Another Republican debate tonight and therefore another chance to deal with an issue I have struggled with since the beginning of the campaign: How do you maintain a minimum of respect for the GOP candidates and for the party they wish to represent and its loyal following? About six months ago MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted to me that you could disagree with the billionaire Koch brothers without hating them, and I promised that I would try but must admit I failed miserably. The Kochs are heavily invested in various fossil fuel industries and have become the main financers of climate change denial in the US, allowing their greed to take precedent over the right of future generations to a habitable planet. At that point it doesn’t matter whether they really believe that 95% of the world’s climate scientists are wrong or not, only the effects of their actions count. Lately the Kochs are also making sizeable donations to economics departments at universities and colleges, on a condition that faculty appointments are reserved for those who practice supply side economics and promote tax cuts for the very rich.
All GOP candidates are climate change deniers, although there may be a few ‘agnostics’ among them, and without exception they adhere to supply side economics, even Jeb Bush, whose father correctly characterized it as ‘voodoo economics’ during the 1980 campaign. The fact that they don’t distinguish themselves from the Koch brothers is somewhat obscured by the themes that have become dominant after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, security and gun control. Donald Trump’s xenophobic and unconstitutional ‘proposal’ to temporarily keep all foreign Muslims out of the US has given them a chance to appear ‘nuanced,’ although it is only a small step down from suggestions by Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush to only admit Christian refugees from the Middle East and from thirty Republican Governors refusing to accept Syrian refugees in their states. In other words, if Trump is Hitler Cruz is Himmler and Bush Goebbels, and all the other GOP candidates are participants in the latest version of the Wannsee conference, where probably a couple of Nazis also said that exterminating the Jews was maybe not the best idea.
Moreover, since the massacre at San Bernardino not one of the candidates has come out for ‘common sense’ gun control, while Republicans in Congress, all but a few in the pockets of the NRA, kept refusing to stop gun sales to suspected terrorists on the US no-fly list. Ted Cruz again took the cake by proclaiming that the only way to keep the bad guys from using their guns is to start using ‘ours,’ potentially making everybody in the US a target for redneck amateurs.
Since the Paris conference where 195 countries came to a long overdue agreement on climate control GOP leaders in both the House and the Senate have declared that a Republican president would immediately void the agreement, turning the US from a leader into a brainless spoiler and raising the stakes of the general election above Trump’s racism and Cruz’ suicidal vigilantism.
Sometimes you get the advice to ‘question your opponents’ policies, not their motives,’ but today’s GOP doesn’t deserve that kind of consideration. Its motives are as corrupt as its policies are destructive, and the only hope for the US lies in wiping both out in the next election.