Pondering my response to "jerry" who posed the following question to me over at South Dakota's best political blog, Madville Times, the word "surreal" kept coming up. "jerry's" question: "How is it that the Republican party, a party that prides itself on being able to form legislation that is business friendly, could wind up with such a bunch of absolutely ignorant people with no savvy whatsoever about how business operates?" My answer is, I don't get it either. One day we're seeing a party that holds up, among other things, payments to millions of people (both in and out of government) who live from paycheck to paycheck, next day we're seeing this party singing "Amazing Grace" in unison, in Congress, completely oblivious to the financial pain they were unleashing on so many Americans. Then soon after, these people, who are committed to maintaining a business- and free enterprise-friendly environment for the great economic engine that is the United States, voted by a huge majority within their own caucus, 144 in toto, to force the United States Treasury to default on its debt obligations, which, if cooler heads hadn't prevailed, would have set off a global financial armageddon that was sure to raise interest rates on the lifeblood of every business: money. See what I mean by surreal? Salvadore Dali himself couldn't have painted a political landscape with more mismatched elements.
How did this come to pass? My thinking is that it had to do with the spending excesses of the G.W. Bush administration, which properly enraged the GOP's conservative elements who themselves were wondering why this government was building up deficits recklessly, their qualms basically justified by the crash and subsequent recession of '08 and '09. Enter the Tea Party and its hold on a big enough chunk of GOP officials in Washington to have the political leverage to call some shots. Trouble with all that is that the shot-calling is a one-note reiteration: cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. Never mind anything else, just cut spending. That would be nice except that real life is more complicated than that, real political life infinitely more so.
Now this party that has traditionally identified with Main Street, Wall Street and all the business centers between and beyond is the party that creates one crisis after another, completely undoing the very environment in which American business has always thrived: stability. The contradictions are stark, the incompetence, glaring. I suggest that the next time they make a public show of singing Amazing Grace that these Republican mutants reverse the main lyric: "I once was found, but now I'm lost."