By: Jermel W. Shim
The GOPs effort to marginalize or destroy President Obama has become progressively worse. This week, three events - the Ukraine crisis, Chairman Daryl Issa's ongoing hearing on the IRS controversy, and the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) - revealed that the GOP has now gone mad. These three events have been in the news all week and they have one thing in common - bashing President Obama.
The Ukraine Crisis
Following President Obama addressing the Ukrainian crisis and issuing a stern warning to the Russian President Vladimir Putin to stay out of Crimea, the GOP came out in force to berate and belittle the president. They even blamed him for the crisis and said that his weakness led to Putin making the decision to destabilize the Ukraine.
It used to be that whenever the President of the US issued a policy statement to address a volatile situation like that in the Ukraine, that the opposition party or the US Congress would close ranks and support the president. They did this knowing that if they were divided, it would pose a national security risk, should the US get involved.
High-ranking GOP members like Sen. John McCain, Sen. Graham Lindsay, former governor Rudy Giuliani, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and a host of others have all criticized President Obama for being weak, indecisive, and not macho like Putin.
So what has changed to cause the GOP to not just compare an American President with a Russian President and in the process trash the American President and glorify the Russian President? When did these GOP politicians get to be so unpatriotic? Yes unpatriotic because when you glorify a Russian communist president and put down your president there is something fundamentally wrong. Did all this happen because President Obama is black? My answer is yes, and don't tell me I am playing the race card, because that is simple a ploy to shutdown any valid accusation of racism.
The GOP's behavior in not supporting President Obama and instead glorifying Putin is unprecedented and very disturbing. Such behavior only weakens America and exposes the hypocrisy of the GOP. If they can support Putin then why don't they support Castro and call for resumption of relationship with Cuba.
Chairman Issa's Hearing on the IRS
Rep. Darell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was playing Don Quixote again this week. The Chairman has developed a reputation of seeing windmills that he believes are scandals involving President Obama (ref. My Daily Kos Diaries article, Chairman Darrell Issa and his Quest to Bring Down President Obama, Nov. 17, 2013).
Chairman Issa was holding yet another hearing about the IRS political targeting controversy. He questioned Loris Lerner for 15 minutes then after she invoked her Fifth Amendment right, Issa adjourned the meeting. It was at this point that the ranking committee member, Rep. Elijah Cummings asked to be heard and denounced the manner in which Issa conducted this and previous meetings. This is part of what Rep. Cummings said, "Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot do this. We are better than that as a country. We’re better than that as a committee.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings had heard and seen enough of Chairman Issa's witch-hunt and firmly requested time to ask a question. Chairman Issa looking unsure of what to do would not allow Rep. Cummings to talk. Instead, he turned off the microphone and told the rest of the committee members that the hearing was over and they could leave. Then in an arrogant manner asked Rep. Cummings what was his question.
Chairman Issa's behavior clearly violated house rules by not affording a committee member an opportunity to speak. Some media even reported that the chairman's behavior as "thuggish." Chairman Issa's behavior is part of the pattern of the GOP gone mad. A madness that reflects their blatant disrespect for black people or non-white people. Remember Romney's 47% moochers and takers and Newt Gingrich scolding Juan Williams, when he moderated the Republican primary debate in 2012?
This is not the first time that Chairman Issa has run afoul with black public officials. Starting with President Obama, he has called several investigations designed to link the president with wrongdoing. All these investigations have come up empty. At one point, he disrespected the president by calling him "the most corrupt president" without having anything from his many investigations of the president to substantiate his disrespectful comment.
In 2013 during the Fast and Furious investigation where he called the Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to testify twice, he again showed his disrespect to the Atty. Gen. by describing the Atty. Gen. in a negative manner. Then later at a second hearing on the IRS controversy, the Atty. Gen. appeared before him Chairman Issa who again started to berate and belittle the Attorney General. This time Mr. Holder was ready for him and denounced the chairman when he said, "Your questioning was too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of the Congress. It's unacceptable and it's shameful."
Some will accuse me of playing the race card again; however, I am convinced that if President Obama, Attorney General Holder, and Rep. Cummings were white men, Chairman Issa would not have treated them with such disrespect and contempt. And if he did, he would have been removed from the chairmanship pronto.
The Congressional Black Caucus called for Chairman Issa to be removed from his position as chairman. Speaker Boehner not surprisingly rejected this idea. We have not heard the last of Chairman Issa.
The 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)
The 2014 Republican Party CPAC meeting was another event where the GOP demonstrated they have gone mad. One by one, the top ranking members of the GOP strutted to the microphone and made unsavory comments about the President Obama.
The sad thing about that CPAC event was that it offered no real solutions to fix the problems affecting the GOP and the country. Even sadder is the fact that they use the same old words to criticize and demonize the president.
This year CPAC is no different from previous years since President Obama has been in the White House. You could call it a competition to see which speaker could outdo each other by being more outrageous in bashing the president. As before, the usual top contenders included Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and John Bolton.
Perhaps the most bizarre moment was when Mitch McConnell walked on stage with a rifle in his hand. The audience must have been cued on this because no one ran for cover or seemed to be alarmed.
With the Ukraine crisis in the news, most of the comments centered around President Obama's recent address on that crisis. And of course, the president was criticized for being weak. Sen. Ted Cruz said, "Putin would not be acting with this level of aggression if it were not for the consistent weakness and appeasement of our enemies of President Obama."
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said, "I don't like to make these issues of national security partisan because it's important that our country be united in moments like this but we cannot ignore that the flawed foreign policy of the last few years has brought us to this stage."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stopped short of criticizing President Obama on Ukraine and instead raised the question of the president's intelligence. He apologized to President Carter for calling him the worst president because it was Obama who was the worst president, he said.
John Bolton, a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and former ambassador to the United Nations, said, "our biggest national security crisis is Barack Obama."
The above comments by top officials in the Republican Party are not criticisms they are propaganda and part of the effort to marginalize the president. Criticisms usually come with constructive ideas and we have seen none from the GOP and from the CPAC speakers.
Jermel W. Shim is the author of, Whom God Has Blessed, Let No Man Curse