Noted MSNBC political analyst Chris Matthews summed up the sheer criminality of Republican “bargaining” tactics during the summer of 2011.
He did so on July 28, 2011–five days before Congress reached its August 2 deadline to raise the debt-ceiling or plunge the Nation into bankruptcy.
“The first people to bow to the demands of those threatening to blow up the economy were the Republicans in the House, the leaders. The leaders did what the followers told them to do: meet the demands, hold up the country to get their way.
“Those followers didn’t win the Senate, or the Presidency, just the House.
“But by using the House they were able to hold up the entire United States government. They threatened to blow things up economically and it worked.
“They said they were willing to do that–just to get their way–not by persuasion, not by politics, not by democratic government, but by threatening the destruction of the country’s finances.
“Right. So what’s next? The power grid? Will they next time threaten to close down the country’s electricity and communications systems?”
President Obama could have faced down the extortionists of the Republican Party in two ways:
- Prosecuting them under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and/or the USA Patriot Act; and/or
- Addressing the Nation as President John F. Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis and warning his fellow citizens that the Nation faced a moment of supreme danger.
In Part Three of this series, I outlined how the President could apply the RICO Act and/or the USA Patriot Act to hold Republican extortionists criminally accountable.
In this part, I will outline his second option (which can be coupled with criminal prosecution).
Making a Cuban Missile Type Speech
During such a national address, President Obama could have revealed such blunt truths as:
- Republicans have adopted the same my-way-or-else “negotiating” stance as Adolf Hitler.
- Like the Nazis, they are determined to gain absolute power–or destroy the Nation they claim to love.
- They raised the debt ceiling seven times during the eight-year Presidency of George W. Bush.
- But now that a black Democrat holds the White House, raising the debt ceiling is unacceptable.
- Despite Republican lies, we cannot revitalize the economy by slashing taxes on the wealthy and cash-hoarding corporations while cutting benefits for millions of average Americans.
- We will need both tax increases and sensible entitlement cuts to regain our economic strength.
Finally, President Obama could have ended his speech by directly calling for the active support of his fellow Americans. Something like this:
“My fellow Americans, I have taken an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’
“But I cannot do this on my own. As citizens of a Republic, each of us carries that burden. We must each do our part to protect the land and the liberties we love.
“Tonight, I’m asking for your help.
“We stand on the edge of economic disaster. Therefore, I am asking each of you to stand up for America tonight.
“I am asking you to demand the immediate recall of the entire membership of the Republican Party.
“As President John F. Kennedy said:
‘In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.’
“Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.
“This is the moment when each of us must decide–whether we will survive as a Republic, or allow ruthless political fanatics to destroy what has lasted and thrived for more than 200 years.”
President Obama has taken forceful action against America’s foreign enemies—most notably Osama bin Laden.
If the Nation is to survive, he must now act just as forcefully against America’s domestic enemies.
Fortunately, there is still time for him to do so.
A prosecutor who chooses to not indict on one occasion may still do so on another. And, in doing so, President Obama may find history repeating itself.
Joachim C. Fest, author of Hitler (l973), writes of the surprise that awaited Allied soldiers occupying Nazi Germany in 1945:
“Almost without transition, virtually from one moment to the next, Nazism vanished after the death of Hitler and the surrender. It was as if National Socialism had been nothing but the motion, the state of intoxication and the catastrophe it had caused….
“Hitler’s propaganda specialists had talked constantly of invincible Alpine redoubts, nests of resistance, and swelling werewolf units, and had predicted a war beyond the war. But there was no sign of this.
“Once again it became plain that National Socialism, like Fascism in general, was dependent to the core on superior force, arrogance, triumph, and by its nature had no resources in the moment of defeat.”
With luck, the same will prove true for the extortionists and blackmailers of the Republican Party.