By Reed Galen
The Republican Party, years away from any serious policy program or political normalcy, has descended into a fundamentally unserious collection of people. To have one of America’s two major political parties represent radical, un-democratic positions is a precarious place for our Republic, and the party’s leaders work daily to destroy whatever residual credibility it may have.
It turns out that filling hundreds of hours of airtime a week with believable boogeymen isn’t as easy as it looks.
MAGA’s obsession with “woke” America, extending to everything from bank failures to elementary school books, demonstrates the party’s collective inability and refusal to provide answers for the real, substantive issues we face as a people, a nation, and as a world. Living in the politics of eternity as they do, the fight against the ‘woke mob’ must be continuous and unending. Mixed with a healthy dose of conspiracy, Fox News and Republican leaders provide their most ardent followers with a convenient, simple explanation for all their problems.
For the Tucker Carlsons of the world, this works out fine, as he has no responsibility other than not hating Donald Trump publicly and keeping his ratings high. People like House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, however, don’t have so easy a time. After being outmaneuvered on Social Security and Medicare by President Joe Biden last month, McCarthy sits alone in his office as he hopes against hope someone will save him from his own incompetence on the Federal budget and the looming debt ceiling fight.
On one side, McCarthy must contend with the political Cordyceps infected that helped give him the Speaker’s gavel. He knows they’re going to force him to send America off the debt cliff. He knows the ‘moderates’ in his conference will sit quietly and watch it happen rather than risk their own political careers.
Rather than say, governing, like adults would, McCarthy’s Number 2 person, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is off yelling about ‘national divorce.’ The members of his investigative committees are routinely embarrassed by witnesses when reminded that the crime of the day took place during the Trump administration. Then there’s Hunter Biden’s laptop, that talisman of the modern Republican, the Rosetta Stone of all the Democrats’ evil deeds.
Out on the presidential campaign trail, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley told the crowd at CPAC that wokeness was more deadly than any pandemic. That someone wrote those words is humiliating enough. That Haley chose to utter them out loud demonstrates the weakness of her character, the flimsiness of her political campaign and provides further evidence that ultra-MAGA primary voters control the future and direction of the GOP. Author’s Note: I hope Amb. Haley felt significant remorse after that speech. It was beneath even her, and that’s saying something.
Not to be outdone, Ronald Dion DeSantis, Governor General of the Free State of Florida, told Tucker Carlson in a response to a ‘questionnaire’ that Ukraine does not represent a foreign policy priority for the United States. American conservatives have long demonstrated an isolationist bent, going back to Charles Lindberg in the 1930s and Ohio Senator Robert Taft in the 1950s.
DeSantis’ opinion on Ukraine has the unique features of being both a gift to Vladimir Putin and uninformed by any deeper thought than it’s where his polling shows hardcore Republican primary voters. DeSantis, who claimed to have run around with the Navy SEALs during his time in the military, has no more business playing Risk (the game of global domination) in the Governor’s Mansion than he does making life-and-death decisions in the Oval Office.
Politically, it once again shows DeSantis as tone-deaf to any audience outside his lapdog legislators or donors drooling to invite someone that doesn’t embarrass them to their country clubs. In a recent Pew survey, 51% of respondents said the US was either providing the right amount or not enough aid to Ukraine. While many Republicans are trending away from support for the war, there will be enough vestigial, including many older GOP voters, for whom siding with Russia, even tacitly, is anathema.
Donald Trump hasn’t appeared in this column because his fundamental unseriousness as a president, candidate, and human being is well-documented. What he can take credit for, though, is that he single-handedly helped transform a political party from one rooted in basic beliefs and ideology to one unmoored from any sense of reality, desire, or ability to think beyond its own short-term gain.
Serious times call for serious leaders. They call for serious discussions about serious topics. The Republican Party is the opposite of serious. It is a dangerously frivolous group of criminals, grifters, and cranks. It cannot be within a country mile of real power anytime in the near future.