Thursday, October 01, 2015

How the GOP leadership is failing America ... by gimleteye

By accounts of colleagues, Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is a politician in the Lyndon Johnson mold: a man who sees Congress as a schoolroom in which to excel as most popular, congenial, and persuasive on a path through the speaker of the House. Johnson, though, never went into a fight leading with his chin like Congressman McCarthy did on Fox News, saying: "Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, what are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping, why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened."

The misuse of Congressional investigations to pursue strictly partisan goals is also on display with the GOP fabrication of evidence against Planned Parenthood. The GOP leadership goal is to re-ignite the Culture Wars to animate their base for the 2016 election cycle. The Benghazi inquisition proceeded along a similar track.

Overtaking the US consulate at Benghazi and murdering of a U.S. ambassador was tragic. Yet the Republican attack against the former Secretary of State is blind to the party's own culpability; it was a Republican president who launched war against Iraq under false pretenses and a Republican majority in Congress that used the federal budget to throttle state department appropriations to such an extent that security details at consulate offices failed the test of a terrorist attack.

Republican leadership frames the Benghazi tragedy as an Obama failure and alleges a "coverup" by the state department, but Republicans lead in cutting security forces protecting State Department personnel around the world. "In fiscal year 2011, lawmakers shaved $128 million off of the administration's request for embassy security funding. House Republicans drained off even more funds in fiscal year 2012 -- cutting back on the department's request by $331 million." ("Jason Chaffetz Admits House GOP Cut Funding For Embassy Security: 'You Have To Prioritize Things', HuffPo, Oct. 10, 2012)

Representative McCarthy, soon to be third in line to the presidency if elected speaker of the House, wasn't stretching the truth in his boast to Fox News. What he did do was to demonstrate how partisan hackery, 30 plus years into the Culture Wars, has grown so powerful it has whittled down both the potential for democracy around the world and for U.S. leadership. By comparison, Lyndon Johnson had many faults but reaching across the aisle, animated by a larger vision than partisanship, was not one of them.

GOP extremists have taken full hold of the notion that "government is the problem, not the solution". The absence of diversity with GOP leadership ranks creates an echo chamber where dissent has no place and can't point out errors of judgment that have the unintended effect of erasing common sense. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, for example, in his latest position on global warming is willing to have the United States walk away from governmental interventions because "we are not a planet". The same party that plunged the United States into Iraq, then planned using the free market to liberate a dictatorship, inflicted at least $3 trillion and American blood is now advocating that we do the same in Syria. In 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "... suggested the war's total cost would be "something under $50 billion." And the U.S., he added, would share that bill with its allies." (Time, Jan. 1, 2015)

These are global emergencies: climate change will disrupt our national security, Syria has turned into such an apocalyptic landscape that citizens numbering in the millions are rushing out of its borders, threatening the stability of the European economic union and our own national security.

If fealty to the goal of limited government -- strangling budgets to shrink government to the size it can fit and be drowned in a bathtub -- is the litmus test of Republican leadership, how do these caretakers of "government-designed-to-fail" protect the American people?

Maybe their answer is to put business in charge. There is nothing, in the GOP world, that government can do that business can't do better. But Republican leadership tried that in Iraq: "Ten years after it began, the Iraq war might best be remembered as America's most privatized military engagement to date, with contractors hired by the Pentagon actually outnumbering troops on the ground at various points. This might come as a surprise to many, since the sheer number of contractors used in Iraq was often overshadowed by events. By 2008, the US Department of Defense employed 155,826 private contractors in Iraq - and 152,275 troops. This degree of privatization is unprecedented in modern warfare." ("A lesson from Iraq war: How to outsource war to private contractors", Christian Science Monitor, March 19, 2013)

While the American people show a near revulsion to Congress -- with disapproval ratings over 75% -- it is paradoxical that Republican voters keep returning the same partisans to office.

If crippling government is a deliberate strategy, what is plan B? Gridlock is a favorable result to Republican leadership that nonetheless asserts; if only Democrats caved on free choice for women, allowed every American to walk the streets with a loaded weapon, or otherwise constructed big, beautiful walls to keep out the reality of immigration, that somehow once the culture is homogenized to these preferences that the United States will then materialize as a world power capable of meeting Russia, ISIS, sexual diversity and rising seas head-on.

It is time for sensible conservatives to split from the Republican party. That much, Representative Kevin McCarthy's recent statement on the use of Congress to thwart Hillary Clinton made clear.


Anonymous said...

Planned Parenthood was founded by Sanger, with the purpose of decimating minorities, primarily African-Americans. Most of their "clinics" are in minority neighborhoods. Racism is the shadow behind this monstrous organization and those who support it are pretending to be progressives when in fact they are "closet"" racists. Stop murdering Black children!

Anonymous said...

The Teamsters have halted their support of Hillary. They are asking to meet with Trump. The Teamsters Union has always supported the Democratic Party with the exception of 1980, when they supported Ronald Reagan.

Anonymous said...

Where does this reasoning come from?

Planned Parenthood is doing its job - helping people plan for parenthood not be forced into it. Nobody is murdering black children -- except maybe those making laws that refuse to help feed, clothe, house, educate and care for BORN children. PP is helping mostly low income women stay healthy and choose WHEN to have children. We should all applaud this!