Politics has often been called the art of compromise. However, far right legislators in the House and the Senate have decided that ideology matters more than anything else. Sen. Tommy Tuberville has blocked military promotions because he does not want the military to allow female servicepeople to have access to abortions, which has affected the country’s military readiness. Sen. J.D. Vance has blocked all nominations to the Justice Department because he opposes its inquiries into former Pres. Donald Trump’s alleged involvement in the January 6 riots and because he thinks the Justice Department is protecting Hunter Biden.
A larger group of House Republicans is holding the country hostage by blocking negotiations on the 2024 federal budget. They view themselves as protectors of working class American values. They want the IRS to shrink. They demand the cessation of support for the defense of Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression. They want impeachment hearings on President Biden. Perhaps most important, they want to reduce government spending on social programs.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who is himself a Republican, has accused these legislators of wanting to “burn the whole place down.” Instead of working with people within their own party, they would rather try to get the government to bend to their will rather than work for a common good–unless you agree that their views actually represent a “common good,” which would put you in a statistical minority.
I suppose at the very least, their actions resurrect one of the oldest political questions: what, precisely, do we want a government to do?