Do People See What’s Happening in the GOP?

Writing at Vanity Fair, Molly Jong-Fast asks Is the Sheer Stupidity of Republican Politics Breaking Through?

The problem Republicans find themselves in is perhaps best summed up by Democrat Eric Swalwell, who texted me that his colleagues across the aisle could use some stronger leadership. “Typically the Speaker of the House sets a party’s agenda in Congress. But there is no functional leader of the House Republican Party. Instead, it’s made up of an ensemble cast of chaos agents providing a comedy of errors each week Congress is in session.”

He was commenting mostly on the House’s Hunter Biden hearings, which have devolved into one of the longest-running displays of face-palming stupidity in the House’s history, or at least since the invention of videos.

Every week is another episode of political satire show Veep, except with no likable characters. House Republicans are back this week with another hearing about the Bidens, with two IRS whistleblowers, as McCarthy increasingly faces pressure from his party’s extremists to target the current administration’s cabinet. As New York Democrat Ritchie Torres told me, “No one or nothing in America is safe from the sheer stupidity of modern Republican politics.” The party has “become monomaniacally anti-woke culture warriors whose ever-lengthening list of targets include acronyms like DEI and ESG, Barbie, gas stoves, Hunter Biden, trans people.” Yes, Ted Cruz called a scene in Barbie “Chinese communist propaganda.”

It’s a good article. If you click on the link and run into a paywall, just open it in an incognito window. Works for me, anyway.

Ted Cruz is allegedly a senator from Texas. Texas has real problems. Texas has been getting its ass kicked by extreme weather in recent years, for example. I understand much of Texas has been under a heat dome for a few weeks that is expected to last into August. How has the Republican-led state government responded? This is from the Texas Tribune:

Six out of ten construction workers in Texas are Latinos, the Texas Tribune says. A construction worker named Gabriel Infante, 24, developed heat stroke while installing fiber optic cables in San Antonio last year and died as a result. His family is suing the employer for $1 million. Will the law offer some protection from criminal liability for dead workers? Priorities, you know.

Greg Abbott also has responded to the heat wave by dissing renewable energy and pushing “on demand energy” (fossil fuels). He also recently “vetoed a bill designed to strengthen energy efficiency in new construction, saying it wasn’t as important as cutting property taxes.” This while some sweltering Texans can’t afford to run their air conditioners.

I’ve already written about Florida governor Rhonda Santis‘s completely ignoring very real problems being suffered by Florida residents — such as a growing number of property insurers refusing to do business in the state — while he pursues ridiculous “culture war” issues to get his name in the news. Just this week he threatened legal action against Anheuser-Busch because of the Bud Light flap. And he is forcing Florida schools to teach that slaves benefited from slavery. Meanwhile, he is ignoring the dangers that climate change hold for his state.

But let’s go back to Washington. House Republicans are showing us their true priorities. Kate Riga at TPM:

To hear them tell it, House Republicans are solely focused on fiscal conservatism, on undercutting the appropriations levels agreed to in the Kevin McCarthy-Joe Biden debt ceiling law so they can “rein in federal spending.”

That’s what they’d like to be fighting about. But their actions, the riders they’ve larded up these bills with, reveal a different priority: an obsession with fighting battles in the culture war, a fixation on extinguishing any semblance of abortion access in particular, no matter the repeatedly demonstrated political radioactivity of the issue post-Dobbs. 

Do read all of Riga’s article, because you won’t believe some of the stuff the House Clowns are trying to pull. All of this junk is dead on arrival in the Senate, but the extremists in the House could tie up essential appropriations indefinitely with this nonsense.

See also the GOP’s crumbling case against Biden on crime, immigration and inflation. While Republicans play stupid culture war games, the Biden Administration has been addressing the real problems. The question is, how much recognition is the administration getting? And is the public really aware of how off the war the Republican party has become?

“Now it’s just up to Democrats to ensure Americans know just how much more this could spiral out of control if Republicans actually controlled all of government,” Molly Jong-Fast writes at Vanity Fair. But are Democrats capable of getting that message across? They haven’t been good at that sort of thing in the last few election cycles. They tend to stay on defense instead of offense. That has to change.