Despite failing to receive a popular mandate by almost 3 million votes, the GOP nevertheless controls our national government. Republicans own the Executive branch, Congress, and very soon, the Supreme Court.
The first two weeks of Republican control do not bode well. Chaos reigns. Here are some examples:
The Republican President precipitously imposed a ban on Muslim immigration. The move is proving counterproductive to its aim. It is not making us safe from terrorism. Instead, unnecessary havoc has been wreaked upon the lives of thousands of families and individuals, including many who are students exposed to American values at our universities. At the minimum, the Republican President has facilitated terrorist recruitment and has undermined our credibility with governments and people in Europe, theMiddle East and around the world.
The GOP Administration has repurposed the National Security Council. The President dumped from the body his newly confirmed Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the head of the nation’s intelligence agencies. He replaced them with a right wing zealot whose professed goal is to destroy our national institutions. Our security has been subordinated to extreme political goals.
Rolling out of a Supreme Court Justice has been handled like promotion for a TV reality show.
Despite the fact that Republicans tout support for “free trade”, their leader precipitously pulled out of negotiations relating to the Trans Pacific Partnership. This leaves allies and trading partners like Australia high and dry. China jumped in to fill the vacuum. It’s taking advantage of the chance to make its presence felt by asserting control of vast swaths of the Pacific Ocean. The Republican Administration’s actions undermine the credibility of our country as the dominant power on the Pacific Rim.
And does anyone believe that Mexico will actually pay for a border wall that experts agree is bound to be ineffective? Americans will end up paying the President’s proposed 20% “border tax”. Meanwhile the presidential threat to start a tariff war with our second largest trading partner is just plain crazy.
Reports that the Washington Mall turnout was substantially smaller for his inauguration than that for earlier presidents bruised the massive but fragile ego of the new Republican President. When Americans decided to believe their eyes instead of his rhetoric, our President ordered the National Park Service to produce photos that show crowds that simply weren’t there.
Eliminating unnecessary governmental regulations is a good idea. But it needs to be done in a thoughtful manner. The Republican-in-Chief attacked rule making with a shotgun. His blunderbuss approach is a blanket requirement that two regulations must be stricken for every new one that is proposed -- hardly the nuanced approach that is required.
Like the proverbial dog that chased a car, caught up with it, and didn’t know what to do next, Republicans are flummoxed with the need to create a rational plan for health care. Eliminating the ACA so that poor folks are unable to pay for office visits will once again flood hospital emergency rooms. As a result American taxpayers will pay about ten times more than they would under a rational national medical care delivery plan. So far, the GOP is stymied.
Undermining confidence that the United States will honor its NATO commitments is already having consequences. Russia’s minions in eastern Ukraine are on the move. They have reason to believe the US will do nothing to undermine the bromance between our President and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Republicans are repeatedly appointing and confirming individuals to head government agencies whose missions those individuals abhor. It seems almost a necessary qualification that a proposed appointee has at one time sought to eliminate the agency he or she is to administer.
After repeatedly poor mouthing America’s intelligence community as incompetent, the Republican President appeared at CIA headquarters to insult the intelligence of the CIA audience by asserting that he has a “yuge” respect for them. He devoted the rest of his speech bashing the national press for being unfair to him, apparently because it publishes and fact checks what he says.
Two weeks of GOP control and things are not looking promising for the future of our country.
So what to do?
In order for anything to happen, Democrats need:
- A credible national leader or leaders;
- A plan to ungerrymander America so that the voices and needs of a majority of Americans may be heard and met inWashington; and
- Political leaders with sufficient wisdom and patience to ameliorate the chaos and damage that Republicans are wreaking on the institutions, both conservative and progressive, that make our country great.
Michael G. Busche