The Boston Distraction: Republicans Are More of a Threat to America Than Bombers:
There's something that's been deeply bugging the Rude Pundit lately in the wake of the continued, seemingly unstoppable Republican obstructionism in the Senate (and leaving aside whatever the hell goes on in the House, which has just become a stage for a weird psychodrama between John Boehner and the wacko right-wingers). By making the threshold for any bill 60 votes, a pretty hard mark even in times of comity and genuine compromise, the Republicans have declared that the minority backseat drives the Senate. Now, if Republicans take back the Senate in 2014, and assuming they don't knock down the filibuster rules, Democrats will be able to do the same, and, even if they can't, President Obama could still veto.
So Republicans have said, through their actions, that the only way the federal government can function is if they rule it. All of it. This is not a blithe assertion. Even when bills are crafted in a way to make the GOP happy (like the background check legislation or, going back to 2009, the bank bailout), even when they are in the room writing the damn things, even when they get to propose a bunch of amendments, they filibuster or threaten to vote them down. And don't get them started on Obama's judicial and other nominees.
While any party wants to have total control of the processes of government, the periods of that are rare (and Democrats can thank enormous piece of shit Senator Max Baucus, among others, for blowing the 2009-2010 shot at it. Baucus should be pantsed, spanked bloody, and forced into the streets of DC as his retirement send-off). But it's something else entirely for one party to assert that they will not allow government to function unless they are in charge. That is new. That is insidious. That is frightening. And it is more of a threat to the United States than a dozen Bostons.
The Boston Marathon Bombing is not that significant an event. Unless you're a victim, it's just not. The West, Texas chemical plant explosion is far more important to our personal security. But not Boston. It's not 9/11. It's not Oklahoma City. It's not Sandy Hook. It's a crime that has been solved. With few loose ends, it is already over. But the GOP just absorbed it into their bloodstream, using it as an inoculation against doing anything, on guns and, ultimately, on immigration. Goddamn, how jubilant Republicans must have been, inside, yes, for the most part, when it happened so that they could bray and point and say, "Look, look, Obama can't keep us safe." Christ, the 2014 ads that'll say, in essence, "Come back, come back to our savage conservative arms and we will protect you." But until they are voted back in, with a supermajority in the Senate, they will simply not allow the nation to move from an enforced stasis.
We are their hostages. Their price is our capitulation.
Today, the Bush Library-o-tarium of Lies and Exaggerations will open. It will no doubt whitewash most of George W.'s crimes against the nation. But it will list all the things he wanted that he got, from tax cuts to wars to No Child Left Behind to the prescription drug plan, many with Democrats on board. At this point, the Obama Presidential Library will feature a series of decent ideas that were left on the cutting room floor.
(Note: To be sure, the Obama administration will use the Boston bombings to keep on with the surveillance programs and drone attacks, but that's a topic for another day.)