Be Careful What You Wish For

A lawyer meets the devil at a party.
“In exchange for your soul and the souls of your wife and children, I’ll make you a partner in your law firm in two years.” Satan offers between sips of his drink.
The lawyer who knows contract law looks skeptical. “What’s the down side?”

I believe the Republican Party is discovering the downside of a deal they’ve made. Their devil being the far right money provided by the Koch brothers and their alike thinking friends. That money has been very handy in funding candidates, think tanks, and media groups. That money has given the party their majorities on the House, the Senate and the Presidency. This should be the dawn of the Republican Era, right? Congress should be pumping out bill after bill turning Conservative philosophy into the law of the land. The ghost of Ayn Rand should be smiling over the dawn of our new Republic.

Why then do we see paralysis in Congress? The problem is the two disparate groups that Republicans must appease. The super rich one percent writing those checks with lots of zeros before the decimal point want to see results for all the money they’ve pumped into the party. They want lower tax rates, and more importantly, they want to keep them low which means killing any silly ideas like tax raising single payer health care systems, and they want more defense spending which means more mega profits for the defense industries they own.

I truly believe that most Republican members of Congress want those same things, but their drive to get reelected is even stronger. In order to do that, they have to appeal to their base of working class supporters. Republicans have relied on touchstone issues to rally those troops. Abortion worked beautifully until the religious right figured out that the party couldn’t care less about it and besides, they risked losing the women’s vote. Gun Rights has worked very well for a lot of years, but it has been overused and public opinion is swinging against broadening gun rights any further than they already are. People hyperventilated about what bathroom the sexually confused might use in the last election, but that never really was a problem. The current crisis about football players kneeling during the national anthem is absurdly trivial.

Facebook has turned into a two edged sword. It has been an excellent way to get people excited about issues, but more and more it is turning into a consensus building machine reminding people about what’s important. Over fifty percent of Americans support a single payer health system. If I were a Republican in Congress, I’d be worried. The next election may hinge on their opinion on that issue, and the election after that may hang on how they voted.

Your average Republican elected official in Congress cannot think of a way to appease the working class voter and the check writing rich guys at the same time. It’s better to do nothing than it is to lose everything. That tension may well tear the party apart. The party of principle has turned into the party of  inaction. People are beginning to notice.

Be careful what you wish for; you may get exactly what you want.