Even with Libya and Muammar Gaddafi dominating the news and journalists from MSNBC, CNN, and other news outlets each evening patting themselves on the back for their courageous coverage (leaving one to wonder why they checked out of Afghanistan and Iraq so quickly), our domestic politics are teeming with aggrieved Republicans and Tea Partiers whining and complaining about how their voices aren't being heard.
I caught on C-SPAN a brief glimpse of Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) speaking to a small Tea Party rally in the capital where they continue to talk about "taking the country back" and so on, their cries similar to those of Newt Gingrich and other GOP presidential hopefuls who bemoan their insufficient influence on the direction of the nation.
Yet this Republican ire is confusing because for quite some time now the Right has set the agenda and has defined the parameters of what is politically possible in this country. The "conservatives" and "Tea Partiers" are quite convincing at playing the aggrieved victims, but what, exactly, do they have to be "aggrieved" about? For example:
They wanted tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and they got tax cuts for the rich and corporations.
They wanted to privatize government services (including the military), and they got the privatization of government services (including the military).
They wanted to roll back anti-trust enforcement, and they got a rollback of anti-trust enforcement.
They wanted NAFTA, "free trade," and the WTO, and they got NAFTA, "free trade," and the WTO.
They wanted SUVs to be listed as "light trucks," and they got SUVs listed as "light trucks."
They wanted to deregulate the telecommunications industry and establish their own "conservative" news outlet, and they got the deregulation of the telecommunications industry and their own "news" outlet.
They wanted to deregulate the financial services industry and gut Glass-Steagall, and they got the deregulation of the financial services industry and the gutting of Glass-Steagall.
They wanted zero government regulation over the trading of derivatives, and they got zero government oversight over derivatives.
They wanted a strong Chief Executive vis-à-vis Congress, and they got a strong Chief Executive vis-à-vis Congress.
They wanted the Medicare Part D $400 billion give-away to Big Pharma, and they got the Medicare Part D $400 billion give-away to Big Pharma.
They wanted the Iraq war, and they got the Iraq war.
They wanted no limits on corporate campaign contributions, and they got no limits on corporate campaign contributions.
They wanted an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and they got an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
They wanted easier access to deepwater offshore oil drilling and an anemic federal regulatory agency overseeing offshore drilling, and they got easier access to deepwater offshore drilling and an anemic federal agency overseeing offshore drilling.
They wanted a Supreme Court that would serve capital over labor, corporations over people, industry over concerns for the environment, and one that would hand over to their candidate a contested presidential election, and they got a Supreme Court that serves capital over labor, corporations over people, industry over concerns for the environment that handed to their candidate the presidency in a contested election.
They wanted to block the Employee Free Choice Act, and they blocked the Employee Free Choice Act.
They wanted to weaken the Dodd-Frank financial re-regulation bill, and they weakened the Dodd-Frank re-regulation bill.
They wanted subsidies for Big Oil, Nuclear, and Big Coal, and they got subsidies for Big Oil, Nuclear, and Big Coal.
And right now they want draconian budget cuts in programs that benefit middle and low-income people, and they're getting draconian budget cuts in programs that benefit middle and low-income people.
They also promised that if we, as a nation, enacted these policies -- cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, freeing capital to exploit the land and labor of the country, and privatizing vital government services -- we would usher in a period of peace and prosperity. Instead, we've gotten war and recession, home foreclosures and deficits.
So what, really, does the Right have to complain about? Like spoiled children they've always gotten their way but it's never good enough. Give into one demand and they have ten more; give in to those ten demands (as it seems is Obama's "strategy" for dealing with the opposition) and they have a hundred more; give into those hundred demands, and they have a thousand more, ad infinitum.
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