Everyone is always asking how gridlock got started and who started it, so I thought I would just go ahead and tell you.
It all started when a bunch of Republican elders got together before the election of George W. Bush and decided that, instead of reaching out and trying to draw in voters who were moderates or Democrats, that they would try to solidify and expand their base of conservatives and win the presidency that way.
Prior to that, both parties tried to reach out. In 1999, the Republicans decided not to, and the first thing they did was to nominate Dick Cheney as the vice president, because he appealed to their base: rich warmongers.
The selection of Cheney was the second-worst mistake ever made, with the election of "W" being the worst.
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Well, the grand new plan worked in 2000, when Bush beat Gore by about six votes. So, from that time on, for that strategy to succeed, the Republicans had to do two things, one of which was to cater to their conservative base by doing such thoughtful things as giving the rich a big tax cut while we were fighting a stupid $2 trillion war on a credit card and taking the risk out of investing. By that I mean that we privatized the benefits of owning stock, but made the public pay if investments went wrong.
The other thing they did was to try to make the country fail if a Democrat was in, something Sen. Mitch McConnell announced with great pride. Doing this included filibustering every single nomination, every single spending bill and every single idea of the Democratic president, even the ideas Republicans used to promote, such as a carbon tax, which used to be their tar baby.
Gridlock was aided by an Australian media magnate whose loyalty was not to the country, but to his pocket, and whose talking heads so abused the president as to convince half or more of the country that he was a Muslim socialist.
After a season of gridlock, Republicans now hope to take such control of government that things will move quickly, backwards. Aided and abetted by the Supreme Court, which turned elections into auctions, McConnell, one of the original architects of the strategy, now turns the president his side has made unpopular into Willie Horton. He suggests that Obama and Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes are in cahoots to stop coal, when there has been more coal mined under Obama than anyone else, and to stop guns, when there has been more guns sold the last six years than probably were sold during the last 25 previous presidencies.
But along came the junior senator from Texas and Kentucky, Rand Paul, and starts going back to the old ways, trying to reach out to minorities and wondering in public about the war on drugs. Is this possible?
I'll bet when they look up the surveillance film of that guy climbing the fence to the White House they will find him standing on the back of a diminutive senator from Alabama and Kentucky.
Reach Larry Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org.