Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Robert Scheer on the Seven Republican Dwarves: Assault on the Idea of Government Protecting Citizens

Robert Scheer at Truthdig on the seven dwarves we saw cavorting on the Republican stage Monday night: 

How dare these Republican candidates en masse ignore the truth that it was precisely the legislation that their party pushed through Congress, and that Democrat Bill Clinton shamefully endorsed, that launched the era of unregulated credit default swaps and mortgage-based securities that came close to destroying the entire economy. The failed policies involved are the cause of the 50 percent run-up of the national debt, 9.1 percent unemployment, an all-time high in poverty and the prospect of 50 million people being driven from their homes.

The Republican debate dashed any expectation that some populist candidate would rise from that side of the aisle, and in an honest way tap into voter resentment over the deep hurt that the Wall Street superrich have put on ordinary Americans. Instead, the candidates made regulation the enemy, rather than the misdeeds that responsible legislation is intended to curtail. 

And their target was not just legislation to control the financial community. Indeed they offered, to a person, an across-the-board assault on the very idea of the power of the government being used in a forthright way to protect the rights of the individual citizen in any arena.

"An across-the-board assault on the very idea of the power of the government being used in a forthright way to protect the rights of the individual citizen in any arena": that's what's so baffling about the me-first philosophy of tea partiers, about which I blogged a moment ago.  These citizens who defiantly proclaim that their little families are a law unto themselves and no one will take away their hard-earned money through taxation and make them care about anyone else seem oblivious to the fact that governmental regulations are the sole barrier protecting them from the unbridled rapacity of Wall Street and corporations.

A sole barrier that becomes ever thinner at this point in American history, as Mr. Obama and the Democrats make one concession after another to the wealthy elite ruling all of us.  As Scheer points out, the big tragedy of the ridiculous dwarves the Republicans are choosing to push forward on their stage for the 2012 elections is that the opposition party is offering no viable opposition to a weak president who caves in again and again to Wall Street and the bankers.

And so we Americans are left with a lesser-evilism in which all Obama and the Democrats have to be is just a little less horrific than their opponents.  If the me-first, anti-taxation, my-family-rules crowd imagine that weakening an already weak Democratic administration which provides a very thin barrier between ordinary citizens and the banks and corporations will work to serve the self-interest of their families, I wonder what they'll think when that barrier has really vanished and they have no protection at all against corporate rapacity.

If we truly care about our families, we ought to be working to strengthen government, not weaken it.  It's all we have, after all, to protect us against forces that absolutely do not have our best interest at heart.

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