Amodei and the Practice of Paranoid Politics

Amodei 3Yess’eree we have our very own wannabe cop killer right-wing-sovereign-citizenry-whackadoodles on display in Nevada, and Hugh Jackson places their ideology in perspective in a 9/5 article for City Life.  If we accept the proposition from yesterday that there is a major difference between political philosophy and political ideology, then these dubiously sovereign species are simply part of the most radical elements on the right.  They differ from the politicians such as Sharron Angle, with her 2010 “2nd Amendment Solutions” –as Jackson observes — only by degrees.

Now where would people get the idea that government (of the people, by the people, and for the people) should perish from the earth because it is a tyrannical imposition on the paranoid elements in the American populace?  These are the progeny of the America First, John Birch Society, and Young Americans for Freedom — Jackson places them in the context of Richard Hofstadter’s famous categorization.

How far the Republican party has stumbled into the clutches of the radical right is illuminated by comparing the GOP of today with that of the 1956 Republican Platform.  Imagine this element from that platform in a modern document:

“Furthermore, the process of free collective bargaining has been strengthened by the insistence of this Administration that labor and management settle their differences at the bargaining table without the intervention of the Government. This policy has brought to our country an unprecedented period of labor-management peace and understanding.”

Strengthen “free collective bargaining?”  So where was Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) in May, 2009 when a bill (AB 395) relating to collective bargaining rights for state employees was under consideration?  He voted “no.”  And, more recently, where was Representative Amodei when it came to gutting the powers of the National Labor Relations Board (H.R. 1120) in 2013?  He voted “yes.”  Thus much for allowing labor and management to settle things at the bargaining table without government interference.

Again, return to the 1956 GOP Platform on issues related to education:

“Republican action created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as the first new Federal department in 40 years, to raise the continuing consideration of these problems for the first time to the highest council of Government, the President’s Cabinet.

Through the White House Conference on Education, our Republican Administration initiated the most comprehensive Community-State-Federal attempt ever made to solve the pressing problems of primary and secondary education.

Four thousand communities, studying their school populations and their physical and financial resources, encouraged our Republican Administration to urge a five-year program of Federal assistance in building schools to relieve a critical classroom shortage.”

Get that? “Republican action created the Department of Health, Education and Welfare…”   A five year program to build schools…?  Representative Amodei evidently has never met an education funding bill he could support — unless it called for cuts. [NRDC]  And, there is Amodei on job creation:

“Nevadans don’t want more of a political agenda. They want policies that bring real job creation.

The first step toward recovery is admitting that you have a problem. The administration needs to admit that its policies of record spending, uncontrolled debt, excessive regulations, and the threat of higher taxes are not the solution. They are the problem.”

In short, Representative Amodei is a living demonstration of how far to the radical right the “mainstream” Republican Party has drifted.  That record spending?

Slowest Spending in Decades

Uncontrolled debt?” Really, not according to recent financial reporting:

“The U.S. Treasury Department (USGG10YR) projected it will reduce government debt this quarter for the first time in six years as tax receipts exceed forecasts and spending diminishes.

The pay-down in net marketable debt was estimated at $35 billion in the April-June period, compared with a projection three months ago for net borrowing of $103 billion, the department said in a statement today in Washington. Treasury officials also see net borrowing of $223 billion in the quarter starting July 1. The estimates set the stage for the department’s quarterly refunding announcement on May 1, when debt issuance plans will be released.”

So, we’ll be reducing the national debt for the first time in the last six years… and Representative Amodei persists in declaiming that our national debt is “uncontrolled.”

Excessive regulations?”   Wrong again.

“Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.”

There’s another way to count “excessive” which would be to count only those regulations which cost major corporations money to implement.

“In the last 12 months through the end of September, the cost range of new regulations is estimated to be $8 billion to $9 billion, a decrease from 2010, according to non-partisan Government Accountability Office reports analyzed by Bloomberg. That total put the average annual cost of regulations under Obama at about $7 billion to $11 billion, compared with the $6.9 billion average from 1981 through 2008 in current dollars, according to the OMB data.” [Bloomberg] (10/25/11)

So, why would Representative Amodei continue to argue (against facts to the contrary) that the government spending is out of control? That we have an uncontrolled debt, and that our regulation is excessive?

Once again, Representative Amodei is a practitioner of Paranoid Politics — in which generalized fears take precedent over specified reality.

How, then, is Representative Amodei’s paranoid politics related to those Whackadoodles in custody in Las Vegas?  By degrees.  While the Representative is certainly NOT to be counted among the untutored lunatic fringe, his rhetoric doesn’t alleviate any of their terrors — the waste of “my” tax money, and the “abuse” of government regulation.”  Nor does Representative Amodei’s pontification mollify their fears that the government is somehow separate from themselves — it is not of “their” people, or by “their” people.  Unlike the “government” in the 1956 Republican Platform, Representative Amodei’s version doesn’t incorporate collective benefits derived from public education or negotiated bargaining agreements.

It is “every man for himself.”

The ideology and actions of the Sovereign Citizens, repulsive and repugnant as they are, must be fed to survive.  The rhetoric current in Republican circles unfortunately feeds this beast, and without moderation — difficult because of the continual bursts of hyperbolic hysteria — these beasts will continue to find substantiation in the rantings of the Republican right.

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