Banana Republicans

The extreme hard-line attitude of many Republicans has significantly raised the prospects for a national default and rating agency downgrades that would sweep across the nation and many states, causing an economic cataclysm and public outrage unlike anything ever seen in the history of the republic.

If the deficit talks collapse and the house of cards falls, the biggest losers will be Republicans, who almost certainly will lose control of the House.


I have always expected a deal to raise the debt ceiling, but also warned of the danger that World War I-style miscalculations could result in a default that leaders do not want.

Now comes a last-minute proposal dumped by another gang, without major details, in an inflamed and dangerous situation, to radically change America by Aug. 2. This “plan” will not pass in time. It only confuses a gravely dangerous situation.

What brought America to this moment of danger? The Republican Speaker made an offer, accepted by the president, for a grand bargain to deal with the deficit. The Speaker then reneged and opposed his own proposal after it was attacked by the Republican majority leader, who is the voice of the faction I call the Banana Republicans.

The Banana Republicans oppose the very concept of negotiating in good faith. They have certain views far outside the mainstream of traditional Republicanism, and far outside the mainstream of traditional Americanism, which views our nation as a melting pot of diversity, requiring a coming-together of shared purpose.

The Banana Republicans do not want America to come together. They seek domination by their minority faction, destruction of their political enemies and dismemberment of the body politic, which is the source of their extremism and would be the cause of their being blamed for the crash, if it comes.

The Banana Republicans are deeply hostile to the governing values of former President Reagan, who believed deeply in the principle of good-faith negotiation on matters foreign and domestic, and who entrusted brilliantly able people including James Baker, Howard Baker and Ken Duberstein.

The Banana Republicans hold views that are ignorant of economic history and modern finance, including the growing school of (insane) thought that default would be good for America.

The Banana Republicans include many who have only been in government for months and have close to zero experience, sense of history and institutional memory. They believe the great Republican leaders in modern history were wrong, while they always are right. They express contempt for the majority of registered Republicans, who believe a deficit deal must be balanced and fair, a view Banana Republicans hold in contempt.

The Banana Republicans have no idea about the magnitude of public wrath that will befall them if America defaults and rating-agency downgrades ripple through the nation and states and crash bond markets, collapse equity markets, destabilize the world economy and drive joblessness even higher and interest rates through the roof.

Banana Republicans believe the Senate should be destroyed as an institution by the tyranny of the minority. They prevent a Nobel laureate from serving on the Federal Reserve Board. They prevent nominees for the Treasury Department from being confirmed even during a national economic crisis.

If the bough breaks and the cradle falls there will be blame enough, but every poll shows the Banana Republicans are out of touch with the pulse of the nation, which wants a fair and balanced deficit deal.

The Banana Republicans would destroy the American compact of shared sacrifice, shared reward and fair compromise in a nation of shared purpose. If they cause the crash, the voters will conclude that the Democrats are no angels, but will send the Banana Republicans straight to political hell. 

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. and vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at