Small example of how the parties distort our politics

There’s nothing particularly remarkable about this come-on I received from the DCCC:

838,936 of you signed our petition standing with President Obama to end Boehner’s shutdown. That’s great!

BUT — Brad…your name is missing.

Stand with us against the Republican government shutdown, and call out Ted Cruz and John Boehner for their radical obstructionism.

Click here to automatically add your name >>


DCCC Rapid Response

But I thought I’d use it to illustrate how routinely, casually and systematically the major parties distort reality in their bids to keep the money flowing in.

“Boehner’s shutdown”? No, it’s the House radicals’ shutdown. Boehner is pretty much helpless in all this.

“call out Ted Cruz and John Boehner for their radical obstructionism?” Seriously? You expect me to see Cruz, who is actually, majorly culpable in all this, with that poor Tea Party piñata Boehner?

Yes, they do expect that. Because in their worldview, all Democrats are equally good, and all Republicans are equally bad, and equally to blame for all the world’s evils. And the Republicans’ worldview is this one’s mirror-image.

It is staggering to me that even one person would be sucker enough to buy into this claptrap. And yet, they claim, 838,936 people have done so. (By the way, my name is going to continue to be “missing.” But you knew that, right? I hope so…)

There is no way we are going to be able to engage real-world challenges effectively in this country as long as political discourse, and the perception of reality itself, are warped by these parties.

Vote UnParty.

12 thoughts on “Small example of how the parties distort our politics

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    OK, in the name of fairness, I should share this followup email from the Dems that sort of recognizes the reality of the situation (that Boehner is being batted about by the actual extremists):

    It’s almost unbelievable that House Republicans followed Ted Cruz’s lead and allowed a government shutdown over Obamacare. Now, we need to get as many Americans as we can telling Boehner to come to his senses, stop listening Tea Party extremists, and hold a clean vote to re-open the government immediately.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    Boehner occupies a really interesting political space right now. Boehner is basically useless at his job as Speaker, but he’s experienced enough and just conservative enough to know there is a line he has to walk. Ultimately, I think Boehner knows he has to blink at some point, but if he does, he’ll be replaced. So he can’t. Boehner faces opposition (Reid/Obama) who know the former and don’t care about the latter.

    In my opinion, any change Boehner had of convincing his caucus to trust him was lost in January of 2011. Also, any chance he had of convincing Obama/Reid that he couldn’t be moved was lost in January of 2011.

    So essentially, when the House GOP voted to keep Boehner as speaker, they gave away any leverage in negotiating with the Democrats. Both sides are intractable, and the Speaker of the House has to decide where he’s going to end up. Accordingly, I think Boehner is going to make a deal, re-open the government and lose his speakership.

    I feel kind of bad for him. He’s like a civilian caught in the crossfire of a war that he didn’t start and wants no part in.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Which raises the question:

      If he’s helpless and useless in the position, why does he want it?

      In his position, I would do what I thought was right, and let them replace me. Because if I couldn’t accomplish anything in the job, why would I want it anyway?

      1. Doug Ross

        Because he has become a very very wealthy man as a result of his position. This article from Rolling Stone two years ago captured the “essence” of John Boehner.

        It’s a long piece but it covers in detail the sliminess that is John Boehner.

        “But beyond all of that, Boehner just represents a certain type of hollowly driven, two-faced personality unique to the Beltway. It’s not so much that he’s likely at any moment to start pounding his fist in favor of something that only yesterday he was denouncing as a threat to the American way of life (when benchmarks in Iraq were a Democratic idea, Boehner said they would ensure failure; when George Bush came out for them, he said they were “very important”). Nor is it so much that he’s prone to descending into hysterical hyperbole when the well-being of his campaign donors is threatened in even the vaguest way (he called the watered-down Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,” with the ant in question being a financial crisis that wiped out over 40 percent of the world’s wealth). It’s more that . . . well, you have to spend a lot of time in Washington to know the type, but he’s the kind of guy who would step over his mother to score a political point.”

        Read more:
        Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

        1. Barry


          at this point in his career (heck, 10 years ago in his career) – he’d make a lot more money on private boards and foundations than he would as a Rep or Speaker.

          and that Rolling Stone article perfectly sums up the crazy job that is Speaker of the House – for everyone. Taking various, and sometimes weird positions- nothing new in US History from the Speaker of the House position.

    2. Bart


      In principle, I agree with you. However, in the real light of day, the losers are the American people who are caught up in the much too public war between the parties and their insistence of holding to an intractable position. At this point, they are playing “chicken” and have nothing to lose except the possibility of a leadership position in Washington. After Brad’s post about how Washington is becoming more and more centralized in both wealth and power much to the dismay and displeasure of the majority of Americans, losing face in DC is apparently much worse than doing the right thing by the taxpayers who support this dysfunctional 3 ring circus.

      The problem is that the ringmaster, Obama, is enjoying the damn show so much he forgets that the people are paying for his and the elected representatives entertainment. Judy Collins had it right in her song, “Send in the Clowns”, especially the line, “don’t bother, they’re here”. Washington is populated with 535 plus 2 clowns of the first magnitude and the sad and ironic fact is that WE sent them to represent us with our votes. Too bad the Keystone Cops aren’t able to intervene but since they can’t drive their old vehicle since it doesn’t meet emission or MPG standards, help is not on the way.

      We are told to vote and make your voice heard. No good deed goes unpunished, does it?

        1. Bart

          Success! After all, it is the ringmaster’s responsibility to coordinate the clowns and other acts to provide the audience with reasons to laugh and from the way the post reads, he really provided a good one!

          1. Mark Stewart

            Bart, you have sure gone off the deep end with your contempt for Obama. Makes you sound like Bud on a Bush tirade or Juan – well, most any day.

  3. Norm Ivey

    Boehner is helpless? Feel sorry for him? Not a chance. Yes, Boehner is in a difficult spot politically, but if he serves for the good of the country, then he should sacrifice his leadership role to that end. It may not be his shutdown, but he, more than any other individual, holds the power to re-open our government and raise the debt ceiling. History would be more sympathetic to him if he did than it will if the economy takes a hit as a result of the shutdown/debt ceiling mess.

    The extreme right holds power because of the fear that so many more moderate Republicans have of a primary fight. There’s far too much money in politics, but I can only hope that big money will get involved and help those moderates fight off their primary challenges so we can start to re-establish some normalcy in the political process.

  4. Mark Stewart

    As leader, Boehner should recognize that he does not have to listen to the rabble-rousing 20-40 radicals to his right. In past decades, the focus was on forging consensus in the center – and often across party lines. No reason he can’t do that know, and show the radicals who can deftly wield power. Boehner just hasn’t, yet, summoned the courage to make a centrist stand.

  5. Bart

    “Bart, you have sure gone off the deep end with your contempt for Obama. Makes you sound like Bud on a Bush tirade….” Mark


    You are absolutely right, I have been too strident in my remarks about Obama and have posted them too often. This is my last “tirade” against Obama because it is no secret I do not have any respect for his leadership ability and the lack of competence it requires to hold the office he does. After 50 plus years of actively participating in politics and supporting Republicans, Democrats, and Independents; voting in every election, local or otherwise, and exercising my right and civic duty to vote to better my community, my state, and my country, for the first time, I have no confidence in the person occupying the White House.

    It is not because of the color of his skin, it is not because he is a Democrat, it is not because he is a liberal, it is because he is quite simply, “not a leader”. He personifies the Peter Principle in politics and I arrived at that conclusion after listening to his 2004 DNC speech, reading his book, “Dreams from my Father”, other books he authored, and watching him for the past 7 years since he has been in the public eye.

    On a personal level outside of politics, he and I could be friends and I sincerely mean that. I have many friends who are very talented, very intelligent, and very good at what they do best but to put them in a leadership position would be a disaster. That is how I feel about Obama and so far, he has done nothing to change my mind or opinion.

    You wanted him, you have him, now take responsibility for putting him in office and the aftermath.

    As promised, this is my last “tirade”. Maybe a critical remark at times but will leave it at that.

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