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“Make ’Em Pay”: House Republicans Act As If They Are Immune From Majority Sentiment, But Each Is Up For Re-Election In 2014

Where do you go if you’re a “Deadliest Catch” kind of guy, manliest of manly men, but couldn’t fish for king crab because some jelly-bellied Republicans threw a tantrum 5,000 miles away and shut down the government?

What do you do if you’re a farmer in Kansas who could not put winter wheat in the ground or get this year’s cattle vaccine because your government agriculture office was deemed nonessential? Whom do you see about the home loan that was held up, the family restaurant near the federal building that couldn’t meet October’s payroll, the bookings lost at season’s end in dozens of national parks?

Real Americans, the wind-chapped toilers so often invoked by politicians in a phony froth, lost real money from the real pain inflicted on their livelihoods by the extortionists in Congress this month.

How much money? At least $24 billion was the estimate given by Standard & Poor’s. Small business was hit particularly hard. And it’s a rolling pain, affecting consumer confidence, that will be felt through a holiday buying season that can make or break many retailers.

“I am a small businessman in a big ocean with big bills,” said Captain Keith Colburn, an Alaska crab fisherman, in Senate testimony during the shutdown. “I need to go fishing,” said the skipper, who is featured in the reality TV show “Deadliest Catch,” but was being held back by “a bunch of knuckleheads,.” who prevented marine regulators from doing their jobs.

So, who pays? For years, Republicans have been trumpeting the idea that when a government action hurts a private business, the government should compensate for the loss. This principle is based on a broad reading of the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment; it’s usually summoned as leverage against environmental regulation.

But in the case of the federal shutdown, of course, the economic hit on millions of Americans didn’t come from government — it came from one political faction in the House of Representatives. You could sue the Tea Party, but what is that? A bunch of costumed zealots on Fox are not responsible for anything that comes out of their mouths and lands in the porous mind of someone like Representative Ted Yoho of Florida.

You could sue Ted Cruz of Texas for initiating the calamity with a marathon of self-absorption. But the senator, like all members of Congress, has broad protection to pretty much say or do anything he wants inside the thick-walled refuge of the Capitol, a free speech guarantee that is warranted even when abused by vanity projects like Cruz.

What’s left is the ballot box. And here, Red State America can do a huge service for the rest of country. The states hit hardest by the shutdown, it now appears, were those where Republicans prevail. Virginia, with its wealth of government jobs and businesses that depend on those jobs, is Exhibit A. There, Republicans are likely to lose the governor’s race next week in part because their party disrupted so many lives in October’s meltdown.

The more difficult job will be ousting, from hardened, gerrymandered districts, the people who put ideology ahead of common sense and commerce. They seem faceless and buffoonish. They act as if they are immune from majority sentiment. But each of them is up for re-election a year from now, and the good news is that almost 75 percent of voters say most Republicans in Congress don’t deserve to be sent back to Washington.

In some districts, it will be civil war. What’s left of moderate Republicans are organizing to go after the crazies. “Hopefully, we’ll go into eight to 10 races and beat the snot out of them,” former Representative Steve LaTourette of Ohio told the National Journal. His group of fed-up Republicans, Defending Main Street, plans to raise $8 million to target the looniest of the loons.

Make Steve King of Iowa pay. As key government offices across the country were shuttered, as farmers in his district could not get their loans processed, King crowed, “We’re right!” He exists because political theater requires new players in clown makeup. The Des Moines Register recently suggested a slogan for King: “Send me back to Washington so I can continue to embarrass Iowa.”

Make Darrell Issa of California pay. Using the vast apparatus of his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he is going after National Park Service rangers. Having shut down the government, Issa wants to know why popular parks and monuments were closed. The audacity! During an earlier hearing, a fellow congressman provided an answer: He held up a mirror and aimed it at Republican lawmakers.

And certainly make Marlin Stutzman of Indiana pay. This congressman gave history the money quote on the shutdown. “We have to get something out of this,” he said. “And I don’t know what that even is.” A year from now, he can find out.

By: Timothy Egan, Op-Ed Contributor, The New York Times, October 28, 2013

October 29, 2013 - Posted by | Congress, GOP | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Bell Book Candle.


    Comment by walthe310 | October 29, 2013 | Reply

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