If you’re absolutely committed to destroying a presidency, what do you do?
What do you do if you want to make sure a president goes down badly in history and that his or her legacy is one of failure?
Of course, the easiest thing to do is to blow up the economy.
Just look at Herbert Hoover.
Hoover was a very thoughtful president who did or tried to do a lot of things for the nation; by the standards of today’s politics, he might even be called a moderate Democrat.
He was a strong supporter of regulation, and supported tariffs on imports. He helped create America’s national parks system, and many of this nation’s VA hospitals.
Hoover also proposed a national pension plan, which was rejected by Congress, and tried to give low-income Americans a tax cut, which was also shot down by a Republican-controlled Congress.
But despite his list of accomplishments and rational policies, Hoover will be forever remembered by history for being the man in The White House when the stock market crashed in 1929.
Right now, America is really, really vulnerable because of 32 years of Reaganomics, and because of Phil Gramm’s massive deregulation of the banksters with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act at the end of Clinton presidency.
Our economy is also weak because of the insane trade policies adopted by both the Reagan and Clinton presidencies.
It really doesn’t take a lot to keep our economy in the gutter, or to make it even worse.
And because giant corporations have shut down in the last decade over 2 million U.S. jobs and shipped them overseas, government spending has become a strong lever that can flip the economy for better or worse.
So, if you want to completely crash the economy, the best way to do it is to slash government spending.
And that’s exactly what Republicans have been doing ever since President Obama lost a filibuster-proof Senate when Scott Brown was sworn in to replace the late Ted Kennedy on February 4th, 2010.
As economist Paul Krugman brilliantly points out in his blog for The New York Times, real government spending has been in a free-fall since 2010, all thanks to Republican-driven austerity measures.
As Krugman writes, “You can see that there was a brief, modest spurt in spending associated with the Obama stimulus – but it has long since been outweighed and swamped by a collapse in spending without precedent in the past half century.”
Much of the recent drop in real government spending is associated with the devastating sequester, which Republicans know is the most brutal and terrible form of austerity, and the form of austerity that is most likely to destroy the economy and wreck the Obama presidency.
That’s why conservative groups are committed to having the sequester hit Americans at full force, and why they’re now attacking fellow conservatives in Washington, like Paul Ryan, who are willing to just slightly release the brake on austerity.
These conservative groups and their affiliated members in Congress aren’t just partisan politicians or conservative ideologues.
They’re radicals hell-bent on destroying the Obama presidency and the Democratic Party in the process.
The bad news here is that because of gerrymandering, these radicals control the House and, in the Senate, continue to filibuster any legislation that might improve the economy.
But the good news is that Americans are finally starting to figure out which party is on their side, and what Republicans are really all about.
These guys aren’t statesmen. They’re not even decent politicians.
They’re political hacks and shills for the billionaire class and corporations, and they want to destroy the party that stands for the interests of working Americans.
As FDR said in his 1936 presidential nomination speech, “These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.”
He goes on, “In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.”
It’s time to call out these over-privleged economic royalists for what they really are.
They’re not conservatives.
And they’re not Republicans in a way that Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan would recognize.
They’re political thugs. Plain and simple.
The stakes have never been higher (and our need for your support has never been greater).
For over two decades, Truthout’s journalists have worked tirelessly to give our readers the news they need to understand and take action in an increasingly complex world. At a time when we should be reaching even more people, big tech has suppressed independent news in their algorithms and drastically reduced our traffic. Less traffic this year has meant a sharp decline in donations.
The fact that you’re reading this message gives us hope for Truthout’s future and the future of democracy. As we cover the news of today and look to the near and distant future we need your help to keep our journalists writing.
Please do what you can today to help us keep working for the coming months and beyond.