Tea Party’s wrecking crew

With several Tea Party-fueled Republican candidates poised to win their elections in two weeks, it might be helpful to take a look at the sorts of things they will be pushing once in office.

• Eliminating Social Security. It used to be that Republicans spoke in code about their desire to eliminate the nation’s most popular social program. They’d talk about “privatization” or (more recently) “personalization.” But this new batch of conservatives is no longer interested in dog-whistle politics — they’re out and proud. “I’m going to tell you what Sen. Feingold and his allies’ next attack against me will be,” Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate Ron Johnson said in a TV ad. “They’re going to tell you I said Washington politicians have run Social Security like a Ponzi scheme. I did say that, and it’s true.”

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• Eliminating the minimum wage. As he himself described it, West Virginia Republican John Raese “made [his] money the old-fashioned way — [he] inherited it.” Now he wants to make sure those who actually work for a living can’t have even the most basic workplace protections. “[The minimum wage] is an archaic system that has never worked,” Raese said. “[It] hasn’t solved any problems in 50 years.” 

• Eliminating unemployment benefits. As Americans struggle to survive in the midst of the worst economic environment since the Great Depression, this pack of Republicans sneers at those out of work and struggling to find new jobs. “We should not be giving people money when they are fit to work and do not find jobs,” said Colorado GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck. “I can tell you a lot of feed lots and dairies, farms around Weld County would happily employ these folks and pay them good money.” Who knew that farms around Weld County had 14-15 million job openings? Joe Miller, the GOP nominee in Alaska, called unemployment benefits unconstitutional, which of course didn’t stop his wife from receiving such benefits herself.

• Eliminating affordable Medicare. “You really need higher deductibles,” Kentucky Senate GOP candidate Rand Paul said in a videotaped campaign stop. “The real answer to Medicare would be a $2,000 deductible.” There are at least nine other times, caught on video, that Paul has made the same argument. In one clip, he even ponders the politics of his plan: “Will I be booted out of the room? I don’t know. I’m willing to take the risk.” Not anymore — he’s now trying to deny he ever supported those $2,000 deductibles.

• Eliminating the IRS. Tea Party conservatives have significantly magnified the GOP’s tax hatred. “My main goal in the Senate will not only be to cut taxes, but to get rid of the IRS, to get rid of this tax code, and replace it with something that’s fair and simple,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), the leader of this new band of conservative insurgents — and possible majority leader, should Republicans capture the Senate this year or in 2012. 

• Eliminating it all. The overriding theme is obvious — if government is involved, and if it’s not the Pentagon, eliminate it. Anything that directly helps Americans is suspect. There is no positive and proactive agenda beyond destruction of our nation’s social net. This is a veritable wrecking crew, convinced that the dismantling of government will lead to a new era of prosperity for all hardworking Americans. These ideologues persist with their irrational hatred of all government as they pine for their Somalia-style libertarian paradise.

As the GOP nominee in Nevada, Sharron Angle, so aptly put it, “Government isn’t what our Founding Fathers put into our Constitution.”

And some of these candidates are actually going to get elected. 

Moulitsas is the founder of Daily Kos and author of American Taliban: How War, Sex, Sin and Power Bind Jihadists and the Radical Right.