The GOP Doesn’t Know How to Govern
After years of obstructionism, the Republican Party has lost their ability to govern
There was a time when the Republican Party was more in touch with their constituents. There seemed to be an evolution from the core values of the party of years ago and what they have become today. The jury isn’t in on whether this transition is finished, but the results of their initial obstructionism has been showing over the last several years.
The Republican Party’s hard rightward lurch began in earnest with the nomination of Barry Goldwater and opposition to the civil rights movement. Ronald Reagan picked up the mantle and has since been lionized as the patron saint of the modern right. The 1990s saw the rise of right wing talk radio, Fox News, and the Republican Revolution of 1994. These events fueled right wing outrage, disaffection and radicalism that would set the stage for the Tea Party in response to the election of the first African American president.
Lately, the GOP have been so busy fighting and blocking, that they didn’t notice the bizarre rise of their most extreme version. When they looked into the mirror, they viewed the image of Trump and each one of these integral steps led up to this moment and in that time span, they threw away the fact that they were a party that was supposed to lead, and instead embraced obstructionism to the maximum degree.
The acceptance of this philosophy isn’t just a credo or mantra, it has now become so close to obsessive-compulsive that they have strangled out any other options. The various members of the Tea Party have influenced the GOP as whole to such a degree that they have based their behavior and actions more on obstructing any policy that might be considered ‘liberal or progressive’.
Instead of representing their constituents in moving the United States forward, they have been hell-bent on not only keeping out anything that would cross the lines of their core beliefs, but have aligned themselves with such extreme conservative media as Fox News to disperse misinformation that supports their cause. In essence, the Republican Party has become a group that seems to have partnered so tightly with obstruction and refusal to accept any other ideas or concepts, that they lost their way as leaders.
The Bad GOP Health Care Bill
For the last seven years, the Republicans have been yelling about the horrors of the Affordable Health Care Act (the ACA, aka Obamacare). They have whipped their supporters into a frenzy of complaints. Granted, there are a number of problems with the ACA, but the GOP doesn’t mention that these “problems” were caused by the GOP themselves. They required specific loopholes be included in the ACA and the Democrats begrudgingly accepted them in an attempt to get some Republican support for the bill (which never came). It was hoped the ACA’s weaknesses could slowly be addressed. Unfortunately, now that both the House and Senate are under the rule of the Republicans, this does not appear likely.
The problem with this scenario is that Republicans devoted absolutely no attention to an alternative health care bill. Good leaders know that to have good performance, you must plan ahead. But when Republicans ended up in power after the 2016 election, they realized that they had to make good on their promises. They quickly threw together one of the worst healthcare plans in history. The release of this atrocity proved not only that they were out of touch with the needs of the American people, but that they were willing to make their own constituents pay the price for their folly. It is no surprise that Republicans and Democrats alike protested against the bill. Seeing their own reelection prospects potentially going up in smoke, around 45 Republicans (and all Democrats) opposed the bill.
For Some, It Isn’t Bad Enough
After refusing to even put the healthcare bill up for a vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted:
Moving from an opposition party, to a governing party, comes with growing pains. And, well, we’re feeling those growing pains today … Ultimately, this all comes down to a choice: Are all of us willing to give a little to get something done?
But this whole situation goes beyond just an inability to “lead.” It enters the creepy area of there are Republicans who think the GOP plan did not go far enough down its evil path. The Washington Examiner quoted this angry statement by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) in the aftermath of the failure of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), regarding some of his more conservative colleagues:
Americans are sick and tired of the dysfunction in Washington when far right-wing factions put their narrow interests above the will of the people that elected them.
Anyone familiar with the behavior of the far right recognizes that the GOP version of healthcare actually didn’t remove enough benefits to conform to the core beliefs of the Tea Party.
A Failure for Republicans and Trump
There is no doubt that the “repeal and replace” of the ACA was one of the main rallying cries of the Trump campaign. He boasted that he was “the only one” able to negotiate a new healthcare plan. Trump has always talked big, even as he was accused of not really being a CEO, but more of a con artist who had others doing the actual work. In this case those “others” were the Republican Party. Allocating the responsibility to people more accustomed to complaining than developing actual solutions created a complete and total train wreck. It exemplified the fact that no one in a GOP leadership position had the slightest idea of what they were doing.
For Trump, his idea of being a leader is doing the dramatic TV-show bullying that he’s built his media brand on. So, his plan was to gather the Republican representatives together and threaten them. Fortune offers insight on the meeting:
In one of the few visits he has made to the U.S. Capitol since taking office two months ago, Trump told fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives on Tuesday morning they would face “political problems” for opposing the bill that takes apart Obamacare and partially replaces it. Later in the day, Trump hosted roughly a dozen lawmakers in the Oval Office to listen to their concerns.
Republicans Live in the World of “Mean”
If you examine companies that experience success, you usually see management which envisions a variety of possibilities. This attitude moves throughout the organization and allows a sense of “positivity.” This is what good leaders do: they establish an environment in which people contribute and feel empowered, understanding change and the need to accommodate transitions. This is especially true for the technology companies that have launched the fantastic products that we love.
But the GOP does not embrace this attitude and that’s nothing new. A 2015 Huffington Post article lays out what’s been happening to the Republican brand. In it they list numerous cases of lousy GOP behavior:
The article shows Republicans not only being out of touch with the people, but also designing policies with evil intent. A quote from the article:
This is not only mean and nasty, but it’s dirty. The deviousness required just to think of such a diabolical scheme is indeed astounding … Their approach of imposing power is much broader than just addressing crime, and indeed, it pervades their entire philosophical outlook from domestic initiatives to foreign policy. Republicans often speak in terms of projecting “strength,” being “feared,” commanding “respect,” and imposing punishments. They believe in building-up enormous police and military forces, and that the only way to achieve peace both domestically and internationally is through possessing overwhelming strength. The overarching theme is that anyone who dares to be different by not strictly adhering to the dictates of the establishment order will be taught a lesson and crushed like a bug.
Good leaders don’t propagate this kind of philosophy. But since it appears that these attitudes have become the bread and butter of the GOP, the party will continue to fail.
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