Friday, May 17, 2013
Instead, as it rabidly swirls in an intoxicating vortex of Obama administration scandals, the reinvigorated GOP's using all it's fervency and resources on a desperate effort to fully obstruct government, undermine President Obama and perhaps, in its fanatical extreme, impeach him as well. We have not seen the Republican Party this frothy and excited since Barney Frank retired.
The administration's been fighting accusations of government incompetence, overreach and even corruption as the president defends himself from myriad controversies that have unprecedentedly surfaced simultaneously in a perfect shitstorm. They include the Benghazi terror attack of September 11, 2012; the IRS's targeting of the Tea Party and other conservative tax-exempt organizations; and the seizure by the Justice Department of phone logs of Associated Press reporters. Throw in military sexual abuse cases; GOP filibustering of Obama cabinet appointees; and a pitch for cash to private insurers by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to promote ObamaCare...and the Oval Office has more so than ever become a terribly vexing place for the president.
To be sure, Republicans resemble greedy, spoiled-rotten kids in a candy store as they attempt to bring down Obama which, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell boasted three years ago, has been their number-one priority since '08...sparing no amount of time, expense or political cost to the country. There are more Congressional inquiries and investigations than at any time in recent history. There is zero focus on the business of governing, and 100% commitment to doing through partisan witch-hunting what these frustrated, angry losers couldn't do through elections: defeat Obama and Democrats.
It's a very calculated risk the party leadership is taking now, and one which could result in greater obsolescence and irrelevance if it backfires, which it likely will. Which is why House Speaker John Boehner and other key Republicans are reportedly cautioning the party's venomous members against overreaching in its self-serving probes. I suspect Boehner, who already has his eye on the humiliating 9% Republican Congressional approval rating, does not want his legacy to mirror that of late 90's Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was dealt a crushing political blow following the exhaustive, polarizing investigations and impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
The GOP remains stuck in the '50's. They desperately cling to their over-romanticized version of "Mad Men" America, when rich white men ruled the day, when blacks knew their place, Hispanics were household servants, women were barefoot and pregnant, and gays were closeted. A time when it was ok to call a black man "boy," a gay man "fag" and a woman "sweetheart,"...accompanied, of course, by a harmless pinch or slap of the ass.
Despite the country's rapidly shifting demographics and social attitudes--a healthy move towards racial, religious and sexual tolerance--the GOP has boxed itself into a corner. There are patterns they simply cannot break. Ideals they can't divorce from. Rhetoric they can't stop espousing. They just can't help themselves.
Evidenced by the results of the last couple of elections, the GOP, whose voice has been hijacked and whose platform has been dictated by its extreme right-wing Tea Party fringe, has become totally irrelevant. Yes, through fervent intransigence and obstructionism they've been a potent force for President Obama and Democrats to reckon with, and they've successfully thwarted his ability to carry out his agenda. As Senate Minority Leader proclaimed in 2010, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." But it's precisely this toxic partisanship and single-mindedness that's losing them elections and making them obsolete in the long-term. They may be winning some battles, but they're most definitely losing the war.
It's not difficult to imagine a few years from now a political landscape controlled by a Democratic dynasty, where the only Republicans left in office come from states and districts where the small minority of folks who voted for them share their ignorant, intolerant 1950's ideals. And when that day comes the party will have "visionaries" such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Joe Wilson, Sarah Palin and Todd Akin to thank.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
A funny thing happened on the way to the polls in South Carolina Tuesday. Voters in what Gallup cites as the sixth most religious state in the country re-elected Republican Mark Sanford, an Episcopalian, to the congressional seat he held from 1995-2001. If you don't follow politics too closely this wouldn't seem unusual. But this was no ordinary election, and no ordinary victory, because Sanford is the disgraced, nearly impeached, former governor of this apparently amnesic and/or hypocritical state.
For a week during June 2009 Sanford disappeared...about as AWOL as National Guardsman George W. Bush in '72 Alabama. Ostensibly hiking the Appalachian Trail, which is what he told his family, staff and security detail, he was incommunicado for days, even failing to call home on Father's Day. But when he was discovered by a reporter at the airport in Atlanta returning to the U.S. from an overseas flight, the story became a national sensation. Hours later he confessed that he'd in fact flown to Argentina to be with his mistress, María Belén Chapur, in what he characterized as a passionate, loving relationship with his "soul mate"...unlike the many other "line crossings" he had engaged in with other women during his 20-year marriage. The affair was a humiliating blow to his wife Jenny and four young children, and a crushing disappointment to voters.
But it apparently wasn't that upsetting to Sanford's very forgiving constituents, who handed him a 10-point victory against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of television's political satirist Stephen Colbert, in the state's special election. And there's something very troubling about how quickly his abhorrent, deceitful, selfish behavior has been absolved by the very same people who vehemently attack the morals and ethics of President Obama, a deeply religious, faithful family man who, unlike Sanford, lives his life according to the principles they piously embrace, and who doesn't just talk the talk as do hypocrites like Sanford. What's wrong with this picture?
Judging from the outcome of Tuesday's contest, it seems that Sanford, South Carolina's devout citizens and God herself surely work in very mysterious ways.... (Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer, are you listening?)