For readers interested in discovering who really is responsible for the current government shutdown and looming default on the national credit card, I recommend this excellent, well-researched interactive graphic by longtime journalist Bill Moyers.
Yes, in a sense it’s “the Tea Party,” because the congressional Tea Party caucus put the strategy in play that has crippled our federal government and cost about 1 million people the jobs they count on to provide for their families, and threatens to screw up the economy by adding % points to the cost of government borrowing, snarling the stock and bond markets and shutting off Social Security payments to your mom, just for starters.
The congressional Tea Party caucus bought into the idea that the health insurance reform law known as Obamacare was bad enough that it was worth holding the whole U.S. economy hostage on the long shot that the Democratic Party and the president would say “Oh, you don’t like Obamacare? OK, we’ll dismantle it right away – just put the gun down.”
First off, most media reporting notwithstanding, this wasn’t the brainchild of “my” Sen. Ted Cruz or his Tea Party cohorts. It was the brainchild of former and disgraced Reagan attorney general Ed Meese and his angry rich friends, who got together back in February and cooked up this plan to pull the plug on insurance reform.
Not coincidentally, most of the organizations headed by Meese’s pals are funded in large part through the likes of the Koch brothers. To appreciate the personalities behind this plot, I really recommend viewing Bill Moyer’s piece as well as this look at what Politico investigative reporters Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei call the Koch brothers’ secret bank.
Guys like Cruz are bought and paid for by Kochs & Friends. By far the two largest contributors to Cruz’s campaign fund have been the Club For Growth and former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint’s superPAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund. The latter is awash in Koch money, and the former’s largest donors also happen to be among the Kochs’ best rich friends.
So yeah, “my” Sen. Ted Cruz and the rest of the congressional Tea Party caucus are to blame for the financial fiasco whose fuse they lit, but the Koch brothers and their elite friends bought the matches. So when you hear people talk about the Tea Party being a “grass-roots movement,” remember who provides the seed, fertilizer and lawn sprinklers.
It’s also instructive to note that this “strategy” by Ed Meese et al blew up in the Tea Party’s face and burnt both their fingers and those of the rest of the Republican Party. That’s mostly because any strategy based on kidnapping and hostage taking is wrong. Especially when you’re trying to defeat a bill that has already been approved by vote and become a law.
I also happen to believe that if Obamacare never had passed, Meese and the Kochs and the rest of them would’ve nominated some other issue over which they are at loggerheads with the president. And they would’ve held the U.S. citizenry and their economy hostage over that. The key is that, ever since Obama caved during the similar hostage taking event in 2011, the geniuses behind the Tea Party curtain have absolutely been salivating over what kind of ransom they could get next time around.
And we now are enjoying the fruits of that particular brainstorm.