Now the American government is open again, I wonder what tactic the Tea Party will try next to get their way. One favourite must be chilli powder down Barack Obama’s underpants. One of their senators will explain in a live interview from Washington, “We have no choice but to do this until the President shows he is willing to negotiate”, while in the background we can hear, “Yeaaagh they’re on fire”, and Michelle saying: “Don’t put your fingers in your eyes love or they’ll start stinging as well.”
Or they’ll set a leopard loose in the House of Representatives, as a legitimate means of expressing the will of the common man from Utah. Whatever they do, to them it seems utterly reasonable, so they make statements such as, “It’s the President who is causing this conflict, by insisting on implementing the policies he was elected on. So what choice did we have but to urinate over the Democrat senators in alphabetical order? It’s only what Abraham Lincoln would have done?”
The issue that’s angered them this time is Obama’s healthcare plan, designed to address the problem of millions of Americans having no access to healthcare. The Tea Party has a carefully considered objection to this policy, which is on the home page of its website. It’s worth repeating in full to do justice to the prose. It goes “Destroy Obamacare. This abomination from hell must be eradicated.”
As with all the best political writing, it’s the delicate details that make it so engaging. To start with, this displays an impressive knowledge of The Bible, as few people are aware of the section that goes, “And God saw that Satan had spread his wickedness among the people. And he did say unto Abraham ‘Eradicateth this abomination for they will burn in hellfire who are carried upon a stretcher with no charge’”.
John Culberson, a Tea Party spokesman from Texas, was slightly less subtle, declaring his support for the strategy of shutting down the country by saying, “Like on 9/11, let’s roll”, a reference to the passengers who said “Let’s roll” before confronting terrorists on their plane. This could be worrying if he visits an NHS surgery in Britain. He’ll stab all the doctors, and explain: “I could see one of them diagnosing gastro-enteritis without charging a fee and knew I had to act straight away.”
To be fair, the Tea Party takes up other issues as well as healthcare, employing the same subtle arguments. Their supporter Stephen Schwarzmann, a hedge-fund billionaire, contributed to the tax debate by saying: “Tax rises on equity firms is a signal for war, like when Hitler invaded Poland.” It could be argued it’s even worse, because at least when Hitler invaded Poland the casualties couldn’t run crying to the Third Reich for free medical care.
Maybe the reason they come up with minor exaggerations is they struggle without them. Tea Party senator Louis Gohmert was interviewed about whether the deal they've agreed to was a success. In his exact words, this is how he answered: “The fact is all those children gathered round by Nancy Pelosi and they weren’t of legal consent age and we’ve stolen $12bn dollars from those children and the least we can do and all we’re asking if we had leaders who do the right thing they look listen it’s illegal.”
I wonder how many people saw that and thought, “At last, someone who’s saying exactly what I’m thinking”. It appears they’re reasoning is the Republican Party lost the election because in crucial swing states such as Ohio, voters thought “the trouble with Mitt Romney and his supporters is they’re not do-lally enough”. In which case none of this matters, as it only ensures they’ll lose by even more next time.
But maybe there is logic to their strategy. Because since Obama became President, the Tea Party Republicans have been able to undermine everything he’s attempted. Even the budget following this agreement is seven per cent less than the amount Obama originally proposed. The healthcare plan will still leave around one fifth of the population with no care, and many of the promises, such as closing Guantanamo Bay or on gun control, have been abandoned altogether. Partly this has been a result of backing down to the constant niggling of the Tea Party.
Obama even had to spend much of his first year in office proving he was the President as they insisted he wasn’t born in America. So they can do that again. For example if Hillary Clinton wins they’ll say they’ve got evidence she’s Russian and fought at the Alamo on the side of the Mexicans, and her real name’s Hillary Mohammed Trotsky Lucifer Compulsory Free Liver Transplants For Everyone Even If You’re Completely Healthy Jihad Abortion Clinton.
They’ll say she was born under the sea, and they’ve got evidence she eats live squirrels, and it’s their constitutional duty to flood the Senate with mercury until she agrees to abolish tax for oil companies. Because for many of the rich and powerful, why bother going through all the hassle of winning an election to get your way, when it’s much easier and more fun to let the other side win, then refuse to accept the result and bring everything to a halt until they do as you want anyway.