Earlier today, Nick Gillespie noted new Speaker of the House John Boehner fecklessness when it comes to thinking about how to cut spending. Turning his comic acid on Boehner, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi frequently echoes how libertarians always think of partisan governance of whatever variety.
There's barely two reflexive liberal head-bows to the notion of "why doesn't Congress just do good for the little guy?," sops to his audience in what is mostly a righteous assault on government-as-it-is, and as how libertarians would note it pretty much always is and always will be. Some highlights:
Voters are fatigued…by the increasingly infuriating fact that no matter which party is in power, the leadership inevitably borrows like dice addicts on the Vegas strip and uses the money to pay for huge Frankensteinian initiatives that bloat the size and power of the federal government, often without semblance of sense or plan….
"Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act — practically any significant piece of legislation that came out of the Bush presidency, it was a joke," says Chris Littleton, who heads a coalition of 58 Tea Party groups in Boehner's home state of Ohio.
The anger of Tea Partiers like Littleton erupted when they suddenly realized that their elected leaders in Congress had developed a primary allegiance not to constituents back home or even to ideology, but to themselves and their own dissolute, pay-for-play, you-scratch-mine, I'll-scratch-yours intramural bureaucratic calculus….
[Boehner] crossed the aisle to co-author the No Child Left Behind Act, a grotesque and grotesquely expensive expansion of federal power that helped jack up the federal education budget by an astounding 80 percent in the first five years of Bush's presidency, then voted for the obscene Medicare Part D, a staggering $550 billion handout to the pharmaceutical industry — two portentous initiatives that helped turn the Republicans into the new party of big government…..
The Troubled Asset Relief Program — the $700 billion bailout of the absurdly irresponsible megabanks that got us into the financial crisis — is a classic example of what Boehner is all about, expressing perfectly his tenuous position vis-à-vis the hard-line anti-spending Tea Party base that thrust him into power. Boehner, who over the course of his political career has collected nearly $4 million from the finance and insurance sectors, backed TARP from the start, summoning his full rhetorical arsenal to argue for the bill.
Taibbi gets interesting on the tensions between the GOP powers that be such as Boehner and the Tea Party activists that the GOP depends on moving forward:
Boehner's irrepressible hackosity is a serious problem for the Republican establishment, which desperately needs a more convincing con man to stave off voter anger on the right. In this regard, the contrast between Boehner and Littleton, the Tea Party leader in Boehner's home state, is interesting. The two men live in the same place, the small township of West Chester near Cincinnati, so Littleton is very familiar with Boehner. But Littleton's opinion of the Republican establishment couldn't be lower: It was precisely programs like the Medicare drug benefit bill and No Child Left Behind, programs he considers unacceptably wasteful and intrusive, that moved him to get into politics. "These were all Republican programs," Littleton says. "If you look at Republican congressmen from Ohio, they all voted for this stuff."….
…in some states the Republican Party fought…fiercely against the Tea Party; in Ohio, the party spent nearly $1 million campaigning to stop Tea Party candidates from assuming jobs at the state level. "They hate us more than they hate the left," says Littleton. "The left's just an enemy. We present a legitimate threat to them."…
When Littleton met with party leaders after the election and asked what programs they are willing to cut, he was brushed aside. "We're going to be discussing that in April," he was told.
"I thought to myself, 'You campaigned on an entire platform of cutting government spending, and you don't know what you're going to be cutting until April?'" Littleton pauses. "I don't trust these guys — whether it's Boehner or anybody else."….
America is so broke, there's no longer really any money in the Treasury to give away — the job of overseeing corporate handouts that used to belong to the leaders of Congress has now moved to the Federal Reserve, which itself is so broke that it has to invent dollars out of thin air before it can give them away to influential billionaires….The new speaker represents an increasingly endangered class of Beltway jobholders who know how to raise money and get elected, but not much beyond that. He now finds himself the party's last line of defense against millions of angry voters who, for the first time in recent memory, are at least attempting to watch what Congress is up to.