There is great concern for the mental health of the GOP. There are now approximately 187 candidates for the Presidential nomination and people are still coming out of the woodwork. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the most recent one. But, like a tree falling in an empty forest, no one heard about it.
Among this cacophony of candidates, each one is more desperate than the other to be heard above the wind tunnel that is the mouth of The Donald. Mike Huckabee’s insensitive comment comparing the Iran nuclear deal to the Holocaust? It’s indefensible, but who cares, it got him TV time — morning TV time — so it was worth it. South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham learned all about You Tube and posted a video showing how to destroy a cell phone after The Donald gave out his private number during a speech in Graham’s home state. Last week, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul literally took a chainsaw to stacks of paper that represents, he said, the current tax code. Anything to trump Trump.
It’s all very amusing and it’s all wildly un-Presidential. And while so many candidates would have meant these kinds of ridiculous stunts and outrageous statements anyway, the situation has been made worse ever since The Donald’s brilliantly funny entrance down the escalator at the Grand Prospect Hall — I mean Trump Tower — to announce his candidacy. It’s 16 months until the election, and while The Donald rides high in the polls, our summer romance is bound to end like Danny and Sandy in Grease.
Back in the grind of Washington, bills keep coming up for votes and the one that should have had no problem getting passed was H.R. 5021: Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014. Anyone who has traveled locally or interstate knows that our highways and bridges are crumbling. But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated that the House will not consider the Senate version of the bill, which has a deadline of this Friday — tomorrow. If there’s no agreement and H.R. 5021 doesn’t pass, states will lose money for highway and transit projects immediately. In the middle of the summer construction season.
Apparently, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, yet another GOP noisemaker who sees himself running this country (even though he’s Canadian) whined that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lied to him about a vote on the Import-Export Bank, which conservatives hate, which led to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the body’s longest-serving Republican, calling him out for acting like a child:
The divisions within the GOP are growing and will only damage the party for the foreseeable future. Young turks like Cruz, Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio couldn’t care less about toeing the party line. They aren’t beholden to the D.C. Establishment and, like unruly children, will not do what they’re told. Which will tear their family apart.
It’s not just bad behavior and the desperation for face-time on Good Morning America and Fox & Friends that hurts their cause. It’s the proud negation of science, with most or maybe even all GOP Presidential candidates refusing to believe in climate change. Whether they truly don’t believe that man impacts the environment or are so deep into the pockets of the energy companies that they say they don’t but really do, the GOP as a whole scoffs at science. The issue of climate change is more critical than simply the rise of sea levels; it’s a national security issue. According to a Council on Foreign Relations report:
Domestically, the effects of climate change could overwhelm disaster-response capabilities. Internationally, climate change may cause humanitarian disasters, contribute to political violence, and undermine weak governments.
Take an hour and read through the report; it’s quite an eye-opener. But the GOP would rather tell you that the Earth is experiencing a natural climate change (remember the record snow last winter), so what’s the big deal? Here is a handy guide to help you talk with a Republican candidate (or Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe) the next time you run into one.
The last two election cycles have brought the most severe right turns ever in the Republican Party — yes, even for them. The GOP’s patron saint, the name dropped from every wannabe President’s lips, Ronald Reagan, would have been tossed out of the party and labeled a RINO by today’s standards. Today’s GOP cannot have enough guns. Today’s GOP can never have enough forced pregnancies — even (or especially) if the women were raped. Today’s GOP is obsessed with defunding Planned Parenthood, and the Republican Party’s basic lack of understanding of what this organization does will result in less family planning, which will result in more unwanted pregnancies, which will result in more abortions, the very thing Republicans claim not to want. No opinion is too extreme in the GOP. No policy can restrict women’s reproductive options enough. No law can allow or encourage enough discrimination based on “religious beliefs.” No union may survive the grandstanding of certain governors.
Today’s GOP is far beyond reasonable people and rationality, far beyond something moderate and slightly center-right socially and fiscally, as in the Reagan era. I was no fan of St. Ronnie’s, but the day when politicians with opposing views could put aside stringent ideology and work towards common ground are long over. The rise of the Tea Party, the shrill nastiness of Sarah Palin — it opened the doors for the kind of rude, boorish discourse we’re seeing now. It also opened a gold-plated door into which now walks a reality TV star with numerous failed marriages and bankruptcies leading the Republican pack for President by double digits in national polls. The Donald: viable candidate for the GOP nomination? That’s what we as a nation may well have wrought. As many pundits have stated, the odds of The Donald actually getting the nomination are as good as Trump using an insult other than “He’s a loser!” The rest of the GOP should consider this a lesson: If they want to keep losing the White House and maybe the Senate, let them keep doing what they’re doing and saying what they’re saying.
But here’s the problem. We’ll keep watching and listening.