MAD AS HELL: Last Chance Before the Tea Party Starts for Real!

So let's make with the bubbly already; 2011's going to be just too weird.

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Now that the agenda in Washington for the next two years will be driven by the far right wing of the Republican party, you might think economic issues have trumped cultural issues in the public mind. After all, this is the bunch who have taken over the House based on promises to slash the federal debt and shrink government.

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Perhaps you have figured out by now that the Tea Party is a sham— a gigantic ball of self-serving, self-righteous faux outrage bounced back and forth by Republicans. After two years of marching and bellowing — of dressing up in stupid costumes with three-cornered hats and carrying misspelled signs—-of going apoplectic at town halls about the mountains of debt and deficit spending that are “destroying our children’s future,” the Tea Party finally had an opportunity to display their fury, wrath, and indignation. When Republicans fought for and voted almost unanimously to add $858 billion to the budget deficit by extending the Bush tax cuts, the Tea Party was quieter than little church mice. There wasn’t even a whimper of an outcry. Confirmed was what we already knew — they are hypocrites for hire.

This “movement” has never really had anything to do with making serious fiscal policy change — no, the Master Thespians of the right wing are simply tools who were bought and paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks for the explicit purpose of Bringing the Crazy and distracting us yet again with—you guessed it—a culture war!

When Congress convenes in a few days, the John Boehner-led House Republican majority has laid out an agenda to do exactly what Republicans have always done(and will always do) — throw a good, old-fashioned culture war with aggressive, over-the-top rhetoric so people will be too distracted and divided to notice that the plan is the same one its always been — of cutting taxes for their donors, thus creating deficits that require spending cuts or bankruptcy.

In the last few days, House Republican leaders have actually unveiled major changes to House procedural rules that are clearly designed to pave the way for more deficit-increasing tax cuts in the next two years. That’s right! The Republicans are planning to put us further into debt so that the corporations and billionaires who bankroll their campaigns will get even bigger tax breaks!

The Tea-publican game plan will go like this: While John Boehner, Mitch McConnel, and other GOP professionals are making sweeping and symbolic but completely inconsequential points about fiscal responsibility, Michelle Bachmann, Rand Paul and the Tea Party will use proposals on moral and social issues to divide, distract, and divert by convincing some Americans that they are real Americans and that other Americans are their enemies.

There will be railing against environmental programs because these are supported by elitists who believe in “unproven” science like climate change and evolution. Proposals for defunding National Public Radio with its Prius-driving, latte-drinking liberal listeners will be made. National art endowments will need to be cut because of their offensive, blasphemous, anti-Christian exhibits. And of course what culture war would be complete without fighting about abortion? Prepare to see one bill after another come to the floor to revise the Obama healthcare plan so that it bans access to contraception, family planning, and reproductive rights to as many women as possible in the name of “defending life”.

Like a scene in Groundhog Day, the GOP will keep giving us their failed trickle-down economics while the birthers, death-panelists and the “Obama is a Muslim/Hitler/Socialist/Fill in the Blank”crowd have a field day calling for government shutdown based on sanctimony and vilification of their imagined enemies. They will finally have the chance to fight the war they have really wanted for two years — the one that will help them make good on their claim of taking the country back—- all the way back to the days of Herbert Hoover.

Happy Fresh Hell New Year!

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