GOP Beginning To Resemble Parties That Serve Autocracies Such As United Russia
When I was growing up, an important slur used by Republicans was to constantly rail against the “Reds” that were undermining our democracy and colluding with Communists to destroy our country. Those so accused were supposedly supporting totalitarianism and autocracy because they resented the advantages of democracy and despised the free market. Needless to say, this slur was used to attack prior members of the actual Communist party from the 1930s as well as pretty anyone else who opposed the Republican party from the left or even from the right.
But based on what’s happened in the last two decades, it is highly ironic that Republican-dominated areas of our country are now considered “red”, a leftover from the contentious media description of states won by Republicans versus the “blue” states won by Democrats in the 2000 election. That’s because the Republican party is more and more looking like the totalitarian and authoritarian state that the GOP of my generation used to condemn.
It is apparent that Republicans in the Senate are intent on trying to pass their version of the cruel and horrific AHCA without any hearings and without the public, much less Democrats, knowing anything about what’s in the bill. The plan is to get a CBO score, which I believe is mandated by Senate procedures, and then vote as quickly as possible before any focused resistance could build.
In many ways, it follows the same procedure that the House used to pass its own version of the AHCA. In a remarkable bit of candor that clearly exhibits the Republicans’ attitude toward democracy these days and the remarkable unpopularity of what they are planning to pass, a GOP staffer said, “We’re not stupid.”
In addition, the Senate informed the press that it would not be allowed to film interviews in the Senate hallways without prior agreements from the individual Senator. This, of course, is designed to make sure the press has even less access in order to protect the details of the Senate’s stealth health care bill from becoming public. At this moment, this order has apparently been rescinded due to the media outcry but don’t be surprised if the GOP tries this tactic of suppression again.
Yesterday, we saw Attorney General Sessions using a novel theory to defy answering questions from Congress, that he felt it was inappropriate for him to comment on his discussions with the President. This is the same “theory” that DNI Coats and NSA Rogers used with this same committee days ago. They were not invoking executive privilege. They were not saying it involved classified material. They could provide no legal basis for their refusal to answer questions.
Sessions, at least, tried to claim that were “longstanding” DOJ regulations that limited his ability to discuss his conversations with the President. When pressed, he could not provide any specific DOJ regulation, but shifted his argument to the “longstanding” principle, which obviously has no legal basis.
And, since were talking about totalitarianism, the Trump cabinet meeting the other day was pretty much the definition of the all-powerful leader being fawned over by the sycophants whose livelihood depends on his good graces. Reince Priebus won the prize for biggest brownnoser who thanked Trump for the “opportunity and blessing” to serve the Dear Leader.
Last night, a man who actually managed to get fired by the Trump campaign, not because his ties to Russian oligarchs were exposed but because he was actually too crazy for even the Trump campaign, managed to come in a close second in the Virginia Republican Gubernatorial primary.
This is the state of our democracy today. Legislation is crafted in secret and passed without any input from the public. The press is being intimidated and slowly seeing their rights and freedoms threatened and eroded. The executive totally ignores the constitutional rights of legislative oversight, creating novel new “theories” to render any restrictions on the executive power meaningless. And the leader must be praised effusively in order to stay in his good graces.
I have written many posts over the last year about the creeping authoritarianism and the destruction of governing and democratic norms that have become the hallmark of the Republican party over the last few decades. This has only been exacerbated and fueled by the Trump campaign and presidency. In its secrecy, loyalty to the leader and not the office, and the refusal to abide by the rule of law, the Republican party is taking the next steps down the path of autocracies that just maintain the veneer of democracy such as Russia and Hungary. It is coming more and more to resemble Fidesz in Hungary or United Russia under Putin, a party designed solely to serve the autocrat and not the people it supposedly represents.