Republicans on a losing streak

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

If someone had told you that, in the months after the Republican Party’s historic 2014 Congressional election wins, Republicans would suffer one self-inflicted defeat and embarrassment after another, you might have told that person that he was nuts. But that is exactly what has happened to the Republican Party since last November’s elections. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, lowlights:

1. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before the U.S. Congress to push for war rather than diplomacy with Iran erupted in Boehner’s face. Not only did Boehner keep the Netanyahu visit a secret from President Barack Obama, which is a major breach of protocol and may be a criminal violation of the Logan Act, Boehner also lied to the Israelis by stating that the invite to Netanyahu was from the “bipartisan leadership” of the House and Senate.

2. Republicans in the U.S. Senate continue to drag their feet on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next U.S. Attorney General. Lynch’s nomination has been languishing for more than 110 days, smashing recent records. However, Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot here, as their nemesis, current Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced his resignation last September, has agreed to stay on the job until his replacement is confirmed.

3. President Obama vetoed Republican attempts to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. While Obama’s veto does not necessarily mean that the Obama administration will reject the Keystone XL project which risks massive environmental damage and creates only 35 permanent jobs, it was a Constitutional rebuke against GOP Congressional attempts to wrest this decision away from the Executive Branch.

4. Rudolph Giuliani‘s racist comments about President Obama blew back on Giuliani, further tarnishing the Republican brand as the party of intolerance toward minorities. Giuliani was roundly criticized by people across the political spectrum, including potential Republican Presidential candidates Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Mike Pence, as well as Megyn Kelly of Fox News.

5. Bill O’Reilly‘s long-time pattern of lies and exaggerations was exposed. Fox News‘ failure to punish O’Reilly with even a time-out, in comparison to NBC News taking tough action against Brian Williams for his exaggerations, further demonstrated that Fox is merely a GOP propaganda machine, not a real news organization.

6. Potential Republican Presidential candidates Scott Walker and Chris Christie each went to England, presumably to appear Presidential, and both put in embarrassing performances. When asked whether he believes in evolution, Walker refused to answer, saying that he was “going to punt” on the question. Christie, while in England, created a controversy by saying that parents should have a “choice” in vaccinating their children, just as a measles outbreak was occurring back in the U.S., due in large part to people not being vaccinated.

7. When Chris Christie returned to the States, he faced a serious repudiation by a New Jersey Superior Court judge, who ruled that Christie violated a pension agreement with state employees (some characterize it as Christie violating the law) and owes these workers over $2 billion. Christie’s poll numbers and presidential prospects are dropping precipitously.

8. President Obama, and the American people, had a big win when the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt Net Neutrality rules that partly treat Internet service as a common carrier under “Title II” of the Communications Act of 1934, and prevent big telecommunications companies from either blocking or slowing Internet traffic, or taking payments to give preferential treatment to certain content or services on their networks. The FCC vote was 3-2, with all three Democratic Commissioners (including Chairman Tom Wheeler) voting in favor, and the two Republican Commissioners voting against. The telecom companies, and many Republicans on whom they lavish huge political spending, oppose Net Neutrality.

9. President Obama also took the fight directly to the Republicans in his recent town hall meeting on immigration. Obama laid the blame for the lack of comprehensive immigration reform squarely at the feet of John Boehner and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives:

But let’s not be confused about why we don’t have comprehensive immigration reform right now. It’s very simple: The Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, refused to call the bill. Had he called the bill, the overwhelming majority of Democrats and a handful of Republicans would have provided a majority in order to get that done.

10. John Boehner once again lost control of his House Republican majority caucus, and was not able to pass a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for more than one week, which stepped on the Republicans’ message that both ISIS and other terrorists present grave threats to the United States.

11. 80 year-old Republican U.S. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, fully captured by the fossil fuel industry and the leading climate denier in the U.S. Congress, threw a snowball on the Senate floor to try to demonstrate that, because it had snowed, climate change isn’t real. Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a leader in the fight to stem global warming, took apart Inhofe’s argument by citing the scientific experts and even big corporations that are acting to fight climate change, in contrast to “the Senator with the snowball.”

12. The 2015 CPAC Conference (“conservative” and “Republican” being essentially interchangeable these days) was filled with incompetence and extremism. While the organizers’ goal seemed to be to tamp down the crazy talk, the conference nevertheless was highlighted by Republican Presidential contenders such as Scott Walker and Marco Rubio badly flubbing answers on foreign policy matters, and fringe figures such as Phil Robertson of the “Duck Dynasty” TV show railing against sexually transmitted diseases and “hippies.”

Even the conservative Wall Street Journal Opinion page said that Republicans in Congress are “well on their way” to wasting their majority. At this point, Republicans might be longing for the days before January 2015, when the GOP-majority House could pass meaningless, feel-good bills (such as repealing the Affordable Care Act or banning all abortions) that they knew would die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but which they could tout to their base. Now Republicans are facing the cold, harsh reality that they control an entire branch of government (two branches if you include the Supreme Court), and thus far they have demonstrated neither the ability nor the will to govern.

2 Responses to Republicans on a losing streak
  1. Ray
    March 2, 2015 | 12:28 pm

    You miss the main point of the TP/GOP. See they can produce numerous amounts of propaganda. But if they have a majority they can not govern. If they govern then they are showing all that their main propaganda message, that the Federal Government can not possible work. Is nothing more then a LIE.

    • Messaging Matters
      March 2, 2015 | 12:33 pm

      Oh, I got that point clearly. Please see last paragraph of post.

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