Richard Day: It's A Hard Rain Gonna Fall
Doc Cleveland: Horse Race? Or Hindenburg?
Actually my original intent was to ask if the pledge signed by Republicans is an act of 'treason". One definition of treason is "the betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposefully acting to aid its enemies." In the case of the Republicans in Congress, no one could ever prove "conscious". But Republicans may have given aid and comfort to China, our military competitor.
The Norquist pledge taken by Republicans not to rasie taxes in any form, including the elimination of tax loopholes, led to the brinkmanship in the recent debt standoff. The acrimony and duration of the debt fight--especially the negative change in attitudes since April--was a central premise in S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt. The downgrade led to a lecture by China to reduce our military spending. A large element of our military spending rests upon the assumption that China is a potential military enemy, especially a threat in the China Sea.
Any way you analyze China's lecture to the U.S to reduce it's military spending, it's not a favorable outcome of the debt down grade and the behavior of the hostage takers in Congress who enabled it.
The financial lecture by China could be looked upon as an act of aggression. If so, our self inflicted downgrade has resulted in aggression against us. That is an unintended consequence, but cannot be called treason. However if China senses we are vulnerable to the charge of militarism in the context of world opinion, the downgrade has helped our enemies prey on our weaknesses. Still, it would be hard to prove that the chain reaction leading to a lecture by China was an intended outcome of the right wing in Congress. Therefore, no treason. And the constitution provides potential treasonous perps with a high hurdle of proof.
Ah, the constitution. And the Norquist pledge.
Judge H. Lee Sarokin in a HuffPo blog on 04/0511 presented an analysis of whether the Norquist pledge was constitutional. he said,
"To commit in advance to a position without the necessary knowledge seems to be a dereliction of duty imposed upon lawmakers, particularly when the commitment is made at the instigation of a private organization."
The oath of office a Congress person takes requires the support and defense of the Constitution "without any mental reservation". The Norquist pledge is a clear mental reservation in the performance of duties under the constitution.
The Norquist pledge apparently provides an "out" with respect to military spending. But the military spending challenge by China is a result of the use of the pledge, not a decision on military spending per se.
It is absurd to me that Grover Norquist can hog tie Republicans to the extent that they nearly sink the U.S. economy; and that as a consequence of the "pledge" and the brinksmanship it engendered, cause a ratings agency to downgrade the U.S. debt on the essential argument of lack of ability to compromise.
It is time, as has been said, to peel back the onion on Norquist and his pledge. But if we don't do it, and the Congress fails to compromise, perhaps we can send Grover Norquist to China and they can peel his onion over there.