Tuesday, November 30, 2010
When Does Partisanship Morph into Treason?
It may be just an amateur's opinion, but treason is when Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia meets independently with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express his sympathies and allegiance to Israel, stating that he stands with Israel's leader against his own President--and that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the administration in defending the interests of Israel.
Treason is when Republican Senator Jon Kyle of Arizona risks the President's (and America's) international credibility by sabotaging passage of the START treaty, designed to reduce the proliferation of nuclear warheads and set up a mutual system of inspections, as a means of deliberately damaging Obama's "reset" of America's ties with Russia for crass political opportunism.
Treason is when Republican state governors band together to pass a "repeal amendment" that would allow a super-majority of state legislatures to overturn federal laws and sabotage the entire federal system of government. It's when the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Republican Darrell Issa from California, declares his intention to hold one or two hearings a day--hopefully maybe even "seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks"--to investigate Democratic policies like the stimulus, the health care bill, and the bank bailouts.
Treason is when the co-chair of the President's fiscal commission on deficit reduction, Republican Alan Simpson, gleefully predicts that the new freshman class of congressional Republicans will do their best to shut down the government, if the national debt limit is not capped. (The debt limit now is at $14.3 trillion, and it will probably be reached in early 2011, so that if Congress doesn't pass legislation to raise it, the government will no longer be able to borrow money, whether or nor not the economy is in recovery.) Simpson has called those who would force the government into default "sharp cookies," claiming that closing down the government is exactly what they came here for.
Treason is a bunch of white Republicans in Congress who have decided it is politically smart to show disrespect for the first black American president, and who treat him, in Maureen Dowd's inimitable phrase, "like a dirt sandwich." This is a dishonor to the office of the presidency in full view of the whole world. By definition, if you Google it, treason is a crime that undermines the offender's government. It is disloyalty by virtue of inviting mutiny towards one's country or sovereign, or aiding its enemies by attempting to overthrow the government through subversive behavior.
"The fact is, Paul Krugman wrote recently in the New York Times, "that one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no interest in making America governable, unless it's doing the governing. And that party now controls one house of Congress, which means that the country will not, in fact, be governable without that party's cooperation--cooperation that won't be forthcoming."
I think even Google would have to concur that what is happening in America today is more than just shameful and distressing. This isn't your garden-variety partisanship. By definition, it has to count as nothing less than treason.