Monday, February 15, 2016

Are These People Capable?


The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has given rise to yet another crisis in the United States. These days, when it comes to governing, America seems to be in a continual state of crisis. And, Paul Krugman writes, the reason can be laid squarely at the feet of the Republican Party:

On the substantive divide between the parties: I still encounter people on the left (although never on the right) who claim that there’s no big difference between Republicans and Democrats, or at any rate “establishment” Democrats. But that’s nonsense. Even if you’re disappointed in what President Obama accomplished, he substantially raised taxes on the rich and dramatically expanded the social safety net; significantly tightened financial regulation; encouraged and oversaw a surge in renewable energy; moved forward on diplomacy with Iran.

Any Republican would undo all of that, and move sharply in the opposite direction. If anything, the consensus among the presidential candidates seems to be that George W. Bush didn’t cut taxes on the rich nearly enough, and should have made more use of torture.

There is a fundamental divide between the two parties. And that's because one of the parties has descended into lunacy:

Beyond that, there are huge differences in tactics and attitudes. Democrats never tried to extort concessions by threatening to cut off U.S. borrowing and create a financial crisis; Republicans did. Democrats don’t routinely deny the legitimacy of presidents from the other party; Republicans did it to both Bill Clinton and Mr. Obama. The G.O.P.’s new Supreme Court blockade is, fundamentally, in a direct line of descent from the days when Republicans used to call Mr. Clinton “your president.”

Now the Republicans are claiming that Barack Obama has no right to nominate someone to the Supreme Court in the last year of his presidency -- although that's precisely what Ronald Reagan did in the last year of his presidency. Twenty years later, Anthony Kennedy is the only swing vote on the Court. How long is the Court supposed to remain evenly divided?

And, after the last Republican debate -- which seemed to continually return to the refrain, "You lie" -- you have to ask yourself, are these people capable of governing the most powerful nation on earth?


ron wilton said...

the longer I live the more I see that politics is the reason the Peter Principle was coined.

Rural communities seem to be well governed by friends and relatives but the higher up the chain some individuals might aspire to, their capabilities become suspect at best and nearer the top all hell breaks loose.

From what I read Canada is not immune to the unqualified idiocy of politics either as is evidenced in many of our provinces but none more so than here in BC where a high school graduate period is premier, the minister of health is a veterinarian, the minister of natural gas is an ex-cop, a homophobic environment minister, and a long long list of manifestly unqualified individuals.

Small wonder big business swoops in to feast on the brain dead carrion and make the lives of the taxpayers so onerous.

The Mound of Sound said...

How did the US Supreme Court come to be divided along partisan political lines in the first place? What deeper form of corruption can their be in a judiciary than a bench politicized? Imagine if Canada had a similar Supreme Court, it would be an abomination.

There is no independence of judiciary once it's politicized. Once it becomes the legal mouthpiece for a political party, movement or ideology the very essence of justice and rule of law is contaminated. How else to explain the Citizens' United decision?

What does it tell you that bodies that should speak out such as the American Bar Association or pundits like Krugman remain mute about these things, ensuring that the administration of justice will always comport with the ideology of the party in power?

Without campaign financing reform, America will never get out from under its "bought and paid for" Congress and that financial dependency extends into the executive branch also. You wind up with a transactional democracy of the sort that befell Rome in the final years before its collapse.

Look what has evolved: a politically compromised judiciary, a corrupt legislative branch, a compromised executive branch, all aided and abetted by a powerful and corrupting corporate media cartel. What chance does the citizenry have? Very little.

You're probably aware of the Princeton study that found that the will of the public is almost always ignored in Congressional legislation. It's what is called "political capture" when a special interest, usually with money to splash around, insinuates itself between the electorate and their elected representatives.

The rot is deep, Owen, and it's everywhere. Even Krugman seems blind to it. That's one reason why I prefer Hedges.

The Mound of Sound said...

Speaking of which, Owen, Hedges has a column today that touches on these very problems.

Owen Gray said...

We should take no joy at what is happening in the United States, ron. If anything, our recently departed government -- which tried very hard to ape its American cousins -- should remind us how easy it is to descend into lunacy.

Owen Gray said...

Hedges has understood what has been going on -- and he's been writing about it for a long time, Mound. As he says, "fascism thrives on bankrupt liberalism."

James A. Latimer said...

In addition to all of this, corprstions a tying of governments hands with "Free Trade". The UN's Agenda 21 and the beliefs, A) tha we can somehow control the direction of the world by following the opinions of two people and B) the a middle class is uinsustainable, while not really binding on any government, is well onb the way to implementation. G8 and G20 meetings are meant to ensure that it happens.

Hopefully, if successful, the exit of the UK from the EU is the beginning of the road back. Rejection of the TPP would be a great next step.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, James. Rejection of the TPP would break corporatism's stranglehold on governments.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I would like to think the democrats are different from the republicans Owen, only because that would mean that Americans would have a real choice. While the democrats are more articulate and appear more polished then the dog yapping, religious preaching, GOP, they are still controlled by the Industrial/Military complex.All that says is that in a job interview the democrat would get the job. Obama has been as committed to implementing the Neoliberal/Military policies as the previous republican presidents, some say more. In fact he has just quadrupled military spending this year to expand the US military across Europe. the alledged reason given is because of Russian aggression being a threat to Europe. It's of course not true, but they are playing a very dangerous game. The growth and spread of American Imperialism does not stop because a democrat is President.The president and his/her office has no real individual political power .The industrial/military complex has ALL of the power, the President carries out their bidding. Hedges along with Chomsky knows this in detail.. I'm surprised Krugman doesn't.

Owen Gray said...

Hedges and Chomsky have been cutting through the spin for a long time, Pam. Unfortunately, they are not part of the mainstream debate.