Since 2000, when George W. Bush, with the help of arch-conservative Republican Chief Justice William Rehnquist and his fellow Republican Justices, stole the Presidency, the Guns Over People party has worked to destroy the America built up by the New Deal concepts put in place after another former Know Nothing President, Republican Herbert Hoover, nearly destroyed it by presiding over the start of the Great Depression.
Here is how they are doing it:
- Foreign Policy. Asleep at the switch on 9/11, W brought us the Patriot Act, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, and the Great Recession. Senator John McCain, the GOP’s Presidential nominee in 2008, continues to talk war, which is not surprising, as every one of his male ancestors since the Revolutionary War has served in the military, and he knows no other way to solve foreign policy problems. Many of his GOP colleagues in Congress also favor this simplistic approach to solving the world’s problems. It also helps out their defense contractor supporters, such as Halliburton.
- Women’s rights. The Grumpy Old People’s party has consistently tromped on the rights of our female citizens, urging that a woman’s freedom to choose whether or not to give birth to a baby, in some states even if put into her body as a result of rape or incest, should not be allowed. The GOP, so interested in keeping the government out of the lives of American citizens, wants the government to intrude brutally into the lives of its female citizens by denying them the right to have an abortion if they so choose. Some incredibly even believe that life begins at fertilization of the egg by a sperm. And contraception? Forget about it. My comment: I am not a Catholic or a fundamentalist Protestant, so what right does the GOP have to impose Catholic or fundamentalist Christian religious beliefs against abortion on me and my family? It is none of their business.
- Voting rights. It is clear that the GOP, failing to attract minority voters, young people, gays and many women to their party in five of the last six Presidential elections, have seized upon a strategy of denying the right to vote to many American citizens who have not supported their party in recent elections. Have they no shame?
- Guns. Oblivious to the recent escalation in gun violence in American cities and the mass shootings of schoolchildren, theatergoers, and even a member of Congress by people who are mentally ill, the Guns Over People party refuses to shake the NRA’s iron grip on their party and do the right thing and enact laws requiring universal registration of gun ownership, or banning assault weapons and large volume clips, even though a strong majority of American citizens want these laws. What will it take, another shooting up of the halls of Congress as happened in the early 1950s by Puerto Rican separatists to get this done?
- Immigration. Another tactic to deny voting rights (by denying the vote to future citizens who likely would vote Democratic) by the GOP, it also would leave 12 million illegal U.S. immigrants in a stateless condition with no recourse except “self-deportation”, as Mitt Romney puts it. And guess how the American-born children of illegal immigrants who are deported are going to vote in future elections?
- Taxes. “No new taxes” say the fat cat Republicans, who recognize the widening nature of the deficit, but in the past have refused even to allow 10% of the deficit reduction effort to come from new taxes. The Grand Old Party has clearly been captured by the top 1% of earners, even though many of their core voters are in the 47% that Mitt Romney ridiculed (older people, military personnel and veterans, and Southerners).
- Obstruction. Since the Wall Street reform laws have been enacted, the GOP has strenuously been trying to delay the finality of the rules implementing these laws, with the aide of their Wall Street allies, and they have tried to prevent the appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The NLRB does not have a functioning quorum, and has not for over five years, due to the Republican refusal to allow votes on Presidential appointees to fill the present vacancies on the NLRB (President Obama has made recess appointments, but these are being attacked in court). Many of President Obama’s judicial nominations to the federal district and appellate courts have been obstructed by the GOP, including three seats on the important Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
- The NSA and Eavesdropping. 9/11 and the Patriot Act led to the vast increase in the NSA’s eavesdropping of the world’s electronic transmissions, much of which has apparently been blessed by the secret FISA court. It has just been revealed that of the 11 justices on this court, all appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts, a Republican, ten are also Republicans. The FISA court looks suspiciously like a rubber stamp, as no request for such eavesdropping has been denied in recent years (although one recent request was withdrawn, apparently after an 86 page opinion, still secret, was written finding that the proposed NSA action was unconstitutional).
- Obamacare. If the Republicans had their way, 50 million or so American citizens would be denied healthcare for the foreseeable future – children and young people, older people not yet on Medicare, poor people not on Medicaid, and many others. They have no answer to this problem, just—silence.
- The Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is grossly out of balance and out of step with the American people. Six justices are Catholics, and three are Jewish, with no Protestants or members of any other religion or sect on the Court. There are four extremely conservative appointees of Republican Presidents – Scalia (Reagan), Thomas (Bush I), Alito (Bush II) and Chief Justice Roberts (Bush II), and four liberal Justices – Ginsberg (Clinton), Breyer (Clinton), Sotomayor (Obama), and Kagan (Obama). Justice Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, is the swing justice, voting with either block at different times to create 5-4 majorities one way or the other. It is destructive of our democracy for important decisions to be repeatedly decided in this manner – by the vote of one Supreme Court Justice. Chief Justice Roberts is a doctrinaire, hard core conservative: an acquaintance of mine, whose child was in a kindergarten class with Chief Justice Robert’s child, had a casual conversation with him at their children’s school, and came away with a feeling that Roberts was extremely conservative, larding his comments with anti-liberal statements, even before he found out that Roberts was leading the highest court in the land.
- Infrastructure. As part of its plan to “starve the beast” (shrink the federal government), the GOP has worked to deny funds to rebuild the country’s infrastructure – repair bridges, add high sped rail, redevelop inner cities in the rust belt, save core businesses such as the auto industry, etc. The stimulus package of the early Obama Administration helped alleviate this problem somewhat, but much more is needed. And the ridiculous effort of the House Republicans to hold the debt ceiling hostage to their right wing agenda led directly to the downgrading of the American credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, costing the country many billions of dollars.
- Citizen’s United. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in 2010 to allow corporations to be treated as “persons” for the purpose of making campaign donations in unlimited amounts could ultimately be destructive of democracy. It is another example of the Republican majority on the Supreme Court destroying the meaning of the Constitution and the long standing laws interpreting it, in order to benefit Republican candidates. This effort did not work in the 2012 Presidential election, but could very well be determinative in the future, unless the Citizens United decision is changed by the “Move to Amend” effort, by enactment of new laws by Congress, or by changes on the Supreme Court brought about by death or retirement.
- Congressional Disfunction. With sixty or so members of the so-called “Tea Party” also members of the House Republican caucus, it is becoming clear that the loyalty of these Tea Party members is not to the good of the United States of America but to the Tea Party agenda. They want to shrink the federal government at all costs, and if it destroys it in the process, it is not their concern. All they care about is not being “primaried” on the right by candidates even more conservative than they are. A recent study ranked Members of Congress over the years on a 1-100 scale, with 0 being 100% liberal and 100 being 100% conservative. In 1980, Congressional Republicans got a 31% rating; last year they got a 48% rating (Paul Ryan got a 55% rating; Mitt Romney a 48%.) Another study found that the Republicans in Congress today are more conservative than at any time in 133 years, since 1879; the most conservative Democrat in Congress is more liberal than the most liberal Republican in Congress. There are very few moderates in Congress, where most American voters are. It is total disfunction, and consensus is increasingly rare.
Solution to the Problem
There may be none, at least until the next Presidential election in over three years. The 2014 Congressional election will see the gerrymandered House little changed, and there are considerably more Democratic Senators up for re-election than Republican Senators, and many of these Democrats are in traditionally “red ” states. It is conceivable that the next Congress could have a Republican majority in both houses, and that President Obama would spend much of the last two years of his second term vetoing crazy legislation sent up to him by the Republican Congress (at least those bills not filibustered to death by the now-minority Democrats in the Senate). An effort to impeach President Obama for not being born in the U.S.? Why not – the Republicans in the next Congress might be crazy enough to try this.
But there is hope – in 2016. That year, there will be 24 Republican Senators up for reelection, and only 10 Democrats, and Hillary might be running against…Senator Ted Cruz? Senator Rand Paul? Congressman Paul Ryan? Newt Gingrich again? Michele Bachmann again? Rick Perry again? Pick your right wing nut who won’t appeal to the mainstream American voter.
Tuesday, 9 July 2013