Politics Magazine

The GOP Is In A Downward Spiral Of Incompetence

Posted on the 01 April 2017 by Jobsanger
The GOP Is In A Downward Spiral Of Incompetence (This cartoon image is by Randall Enos at cagle.com.)
When the Republicans won control of the White House and both houses of Congress in the last election, they thought they now possessed the keys to the kingdom -- and could do anything they wanted to do. It hasn't quite worked out that way.
The following is much of an op-ed by Michael Gershon in The Washington Post:
Since the rise of the tea party, there have been perhaps 30 members of the House — the Freedom Caucus — who have been consistently unwilling to vote for center-right policy because their anti-government convictions are unappeasable. Incited and abetted by conservative media, they made then-Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) life a living hell, and have greeted Ryan (Wis.) with sharpened pitchforks.  So a party at the peak of its political fortunes is utterly paralyzed. A caucus in control of everything is itself uncontrollable.  Heading into last year’s election, Republicans knew that this problem — the tea party predicament, the Freedom Caucus conundrum, the Boehner bog — had to be dealt with. The GOP needed a large and capable leader who could either unite the whole party (at least temporarily) with a bold, conservative vision, or peel off some centrist Democratic support with innovative policy. They needed an above-average president. What they got is unimaginably distant from any of these goals. They got a leader who is empty — devoid of even moderately detailed preferences and incapable of using policy details in the course of political persuasion. Republicans got a leader who is impatient and easily distracted — by cable news on the Russian scandal or by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings. The content and consequences of his tweets are bad enough; worse is the disordered personality traits they reveal — vindictiveness, shallowness and lack of discipline. Trump spent a total of 18 days on his health-care bill before demanding a vote. And he made no speech to the nation to advance his ideas — as every other recent president would have done.  Republicans got an administration that is incompetent. The White House policy process has been erratic and disorganized. It has failed to provide expert analysis or assistance to Congress and did little to effectively advocate the president’s policy in ways that could have united the party. Republicans got an administration that is morally small. Trump’s proposed budget would require massive cuts in disease research, global development and agricultural programs — just as a famine gathers a hideous strength. The proposed budget practices random acts of gratuitous cruelty. This is a pretty bad combination: empty, easily distracted, vindictive, shallow, impatient, incompetent and morally small. This is not the profile of a governing party. . . . Some Republicans choose to comfort themselves by repeating the mantra: “Gorsuch, Gorsuch, Gorsuch.” But that does nothing to change Trump’s stunningly high disapproval ratings. Or the stunning rebuke by the FBI director concerning his claim of being wiretapped by President Barack Obama. Or the stunning rejection of his central campaign promise by elements of his own party. Or his stunning ignorance of the basics of policy and leadership. And all this has come in the course of the president’s political honeymoon. What, for goodness’ sake, will the marriage be like? It is now dawning on Republicans what they have done to themselves. They thought they could somehow get away with Trump. That he could be contained. That the adults could provide guidance. That the economy might come to the rescue. That the damage could be limited.  Instead, they are seeing a downward spiral of incompetence and public contempt — a collapse that is yet to reach a floor. A presidency is failing. A party unable to govern is becoming unfit to govern.  And what, in the short term, can be done about it? Nothing. Nothing at all.

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