I still vividly remember the sound of a woman in the Senate chamber gasping in shock when it became clear that Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted against the Republican replacement for Obamacare. Until that moment, Republicans seemed to be gaining momentum to roll back the costly and ineffective mess that Obamacare had become. It would have fulfilled McCain’s own campaign promises to his Arizona constituency and might have significantly improved the efficiency and quality of healthcare for millions. But McCain, like so many other Republicans, always secreted a dagger in his coat pocket to use at the point of maximum vulnerability against the people he claimed to represent.
In 2021, we’re reminded of this moment as millions gasp at the House Republican defection of 13 Congressmen who helped the Democrats pass the so-called, “infrastructure” bill. Just a few days after voters delivered a stinging rebuke to the Democrats, one would have assumed that the momentum should have stiffened the resistance against an inflation-aggravating corporate welfare bill that will also prop-up the political fortunes of a wounded Democrat.
Oh, the “real” Republicans were “outraged.” But one cannot help notice that at nearly the same point in two successive administrations, the Republicans threw away momentum for reasons that seem to have nothing to do with representing their constituents.
We should also recall the many Republicans who supported the blatantly partisan Robert Mueller probe which hamstrung the Trump Administration. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned Trump that ending Mueller’s Russia Collusion Hoax, “would be the end of the Trump presidency.” Richard Burr (R-N.C.) added his voice to push the farce, saying, “I see it as a positive thing, especially having Bob Mueller involved.” Even though the hoax had already begun to unravel as Trump attorney Michael Cohen produced photos of his passport disproving the key allegation of a Trump payoff of Russian hackers, the Republicans in both chambers of Congress, fearful of making waves or staking out lonely positions, embraced the big lie of the day.
Washington Republicans are not much of an opposition party. As the president attempts to legally mandate vaccines for much of the country, congressmen and senators placed big bets with their personal money on Pfizer stock. According to Opensecrets.com, as of 2018 (the latest published data) Republican Congressional investors in Pfizer include Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.), David Cook (R-Texas), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), James French Hill (R-Ark.), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Michael Burgess (R-Texas), John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Roger Williams (R-Texas), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Coincidentally, none of these investors have announced their cosponsorship to Senator Ted Cruz’s bill seeking to block the Department of Labor’s vaccine mandate.
What does the term “conservative” even mean anymore? Are there any Republicans who have taken concrete action to limit the runaway budget deficit? What steps have the Republicans taken to reduce the budget of the sprawling intelligence community that now appears to be primarily focused on covering up for the president’s children and staging set-ups to entice political enemies into committing crimes?
Imagine a ratchet wrench loosening the bolts holding out country together: Twisting to the left torques the connections ever looser. Torques in the other direction just slip without effect. Republicans give frustrated voters a symbolic release for their frustrations. But when it’s time to make a key vote, the men and women sent to stop the long march to socialism just wilt under the pressure.
Where do modern Republicans stand on inflation, particularly when it comes to fuel and food prices, which are tearing down the standard of living for working Americans? Where do they stand on the immigration free-for-all which is diluting the bargaining power of our laborers and factory workers? What are they doing to stop our military from becoming an ineffective social experiment run by woke social engineers? And why won’t Republicans stand up to Facebook or Google? One possible reason to consider is that some of them are investors in Facebook. Others own Google (Alphabet).
The Republican Party seems happiest when it is most ineffective. It’s becoming like one of those Russian opposition parties Putin allows to exist so long as it doesn’t threaten his power. After all, a simpering opposition party is key to real one-party rule.