(Cartoon by Dave Whamond Cagle.com)

The meteoric fall of Liz Truss’ tax cutting immigrant bashing Prime Ministry in England should serve as a warning to conservative populists every where opines Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post

“Truss’s announced departure after just 45 days apparently marks the shortest residence ever at 10 Downing Street. She made so many mistakes in so little time that it’s hard to list them all. But the most needlessly self-destructive was trying to impose simplistic right-wing economic policies that work only in theory, never in practice.

To a nation suffering through 10.1 percent inflation, alarmed by the war in Ukraine, worried about energy shortages this winter and struggling with myriad disruptions caused by Brexit, Truss offered massive tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations. Her brief tenure should be remembered as the hyphenate premiership: all-in on supply-side, laissez-faire, trickle-down economics…

…When you hear Republicans in this country say “secure the border” or “crack down on crime” or “America first,” keep in mind how easy it is to write a bumper sticker and how hard it is to actually govern in a complex, interconnected world. GOP leaders, pay attention: Britain’s Conservatives have pandered their way into ruin.”

Brian Kylaas, at The Atlantic agrees with Robinson as to the causes of Truss’ dismemberment, but seems less sure that American Democracy is suited to immediately punishing a fumbling, bumbling national leader, and that its market’s capacity to tolerate and ignore future debt caused by tax cuts to the rich, as well as the conservative minority electorate’s unwillingness to punish any transgressions by its leaders as long as they reflect perfectly their own hatred for the other, will prevent Republicans, if they do indeed seize legislative power in November, from suffering any consequence for their wrongheaded policies… at least for two long years.

“In just 44 days, Prime Minister Liz Truss tanked the British economy, crashed the value of the pound, prompted a major bailout by the Bank of England, then resigned. When she leaves office next Friday, she will be, by far, the shortest-serving prime minister in British history. It isn’t even close. The previous record holder, George Canning, lasted 119 days and had a rather good excuse for his temporary tenure: He collapsed and died in 1827 while in office. Truss was just incompetent…

… As an American living in the United Kingdom, I am tempted to marvel at the disarray and breathe a sigh of relief: In the transatlantic political sweepstakes deciding which political system is more broken, Britain has, at least briefly, retaken the lead from the United States. But a victory lap would be misplaced. When you juxtapose the events of the past 44 days in Westminster with the past six years in Washington, it’s clear that America’s democratic dysfunction is far worse.

Paradoxically, Truss’s downfall shows that British democracy is still working. Polarization is so toxic in the U.S. that Trump never dipped below about 35 percent approval, no matter what he did. Truss, who was incompetent but far less dangerous, saw her approval ratings flirt with single digits before she was forced out. Her political party and political base turned on her…

… Democracy relies on a two-way street of responsiveness. Governments act, citizens react, then governments adjust, and the cycle repeats. Unlike in dictatorships, the evolving views of the public are supposed to be considered not just to win elections, but between elections. Without that back-and-forth between the citizenry and their representatives in power, there can be no political accountability, and government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” becomes merely a comforting myth.”

Both Robinson and Klaas have written excellent pieces on the Truss Government’s fall and I recommend reading both.

While I wish Robinson’s opinion would be wisely considered by American Conservatives (ha-ha) I fear that the last 6 years have only confirmed in them Klaas’ assessment that they can burn the United States to its foundation, strip away Social Security and Medicare, while presiding over economic catastrophe, and not lose any significant portion of their base as long as they parrot Tucker Carlson’s racism back to them and continue to pray to the false idol of supply side economics.

So far the American economy, unlike England’s, has proven resilient enough to withstand massive increases to the National Debt caused by Republican’s tax cutting fetishism.

But one day it will not.

And there simply is no mechanism in our polarized Democracy for immediately dealing with that catastrophe when it comes.

Failure in American politics has the shelf life of canned sardines, not lettuce.

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  1. Don’t give a shit because for what we’re up against with the GOP in three weeks, it don’t matter. I will say that it’s quite the accomplishment to get a UNANIMOUS vote out of THIS House to condemn Truss’ bonehead moves on the British economy.

  2. Unfortunately, “conservative populists” wouldn’t be chastened if God Herself came on Fox News to announce that they would all be dragged to hell tomorrow….

  3. Klaas makes a couple of good points but he seriously overlooks one VERY key difference: How a Prime Minister is chosen.

    Truss was NEVER *elected* to be the Prime Minister (no Prime Minister is elected to that position–it doesn’t actually exist under the legal framework of the United Kingdom; it’s officially an extension of the Monarchy since the PM must be formally appointed as to the post by the King or Queen). She was elected to be a Member of Parliament and members of the Conservative Party elected her to be the Party’s leader and that combination allowed her to take over from Johnson (with Queen Elizabeth’s FORMAL appointment). There’s only been one time in America’s history where we’ve had a President who was never duly elected by the American people or the Electoral College: Gerald Ford who was nominated by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew who’d resigned and when Nixon resigned the Presidency, Ford was elevated to the Presidency courtesy of the 25th Amendment (his last previous election had been in 1972 when he was reelected to the US House from Michigan and he became VP in 1973 with the votes of 479 members of Congress–387 members of the House and 92 members of the Senate).

    But every regular presidential election goes through the primary process (in its current form beginning in 1976–there had been primaries before then but only about a quarter of the states actually participated) during which the candidates are whittled down but with the participation of the general public (at least those who get out and vote) who actually vote for a slate of delegates who are pledged to a particular candidate but most of the time it basically means when you vote for “John Doe,” you also have to vote from a group of people who’ll go to the convention and support John Doe; each state is given a number of delegates and some candidates will have more people “running” to be the delegates for their candidate than are allowed and some candidates won’t have enough people “running” to be the delegates for that candidate (let’s say your state has 105 total delegates and the state has 15 House districts, that means each district will have 7 delegate slots; John Doe is a regional favorite so he’s got 28 people running while Tom Swift is less popular and only has 11 people running and Maria Valdez has only managed to attract 6 people to pledge their support for her; when the district’s vote is counted, Doe ends up with 5 delegates, Swift gets 1 and Valdez gets 1). While not everyone is going to be happy with how the Party Convention turns out, they do usually turn out to support their candidate in the general election in which EVERYONE gets the chance to vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice and, in most states, whoever wins the majority of the state’s vote gets all the electors in the Electoral College vote. For all the “inequalities” of the Electoral College, at least we the people do get the chance to vote FOR the President, rather than the way it works in the UK where the President would effectively be selected only by the members of the Party at their convention and then that person would be elected to the House of Representatives and have to form a government IF their party had a majority of seats in the House. (For what it’s worth, other nonmonarchial countries operating under a Parliamentary system do elect Presidents but they have far less power than the US President does. It’s a bit ironic that Trump would have been a better President of a country like Italy or Germany or Israel because he would’ve only had to deal with largely ceremonial tasks rather than any actual “governing.” I mean, other than die-hard international political junkies, who knows who the Presidents of Italy, Germany and Israel are? Those countries’ Prime Ministers are widely known because THEY have the actual power in government.)

    • I was an undergrad at UNCCH when Nixon ended college deferment & tried to send us to his war. Then he got kicked out for a LOT LESS than the orange bobble head. Dick Gregory came to speak and said the following: you now have a president and a vice president in office that NEITHER was elected to. That’s called a coup. Some asshole stood up and started hassling him. He said “nice to see the CIA here.

  4. Please note that the prime minister in the UK is prime minister of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England. It is deeply insulting to those of us who are not English to be called so or to be lumped into the umbrella term England.


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