Saturday, March 2, 2013

Robert Reich: descent into madness?

Robert Reich's article from earlier this week is, to put it mildly, a little scary. Reich begins by imagining a plot with the goal of more or less destroying the government of the United States, a plot carried out by the infiltration of Congress and the use of the media, an inside job as it were. He then suggests the Tea Party movement--as he imagines it--is very much consistent with such a plot:
Far-fetched? Perhaps. But take a look at what’s been happening in Washington and many state capitals since Tea Party fanatics gained effective control of the Republican Party, and you’d be forgiven if you see parallels.
He's trying to make it seem like he doesn't actually believe there is so such a plot afoot, that one could see how things might look that way, but the rest of the piece is more consistent with someone who sees this Tea Party conspiracy as real, not with someone who knows that it isn't. For instance:
Sequestration grew out of a strategy hatched soon after they took over the House in 2011, to achieve their goals by holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States – notwithstanding the Constitution’s instruction that the public debt of the United States “not be questioned.”  
To avoid default on the public debt, the White House and House Republicans agreed to harsh and arbitrary “sequestered” spending cuts if they couldn’t come up with a more reasonable deal in the interim. But the Tea Partiers had no intention of agreeing to anything more reasonable. They knew the only way to dismember the federal government was through large spending cuts without tax increases.
See? In Reich-land, the Sequester somehow really was the idea of the Republicans--Tea Party Republicans, to be sure--and I guess the White House was somehow manipulated into suggesting it...or maybe Jack Lew is a double agent! Somebody call the President!

I can't help but see a parallel here to the Bush years, when--according to the wingnut left--George W. Bush went from being a card-carrying idiot to an evil genius, almost on a daily basis. Reich has had a burr under his saddle with regard to the Tea Party for years now. And his is also one of the loudest voices complaining about austerity (you know, that austerity that has led to four--soon to be five--years of trillion dollar deficits under Obama). So it's no wonder that he sees people who clamor for fiscal responsibility in DC as the root of all evil.

Still, postulating that there has been some sort of nefarious plot underway since 2010 is a bit much, to put it mildly. Reich imagines that the Tea Party politicians also want to see unemployment go up, as a part of this plan, because it let's them exploit the population's fear and anger, the principle weapons of the conspirators:
A conspiracy theorist might think they welcome more joblessness because they want Americans to be even more fearful and angry. Tea Partiers use fear and anger in their war against the government – blaming the anemic recovery on government deficits and the government’s size, and selling a poisonous snake-oil of austerity economics and trickle-down economics as the remedy.
But he conveniently forgets the fear-mongering that is currently the primary weapon of this Administration and the Democrats in Congress. And he lacks the self-awareness to see his own screed as yet another example of that, for what is he doing, apart from trying to promote fear and anger against the Tea Party image he, himself, has fabricated?

Cheers, all.