One of the Republican Congressmen who voted for the extremely popular infrastructure bill has reported getting death threats.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) — a moderate who voted for the infrastructure package — said during an interview Monday evening on CNN that a caller left a message with his office that was filled with expletives and called him a traitor. “I hope you die,” the caller said, adding that he hoped everybody in his family died as well.
Paul Gosar–one of several GOP Representatives who are clearly and demonstrably mentally ill– posted a “cartoon” video of himself killing Democratic Congresswoman AOC. (In Gosar’s case, it’s notable that all six of his siblings ran an ad opposing him in the last election cycle; you really need to be “out there” for your family to publicly warn that you pose a danger…)
If these and similar examples were equally “out there”–that is, if the party leadership was distancing itself from its racists, anti-Semites and other assorted nut cases– it would be troubling enough. But the party not only isn’t distancing itself, it has arguably stopped behaving like a political party that needs to appeal to as many voters as possible, and has stopped even the pretense of caring about governing or policy or the future of the country.
This recent headline from the Washington Post would have been unthinkable not that long ago: “Tensions rise among Republicans over infrastructure bill and whether any agreement with Biden should be tolerated.”
Republicans are increasingly divided over the bipartisan infrastructure bill that will soon become law, with tensions rising among GOP members over whether the party should remain united against all aspects of President Biden’s agenda or strike deals in the rare instances when there is common ground.
Former president Donald Trump has led the call to trash the bill while deriding Republicans who voted for the measure, saying they should be “ashamed of themselves” for “helping the Democrats.”
Politicians have always played partisan hardball, but until recently, they have done their best to portray that game-playing as zeal to protect a policy goal –to prevent excessive spending, or government over-reach, or to protect “state’s rights.” (Dissident Democrats with personal agendas still maintain that public posture–Manchin comes to mind.) Incredibly, however, today’s GOP no longer even pretends that concerns for the common good or responsible governance are involved. As the article notes, the “divisions and hard feelings over the bill reflect the degree to which Republicans have defined themselves heading into the 2022 midterms as being against whatever Biden and the Democrats are for.”
We now know why the Republicans didn’t bother to craft a platform for the 2020 election: the party is simply against whatever the President of the United States is for. No matter whether a Presidential proposal is good for the country, no matter if it is popular even among the rabid base of their own party, if the President wants it, they oppose it.
Several media outlets have reported that allies of Trump are advocating for more than criticizism of party members who voted to repair the nation’s decaying infrastructure. They are proposing to punish them, particularly those who hold senior committee positions.
Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in interview on Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room”podcast Tuesday that all 13 members should “absolutely” be stripped of their committee assignments by House leadership in the coming days.
This isn’t traditional politics, and the pathetic remnants of what used to be a normal political party can no longer be viewed as political actors. They are consigliere and henchmen to the aptly-named Don.
I have to believe that there is a limit to just how long Republican gerrymandering and vote suppression can protect people who lack even enough shame to impel pretense; these corrupt and clueless empty suits don’t care about governing, and they are uninterested in feigning concern for the people they are supposed to be serving.
They are willing to be exactly who and what they are.