Sunday, November 27, 2011

Washington Gridlock--Lest We Forget

by Richard Crews
I was surprised when I looked in on the talking heads on TV this Sunday morning to hear Washington gridlock discussed as if the causes were complex or obscure.

That is ridiculous.

Washington gridlock, the refusal of Congress to do anything, is a calculated strategy of the Republican Party to regain political power.

In 2009 Obama inherited from the Bush administration (1) the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression; (2) two unwinable wars and a worldwide image of high-handed, U.S. Cowboy diplomacy; and (3) an evolving ecological disaster of epic proportions. Although the roots of these go back many years to the deregulation and anti-scientism of Ronald Reagan, they had degenerated to explosive levels under Bush's eight years of incompetence.

In 2009 Obama put a lot of his political weight behind developing some sort of universal health care for the U.S. (The U.S. is the only advanced nation in the world that does not provide its citizens with guaranteed, affordable health care.) In the summer of 2009 the members of Congress headed out to their constituencies to hold town meetings to discuss health-care proposals. The Republicans sent outside agitators to disrupt these meetings and shout down any reasonable discussions. The media delighted in the headlines about raucous town meetings all over the country.

One of the axioms of propaganda is that if you say something often enough and loud enough, it develops an aura of believability no matter how absurd it is.

Flushed with this success, the Republican Party developed a political strategy to regain power. They realized that by obstructing any legislation that might potentially ease the difficulties the nation faced, they could saddle Obama with being seen as a failure.

Let us not forget: The causes of the legislative gridlock we see in Washington are not complex or obscure.