As I was saying earlier, I wish I had a wall of video screens so as not to miss a single second of the insanity going on in Washington, DC today. It’s such an incredible spectacle to witness. The ultimate reality show and it’s on thousands of channels at once. It’s hard for me to do anything else other than just gawk at it slack-jawed and scour the Internet for new news. I’ve been called “perpetually amused” and that description more fits me to a tee, but never have I been more amused than I have been in the past few days. Today especially.
Shit is getting GOOD. The DC follies is the greatest show on Earth now that Breaking Bad is over.
I feel like we’re just about three-quarters of the way through a movie where the bad guys are about to get their asses handed to them, but then again, maybe not. The end of this one hasn’t been written yet, so there’s genuine suspense. From where I’m sitting, it does look like the Republicans have overplayed their hand, yes, and I think the outcome to all of this self-inflicted damage is all but assured, yes to that as well, but it also seems certain that we’re going to see at least a few more twists, turns and moments of high drama—and low humor—along the way.
Anyway, in my voracious appetite for vacuuming up and processing every bit of information I can about the government shutdown and the lunatics who are at present in charge of the asylum, nowhere have I seen it put better than by THE GREATEST AMERICAN WRITER OF OUR TIME, CHARLES P. PIERCE, writing at Esquire. This is required reading:
Only the truly child-like can have expected anything else.
In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible, though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for trees. But there has never been in a single Congress—or, more precisely, in a single House of the Congress—a more lethal combination of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also happens to have been the party’s 2012 nominee for president of the United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in large measure, closed this morning.
We have elected the people sitting on hold, waiting for their moment on an evening drive-time radio talk show.
We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.
We have elected a national legislature in which Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have more power than does the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been made a piteous spectacle in the eyes of the country and doesn’t seem to mind that at all. We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation’s insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up to the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson’s account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.
We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.
This is what they came to Washington to do—to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way.” Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.
Charles P. Pierce. He’s the best of the best, right? He’s also one of the last sane men left in America. Miss his wisdom at your peril. He’s good. Mark Twain good. Hunter S. Thompson good. Joe Bageant good. Jon Stewart good. He’s damned good!
Read Charles P. Pierce daily at the Esquire Politics blog