Today's GOP: The Worst Political Party in 150 Years of US History
When Steve Benen said that last year's debt ceiling fiasco was the worst thing an American political party has done since the Civil War, it got me thinking. The Palmer Raids were more an executive branch thing than a congressional one. Republican isolationism in the face of the rise of Hitler, Stalin, and a militant Japan was foolish but also very understandable. The Republican establishment, including the Eisenhower administration, wasn't too keen on McCarthyism. Even the brutal Jim Crow regime of the Southern Democrats was just that, southern. And if the Democrats deserve a ton of blame for committing us to propping up South Vietnam's government, they didn't actually start that policy and they were being pressured into it by the other side. The truth is that, either through shared blame or lack of party unity, no single party can be blamed for doing anything as stupid as the debt ceiling fiasco since the Civil War. The closest I can come is the lockstep support the GOP gave to President Bush and Dick Cheney as they walked us repeatedly into the threshing blades (full credit to driftglass for the imagery].
But when I really think about it, the debt ceiling fiasco isn't a stand alone thing. It's part of a continuum. You can't just cherry-pick the debt ceiling fiasco and forget about the politicization of the Department of Justice, or putting an Arabian horse trader in charge of New Orleans' safety, or blowing off any planning and just declaring, "Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out." What's the worst thing the GOP has done in the seventeen years since they first took control of Congress? Shutting down the government? Impeaching President Clinton? Stealing the 2000 election? Running the economy into the ground?
It's not that the debt ceiling was the worst or stupidest thing that any American political party has done in 150 years. It's the Republican Party that is the worst party we've had in 150 years.