It looks more and more like a weakness in the Constitution that says the House may impeach the president for crime or serious misconduct, but there is nobody who can impeach members of Congress for the same thing. Both houses can punish their own members, with expulsion being the strongest punishment, but that’s a little like having them vote on their own pay; they won’t vote against themselves. They’ve given themselves raises about 17 times since the last minimum wage was set in 1972. Well, great. No wonder the whole country is pissed off.
The problem here is that what is really needed is a body separate from Congress that can punish members of Congress for failing to do the duties they were elected to do. Like approving a budget, or raising the debt ceiling (which no other country else even has). Or maybe considering crucial appointments the president has proposed to fill administrative and court positions. Is it not the duty of Congress to either approve or reject each one, according to the Constitution? It is. But that’s not what they were doing before they swore to refuse to even consider any Supreme Court justice President Obama nominates, even before the nomination has been made. Like right now.
Doesn’t that sound like failure to perform their lawful duty? It does to me, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to remove the members responsible (which is all of the Republicans, actually)—in spite of the fact that there are seven years of this harmful failure to act. Clearly, this purposeful obstructionism is detrimental to the functioning of the republic.
What is it, exactly, that Republicans have been trying to accomplish? Is it to bring about the libertarian dream of no government, no controls on business, no environmental regulation, no minimum pay, and so on? It seems like it. I find it amazing that anyone at all would think this is a good idea, aside from Charles Koch, maybe. The very obvious result would be chaos and violence, economic and environmental destruction, not civilization, let alone democracy.
It is of little pleasure to me that Republicans are hoist by their own petard, from having cultivated a rabid right wing rebellion and associated racism for decades. They have brought to life a Frankenstein’s monster stiff-walking toward the election. Now that Donald Trump basically determines the direction of Republican policy, which he did by bellowing his hatred of immigrants and everyone else who isn’t a pure white American. Nor are the other Republican candidates any better. The three use their debate time to compare dicks and hatreds, rather than policy.
The only possible conclusion, given their failure to act at all, is that Republicans are acting against the good of the country. This becomes even more apparent when you read Jane Mayer’s Dark Money, which details the sordid history since WWII during which the Koch brothers and other billionaires enslaved the Republican Party and turned everything to the goal of unencumbered enrichment of billionaires, the public be damned. So now moderate Republicans, of whom there are but few remaining, are unable to do much of anything. If they do, they will be Tea Partied to death by people whose power of reasoning is weak.
Republicans’ explosive petard has blown a hole right through to the threatening abyss, and we could all be sucked through to racist nationalism. The first rule of tyranny is to create a scapegoat that can be blamed for everybody’s woes. Trump doesn’t sound markedly different from Hitler during the 1930s, when he was blaming Jews for Germany’s troubles.
There were a whole raft of Republican candidates for the presidency at first. Given their own illogical and incorrect statements and records, it doesn’t seem even controversial to say that not a single one of them was qualified to be president. Now we are narrowed to three, and there is no question about it; the three remaining are equally radical and destructive.
Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for this preposterous situation. What else could come of encouraging hatred and racism—which has been the unspoken dogwhistle policy since Nixon and Reagan—and failure to perform the constitutional duties of office. If I were the praying sort, I would ask for divine help in keeping all three GOP candidates out of the White House.
The solution, of course, is to elect a Democrat from the two decent leading candidates with actual impressive accomplishments under their belts, and who have not devoted the past seven years to opposing everything Republican just because they are Democrats. That would solve the immediate problem, but wouldn’t fix the GOP.
What is a thoughtful congressional GOP member to do, now that they have destroyed their own credibility and wasted our time and many millions of dollars with unswerving obstructionism and racism? A few of them at this date are either clearly endorsing a Democrat, or insinuating that it’s the only reasonable thing to do. Even they realize the political catastrophe that is Trump.
I have a proposal for the Republicans who have created this sorry state: begin today to actually perform the duties of your job. Your first constitutional duty is to debate and either approve or reject whoever Obama nominates for the Supreme Court. Then start on the seven-year backlog of judicial and administrative nominees. After that there are the laws you didn’t consider.
Form a caucus, a group to visit your congressional leaders, to point out the total disaster that Republican obstructionist policy has created. Suggest that maybe the next seven or eight months should be devoted to at least repairing the political bridges the party has dynamited. Pass a few laws that benefit the people you are supposed to be serving.
The alternative is to pretend you have done the right thing, and that the grand egotistical racist blowhard Donald Trump will be a great president.