Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner, showed his conservative leg, denouncing financial reform and claiming that “banks are afraid to make loans right now because of the government hanging over them like gargoyles.” After collecting $1 million in contributions in the wake of a speech wooing Wall Street donors, Romney chided those pushing for stricter regulation for acting “as if Wall Street greed is something new.” He didn’t bother to mention what should be done to keep that greed from blowing up the economy again.
Whatever they are drinking at the Tea Party, they’re getting loonier. Michele Bachmann, the self-declared head of the Congressional Tea Party caucus who officially launched her presidential run Monday, has announced that the debt limit should not be raised, no matter what. She’s denounced the Americorps national service program as an attempt to build “re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward.”
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editor and publisher of the Nation magazine, vanden Heuvel writes a weekly column for The Post.
Bachmann also became so alarmed by the fantasy that the Treasury Department was conspiring to abandon the dollar that she introduced a resolution to “bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency.” Surely, standing strong to prohibit the Obama administration from abandoning the American flag and the national anthem is next. Bachmann’s wing-nut tendencies, however, don’t keep her from being one of the favorites in the Iowa caucuses.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell epitomizes the irresponsibility of today’s Republican Party. He is proudly and reflexively anti-anything Obama. McConnell has cheered House Republican efforts to gut funding for the financial regulatory agencies, arguing that “anything we can do to slow down, deter or impede their ability to engage in this kind of oppressive overregulation would be good for the country.”
McConnell summarized the Republican message for the election in 2012: Obama inherited a poor economy but made it worse. Given the Republicans’ threat to blow up the economy over the debt limit, their opposition to any sensible measure to boost the economy and put people to work, their efforts to gut even weak financial regulation, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Republicans have moved from rooting for a bad economy to use in running against Obama to actively committing to making it worse.