The Republican Party has gotten its wish, and for the past year has controlled both Congress and the White House. As a result, we’ve been experiencing what happens when they do, and it has been worse than we imagined. For someone like me who has lived through several Republican administrations, the decline in the Republican Party is rather obvious. But even more, what this past year has proven to me is that what was once “just my opinion,” has been proven to be the reality. So what have I learned?
Republicans are incompetent. Truly, seriously, beyond any doubt, incompetent. Consider just two big examples. They’ve been screaming for the past 9 years about “Obamacare” and running on repealing it. They kept telling us they had a much better plan they were going to replace it with. When they got the chance? It turned out they had no plan beyond saying “repeal,” and their “better plan” turned out to be … not much of anything beyond that. Then came their tax bill. An overhaul of the tax code which has been their dream for decades. What did they do? Cobble together a pastiche of various pieces, rewrite sections of that which were literally handwritten in the margins, ram it through on a party line vote without discussion, only to have to have a quick rewrite and revote because some sections violated Senate procedure. Consider that in the first case they’ve had a better part of a decade to develop their own plan, and in the second, they’ve had a generation to develop and fine-tune their ideal tax code. Yet when it came time to actually do it, they turned out to have put no work or effort into detailing their general policy belief, and then couldn’t manage to get one of them through Congress, and the other was ineptly slapped together just so they could say they “did something.” Those are just two of the biggest examples, but it’s a constant theme. The everyday, bread-and-butter things that legislators and the executive branch are supposed to do to keep the lights on have been mishandled, kicked down the road, or booted. That’s the definition of incompetence, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to improve.
Republicans are bigots. Not just racist, but homophobic and misogynistic as well. If you’re not white, male, and Christian, you don’t matter to them. They’re scared to death of anyone else, and all the dog whistles they’re using come down to that. “Voter fraud?” It really means “black and brown people voted.” Which is why they’re doing everything they can to insure that doesn’t happen. “Sanctity of marriage?” It means “LGBT people shouldn’t exist.” “Pro-life” and other statements? Women can’t be trusted to make their own decisions. It’s been there all along, but now it’s out in the open.
Republicans care only for power. They don’t care about anything else. All their talk about their principles, policies, and beliefs? It’s a smokescreen. It’s what they said to gain power, but they don’t care about them. They’re not interested in governing, they want to rule. They spent years using the rules of Congress to obstruct anything Democrats wanted to do, but once they got into power? Well, those rules were inconvenient, so they either did away with them or ignored them entirely. Add to that efforts to overturn, subvert, ignore, and attack what were once accepted principles of government. Then there is the Russia issue. It’s a fact that Russia tried to influence this past election, by hacking e-mails and voting systems, propaganda, and cash. It’s not “liberals indulging in a conspiracy theory,” it’s something which numerous intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world have been saying. What have we seen? Republicans are busily trying to obstruct, deny, and outright stop any investigation and action. Why? Because the answers might threaten their hold on power, and they’ll do anything, including selling out the country, to keep it.
That’s what I’ve learned about Republicans this past year. I had suspicions on a lot of it, but this past year has made it crystal clear that what I suspected was not even close to how bad it really is. Do I have any hope of their becoming reasonable? No. The only way you make them reasonable is to take away their power, and that starts in this year’s election. Take away their control of Congress and the state legislatures. Keep doing it, because it’s going to take over a decade just to undo the damage they’ve already done. Keep them out of power long enough, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll begin to see reason. Otherwise, they’ll keep being what they are.