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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
Apologies for the hackneyed title, but I just couldn’t resist.
Just a quick post as I’m on the road today, but I encourage everyone to check out Matt Taibbi’s latest article, dealing with that horrible specimen of a human being known as John Boehner [h/t Tengrain]. Although Taibbi seems a little too sympathetic with the Tea Party movement in general, the article is a good read and offers some excellent insight into the remarkably corrupt and wholly amoral existence of the new Speaker of the House.
Boehner, in short, has for most of his career been a Bush Republican, i.e., a corporate schmoozer and a remorseless spender of taxpayer money for whom the notion of small government is just something to say when the cameras are on, or when the public money in question might go to poor people or immigrants or other such unlikely golfers. This was a fine way to be during the 2000s, back when America was still unfucked enough to enjoy a phony real estate boom and launch recreational wars of conquest in the Middle East — but in this new decade, post-Bush and post-crash, there is serious doubt on the Hill that a reflexive favor-churner like Boehner will be able to keep delivering Republican votes to lavish taxpayer money on his industry pals. Money is simply too tight now, and people are too pissed off. …
“They’re all worried the government would shut down,” says Littleton, the head of the Ohio Liberty Council. “I don’t care if it shuts down! So what?” Whether the Republican establishment led by Boehner can keep the support and approval of Tea Party leaders like Littleton over the next year or so is, right now, the most fascinating story line in all of American politics. The whole system of entrenched Beltway hackdom that Boehner represents is at stake. The GOP leadership largely succeeded this past fall in appropriating the political energy of the Tea Party for its own ends, pulling off a brilliant coup by using Tea Party rage to push through the long sought-after extension of the obscene Bush tax cuts. This was always going to be the model of how Republican Party hacks would deal with the Tea Party: Bash the living hell out of hated blue-state Gorgons like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, jack off the mob by incorporating the Tea Party’s Constitution-and-liberty rhetoric, hand the Tea Party those reforms that the GOP’s big campaign contributors want anyway (most notably, tax breaks for the rich and deregulation of big business), and then cough up a note from the doctor or some other lame excuse when the time comes to actually cut spending. …
It was good times in America for a while. A man could wait for his local congressman to get caught diddling a 16-year-old, make a run for his seat, and then spend the next 20 years getting hustled around the world on golf junkets and showered with campaign checks and apartments and corporate-jet flights, and nobody would utter so much as a peep of protest. Congress was an easy job for any man with a nice fairway stroke, a limited moral compass and a keen sense of bureaucratic loyalty; it was half an acting job and half clerical work, taking orders from industry captains and selling the resultant giveaway bills to your voters as principled blows for Adam Smith, the flag and the free-enterprise system. Back when America was still a feared international bully that was flush with borrowed Saudi and Chinese cash and could stand to blow a few hundred extra billion in public funds every year on budget-padding deals — back in the Bush years — John Boehner was the perfect candidate for congressional leadership, a lifetime company man who didn’t give a shit about most Americans but could shed tears on national television on behalf of Jamie Dimon’s bottom line.