October 1, 2013

Tea Party games about power, not people

The Express-Star


We all had that one friend in the neighborhood growing up who, upon realizing they had no chance at winning a game, would proceed to upend the game board, throw the ball away, or simply say "Forget you guys, I'm going home."

It seems all of those friends have gone on to make a successful career for themselves as a Tea Party Republican. Their cavalier attitude has led to an ultimatum between shutting down the President's signature health care law or shutting down the government, but we shouldn't be all that surprised. These guys are out to make a statement, and evidently aren't all too worried about the cost.

There's even an example of this that hits much closer to home. The Grady County Tea Party decided recently to take on the three-quarter cent CIP tax, which was renewed by voters in an election last month. In the build-up to that election, the local Tea Party gave an ultimatum: earmark the sales tax for 100 percent use on fixing the city's water, or don't get a CIP tax at all. Sound familiar?

The repercussions of this were obvious. With no CIP tax, the city would have to find other ways (i.e., more taxes) to fund projects that improve roads, sewage, water systems, and other things to run the town smoothly. In the end, it could have cost Chickasha citizens more, since instead of everyone who buys things in town paying for projects (whether they live there or not), it would have to come directly from residents.

But, that didn't matter. In fact, the local Tea Party's most vocal member, Mark Keeling, basically said this in the run-up to that tax election. In response to possibly facing more taxes by getting rid of the CIP tax, Keeling simply said, at least we will have been heard.

There it is. That is the crux of this whole saga with the Tea Party and its influence on Congressional Republicans. This is not truly about the American people, it's about who holds the power. If the Tea Party can throw around its weight and beat its political chest hard enough and long enough, members believe, then Obamacare will be defeated and some twisted form of democracy will prevail.

Why else would Ted Cruz stand for close to a day and speak nonsense on the Senate floor with full knowledge that it was in no way a filibuster? He knew the votes would go forward regardless, and if anything it prevented real talk from happening. That's because it wasn't about standing up for the American people at all. It was about getting his name out there, getting the press coverage, and getting free notoriety when he could so his name would be in the hat for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination battle.

Our country's government is shutting down because the child-like Tea Party has thrown away the ball. They don't want to play anymore, unless it's by their rules and they win. 

In the meantime, no federal government sounds like something right down their alley.