There have been disturbing examples around the 2018 midterm elections of the depravity of the Republican Party, not the least of which are the Georgia debacle and the North Carolina outrage. However, the GOP’s and Trump’s biggest failure and most egregious eschewing of responsibility and honor will probably turn out to the be way they have stacked important non-elected federal government positions with hacks, fools, and frauds. In this way, the GOP’s attempt to prove that government is ineffectual and inept by making it so is a stunning example of the idea that ignorance is dangerous.
Betsy DeVos is a good case in point. A few paragraphs into this piece on the Secretary of Education shows her not to be a seasoned and professional bureaucrat, but a political appointee who brings little to the job. She definitely has amassed more than a few examples of how ignorance is dangerous (her call for guns in schools is but one).
If Trump came to D.C. to “drain the swamp” and “lock her [Clinton] up”, it’s notable that he has done neither; it’s swampy as hell there, now. In fact, with Chief of Staff John Kelly quitting or being ousted, the turnover rate of second-rate babysitters and partisans in the Oval Office, West Wing, and Cabinet is amazing. Matt Whitaker was a farce, of course, and now, I bet only Scott Baio and Andrew Napolitano are willing to serve if asked. Luckily, Fox News is still full of willing losers and hacks who will enter the revolving door of politics if asked.
“The problem is, these people, over the years…they looked at the Democratic party that made a hell of a lot of promises to them. Indeed, the Democrats have been much better than the Republicans. But I don’t want anyone here to forget that it was a Democratic president, not a Republican president, who deregulated Wall Street. It was a Democratic president who made the first major initiatives on disastrous trade policies. Let’s not forget that either.”
I don’t think this writer at the rightwing newspaper The Washington Examiner feels any shame labeling the gutting and neutering of the EPA a “success.” Is that really successful – putting a stooge in charge of the agency, and seeing environmental standards eroded, rewritten, and shelved while the Administrator racks up a litany of ethical violations? It’s not draining the swamp, it’s adding snakes to it.
Rick Perry is the most astounding example of ignorance is dangerous I’ve seen since “Brownie” was praised by Bush for “doing a heckuva job” as the FEMA head during Hurricane Katrina. The GOP claims that Dems run an ineffectual, bloated, or corrupt government – and then when they are elected, they prove it to be true. It’s pernicious and dark. Rick Perry heads the Department of Energy, and he demonstrated woeful ignorance about energy policy. He forgot the Department existed once. That isn’t a joke. If ignorance is dangerous, this is a 5-alarm fire, folks!
The debt under Trump is up, up, up – after 8 years of complaining about the debt under Obama which the Republican before him largely created (with a bit of help from Clinton). The Devin Nunes-led attempt to uncover treason on Trump’s part vis-a-vis Russian interference in the election was pathetic. One could fairly say that Republicans love debt and don’t much favor social services (by and large).
“As President Trump has been defying the rule of law and attempting to undermine democracy, his fellow Republicans in Congress have often been profiles in cowardice. They have meekly assented to the damage he is doing, afraid that confronting him might alienate Republican voters. They have put career over country.”
Wikipedia notes that lobbyist Grover Norquist is a well-known proponent of the “starve the beast” strategy and has famously said, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
“Starve the beast” is the height of cynicism and wanton irresponsibility, and guess what – the GOP is the only entity in the United States that would do such a thing. The idea is that the government is objected to on an ideological basis, so when the Right has power, what does it do? Reform government? Improve it? No, they seek to drown it in a bathtub, in the words of a famous anti-tax guy. Creepy former Senator Rick Santorum said this: “I came to the House as a real deficit hawk, but I am no longer a deficit hawk. I’ll tell you why: I had to spend the surpluses; deficits make it easier to say ‘no’.” That’s devilish, sir.
Bruce Bartlett, a Republican-turned-independent, notes the following: “Unfortunately there is no evidence that the big 1981 tax cut enacted by Reagan did anything whatsoever to restrain spending. Federal outlays rose from 21.7% of GDP in 1980 to 23.5% in 1983, before falling back to 21.3% of GDP by the time he left office.” As well:
“Although all of evidence of the previous 20 years clearly refuted starve the beast theory, George W. Bush was an enthusiastic supporter, using it to justify liquidation of the budget surpluses he inherited from Clinton on massive tax cuts year after year. Bush called them “a fiscal straightjacket for Congress” that would prevent an increase in spending. Of course nothing of the kind occurred. Spending rose throughout his administration to 20.7% of GDP in 2008.” ~ Bruce Bartlett
It is grossly corrosive of our Republic. If the GOP doesn’t favor government entitlements (like all the most successful democracies in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand), fine, but let it put it to the voters and dispense with this subterfuge and unscrupulousness. Perfect example with the ATF here.
Are Democrats perfect? No. I am still angry with Clinton and Wassarman-Schultz about preventing Bernie from going up against Trump – which would have avoided all this mess. The power structure of the DNC prevented Bernie from a fully fair competition, and those two ladies shot themselves in the foot – and the rest of us in the gut. Watch the movie Chappaquiddick and you clearly see that the Democratic Party uses chicanery and Machiavellianism at times to garner power. Though the GOP is famous for recent, horrible gerrymandering, the DNC is a sclerotic organization that feathers its own nest and probably will gerrymander to favor its tribe now that the Dems soundly won Congress and some governorships. It’s an ugly tit for tat, and I’m not sure who started it. I do know the GOP excels at it, though.
Ignorance is dangerous is pretty much an axiom. In the case of the modern GOP governing at the city, state, and national level, it is truly a harrowing thing to witness at times. But a cynical attempt to gut some of the agencies, departments, and social services Americans should be able to rely on is beyond the pale. We as a country and we as a global community can only take so many Scott Pruitts and so much eschewing of global leadership (e.g., Saudi Arabia relations) before we face a nasty group of chickens coming home to roost. Ω
“The Great Society had a real chance to grow into a beautiful woman. I figured she’d be so big and beautiful that the American people couldn’t help but fall in love with her…but now Nixon has come along and everything I’ve worked for is ruined…She’s getting thinner and thinner and uglier and uglier all the time. The American people will refuse to look at her; they’ll stick her in a closet to hide her away and there she’ll die. And when she dies, I, too, will die.“ ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
This is a blog that is in a similar vein.