What a time for Congress to be impotent.
The outcome of the war in Ukraine will have enormous consequences for global democracy, and requires unflagging support that MAGA Republicans oppose. The war just launched by Hamas against Israel threatens to strengthen Netanyahu, a corrupt, anti-democratic autocrat embraced by Trump who has caused immense damage to Israel’s reputation, both at home and abroad, and to further destabilize one of the world’s most dangerous areas. Climate change is accelerating, while MAGA Republicans continue to deny its reality. The gap between the rich and the rest is accurately characterized as a new and massively unfair Gilded Age. American lifespans are declining…The list goes on.
And the Republicans in Congress are clowns, utterly unable to rise to any occasion, or to make even the most feeble efforts to do their jobs. The GOP has picked a very unfortunate time to disintegrate ala the Whigs.
As Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has observed, McCarthy’s downfall is another symptom of the same underlying pathologies: a cultish GOP in thrall to a would-be autocrat, anti-majoritarian structural impediments, a surge in right-wing extremism, and White resentments and grievances channeled into a burn-it-all-down fever.
Unfortunately, McCarthy’s ouster.doesn’t change those underlying systemic problems. Republicans in the House are deeply divided between an outdated and unrealistic Right wing and a full-blown lunatic Right. The two candidates who’ve emerged as frontrunners in the contest to succeed McCarthy would be unacceptable in any rational legislative body. (Jim Jordan is so unhinged that one Democratic strategist has been quoted for the observation that elevating him would give Democrats 14 additional House seats. Steve Scalise is best known for his claim to be “David Duke without the baggage.”)
All this would be bad enough in a saner, more peaceful world. Now, it’s terrifying–sort of like being stuck in place with a broken leg while watching an avalanche descending on you .
Jennifer Rubin recently summed up where we are, and she echoed my own feelings:
After Hamas is defeated, there will be a reckoning in Israel to match anything we have ever seen. Evidence of warnings to the Israeli government about insufficient deterrence, recriminations about putting a racist ideologue in the Defense Ministry post and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s misguided assault on democracy will all be reviewed. Careers will end. History will convict many of grotesque negligence.
Here in the United States, I have less patience than usual (which is often none) for inane right-wing rhetoric in the United States. No, there were no humanitarian funds released to Iran that might have put money in the mullahs’ pockets to be spent on Hamas. No, the Biden administration did not invite any of this. Republicans used to denounce the urge to “blame America first” for monstrous evil perpetrated by others. No more.
This should, but likely will not, inject some sobriety into the Republican Party, which has held up U.S. military promotions and confirmations and State Department postings; brought the House to a state of collapse under the weight of MAGA hysteria; carried water for Russia (an ally of Iran); and generally reminded us that adults are needed in government.
Voters need to wise up: We cannot tolerate the return to power of the egregiously unfit four-times indicted former president (who gleefully spread around intelligence information) nor allow MAGA nihilists to hold the country hostage. The stakes here and around the world are far too grave.
And those stakes are “around the world.” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began the largest war in Europe since World War II. Meanwhile, China has become more bellicose toward Taiwan, India is experiencing an eruption of virulent nationalism, and Israel has formed the most extreme government in its history. Populism is growing in otherwise democratic countries like France and Spain.
If the chaos caused in large measure by the “stop the world, I want to get off” Republcans in Congress ends up adding fuel to a meltdown of civilization and stability across the globe, if the wars that keep breaking out engulf us in another worldwide conflict, a significant cause will be the fact that far too many Americans have reverted to an unthinking and reflexive tribalism while they wallow in an utter lack of interest in –or desire for–adult governance.
The only bright spot in any of this is the fact that we have a seasoned, wise and statesmanlike President at the helm, and not the preceding ignoramus.