Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tea Party -- Pall Bearers for the Economy

Something troubled me during last night's tea party debate, and every time I hear Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann, speak about what she plans to do after her summer vacation. She repeats the same refrain: "I'm running for the presidency of the United States."

The first few times I heard Bachmann say that, I didn't give it a second thought, but today after hearing her yet again say that she's running "for the presidency" and not "for president," I wondered what, if any, difference there is, between the two phrases. Well, for openers, the president is the person who occupies the office, but the presidency is the office itself.

Now think about Mrs. Bachmann's use of this phrase exclusively, especially given another term she's so adamant about repeating "Obamacare." Is there a correlation between the two? Of course, Obama happens to be the president.

There are many ways to refer to this administration's health reform legislation. One can refer to it just as I did above, i.e. as this administration's health reform measure. But, I don't recall ever hearing Bachmann refer respectfully to the health care plan passed by the president of the United States nor has any Republican contender for president. What is implicit behind any reference to this White House is an underlying attitude of contempt.

The mantra "Obamacare" has become like a shibboleth, and something that must be repeated as often as possible to gain entry to this not-very-secret society of president-haters. It's the password into the account of these time travelers who, if elected, will take us back to the days of Jim Crow, or earlier still, to the antebellum southern sensibility.

Yes, repetition of the phrase "running for presidency of the United States" as distinct from "running for president of the United States" may also be an effective way for Ms. Bachmann to distinguish herself from the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But, what is it, in particular, that would distinguish her from the current resident and, for that matter, distinguishes this president from all those who came before him. Is this, after all, what Ms. Bachmann has in mind?

And, something else to think about, Speaker of the House John Boehner's egregious declining of the president's request to speak before a joint session of Congress recently was Boehner's way of scoring points with the Bachmann wing of his own party. Not only were Mr. Boehner's actions precedent-setting, but they forever diminished the Speaker's role.

When the president of the United States requests to speak before a joint session of Congress that is equivalent to your boss coming out, and asking "Do you have a minute?" Would you respond "No, I'm filing my nails" which is, in effect, what Boehner did.

Oh, and you remember what was really behind why President Obama had to ask General Stanley McChrystal to step down. It was felt that the general was undermining civilian command of the military.

The actions of those Republicans in Congress, as well as those who are currently running, or who may run for the top seat in government who pander to the tea party base equally undermine not merely this president, but the presidency.

Not to mention, too, that for all their talk of job growth and supporting so-called job creators, both Governors Perry and Romney would make perfect pall bearers for the U.S. economy as should either gentleman or their deregulator counterparts find their way to the White House, we may expect to have a very long wake instead of inauguration as we watch the U.S. and global economies fail yet again.