Frightened white people in Congress who won't accept a black President are what's causing the deadlock
Even on Columbus Day extremist Republicans are stopping progress
By Dennis Hamill
Five centuries after Columbus and his nervous white crew arrived, there is still a small crew of frightened white people in Congress who refuse to accept an America with a black man in charge.
These extremists have not yet been able to accept, even after two decisive national elections, that a black man occupies the White House.
For some of them, their single goal as members of Congress is to make this first African-American President fail.
The irrational fear of President Obama
By Jonathan Capehart
Jackson: They figured out a way to get money out of the American people’s pockets. It won’t benefit—it’ll benefit a very small amount of people, and it’ll be the ones that are too lazy or unwilling to work, along with the millions and millions of illegal aliens in this country.
Capehart: You do know that the Affordable Care Act is not … undocumented workers are not eligible for Obamacare. That’s specific in the law.
Jackson: They can go into any Social security agency, welfare office, social services and they’re giving them stuff. They are handing it out to them left and right.
Capehart: What exactly are they handing out?
Jackson: Benefits! Look at them. They get food stamps. They get welfare, dependent children…. They help them with their housing, and they’re not even supposed to be in our country. They are here illegally, but, yet, they know how to work our system to get what they want. They want our health care. They want our food. They want our money, yet they don’t pay taxes. And they’ll look right at you and they’ll tell you, “No habla the English,” and laugh. But you understand what they’re saying. That really makes me angry.
Arkansas Restaurant Sign Claims Obamacare Is 'America's Punishment For Slavery Years'
That pretty much says it all. Passing Obamacare = helping black and brown people = punishing white people. In short, those who oppose Obamacare are motivated by racism.
Racist Tea Party
Let's look more closely at the Republican Tea Party's racism. I added the red emphasis to highlight the key points.
Ex-GOP insider unloads: Blame “neo-Confederate insurrectionists” for shutdown!
"I would take Boehner drunk over Cruz sober," former 28-year GOP staffer-turned-author Mike Lofgren tells Salon
By Josh Eidelson
New research suggests the factions currently leading the war on Obamacare will grow even more intransigent
By Steven Rosenfeld
“While few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities,” they said. They believe that “their party is losing to a Democratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minorities.”
“They believe their towns, communities and schools are suffering from ‘culture rot’ that has invaded from the outside,” the 30-page analysis said. “The central focus here is homosexuality, but also the decline of homogenous small towns. They like the Tea Party because they stand up to the Democrats.”
Evangelicals are a third of the GOP base, the report said. More than three-quarters are married. More than 90 percent are white and older. Eighty percent vote only Republican. And like the other factions, they can’t stand President Obama, labeling him as a “liar” who panders to middle-class worries.
The notion that their corner of American life—described by a Virginian as “a little bubble”—is under attack extends to feeling “invaded” by immigrants, and taking offense that they have to tell their phones to talk to them in English, not Spanish. “Don’t come here and make me speak your language,” another man said.
Our sense of the force currently paralyzing the government is full of misconceptions--including what to call it
By Michael Lind
But then, by the 2000s, demography destroyed the temporary Nixon-to-Bush conservative majority (although conceivably it could enjoy an illusory Indian summer if Republicans pick up the Senate and retain the House in 2016). Absent ever-growing shares of the white vote, in the long run the Republican Party cannot win without attracting more black and Latino support.
That may well happen, in the long run. But right now most conservative white local notables in the South and elsewhere in the country don’t want black and Latino support. They would rather disenfranchise blacks and Latinos than compete for their votes. And they would rather dismantle the federal government than surrender their local power and privilege.
The political strategy of the Newest Right, then, is simply a new strategy for the very old, chiefly-Southern Jefferson-Jackson right. It is a perfectly rational strategy, given its goal: maximizing the political power and wealth of white local notables who find themselves living in states, and eventually a nation, with present or potential nonwhite majorities.
Christian delusions are driving the GOP insane
Why aren't Republicans more frightened of a shutdown and a default? Part of the reason is magical thinking
By Amanda Marcotte
It’s not just that the rogue’s gallery of congress people who are pushing the hardest for hostage-taking as a negotiation tactic also happens to be a bench full of Bible thumpers. Pew Research shows that people who align with the Tea Party are more likely to not only agree with the views of religious conservatives, but are likely to cite religious belief as their prime motivation for their political views. White evangelicals are the religious group most likely to approve of the Tea Party. Looking over the data, it becomes evident that the “Tea Party” is just a new name for the same old white fundamentalists who would rather burn this country to the ground than share it with everyone else, and this latest power play from the Republicans is, in essence, a move from that demographic to assert their “right” to control the country, even if their politicians aren’t in power.
It’s no surprise, under the circumstances, that a movement controlled by fundamentalist Christians would be oblivious to the very real dangers that their actions present. Fundamentalist religion is extremely good at convincing its followers to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones, and to engage in downright magical thinking about the possibility that their own choices could work out very badly. When you believe that forcing the government into default in an attempt to derail Obamacare is the Lord’s work, it’s very difficult for you to see that it could have very real, negative effects.
It’s hard for the Christian fundamentalists who run the Republican Party now to worry about the serious economic danger they’re putting the world in, because they are swept up in worrying that President Obama is an agent of the devil and that the world is on the verge of mayhem and apocalypse if they don’t “stop” him somehow, presumably be derailing the Affordable Care Act. Christian conservatives such as Ellis Washington are running around telling each other that the ACA will lead to “the systematic genocide of the weak, minorities, enfeebled, the elderly and political enemies of the God-state.” Twenty percent of Republicans believe Obama is the Antichrist. Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner argued that Obama is using his signature health care legislation to promote “the destruction of the family, Christian culture,” and demanded that Christians “need to engage in peaceful civil disobedience against President Obama’s signature health care law.”
How Republicans became racists
How Racism Caused The Shutdown
By Zack Beauchamp
Kevin Kruse, a Princeton historian whose work focuses on the South and the conservative movement, finds deep roots in segregationist thought for this turn. “In their own minds, segregationists were instead fighting for rights of their own,” Kruse suggests. These “rights” included “the ‘right’ to select their neighbors, their employees, and their children’s classmates, the ‘right’ to do as they pleased with their private property and personal businesses, and, perhaps, most important, the ‘right’ to remain free from what they saw as dangerous encroachments by the federal government.”
How the South poisons American conservatism and sabotages our politics
By Kim Messick
It would be hard to overstate the influence of this experience on the mind of the South. For one thing, it meant that the white South was, in effect, a garrison state. White Southerners lived in close proximity to a large population they routinely abused, terrorized and defiled. Fear of black violence and revolt is a constant theme of white society before and after the Civil War. The South’s noisily martial version of patriotism has its roots here, as does the region’s love affair with guns. And there are obvious connections between these facts and its stubborn embrace of patriarchy and misogyny. (Does the name “Todd Akin” ring any bells?)
Of greater relevance to our present concerns, however, are the implications for the South’s political psychology. Here the region’s history as a slave society left a very particular imprint, one that lingered long after slavery and Jim Crow collapsed. I mean the habit of imagining society as a two-tiered structure, with the “normative” community on top and a degenerate class of outsiders below. The former consists of those who satisfy the prerequisites of citizenship, and can therefore be trusted to fulfill the social contract voluntarily; the latter of those whose inherent debilities ensure that coercion is the only reliable guarantee of cooperation.
Their ultimate destination appears to be the 1780s and our dysfunctional government under the Articles of Confederation.
By Joseph J. Ellis
Where does this irrational but obviously deep-felt impulse come from? Talk radio and Fox News obviously feed the beast. But the seminal convictions of the tea partiers defy any modern conceptions of government power. How far back in history do they want to take us?
My initial impression was that they wanted to repeal the 20th century. Radical Republicans of the tea party persuasion object to all federal programs that have an impact on our daily lives, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Federal Reserve Board. Even though tea partiers, like all the rest of us, are beneficiaries of these federal programs, especially Medicare and Social Security, ideology trumps self-interest in their worldview, though one wonders how they would respond if they had their way and their Social Security checks stopped coming.
Now, I believe these radicals want to go even further back in time. Though it wouldn't be fair to pin a defense of slavery on them, they agree with the states' rights agenda of the Confederacy and resist the right of the federal government to make domestic policy, which is their visceral reason for loathing Obamacare.
But their ultimate destination, I believe, is the 1780s and our dysfunctional government under the Articles of Confederation. The states were sovereign in that post-revolutionary arrangement, and the federal government was virtually powerless. That is political paradise for the tea partiers, who might take comfort in the fact that their 18th century counterparts also refused to fund the national debt. Their core convictions are pre-Great Society, pre-New Deal, pre-Keynes, pre-Freud, pre-Darwin and pre-Constitution.
For more on conservative racism, see Shutdown = White Minority Asserting Power and "Defund Obamacare" = "Nigger, Nigger."