Thank goodness the Internet provides us with the option of visiting multiple sites. If I'd been limited to reading here I'd probably have to have myself committed before Christmas. This morning I had to look to Republicans for some news about the people who are really sending our country into the abyss.
"It's the same 40 chuckleheads that screwed this place up," Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, said, referencing the conservative lawmakers who were opposed to raising tax rates at any level. "(Boehner's) done everything to make nice to them."Just to recap, after Boehner's Plan B was terminated before conception, LaTourette had this to say about his caucus:
“It weakens the entire Republican Party, the Republican majority. It’s the continuing dumbing-down of the Republican Party and we are going to be seen more and more as a bunch of extremists that can’t even get a majority of our own people to support policies that we’re putting forward,” LaTourette said.LaTourettte's "chucklehead" quote was all over the news--Maddow, NPR. Here, not so much. Not at all, in fact. So I hopefully turned to our sensible and moderate friend Charles Krauthammer for some analysis:
I think that the statement that we just heard from the Congressman calling his own people chuckleheads shows that the president has won. I argued a month ago that -- from the president perspective -- this was never about fiscal issues, economic issues. The proposal he's offering today, like the deal, the Plan A he offered, will do nothing on deficits. Absolutely nothing, it perpetuates it.Let's be clear on what "Chucklehead" means:
He had one objective. He came off a winning election, but he still had a recalcitrant House. He wants four years where he can have his own agenda that he can enact. He would be stopped by the House the same way the House stopped it in the last two years. What to do? To destroy the Republicans, to fracture them and to create a civil war in the House, which he has done. And how do you do it? By insisting, as he did, this is extremely clever, tactically on his part. Insisting that the one thing that they had to agree to was an increase on tax rates.
chuck·le·headThe New York Times notes that Obama's pretty much stuck with these fanatical and stupid Chuckleheads for the duration, a problem which no American President in recent memory has had to deal with--ever.
A stupid person.
numskull - fool - jolterhead - bonehead - dolt
Though it has been 45 days since voters emphatically reaffirmed their faith in Mr. Obama, the time since then has shown the president’s power to be severely constrained by a Republican opposition that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama’s victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs.Axelrod captures the extent of the President's problem:
“The stars are all aligning the wrong way in terms of working together,” said Peter Wehner, a former top White House aide to President George W. Bush. “Right now, the political system is not up to the moment and the challenges that we face.”
“It’s kind of a stunning thing to watch the way this has unfolded, at least to date,” said David Axelrod, one of Mr. Obama’s longtime advisers. “The question is, how do you break free from these strident voices?”So I guess it could be argued that the only way to deal with the Chuckleheads is to turn their own people against them, as Krauthammer suggests.
John Cassidy has a good piece in the New Yorker about why these chuckleheads are really nothing to chuckle about:
In the ideologically-driven Republican Party of today, many congressmen won’t let the family dog drown to save their wives and children. If that means that the entire family perishes, so be it. The principle is what counts.Cassidy thinks Obama and Boehner will ultimately reach a deal on the cliff. I'm not so sanguine about that but Cassidy's larger point goes beyond the current "crisis:"
The bigger issue is what the Republican obstructionism means for the next four years and beyond. There is no reason to suppose that the newly-elected House of Representatives will be any more moderate than the current one. President Obama pointed out in his press conference the other day that most G.O.P. congressman now hail from districts where he lost heavily. Such Republicans have little incentive to coöperate with the White House. The only potential challenge they face is from the Tea Party right—in the form of a potential primary battle in 2014.Cassidy won't come out and say it, but due to gerrymandering and the influence of corporate advertising on stupid people it's a safe bet that the Chuckleheads are here to stay.
To say that this doesn’t augur well for the prospects of bipartisan agreements on issues such as gun control, immigration, and tax reform is to lapse into understatement. Many of the congressmen involved in the effort to embarrass Boehner—such as Jim Jordan, the current head of the Republican Study Group, which represents over half of the G.O.P., and Steve Scalise, his successor in the new Congress—see themselves as on a mission. To heck with President Obama’s victory in November. In their minds, their reëlection to Congress gave them a mandate to uphold ultra-conservative positions, especially on those issues that bind together the conservative movement: guns, God, and taxes.* * *
[O]n issues like gun control, immigration, entitlement reform, and global warming—where the onus is on the reformers—the ultras may well be able to wield a veto, which would mean another two years, at least, of gridlock. With the United States facing grave problems that need addressing, that’s not good for any us.This country is in no shape right now to be held hostage by minority of idiots. Even if the country is unable to rid itself of them, they still need to be called out, by name, even if it means posting their faces on telephone poles and milkboxes. But ultimately, as LaTourette revealed in his remarks, and as Krauthammer backhandedly observes when he talks of Obama precipitating a Republican "civil war," the only people that can marginalize the permanently ensconced minority of Chuckleheads are other Republicans. We should be looking for ways to help them do that.