I don't understand how anyone can be proud to be a Republican in this country today.
It's bad enough that the Republican Party stands for almost nothing good and constructive anymore. It has truly become "the Party of NO." Its leaders in the US House and Senate spend most of their time trying to undermine President Obama's agenda rather than offering proposals to help the country. Republicans are obsessed with attacking the federal government (that they were elected to serve and improve!). One of their only never-ending priorities is to propose cutting taxes -- which exemplifies their lack of leadership, initiative or backbone. Republicans show far too little compassion for people who need the most help.
Unfortunately, this pathetically empty agenda of Republicans is not even their worst feature.
No, their "low point" - on display the past two days - is allowing themselves to be associated with the ugly displays of hate, racism and division that some of their supporters have expressed in protests and demonstrations. Pockets of the Tea Party gathering, in Washington DC to protest the passage of health care reform, were in repulsive form the past few days as they carried signs with hateful messages, including one with President Obama with a Hitler mustache drawn on his face. More than one Tea Party member called Rep. John Lewis, (D-Ga) the n-word. One or more other Tea Party protesters called US Rep. Barney Frank, (D-Ma.) the f-word. Protesters spit on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on the Capitol steps.
Some Republicans, on this occasion - like others - when asked, gave their opinion that these actions were out of line, but no Republican leader stepped up to a microphone to give important, somber remarks that loudly, clearly condemned the ugly remarks of the protesters. No one seems willing to blast the Tea Party - even though some of the Tea Party members absolutely have deserved to be ripped repeatedly for their outrageous, reckless, ugly actions in some of these protest gatherings during the past year. A chunk of them seem to come just to protest President Obama - period, and, yes, a segment, however small - seems to have had racist inclinations. This repulsive segment of the Tea Party has gotten incredibly soft treatment from the mainstream media, who keep treating the party as if it has serious, noble intentions. The Tea Party can't even seem to even articulate its purpose. All its members seem to know is they show up to put down the federal government and Barack Obama and anything that appears to be " a government takeover" even if, in fact, it is NOT that. They display no intelligence or thoughtfulness whatsoever. Why have they been given so much time on the TV news?
Well, one can find common threads between the narrowminded motives of Tea Party members and the comments of several of the leading, right-wing television and radio commentators since the US House voted to pass health care reform.
"We need to defeat these bastards," said Rush Limbaugh. "We need to wipe them out. Defeat the Democrats, every one of them who voted for this bill."
Yet, you never hear one Republican just rip into Limbaugh and call him the irresponsible windbag that he is. They're afraid of Limbaugh. What a joke! It's also a disgrace because they're seriously afraid of Limbaugh because they fear, criticizing him might lose them votes. All they care about is protecting their jobs and towing the reactionary line.
Limbaugh ripped Bart Stupak, (D-Mich) for reaching an agreement at the 11th hour with the Obama team that led to Stupak and several other anti-abortion US Representatives to vote for the health care bill as the result of Obama agreeing to sign an executive order saying that no federal funds would fund abortions. Limbaugh compared Stupak's vote to Neville Chamberlain's false assurances about winning a peace treaty with Hitler in 1938. That's really accurate, Rush!
Glenn Beck spewed out some typically reckless rants. He remarked, to Democrats, "Our master is common sense and God. I don't think right now you have either one on your side." Then, Beck said, in the fall elections, the choice will be: "Are you an American or are you a mouse? Are you and American or a European?"
Beck, as usual, was filled with words to inspire us and unite as -- in mature fashion.
On the floor of the House, someone yelled out "Babykiller" when Stupak was addressing his colleagues from the podium.
The problem with the Republicans is that there is a thin line between the more wild, crazy hateful behavior outside and the rhetoric used by some Republican members of the House and Senate inside. So, for instance, some Tea Party protesters outside of the Capitol pointedly shouted "You Lie" as a "rallying cry" that honored US Representative Joe Wilson's outburst at President Obama during the State of the Union. They're rallying around a guy who showed gross disrespect for the President in an unprecedented way. What terrific taste, Tea Party members! How stupid you are! How repugnant you are!
Meanwhile, a hanfuld of Republican US congressional members could be seen in television news footage waving to the Tea Party protesters and "urging them on" from the top roof-level at the US Capitol.
So, where were the Republican leaders to condemn these outrageous actions on the periphery of their work in the Capitol? Like I said, they commented only if reporters found them. Meanwhile, Republican leaders were not exactly exhibiting good sportsmanship and class.
Senator John McCain, the Republicans' unsuccessful presidential nominee in 2008, exuded leadership with this remark:
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year," McCain said during a radio interview Monday. "They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."
Gosh, that's great, Senator. At least you're being open and straightforward about your intentions to not try to get anything done now. His constituents should vote McCain out of office for such an irresponsible remark. (No, I'm not expecting that!)
How about Mitt Romney, another Republican presidential candidate in 2008? What did he have to say? Romney, in typical Republican understatement, called the health care reform bill "an unconscionable abuse of power." An abuse of power. No, Mitt, go back to your dictionary on this: The Watergate coverup was an abuse of power. Dick Cheney engaged in more than one "abuse of power," but, the Democrats' winning an open vote is what happens in a democracy.
A democracy that elected Barack Obama, who campaigned to fight for health care reform.
I could go on and on. I could mention the Tea Party signs calling Obama's reforms "Socialism"
Or, the never-ending attempts of Tea Party members and other right-wing nuts, including some racists, to create fear and anxiety around Obama. I wonder why this "new" group of white protesters has appeared out of the blue in the past 18 months to protest any initiative of President Obama's? Why do they have an anger - an inflamed, sour mood as they hold these protests? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that at least a few racists are able to have some influence. Otherwise, why would ugly signs show up? Why would ugly remarks get made?
Enough! I am sick of it. I wish the rest of us could start a movement to put these Tea Party protesters and their Republican "enablers" in their place.
It's time to put the reckless segment among these protesters in their place. The police need to be on alert and prevent any potential violence. And, it'd help if the network news stopped treating them as if they're serious. They have not earned the right to be treated seriously
I post opinions at least once a week here. Often I write about politics or media coverage of politics -- two subjects I have followed closely for more than 30 years.