MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Ryan Lizza in a New Yorker article, points out that congressional representatives who speak for just 18 percent of the US population are holding the government and the rest of the citizens of the United States hostage.Although the Tea Party contingent prefers lofty patriotic terms for what they are up to,
The New Yorker maps out the location of the congressional districts that are the home seats of 80 GOP congressional reps who wrote an August 21 letter to Boehner. The FreedomWorks-inspired appeal to shut down the government is widely credited with precipitating Boehner's insistence on not allowing a "clean vote" on the budget. Half of these districts are in the South, of course, which as a region -- ironically -- receives far more back in federal tax dollars than it pays in (Mississippi, for instance, receives as much as $1.80 back from DC for every dollar its residents pay in US taxes, with the blue states generally subsidizing financial needs of the deep South).
The other half are gerrymandered white districts, as Lizza analyzes them, "a quarter of them are in the Midwest, while there’s a smattering of thirteen in the rural West and four in rural Pennsylvania (outside the population centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh). Naturally, there are no members from New England, the megalopolis corridor from Washington to Boston, or along the Pacific coastline."
Lizza also points out:
The members of the suicide caucus live in a different America from the one that most political commentators describe when talking about how the country is transforming. The average suicide-caucus district is seventy-five per cent white, while the average House district is sixty-three per cent white. Latinos make up an average of nine per cent of suicide-district residents, while the over-all average is seventeen per cent. The districts also have slightly lower levels of education (twenty-five per cent of the population in suicide districts have college degrees, while that number is twenty-nine per cent for the average district).
The members themselves represent this lack of diversity. Seventy-six of the members who signed the Meadows letter are male. Seventy-nine of them are white.
According to a New York Times article, House Majority Leader Boehner cut a deal with the White House to accept cuts in return for passing the budget, but caved upon receipt of the Tea Party Caucus letter. His fear, as most recognize, is that while the "suicide caucus" letter represented only 80 of the 435 congressional reps, this group and its sympathizers in the House GOP caucus would likely dethrone him as House Speaker if he hadn't tied defunding the Affordable Care Act to extending the budget.
This leaves the US with a government, at the current moment, where the white identity politics of a small minority are holding the majority hostage -- and willing to take down the federal government, upon which many of the poor white residents in these districts depend for Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, disability payments, etc. Of course, the Tea Party movement was financed by the likes of the Koch brothers and billionaire funded Tea Party organizing groups, using the economic and social displacement fears of middle class and poor whites. The goal of course is to shift blame for non-rich white American economic woes on the poor not the super wealthy -- and it's working as of this moment.
Lizza comments on the current hostage taking by this minority within an actual minority within the population (the GOP control of the House is due to a gerrymandered anomaly going back to the 2010 "wave" election):
In previous eras, ideologically extreme minorities could be controlled by party leadership. What’s new about the current House of Representatives is that party discipline has broken down on the Republican side. On the most important policy questions, ones that most affect the national brand of the party, Boehner has lost his ability to control his caucus, and an ideological faction, aided by outside interest groups, can now set the national agenda.
In a time of deep white tribal identity fear -- combined with unlimited funding for poking the coals of racial identity and terror of a federal government that is multi-cultural (using "Obamacare" as the bogeyman, when it would benefit many of the working class whites in the Tea Party) -- 80 members of Congress, representing a small fraction of the US population are holding the rest of us at gun point.
That's not a democracy; it's governance by thugs and terrorists.
Excerpt from NYT article about Boehner reneging on his deal to pass the budget:
On the budget impasse, the speaker acknowledged that in July he had gone to the Senate majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and offered to have the House pass a clean financing resolution. His proposal would have set spending levels $70 billion lower than Democrats wanted, but would have had no contentious add-ons like changing the health care law.
Democrats accepted, but they say that Mr. Boehner then reneged under pressure from Tea Party conservatives.
“I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare” was so great, Mr. Boehner said, “that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand.”