Republicans' Moral Bankruptcy

[ Posted Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 – 16:17 UTC ]

The Republican Party's descent into madness now appears to be complete. At this point their moral compass hasn't just broken down, they've thrown it overboard. The Republican Party is now completely morally bankrupt. The only thing that is even left to debate about this sad state of affairs is whether they had reached the bottom of the barrel months (or even years) ago, or whether they have only more recently arrived there.

This goes beyond the fact that the party is essentially now a personality cult devoted to one very flawed man, and it will likely last long beyond when Donald Trump exits the scene for good. Not only has the swamp fever which has gripped the GOP not broken, it's not about to any time soon -- for many years to come, most likely.

They already emptied out the party's legislative agenda cupboard, becoming nothing more than a truly reactionary party -- whatever the Democrats are for, Republicans are against. But Republicans only stand for two things (that I can tell) at this point: being anti-immigrant and being for tax cuts (especially tax cuts for corporations and the ultra-wealthy). That seems to be the sum total of their ideology these days, unless you also add in being anti-abortion and anti-voting-rights.

Consider that an infrastructure bill was just passed and signed into law. Despite Republicans not only negotiating it but helping to write major parts of the bill, only 32 Republicans in both chambers of Congress wound up voting for it. So the party at large is now against fixing America's roads and bridges. They now deride such things as "socialism" or even "communism." Despite the fact that Trump himself campaigned heavily on doing exactly the same things (although he never actually delivered). Trump was for infrastructure before he was against it, and the Republican Party has followed his lead the whole way. The 13 House Republicans who voted for the bill are facing calls of being "traitors" from members of their own party -- for voting to fix roads and bridges in their districts. There is a movement to strip them all of their committee assignments within the House Republican caucus, in fact.

Kevin McCarthy, the man who desperately wants to be speaker of the House, is such a spineless creature that he always goes along with the extremists in his own party, because he lives in quaking fear of generating a backlash from Trump (which might keep him from the speaker's chair even if the GOP wins control of the chamber). Today, McCarthy urged his fellow Republicans to vote against censuring Paul Gosar -- one of the most extreme Republicans in the House, whose own siblings urged voters to vote against him -- for posting an animated video depicting him personally killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging two swords at the president of the United States. In today's Republican Party, that is considered proper behavior while voting to fix roads and bridges is considered apostasy. Only two brave Republicans (Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) voted to censure Gosar and strip him of his committee assignments for fomenting murderous violence against a fellow member of the House.

Morally bankrupt. There's just no other term that fits.

Political violence is now not just accepted within the Republican Party as a valid tactic to be used, but it is actually celebrated. The rioters who directly and violently attacked not only the U.S. Capitol but the fundamental workings of American democracy itself (certifying a presidential election) are now deemed to be "patriots." The woman who was shot and killed by a police officer for trying to violently force her way into the chamber where members of Congress were present has now been raised to martyrdom. By Donald Trump and the political party he commands. This is a political party which used to brag about its support for law and order, mind you. But now political violence -- might makes right -- is their guiding light, as long as that violence is committed by the right against the left.

Morally bankrupt. A political party built on thuggishness, plain and simple. One that can't even denounce depictions of murdering a Democratic lawmaker.

This isn't going to end well. Even if outright violence doesn't actually happen. Let's say the Republicans do take control of the House back in the midterms. If McCarthy becomes speaker, what will he do? He will be like the mythical dog which caught a car -- he won't have any clue what to do with it. He will be so beholden to the extremists within his own caucus that he will allow them to run rampant. The lunatics will essentially be in charge of the asylum.

What will they set out to accomplish? Nothing. They might pass symbolic bills stopping all immigration or showering more tax cuts on the rich or banning the wearing of masks and the administration of vaccines, but no such bill will become law while Joe Biden is still in the White House (this assumes Republicans also win control of the Senate, since if Democrats hold on there then such bills won't even make it out of Congress). They could have lots of fun chasing culture war boogeymen to amuse their own base, but none of these will become law either. They simply have no real agenda left anymore. Kevin McCarthy is not going to rein in the worst impulses of his caucus, but even if the House was led by some strong Republican instead, they still wouldn't have any positive agenda.

What they will do -- to the point of wallowing in it -- is launch investigation after investigation of Democrats. With the majority comes leadership of all the committees, and so they'll use these as a three-ring circus to stage "investigations" designed to provoke maximum outrage among their own base. Joe Biden will be on top of their list, but he won't be the only target. It wouldn't even surprise me at this point if they launched another five or six investigations into Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. Politics has now officially become nothing more than entertainment for Republicans, and "owning the libs" is their only real political goal.

This sounds depressing because it is. But it's hard not to get despondent when one of the two American political parties has become so utterly morally bankrupt. Violence against a spouse or partner is now seen as acceptable for Republican candidates seeking office. Violence against their political enemies is to be supported and celebrated instead of denounced as being flat-out wrong. Murderous vigilante violence is to be defended at all costs. Even after witnessing firsthand the violent attempt to overthrow the American government, provoking further violence against politicians is now considered "just kidding around." Violent threats against local politicians such as school board members are equated to "concerned parents" trying to have a say in their children's education. Any law enforcement effort against such threats is considered to be oppression and persecution. Rioters who committed heinous acts of violence against police officers on national television are now seen as "political prisoners." Subpoenas can be ignored by anyone.

Again, this used to be the proud "law and order" party. This used to be the party who inveighed against "moral relativism." This used to be the party of "family values." But no more.

The Republican Party is now a party devoted to thuggishness and violence. Anything goes in the pursuit of their goals. It is now the party of "might makes right." No extreme goes too far, as long as it is committed by a Republican.

It is a party that is completely morally bankrupt. There's just no other way to put it.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


7 Comments on “Republicans' Moral Bankruptcy”

  1. [1] 
    andygaus wrote:

    When you listed the "sum total of their ideology," you forgot white supremacy (which goes beyond just being anti-immigrant), Christian triumphalism ("one nation under God with one religion under God"), and loathing of gay and trans people.

  2. [2] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Also, they're not just pro-tax cuts, they're also pro-COVID-19 and pro-rapist.

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    ...the party is essentially now a personality cult devoted to one very flawed man, and it will likely last long beyond when Donald Trump exits the scene for good. Not only has the swamp fever which has gripped the GOP not broken, it's not about to any time soon -- for many years to come, most likely.

    Naw, unless the "deep state" somehow fails to prosecute Trump, he's going to be fighting for his life in court by the midterms. While I fully expect him to run in 2024 so as to conflate his defense with the MAGA cause. But one way or the other Trump will exit, stage right.

    What won't exit is the Repugs authoritarian tendencies. THAT will long outlive Trump himself.

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Politics is so bad we have run out of mixed metaphors to describe it.

  5. [5] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Why all that redundant verbiage?

    Republicans BAD, Democratics GOOD!!

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The difference is a matter of degree.

    Degrees matter.

    And that is why,

    I support pie.

  7. [7] 
    dsws wrote:

    Why all that redundant verbiage?

    Republicans bad, yes. But Democrats, as a party? Mediocre at best.

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