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This diary will be short.

If a group of people threatened to destroy the US economy unless they got what they want, what would we call them?  Most likely we'd refer to them as terrorists.  We certainly referred to al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization for destroying the World Trade Center towers; not just for the physical destruction and death, but also for striking a blow at the economic well-being of the country.

The Republicans in the House have said that they will shut down the government unless they get what they want: defunding the Affordable Care Act, which is tantamount to repealing it (presumably they would never fund it, so it could never go into effect).  They have further threatened to renege on the country's debt -- place the country in default -- unless they get further bits and pieces of their agenda.  This will not just affect our country; due to the interdependence of the world's economies, it will greatly harm the entire world.

Either of these actions alone would have a disastrous effect on the economy, which fact they clearly recognize -- they have stated as much.  Both would be far worse, which they also fully comprehend.  Other than the lack of physical destruction (which will eventually happen if our infrastructure is allowed to go without maintenance), this isn't any different (except in the much vaster scale) from a physical attack on our country.  The intent, though, is exactly the same: to achieve their goals by creating fear in the hearts of others.

I doubt my Republican friends will greatly appreciate my use of a word that has traditionally been used for those who create fear by means of physical destruction and death for members of their own party.  But I think it's time to call members of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives what they are.


3:09 PM PT: To be clear: when I refer to "terrorism", I am referring specifically to threats to shut the government down or default on our payments.  I am not referring to policy disagreements, or even endless attempts to repeal the ACA.  Those are legitimate expressions of political disagreement.

6:08 PM PT: I've changed the title to further try to clarify that my issue is with the specific actions of threatening to shut down government and not raise the debt ceiling.  While I don't care for what the Republicans have otherwise done, such as endless attempts to repeal the ACA, I do not consider those to be terror tactics.

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Comment Preferences

  •  They are terrorists (11+ / 0-)

    economic suicide bombers in the service of the cult of greed and oligarchy instead of Jihad.

    The Republican Party, and Movement Conservatism itself, will kill and injure more innocent Americans than Al Qaida could ever dream of.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:13:15 PM PDT

  •  Republicans want you dead (10+ / 0-)

    Terrorists want you dead.

    Terrorists can't sabotage the healthcare system nearly as well as the GOP.

    Terrorists would LOVE to destroy the US economy - the GOP has done that.

    I can go on but who cares? it's not 'being nice' so it gets overlooked.

  •  Well said. (2+ / 0-)

    So many books--so little time. Economic Left/Right -7.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -6.97

    by Louisiana 1976 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:23:26 PM PDT

  •  I'd prefer fanatics (6+ / 0-)

    But whatever term you use, they're bad news.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:23:58 PM PDT

    •  Finally got to see World War Z....those zombies (0+ / 0-)

      reminded of the whigs....Only these clowns are not multiplying......They're dying.

    •  More than just fanatics (6+ / 0-)

      Fanatic merely implies obsession.  When it spills over into action that is intended to cause pain and fear in others, it crosses over into terrorism.

      Fanatics might hold signs on overpasses, or march, or write endless letters to the editor.  This is more than that; it's specifically intended to cause fear and hurt in others as a means to an end.

      •  Here's the more specific difference (3+ / 0-)

        The Republicans in the House have taken endless votes to repeal the ACA.  That, in and of itself, is indicative of fanaticism.  It is not an act of terror, though, because it is not threatening harm.

        Threatening to shut down the government and destroy its credit if they do not get their way is where it crosses over.

      •  Terrorists is too over the top (0+ / 0-)

        I don't see a poltical advantage by interjecting "terrorist" into the debate.  Our foes will turn this argument on it's head, and accuse us of not knowing the difference between murdering jihadists and political manuevering.

        I know it's frustrating to watch the Rethugs hold our party, our movement and our country over a barrel on this issue, but to publicly express it in the way you did doesn't help our cause, it can only serve to hurt it.

        Dont Mourn, Organize !#konisurrender

        by cks175 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:48:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Assad can kill people quickly with chemical (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RockyMtnLib, Kit RMP, Calamity Jean

          weapons.  The GOP can kill people by withholding their well needed food stamps.  What are our children, seniors, the disabled now expected to do....have one day a week they don't eat.  Reminds me of people in 3rd world.  I call the GOP terrorists.  Today during meditation the same thought came to me.  What the GOP is doing is actual terrorism.  You certainly don't negotiate with terrorists.

    •  A "revolutionary power" (7+ / 0-)

      That's what Paul Krugman called them in his book The Great Unraveling more than a decade ago. He recalled this on Wednesday:

      A decade ago, in the introduction to my collection The Great Unraveling, I argued that the modern Republican party was a “revolutionary power” in the sense once defined by, of all people, Henry Kissinger — a power that no longer accepted any of the norms of politics as usual, that was willing not just to take radical positions but to act in ways that undermined the whole system of governance people thought they understood.

      At the time, I got a lot of grief for being so “shrill”. The accepted thing was to criticize both sides equally, to balance each column saying mean things about Republicans with another attacking Democrats, to insist that any signs of a dysfunctional political system rested on equal degrees of intransigence on both sides.

      So, now we face the imminent threat of a government shutdown and/or a U.S. government default because Republicans refuse to accept the notion that duly enacted legislation should be allowed to go into effect, and repealed only through constitutional means. Oh, and the cause for which most of the GOP is willing to threaten chaos is the noble endeavor of ensuring that tens of millions of Americans continue to lack essential health care.

      Hmm. Maybe I was right? Nah. GOP craziness may now be obvious, but recognizing it too early still brands you as unreliable and partisan.

      "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

      by Demi Moaned on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 02:37:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Extortionists or even Anarchists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Rosalie907
    •  You are on the right track (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kit RMP

      IMHO the name that we all should use to describe the so-called Tea Party Republicans who are blocking everything in the House of Representatives is POLITICAL ANARCHISTS. The traditional Anarchist seeks to destroy government by any means possible, so it is necessary to narrow the scope of the expected field of the anarchist to the exclusive realm of politics. This means  no physical explosives will be detonated to destroy some component of the government as would be the case for the traditional anarchist. However the POLITICAL ANARCHIST will use all political means within his/her power to destroy the same component of the government.

      It is foolish and ignorant to expect that some form of reason will eventually find a home in the hearts of POLITICAL ANARCHISTS, and likewise for any offering that could be deemed a proper compromise.

      Trying to negotiate with a POLITICAL ANARCHIST is rather like trying to convince an rabid arsonist (standing there with a can of gasoline in his hand) hell bent on burning the house down to the ground -  that it would be so much more reasonable to sand off the old peeling paint on the outside of the house before  the house is repainted.

      I don't have the time and space to go into the Anarchist side of American Libertarianism which I believe provides ample support for such a designation of POLITICAL ANARCHIST. However a small amount of research will disclose and enlighten one to the curious viewpoints on various issues held  by many Libertarian Political Anarchists.

      It was Reagan who created the concept that there was harmony between the viewpoints contained in traditional Republican fiscal conservatism and the Libertarian goal of eliminating government. Under Reagan these two ideologies were merged together under the Republican banner of "Small Government", with the inference that "smaller" meant greater efficiency in the operation of the federal government.

      It must be noted that those old Reagan Libertarians have been driven into silence by the latest wave of the most radical Libertarians who are tired of waiting for the Reagan promised "Small government" to finally breath its last, and so they have taken to the halls of Congress to personally "kill the beast" themselves. (They picked the House of Representatives simply because the House controls the purse strings of the federal government and this is where they want the maintain their strangle hold.) Eighty of these people were elected to the House in 2010, many from gerrymanded districts, and it is time the public was introduced to the POLITICAL ANARCHISTS of America.

      •  Actually, no (0+ / 0-)

        Traditional anarchists don't want to "destroy government by any means possible" using explosives and terrorism.

        Traditional anarchists haven't endorsed assassinating political figures for about 100 years, and have been far less violent as a movement than, say, capitalists, Marxists, monarchists, and assorted dictators around the world.

        Anarchists would replace central government with federations of participatory communities, and most are NOT all that keen on violence for violence's sake.

        Basically social anarchism (the most widely followed form) is a form of socialism that uses bottom up, horizontal community organization, rather than a hierarchical top down central government. They don't endorse terrorism, killing innocent people, or wanton violence. Some anarchists during the period from 1880 to 1900 tried a few acts of violence, and the movement rather quickly found that didn't work so well, and denounced the practice.

        So you are mischaracterising such brilliant minds as Chomskey (a social anarchist) with this depiction.

        Anarchism means without authority (an = without, and archo = ruler, authority) which means an egalitarian society with economic and political equality, direct democracy, and community self-management using participatory, horizontal style of bottom up government.

        Anarchism as a term applied to right wing free market zealots has been adopted by some on the right, but traditional anarchists (who predate this usage by more than a hundred years) reject the usage as a contradiction in terms, since even right wing "anarchists" support the authority of the owner class over the working class. It is an oxymoron. There really is no such thing as right wing anarcho-capitalism. It is an Orwellian term that makes no logical sense.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 12:25:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  not anarchists (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DanielMorgan, Calamity Jean, ZhenRen

      They are not really trying to destroy the government. Their real goal is to take it over and manipulate it for the benefit of their overlords.

      If they were trying to destroy it completely, they wouldn't have been so insistent on keeping the farm subsidies, the oil company subsidies, and the heavily-privatized military budget. Oh, and mandating transvaginal ultrasounds and stop-and-frisk and tanks and SWAT teams in every local police department.

      •  That's correct (0+ / 0-)

        Traditional anarchists are left wing, anti-capitalist, and would replace the central government with federations of participatory communities.

        More often than not, people seem to equate anarchism with the right wing, which is a misunderstanding of the history and theory of anarchist thought. Right wing anarchism is an oxymoron.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Sun Sep 22, 2013 at 12:04:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  econoterrorists; "terrorists" is bit too far (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "terrorists" has a specific meaning to most Americans and it usually involves a bunch of dead people.  It's ok to coin a new word or phrase that specifies the economy, but just plain "terrorists" is a bridge too far.  To most people not paying attention, it will help solidify their false equivalency feelings and they'll think the left is as bad as the right.

    •  Well, if it's good enough for Peter King... (5+ / 0-)

      maybe it should be good enough for the rest of us.  Here is King on CNN at the end of July:  

      “There’s no reason to be threatening to bring down the government, let’s make this work, let’s get the spending cuts we need. But American people get turned off with the threat of terror politics.”
      As for a bunch of dead people, if the Republicans tank the economy the suffering and pain that will be felt by America and the world will dwarf the consequences of terrorism.  How many people will die as a result of suicide?  How many others will find themselves imprisoned doing whatever they can to feed their families.  I'm not just be hyperbolic here.  Check the statistics for suicide rates and crime rates in recession's/depression's.  

      I think it is terrorism plain and simple.  If Al Queda could peacefully destroy the American economy we wouldn't be counting our lucky stars that they weren't trying to blow us up anymore.  

      I am the neo-con nightmare, I am a liberal with the facts.

      by bhfrik on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:30:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The end result of GOP policies will be (4+ / 0-)

      people starving and dying from lack of healthcare.

    •  Pollwatcher - that is the problem with Dems. (0+ / 0-)

      They have to watch every word they say.  Can't make the GOP terrorists angry!  So we will be quiet and slink back in our hiding place.

  •  I'm just guessing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty

    that you missed the Nixon/Ford/Reagan/Bush1/Bush2 years when the shoe was on the other foot?

    And Democrats were then "terrorists"?  

    C'mon there are 2 parties for a reason and the Presidential results are damn near close to 51-49 time and time again?

    You can't disagree responsibly and elicit more votes if you just accuse those on the other side of pejoratively being "terrorists"..

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:04:05 PM PDT

    •  When did the Democrats threaten (0+ / 0-)

      to shut everything down, or default on our obligations, if they didn't get their way?

      I'm referring to specific acts.

      •  You need to read more history....n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

        by EdMass on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:21:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Try this for starters (0+ / 0-)

          Nuclear Option

          The maneuver was brought to prominence in 2005 when Majority Leader Bill Frist (Republican of Tennessee) threatened its use to end Democratic-led filibusters of judicial nominees submitted by President George W. Bush. In response to this threat, Democrats threatened to shut down the Senate and prevent consideration of all routine and legislative Senate business. The ultimate confrontation was prevented by the Gang of 14, a group of seven Democratic and seven Republican Senators, all of whom agreed to oppose the nuclear option and oppose filibusters of judicial nominees, except in extraordinary circumstances

          "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

          by EdMass on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:29:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just don't think that reaches the same level (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marty marty

            Had it gotten to the point of not allowing consideration of vital matters, OK.  But it was never anywhere near that specific.

            •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

              And Dems were called "terrorists" for their numerous episodes of "obstruction", when?

              Like I said, a civil political discourse is only possible when one realizes that the opposition is not evil incarnate, only the opposition.

              The goal is to win hearts and minds through better policy and better political rhetoric.  Pejoratives, not so much.

              "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

              by EdMass on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 04:28:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  bush/rove was putting up unqualified hacks (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RockyMtnLib, marty marty

            and fanatics for important jobs

            and now the modern GOP is coming from an alternate reality- they actually believe what the talk radio gods tell them- they're loons.

            defaulting on the debt has very serious implications and many are doing it because they believe limbaugh when he tells them it's no big deal.

            equating the two parties requires immense denial.

            This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

            by certainot on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 05:11:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I hope someone has already spoken up. (0+ / 0-)

    But this is just the type of hate mongering that the diary on the rec list about hate sadly ignored.

    The comment here that GOP is a cancer on America is another illustration.

    When people cannot understand what terrorism is, it is a sad state.

    Has anyone noticed, in their rage against Republicans, what happened in Kenya today?

    The intolerance seen regularly here is no better than the ones you all disparage and ridicule. Just fill in the blanks of your choosing.  

  •  Pete Sessions said the Republicans are terrorists. (0+ / 0-)

    "Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message."  Spoken 03.08/09

  •  Terrorist is too strong (0+ / 0-)

    It already has a connotation of using violence, usually by a weaker actor against a stronger one. What the GOP is doing is threatening economic harm to the whole country to get what it couldn't through regular democratic means. That's more akin to extortion/blackmail but on a grand scale. Pres Obama stated it would change the constitutional relationship between Executive and Legislative branches.
    I think it should be framed as: You don't deliberately threaten to cause harm to your own country to get what you want. It doesn't even make sense because you injure not just your opponent but your supporters equally. I just think using the terrorist frame makes it easier to move the debate to name calling rather than the bottom line of seeking disproportionate power by threat.

    Modern GOP: Birthers and Deathers Teabaggin' in a widestance on astroturf

    by Wrench44 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:09:44 PM PDT

  •  Cartoonist nailed it (0+ / 0-)

    sorry, not sure how to embed the image --

  •  Traitor to the USA while being a Tea Party patriot (0+ / 0-)

    Sounds crazy but we're dealing with crazies.  The TP is patriotic to their own insane agenda.  They are traitors to the USA,  however.
    Here is one definition of 'traitor' : 'a person who is not loyal to his or her own country, friends, etc.'
    Draw your own conclusion.  Terrorist is such a violent term.  The TP are traitors.

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