The world is on fire, but America is stuck with its dysfunctional cult of saboteurs and liars

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Last week the MAGA brats in the U.S. House ousted their Speaker and basically crashed the chamber because that’s what nihilists do, they seek and destroy. But now come the consequences.

A major Middle East crisis has rocked the world, and, for the gang that can’t govern, play time is suddenly over.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, one of the adults in that benighted chamber, said it well when asked on CNN whether he and his colleagues can adequately respond, especially by aiding Israel to the fullest financial extent.

“I look at the world and all the threats that are out there, and what kind of message are we sending to our adversaries when we can’t govern, when we’re dysfunctional, when we don’t even have a Speaker of the House?” McCaul said. “I mean, how does Chairman Xi in China look at this when he says democracy doesn’t work? How does the ayatollah look at this, knowing that we cannot function properly? And I think it sends a terrible message… We’re just in too dangerous of a time right now to be playing games with national security.”

No kidding. But this is what happens when a cult gets a whiff of power. It weakens the country it purports to love, and never more glaringly than when an international crisis flares and the western world looks to us for leadership – ideally, unified bipartisan leadership. Instead, we’re hampered not only by the clowns in the dysfunctional House, but by a pair of clowns on the Senate side – most notably dumb jock Tommy Tuberville, whose blockade of military promotions has left us without a Chief of Naval Operations, a job that seems a tad important right now. There’s also Rand Paul, the Covid conspiracy theorist, who has been blocking a string of ambassadorial appointments – which means that, in this urgent moment, we don’t have a U.S. ambassador to Israel. Or to Egypt, Jordan, or Lebanon.

Nevertheless, cultists have been quite voluble about the breakout of war, taking refuge in lies. The biggest whopper – which you’ve likely heard because it has landed in the mainstream media via relentless cult repetition – is that President Biden funded Hamas’ terrorist attacks. Because he (supposedly) bribed Iran to recently release some American-dual citizen inmates by giving it $6 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars; Iran then (supposedly) gave that money to Hamas, which then (supposedly) used it to finance its terrorist attacks.

All nonsense. The $6 billion wasn’t U.S. tax dollars – it was Iranian oil revenue that the U.S. had frozen. The money didn’t go back to the Iranian government, and, indeed it hasn’t even been released yet –it’s being held by third parties in Qatar, and the U.S. will have a role in overseeing how it’ll be spent. And it’s all earmarked for humanitarian needs like food and medicine.

But the lie is still being recycled because it’s so much easier than actually doing stuff.

There once was a time when both parties worked together in the wake of an international crisis, but today that ethos is as archaic as the videocassette.

Some Republican congressmen seem to understand the urgency of the moment. Rep. Brandon Williams of New York wrote on social media “the nation in the world needs America’s Congress to be functioning,” while fellow New York Rep. Michael Lawler warned “uncertainty and chaos in the U.S. breeds vulnerability around the world.”

It’s clear the most destructive cultists could use a good dose of James Madison.

In the 10th Federalist Paper, the architect of the Constitution lamented that zealots who exploit “human passions” have all too often “divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.” He envisioned that a Congress would quell such passions. It would be “a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”

That would be nice. But, as the late singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith once penned, “If wishes were changes/ We’d all live in roses.”

Copyright 2023 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at [email protected]