By Patricia H Kushlis
Now that the “non-essential” parts of the government have returned to work can we please move on to repair the untold financial damage –estimated as much or more than $24 billion - and personal hardships (a recent poll showed 44% of American families said they were adversely affected by the shutdown: the rest of us on the sidelines were just appalled) caused by the 2013 reenactment of the rebel South rises again only to get squashed (again)?
And can we please forgo another embarrassing round of two year old temper tantrums staged in front of the world media in less than four months’ time by publicity seeking hounds in the Senate and House? Obama 1 – Cruz – 0 by the way.
Meanwhile, would the scions of the Grand Old Party (GOP) please figure out how to compete in elections without caving in to an outlier hard right movement that strategically burst onto the scene prior to the 2010 elections garbed in 18th century dress especially designed for Fox News prime time?
Here’s one – among many - fundamental dilemmas the GOP needs to address: Corporate interests and its Republican populist rural America supporters do not make a healthy or even a sensible mix. Corporations are established to make money for their owners and stock holders. Populist America does not have the spare change to invest in corporations and hence to partake of the corporate bounty.
So where’s the convergence of interests?
I’ve seen numerous charts and correlations depicting the strengths of the Tea Party in the US. Its core is in the Confederate South, mostly in rural areas, and it is far more attractive to aging white male marginally educated voters who dominate those and other largely rural regions of the country. But I think that there is at least one other related yet important factor.
The Missing Stats
What I’m missing is a correlation between Tea Party supporters, military veterans and our outsized defense budget but I’ll bet that relationship exists. Look, for example, outside the South at the Tea Party’s inordinate strength in Colorado Springs – the home of the Air Force Academy and, by the way, the Evangelical Christians who surround and infiltrate the academy at the nation’s expense.
It’s rather like looking at the statistics that demonstrate the strong correlation between high cancer rates and the preponderance of oil and gas refineries in certain areas – think northern New Jersey and Houston, Texas as for instances.