Seven truly awful things about the current Republican leadership

February 7, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

It’s not just that they shoved the Keystone XL bill through as fast as possible. It’s not that they voted, once again, to strip millions of Americans of their health care, knowing it wouldn’t pass Obama’s veto but wanting to send a “message” that, well, that they don’t give a damn about you or your kids, and don’t care who knows it.

Everyone saw that sh-t-storm coming a mile away. The GOP agenda is nothing if not openly spiteful and shamelessly hostile toward anything that is not white, wealthy and male.

The current mood is far more sinister – and yet somehow also more infantile – than that. Can you feel it? That sour wind of mistrust, suspicion, cultural poison? It’s difficult to miss:

Women shoved out of power positions
As the NYT points out, when Democrats controlled the Senate, there were a record nine women chairing various powerful committees. There are now two.

Ironically, while there are now a record number of women in congress (over 100 for the first time in history), more than two-thirds of them are, naturally, Democrats. Women are a bizarre fit in the GOP for all sorts of obvious reasons, but having them in positions of real committee power? Well, that’s clearly a man’s job, honey. These committees make big, important decisions. Sure women are nice to look at and some are even sort of smart and helpful, but when it comes to real authority, they really should quiet down so the men can hear themselves hiss.

Less than two years until the backlash, John. How much damage can you do?

No seriously; They still detest women
This how close it was: Republicans in the House were, just recently, about to again pass the same hateful, 20-week abortion ban that they passed last year (blocked by the Senate). This time, of course, it would surely sail through the House and the Senate, thus setting up Obama with a perfect chance to publicly veto the GOP’s hatred of women, one more time.

But the GOP’s weird, tiny female contingent – just barely big enough to cause a stir – revolted, and killed the vote. Why? But because the bill’s rape restrictions were actually too narrow. Isn’t that amazing? When even the anti-choice females decry their own party’s views on abortion and rape, you know your ongoing War on Women still might need a little softening. But only a little.

Still the party of stupid
Tacit (initial) support for anti-vaxxers, science deniers, “man can’t affect the climate,” defunding Planned Parenthood, open carry nutballs, creationists, Ted Cruz sticking his hand out a window and declaring climate change is a hoax because it’s snowing outside.

The Tea Party! Now almost very certain Noah rode a dinosaur.

The Tea Party! Now almost very certain Noah rode a dinosaur.

You thought the GOP’s shocking dumbness was bad under Bush? It’s even worse now. The party of dumb, now rife with Tea Party simpletons, has never met a frothy piece of fringe idiocy it didn’t have to support, all in an effort to appease the un-educated, Fox News-loving conservative base. Problem is, some of that base has now infiltrated Congress itself. There they are now, off in the corner of congress, huffing glue and plotting whose tires to slash next.

Smart Republicans don’t have a prayer
Let’s be fair: it’s very possible, as Michael Tomasky points out in the Salon article linked above, that the Right could actually have, among its Obama-hating/nose-picking ranks, a rather brilliant politician, deft and sensible, someone with a (relatively) articulate grasp of the issues, who respects science, supports immigration reform, understands the disastrous effects of trying to overturn Obamacare but who still brings smart, reasonable, fiscally conservative ideas to the table.

This man (certainly not a woman, natch) will, of course, never be seen in public.

Why? Same reason as above. Because any sign of moderation, of insufficiently hating Obama, of intellectual complexity or foreign policy awareness are instantly swallowed by the gaping maw of dumb. It’s encoded into the party’s modern DNA.; real smarts are simply not allowed.

Two words: Koch tyranny
What’s not to despise about the most vicious, flatulent elephants in the room, the super-rich .000001% who wish to destroy nearly every balanced, fair, sustainable, successful, progressive American idea you can name, including many from the Republican party itself?

This is no exaggeration. Charles and David Koch have amassed nearly a billion dollars for the sole purpose of buying the 2016 election. It’s unprecedented in American history, and it doesn’t give a crap for Democratic or Republican ideas. It’s the party of Koch, and screw you if you don’t agree.

Result: The GOP will have no choice but to tilt bitterly libertarian (read: anti-union, anti-EPA, anti-Medicaid, anti-minimum wage, anti-environment, anti-regulation, pro-oil, pro-coal, pro-Tea Party and to hell with the poor and the working classes too) if they want some of that filthy bullion.

Biggest irony of all? Average Republican voters think the Kochs are on their side. Oh, silly ones. Rest assured, everyday conservatives: The Kochs hate you, too. They are equal opportunity despots.

The disgraceful Supreme Court
Back in 2008, I was quite convinced – and so far, proven completely wrong about – the fact that Obama, over two terms, would almost certainly have a golden opportunity to reshape the Supreme Court, just enough to tilt the balance of power away from foul, pro-corporate Roberts/Scalia dogma, toward something at least moderately progressive and inclusive.


Smug much?


It hasn’t happened yet, and time is short (Supreme Court justices, apparently, live to 1000 and never retire). Heaven forefend if a Koch-suckled Republican wins the White House, and shoves the court not merely further to the right, but invites more shame. Citizens United, Hobby Lobby et al could be just the beginning.

Your lack of success is your fault
Behold, the most notorious lie in all of GOP-land. I see it in my in-box, I see it on my public Facebook page, see it in the beady, ruthless eyes of David Koch. Want college, health care, opportunity? Want basic education, sustenance, child care, fundamental help or benefits of any kind? Work for it! Pull yourself up! No welfare state! No coddling! No handouts! This is America! Do it yourself, welfare hippie slacker!

It’s such a crock.

Here’s the cruelest irony of all: No white American male (or anyone, for that matter) has ever made it to “the top” on his/her own. There is no such thing as the “self-made man.” No matter his background, abuse quotient, poverty level, and so on, white males succeed in America exactly because the system is overwhelmingly designed to support, encourage and even coddle them, every step of the way. It’s not always easy, and they might work very hard indeed. But their path simply could not be any smoother, more accessible, less fraught with obstacle.

Deny it at your peril: No white male was ever blocked at the door, prevented from signing up, beaten back, forced into joining a gang, arrested or shot dead in the streets simply for being the wrong race, sexually assaulted or raped at a fraternity party, told they were too stupid/too weak/too “emotional” to lead, publicly shamed, threatened, viciously trolled, overlooked for promotion or paid less for the same work as someone of the opposite gender, shunned by his family and/or electroshocked over his sexual preferences, and on and on and on.

Get the picture? “Self-made” is bulls–t. I know it myself: I’ve worked extraordinarily hard in my life to reach the success I have in both my careers, too, but I also fully recognize that I’ve had nearly every advantage available in the culture, from good parenting to supportive schools, community, financial assistance, health care, encouragement from all corners. I was blessed beyond belief – “winning the genetics lottery,” as they say – and I know it. This is why you never hear anyone but wealthy white Republicans saying it’s up to the individual to work hard and pay his own way. Sure thing, honey. Tell it to the rest of human existence.

Oh dear, I’m out of space. And there’s at least a dozen more examples, with more coming every day. I’ll have to save them for another column. Good thing there’s no shortage.

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Mark Morford

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