Most of America already knows what type of insensitive extremists are running the Republican party these days — their anti-progressive policies and legislation have been offensive to women, minorities, gay people and the poor and working class for decades, and their Mad Men-era belief system is completely disconnected from America’s younger generations.
Democrats’ recently revived base — diverse, young and technologically savvy — is a long-term problem for Republicans, whose leaders’ current backwoods visions are putting the “O” in Grand Old Party.
[Find CityBeat's entire collection of Shut It Down 2013 coverage here.]
THE GOP & REALITY
The Republican shutdown of the federal government is bringing as much attention to the realities of the GOP as any election talking point did in 2008 or 2012. And people are figuring out who is really to blame for the absolute dysfunction of American democracy we’re seeing today.
As of Oct. 7, 70 percent of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the budget negotiations, up 7 percentage points from one week earlier, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. Fifty-one percent disapprove of the president’s approach, a number essentially unchanged during that same time period. The increasing disapproval of the GOP’s tactics are largely based on previously undecided Republicans turning against the party — the GOP has seen a 7-point increase in Republican disapproval rating, while Democrats have essentially seen no increase in disapproval rating from undecided Democrats and Independents.
And somewhere in Fayetteville, Ark., self-righteous tea party zealots are propping up that 30-percent of Americans who don’t disapprove of the Republican shutdown even though it is undeniably terrible for the country.
This is who the Republican Party serves now. And for what?
The Affordable Care Act is a law, which is a rule the American people recognize after a complicated series of (expensive) governmental procedures formalizes it. If a law is bad, it can be challenged, which this was, and the Supreme Court upheld it last year.
According to the theoretical concept of America, people who hate the concept of a health care marketplace modeled off Republican Mitt Romney’s largely successful health insurance program in Massachusetts can elect new leaders who might overturn the law. But since that will never happen because they don’t have the numbers and never will (and the program is likely to be successful), the GOP is refusing to agree to a budget — something entirely separate from Obamacare, which is moving forward even without the government working — unless the president of the United States repeals part of a law he championed during the presidential race he just won.
Most Americans understand and respect the president’s answer: “Fuck that.”
The good news is that the Republican Party cannot continue to operate as a morally inept entity fueled only by a capitalistic agenda hidden behind a family-values, old-world narrative.
These people run for office behind signs that read jobs.GOP.gov, and then they shut the government down over a law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court.
Now, 450,000 federal workers can’t go to work, costing the U.S. economy $300 million a day. Even people who don’t follow politics can understand how spiteful and unproductive it is.
The New York Times on Oct. 3 looked ahead to the legacy Republicans are leaving by way of this disgraceful maneuver: “It’s too late. They flunked hostage-taking. About 30 or so Republicans in the House, bunkered in gerrymandered districts while breathing the oxygen of delusion, are now part of a cast of miscreants who have stood firmly on the wrong side of history. The headline, today and 50 years from now, will be the same: Republicans closed the government to keep millions of their fellow Americans from getting affordable health care.”
Young people are going to live longer than old people. In 20 years, most people who are now 75 and older will be dead, replaced by millions of Americans who have not yet been born. These future Americans are going to be even more cultured and intelligent than today’s millennials, who are largely to credit for the election of America’s first black president. (The GOP helped that cause by running a 72-year-old man and Sarah Palin against him.)
John Boehner is 63. In 20 years he’s going to be an 83-year-old disgrace to this country. Kids on the streets will sing songs about his tans and tears, and they’ll use his name as a verb to describe epic failures. (“Dude, you just Boehnered that half-pipe, bro.”)
Today’s kids watch multicultural TV programs instead of shows that portray black people as monkeys or Asians with big teeth and bad eyesight. Nickelodeon might be teaching children to act like adults too early, but at least they’re not going to need four years of college and a spring break trip to Europe to realize how big and diverse the world is.
The good news for normal, reasonable people in America is that the GOP isn’t just making crazy arguments and policies because they are strategically effective (a la George W. Bush) — its leaders are legitimately clueless as to why their beliefs are offensive to people who aren’t like them.
Tea partiers in Cincinnati and beyond repeatedly demonstrate gross insensitivity and straight-up racism in their casual mocking of progress and black people.
Cincinnatians remember COAST’s racist anti-streetcar cartoon in 2011 depicting a train full of scary black dudes with guns and a “Cincinnati trolley” sign.
Out in California, a tea party member and an elected member of the Orange County Republican central committee named Marilyn Davenport in 2011 emailed a photo of Barack Obama’s face on a baby monkey to supporters with the tagline, “Now you know why -- No birth certificate.” She later said she didn’t think it was racist.
Some simpletons in charge of trying to attract young people to the GOP thought it might be a good idea to “make abortion funny.”
Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin thinks of abortion and rape in a different way than most people in America (assuming some Republicans actually agreed with him?). He majorly fucked up Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign when he said “legitimate rape” rarely causes pregnancy.
Here’s more about Akin’s past from Slate:
Akin’s past includes praising a militia group linked to anti-abortion extremism in the 1990s and voting against creating a sex-offender registry in 2005. Back in 1991, as a state legislator, Akin voted for an anti-marital-rape law, but only after questioning whether it might be misused “in a real messy divorce as a tool and a legal weapon to beat up on the husband,” according to a May 1 article that year in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Akin is 66, so he’s not going to be around to see what direction the children of millenials take this country, but it’s safe to say it will be the opposite of where he intended to go before he lost the 2013 election after running despite his party encouraging him to withdraw from the race because his idiotic comments were hurting the Romney campaign.
When half of Westwood shuffles off this mortal coil, people like Steve Chabot will have to do more to hold onto a congressional seat than pay godaddy.com $1 a month to fire up the ’ol website and prove they still support the traditional family and hate abortion.
State Republicans already shaped Ohio’s 1st district like Florida during the latest round of redistricting in order to control Chabot’s seat after he lost it to Democrat Steve Driehaus for two years in 2009. Redistricting is the only reason the GOP kept control of the Ohio House, which this year has passed some of the most conservative and out-of-touch regulations on women’s health in the entire country. In 10 years Republicans will have to draw figure-8s to win elections within 200 miles of any metropolitan city, even in Ohio.
Chabot and fellow local Rep. Brad Wenstrup both support the government shutdown, which is what happens when hacks like these guys get in office via redistricting and running on platforms that cater to the fringe element of the Republican Party.
Problem is, once they get to Washington they keep governing for those people instead of reasonable Republicans and the rest of America.
At least someday there won’t be as many of them around. ©