Have Republicans lost all sense of what their responsibilities are as public servants within a representative form of government? Apparently the crazies on the extreme right think they can simply thumb their nose at the office of the presidency without realizing that their actions will diminish not only the office of the Executive branch but the GOP’s credibility as a viable Party.
We are perhaps all now familiar with the fact that the Republican leadership in the Senate has vowed not to even consider a nominee by the president to fill the deceased Antonin Scalia’s position on the Supreme Court. But probably even less known is the fact that Republican chairmen of the budget committees in Congress have announced that “they would not even hold hearings with the White House budget director” to discuss the President’s recently released budget for the new fiscal year.
The NYTimes editorial staff have rightly stated that this “decision is more than a break with tradition. It is a new low in Republican efforts to show disdain for Mr. Obama, which disrespects the presidency and, in the process, suffocates debate and impairs governing.”
This is on top of the disparaging comments by uber-conservative politicians like those in my home state of Texas who trash the President every chance they get. A recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center noted how people like Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott “fuel the rise of hate groups in the United States” with their “extreme political rhetoric.” And who can forget Georgia congressman Joe Wilson’s lack of decorum when he called Obama a liar during his publicly televised 2009 State of the Union speech.
Historian David Kaiser has suggested that the “white working class … [has] gone Republican …. because they don’t think the Democrats care about straight white males anymore”. But it’s clear that these “straight white males” don’t think the conventional leadership in the GOP is going far enough to feel their pain either. This is understandable when the GOP’s efforts that deregulated the free market and its devotion to trickle down economics contributed to the economic stress many whites are feeling today following the collapse of our economy in 2008.
This is the demographic that Donald Trump has tapped into and as David Frum notes in his Atlantic article, “they … strongly feel that life in this country used to be better for people like them—and they want that older country back.” It appears then that a black president who is seen by many middle class whites as representing more the non-white socio-economic groups is a logical target for their frustrations. But out of this misguided anger there has evolved a darker side to this movement that threatens the stability that has allowed this country to prosper for over two centuries.
It is this white outrage that forces the political leaders within the GOP to react in unconventional belligerent ways to appease a voting bloc they feel they need to survive. A point that was starkly brought home recently by Senator Lindsey Graham when he warned the party that the shrinking numbers of angry white men were hurting the GOP’s chances of “stay[ing] in business for the long term.”
The political gridlock that has developed since Obama’s election in 2008 has reached a state that puts our country on the brink of chaos and should that ever occur it will undoubtedly have negative ramifications around the world. The rule of law could then easily be replaced by dictatorships in an attempt to restore some semblance of order.
This is not a willy-nilly notion. Unstable governments have throughout history led to social disorder and been replaced with tribal authorities who fought each other along ideological lines. This pretty much reflected conditions in the West following the fall of the Roman Empire and the later centuries known dismally as the Dark Ages.
I know that many who talk of “revolution” in Jeffersonian style think that such an upheaval will restore America to greatness but the outcome is more likely to create a fractured American society. Such parochial divisions will ultimately put us at peril with just about any other country that is more united and has a military force equivalent to that of a North Korea or an Iran.
America evolved from a confederacy following our victory over King George III. The Constitutional framers saw the hazards of such a state. Taking back America to this condition is a poor strategy if that is indeed what those who cheer the GOP on hope for in their abandonment of all reason.
One can only hope that before we reach this state that those who continually vote politics over policy, ideology over established traditions and my-way-or-the-highway approach to governance will come to their senses before we reach the point of no return.