Far Right Overreach

Alan Zendell, April 27, 2023

Whenever right-wing extremists gain a foothold of power in the United States they overreach, and it always backfires. But as investment managers like to remind us, past trends are not guaranteed to continue in the future, and the next few months will put that idea to a critical test. We’ll hear cliches flying, about slippery slopes, creeping fascism, the virtues of negotiation and compromise, but none of it will mean anything if responsible people don’t step up and do the right thing.

The responsible people I’m referring to are all Republicans in the House of Representatives. In a world in which Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News has received more airtime than Biden’s re-election announcement, Donald Trump’s civil rape trial, and Ron DeSantis’ sudden interest in meeting world leaders, it’s easy to forget that there are fewer than a dozen among the 220 House Republicans who would destroy our Constitution to achieve a political victory. No matter how strongly they may disagree with the president’s agenda, the rest of the Republican caucus understand that the consequences of allowing the country to default on its debts are incalculable. If they let it happen, they will be facilitating the end of America’s influence as a super power.

Of course, they won’t, not because they intend to cave in to the left, but because of their Conservative views. Conservatives believe, first and foremost, in the rule of law and economic stability. Default would raise the curtain on an era of chaos and unpredictability, the anathema of any successful governing philosophy. And even if they manage to lose sight of their principles, their self-interest will force them to step up when it’s time to vote. Default would trigger an immediate financial crisis that could be worse than the 1929 crash that threw the world into a decade-long depression that terminated in the second world war. The billionaires who support those Conservatives would lose trillions of dollars in real wealth overnight according to Moody’s.

So – don’t worry about default. It won’t happen, because if it did, those who enabled it would be severely punished by their wealthy donors. The most likely outcome of the game of chicken the extremists are playing is that they’ll lose, and the biggest loser will be Kevin McCarthy, who richly deserves it – a man with an ego almost as large as Trump’s, but without Trump’s street-fighting ability, wiliness, or shameless lack of decency.

McCarthy is not as dangerous as Trump overall, but his antics can do serious damage to the country if no one in his conference breaks ranks. If we’ve learned anything throughout our history, whether it’s a playground or the Capitol, once you start submitting to bullies, you might as well give up the whole game. The example of Matt Gaetz says it all. Gaetz makes outrageous demand after demand, and McCarthy caves every time because he can only afford to lose four votes from his caucus. Yet Gaetz votes against him anyway and then does a mockery dance in front of the press. At a time when almost everything can be streamed on television anywhere in the world, it’s an appalling display of how dysfunctional our Congress has become.

While Biden and his European counterparts work behind the scenes to find an off ramp that will enable Vladimir Putin to end his war in Ukraine, the right-wing terrorists in McCarthy’s caucus continue to put on a show for the world that can only undermine those efforts. Putin knows more about the workings of our Congress than most Americans. Why, seeing the spectacle of an incompetent House Speaker who is constantly humiliated by our media, would Putin imagine that America will have the fortitude to continue its defense of Ukraine? It was McCarthy who told the world he would oppose giving the Biden administration a “blank check” to fight the war, while Ron DeSantis, who obviously has his eye on the White House, told the press that Russia’s dispute with Ukraine was a regional matter that we should stay out of.

While we’re on the subject of how the world views us, imagine the rest of the world watching Trump’s civil battery and defamation trial for a rape he is accused of committing thirty years ago. If media reports are correct, the accuser, E. Jean Carroll will have two other women who claim to have been raped by Trump testifying on her behalf in open court. Add that to the election deniers and the hundreds of people convicted of taking part in the January 6th insurrection, and I shudder when I think of how the way the rest of the world sees us has changed.

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1 Response to Far Right Overreach

  1. William Kiehl says:

    Trump has been credibly accused of sexual assault by over 20 different women, yet many Evangelical women think he is the messiah. Incredible.

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