Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for July 8, 2011
The U.S. seems a country hell-bent on its own failure
Clive Crook, editor, The Atlantic
Heeeees Heeeeere . . .
Grover Norquist, the President of “Americans for Tax Reform,” has even surfaced on the front page of our little local newspaper. “Anti-tax diehard looms large in showdown,” says the headlines. The Tribune is several years too late. Grover had already infected Sam Blakeslee, our previously moderate, sensible, pragmatic, reasonable, compromising git-‘r-done, Republican State Assemblyman.
It was a creepy and horrifying thing to witness. In a cynical, politically expedient move to get the official blessing from the Republican Central Committee for his run for State Senator, Sam sidled up to offer Grover his neck while signing on to the No Taxes Ever Blood Oath. One bite and suddenly our sweet sane Sam was lost forever into Grover’s weird vampire world of extreme right-wing looniness. In place of his oath to support the constitution of the state of California, Sam was now bound in darkness to Grover and instead of voting for some reasonable tax increases to keep the state from imploding during our recent budget battles, Sam’s message was clear: California and all my constituents can fall into the sea for all I care. I am a Norquistian now.
True, Sam’s Norquistianism got him publicly lambasted, but it worked to get him elected to the State Senate and even though he then declared that he wouldn’t take any more blood oaths, heh-heh, it was too late. Grover’s bite was utterly transformative and permanent. So when the budget crunch came, Sam voted to cut the poor and sick and little school kids to the bone rather than agree to keep even a small tax on yacht sales. Constituents be damned. Unless they own yachts, that is.
And so it goes. Across the country Grover’s Twilight presence has Republicans enraptured and shoving forth their necks for his fatal bite, a wet-dream swoon over his vision of starving government to the point of being able to strangle it in a bathtub.
That and the fact that the True Blood rush also garners lots of guaranteed campaign boodle from corporations who never met a government regulation or a tax they would tolerate, ever, so a weakened government drowning in a bathtub and unable to stop or hinder their predation, is night music to their wolfish ears.
Which is why Washington is now heading for a debt ceiling/default crisis: It’s not enough that True Blood extremist Republicans in thrall to Grover are willing to see America default and thereby plunge the world into an economic disaster, they are now threatening the few moderate Republicans left in that august body into sitting by while the country falls into the sea. It’s all True Blood gore and creepy dripping teeth in the hallways of Congress now, and here come the werewolves!
Or maybe not. According to the AP story, a handful of sane Republicans are finally finding a spine and are pushing back. Says Senator Tom Coburn, (R, Okla,, a guy nobody could claim is anywhere near “moderate”), “ ‘You’ve got 34 Republicans that say they’re willing to end this, regardless of what Grover says. That’s 34 Republicans that say this is more important than a signed pledge’ to Norquists’ group.”
Adds Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, “It’s a disservice to our nation for someone to be allowed to set a standard which really could threaten our economy.”
Poor Durbin doesn’t understand. With extremist Norquistian Republicans and Norquistian wannabes, service to nation has nothing to do with it. That Blood Oath is political love at first bite – Unlimited Campaign Money from the Koch Brothers! Continued “carried interest” tax breaks for Republican peeps -- a handful of Wall Street Hedge Fund Bazillionaires! A Winning Bumper-sticker Campaign Slogan! Perpetual Employment on the Tax-payer-funded Government Teat! What’s not to love about that true blood bond?
All supported by the American voters who repeatedly put these infected guys into government precisely so they could drown it in a bathtub. Until the voters find out that their Medicare and their Social Security will be the first things to be found floating face down in that tub. But by then it’ll be too late to even grab the garlic.