost always strong, and even though the Republicans in 2017, under a Republican president, raised the deficit some three trillion dollars by giving immense tax breaks to the millionaires. They are liars and hypocrites, and filled with greed, they want it all; they want the Gilded Age of the 1880’s, and the French Ancien Regime of the 1760’s. And too many people do not realize this, or they sort of do, but some still vote for Republicans. And of course gerrymandering is rampant, as Republicans always seek to rig the game for them.

So that is what we have to deal with. Obviously, none of us wants to spend every hour obsessing about it, though somebody has to. Democrats have to contend with it, or it will just happen. This is not some movie where the decent people think better of what they are doing. McCarthy has handed the House to the people who want chaos, followed by the fascist state.

I was thinking about what I would do if we defaulted on the debt, if the government shut down, and if this were followed by Trump or DeSantis being elected president, and Republicans controlling House, Senate, and Supreme Court. It could happen, that is their goal, and they have worked at it, and had it as recently as 2017-2018. Would I try to leave the country? Where would I go? Could I stay there? These are not things I want to think about, but one might have to.

Actually, Democrats did fairly well in the midterms, particularly in state races. That helps. But we will see an all-out assault on Biden, because he is right now the only person standing in the way of the fascists who are going to be on the Republican ticket. And a crashed economy could be the way that they somehow convince voters to let them run the country, “get the trains to run on time.”

What can the Democrats in Congress do to forestall any of this? I was thinking that perhaps the Senate could set up committees to counter the House committees, investigate Republican efforts to get rid of the DHS, and take over the FBI, CIA, and the whole Intelligence network, since that is what they want to do. If the networks feel compelled to cover House hearings, then let’s see them cover Senate hearings.

Hakeem Jeffries has to be up to the task which Nancy Pelosi and James Clyburn essentially chose him for. There are two aspects: telling the people what the Republicans want to do to the country, and that they are totally to blame for a government default,, And then using whatever strategy tools there are to make it very difficult for them in the House. Using up time, objecting to everything, calling for votes to remove McCarthy as Speaker, since Republicans put that “one member can call for it” rule in. Using discharge petitions. Doing anything they can to impede Republicans and show the American people what is going on.

And Charles Schumer has to use his power to try to highlight all of this, and to have the Senate stand for all of the values the Republicans are trying to destroy. And President Biden, even with this documents issue, has to effectively get the story out, and try to counter the media people who either want the Republicans to win, or who do not understand what a Republican takeover will mean to them, their careers, and their safety.

This is a great amount of things to deal with and combat, and we are dealing with zombies who got into the house, and are so difficult to stop; but that is the only choice; we cannot work with them, or come to some kind of agreement with them. They are out to kill everyone, at least in metaphorical terms,. We want to live our lives, spend time with people we care about, enjoy nature and art. But we cannot absent ourselves from this battle, because the Republicans never do, they just keep on attacking our country.

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12 Responses

  1. So one still waits hopefully for the better people to stand up, but there is basically no one in the Republican Party in the House who will do it.

    As far as I see there is no one in the Republican Party that will do it. It takes more than standing up, it takes speaking out and calling for the end of the Republican Party as it exists today.

    With those rules, they can do almost anything, and Democrats can do almost nothing

    Seems to me that since the Democrats can do nothing anyway, they should use the rule that lets one member call for the vote to unseat the speaker on at least a weekly basis. Since there are several Democrats who are not going to be seated on committees that would give them something to do.

    And Charles Schumer has to use his power to try to highlight all of this, and to have the Senate stand for all of the values the Republicans are trying to destroy.

    There is no room for Schumer to vacillate at all he must refuse to bring to a vote ANY bill that does not have significant Democratic support in the house. I would extend this to the nonsense that the Republicans will do with spending bills and the debt ceiling. Since the Democrats will get the blame no matter what, there is no reason to pass bills that aid Republicans in the house.

    And whats up with Garland appointing a special prosecutor today to investigate Biden, and a Republican no less. I am so sick of this when the go low we go high Obama bullshit. Unless Garland had a deal that they plan on finding Biden not liable in any way within 10 days this is a betrayal.

    • I have tried not to say negative things about Garland, believing that he is an honorable person. But it has gotten irritating, as he seems to see himself as completely outside of politics, which I don’t think any AG can completely be. I really don’t think there was any need for a special counsel with regard to the Biden documents; not now, anyway. The aides that found them, turned them in. Negligence, yes. But that does not require a special counsel, except that Garland did not want to be accused of partisanship, so he bent over backwards to show how impervious to that he was. Le me know when the next Republican-appointed AG (John Mitchell, Gonzalez, Sessions, Barr?) tries to show that.

  2. The government might well not be able to pay out money, such as Social Security checks and even Medicare payments to providers. There might be major layoffs and much higher unemployment. As to what would happen to people’s bank accounts, I could not find anything concrete, bu it is a concern. Would the dollar start to fall to the value of the peso?

    I think Social Security payments will still go out for awhile because of the way it’s funded. A prolonged shutdown might cause issues though. I don’t think bank accounts would be in immediate danger: the FDIC receives all its funding from member institutions so there aren’t any Federal appropriations involved. That doesn’t preclude the possibility of panic-induced bank runs, though. That might cause issues for anyone that has more than the FDIC insurance limit ($250k) in an account.

    If there is a shutdown, Biden should obviously pull the Border Patrol from theTexas-Mexico border and shut off air traffic control for Florida as the very first austerity measures.

    There are a bunch of defense facilities in McCarthy’s district (Edwards AFB, for example) which should be shut down, too. I think his district is also very dependent on Federal water projects as well as various Federal agriculture programs. It would be a damned shame if anything happened to them

    And, of course, suspending payments to defense contractors. That would terrible, as well.

    • Propertius, I appreciate the information. it is indeed pretty much what I was able to gather. A major problem is that no one seems to know for sure, it is uncharted terrain, as they say.

      • I really wish that we’d managed to repeal the debt ceiling altogether.

        I think any effort to force default would be open to challenge on 14th Amendment grounds:

        The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

        But hen, I’m a perennial optimist.

  3. I just heard the terribly sad news of the death of Lisa Marie Presley. I hadn’t known much about her, until my girlfriend had bought me her most recent album “Storm and Grace,” and I was greatly impressed by what melodic and lyrical talent she had.. There was a sadness and braveness to her songs. I don’t often listen to country music, but this was more in the mode of pop music,, and however one terms it, it reflected depth and musicianship. I am sad that no one could save her, not just today. but before that.

  4. Excellent Article (The Increasingly Dangerous Myth of the ‘Moderate Republican’) that I could not agree more with.
    Democrats need to stop talking about this, and start stating emphatically that there is NO such thing as a Moderate Republican, there are levels of MAGAt-hood, sure but any Republican who has not stood up denounced their party and started voting democratic is not someone to be trusted. Any Democrat who goes with the bipartisan bullshit has not been paying attention since Gingrich.

    • The media insists on using the word “Conservatives” to describe fascists. There is nothing conservative in their views or makeup. Henry Cabot Lodge was a conservative. They had different economic views than liberals. Calling Gaetz and Gosar Conservatives is an insult to everybody who actually has principles.and a regard for democracy.

      • Here’s your handy modern American political glossary:

        New term Actual meaning
        ————- ———————
        Conservative Fascist
        Moderate Extreme Conservative
        Liberal Conservative
        Socialist Moderate
        Commie Slightly to the left of Richard Nixon

  5. The usual Friday night links can be found on the Speaker of the House Day 4 thread, a few threads back.

    Between my inability to post links or images on Will’s threads, and the general atmosphere of gloom and doom around here, I don’t feel like coming here very often.

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