While I suspect there are earlier instances, for me this ominous change in the Republican party began in the 1970′s.
A June 17, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. and the Nixon administration’s attempted cover-up of its involvement led to a scandal that eventually caused the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The scandal also resulted in the incarceration of 43 persons, many who were Nixon’s top advisers.
The President of the United States participated in a criminal act in order to retain power. It would not be the last time a Republican president was guilty of breaking the rules.
Under the Boland Amendment, funding of the Nicaraguan Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress. However, this did’t stop Ronald Reagan. In order to try and skirt the Boland Amendment, Reagan promised to ship weapons to the Iranians through Israel. In return, the Iranians promised to do everything possible to free the U.S. hostages which were being held in Iran. Once the plan was discovered it became clear this was an arms for hostages deal and a violation of law per the Boland Amendment. Again, the Republican’s decided the rules did not apply to them.
In my home state of Ohio there was a lawsuit brought against the State of Ohio for inadequate school funding which was a violation of Ohio’s constitution. In 1997 DeRolph v. State pitted a group of poor school districts against the state. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered the Republican led General Assembly to make changes. In a brazen move the General Assembly and the governor, George Voinovich, decided to simply ignore the court’s ruling. Another example of the Republicans making up their own rules.
And who can forget President George W. Bush sending General Colin Powell to the U.N., so he could lie about the existence of WMD’s and justify a war of choice against Iraq. This despite the fact that U.N. Inspector Hans Blix had already told us they weren’t there. A fact later confirmed by the U.S. Inspector David Kay.
This leads me to today and the Affordable Care Act. An effort to provide health insurance to an additional 33 million Americans that the Congressional Budget office reports is revenue neutral. It also insures people with preexisting conditions and requires that 80 to 85 percent of every premium dollar be spent on medical care and not administrative costs. Many other health care improvements are part of the Affordable Care Act. So what’s not to like?
In addition, the Republicans have lied repeatedly about the Affordable Care Act. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says there are “death panels.” There is no such thing. Texas Governor Rick “I forgot the third one” Perry calls the Affordable Care Act criminal. This despite the fact it has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Republicans continue to call the act a bill. It’s not, it’s a law.
Since the Republicans cannot change a law, they have tried other means. Since 2010, Republicans have voted 43 times to overturn the Affordable Care Act. They have tried to delay implementation for a year arguing that the Obama administration gave corporations a year to meet the mandate, but will not do the same for individuals. Obama refuses to delay the Affordable Care Act for individuals because it would reduce the number of American’s participating in the program by 11 million. This would cause chaos for the act which is the Republicans goal.
This history of Republicans making up the rules to satisfy their own desires begs a question. Why?
Here goes. I believe it’s because they are scared little chicken shits. That’s right chicken shits. What are they afraid of? Change. They hate it. They don’t understand it. And they can’t deal with it. They prefer an America that move backwards instead of forward. Many would take us back to the 90′s. The 1890′s. They can’t understand why a woman might not want a bunch of old rich white guys deciding how she manages her own reproductive system. They want to legislate the institution of marriage by deciding who is an appropriate partner. After all, the Bible states that man should not lie with man and the Bible is the word of God. This from the same God that believes slavery is not a sin. Moreover, The Constitution which the Republicans purport is the greatest legislative document in the world states there should be a separation between church and state. Again, the Republicans make up there own rules. Their reading of The Constitution as well as the Bible is selective.
Because the Republicans are so afraid of the changes the Affordable Care Act will bring they have decided on a position so stupid even I cannot believe it. They have shut down the government by refusing to pass a government spending budget unless the Affordable Care Act is repealed. It’s hard to fathom that they believe this is a winning strategy. Already today the Huffington Post reported that Republican house members have blinked and there is now enough votes to pass a budget bill without dismantling the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, surveys report that the public blames Republicans for the shutdown.
By gerrymandering, the Republicans have created safe voting districts which have unfortunately been filled by intellectually challenged people. Now even old time Republicans don’t know how to get rid of them. These people have been responsible for some of the most ignorant comments ever spoken by a politician. Remember this one. “The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion.” –Rick Santorum, during a Republican presidential debate (May 2011)
Unless the Republican party can rid themselves of these ignorant souls and learn to accept change, this is their future.
Here’s a drain. Here are the Republicans circling it.