There’s been quite a transformation in the USA since the scorched earth policies of Newt Gingrich and the “nuclear” tactics the GOP has employed since then. While Democrats talked about having the government help people by providing access to healthcare, by mandating a living wage, and many other things that would make Americans’ lives better, Republicans, for years, for decades, have decried “government” as the problem itself and crowed about “free market solutions” to problems that Americans face rather than government intervention, even when there is no capitalistic reason for the free market to be involved (i.e., there is no profit to be extracted from it). But because of conservative purity tests and “getting primaried from the right,” the tables have turned — the Republicans now deny or ignore problems or suggest “solutions” to immigration like shooting immigrants in the legs if they cross the border, while Democrats propose free market solutions. Let me make that clear: Democrats are now running to the right of where Republicans were 20 years ago, leaving the GOP with precious little ground on the extreme right to back up into. But it’s clear what the ground they are backing into is: it’s authoritarianism and suppression or destruction of democracy, and they’ve burned through all their credibility to get there. For example, when Texas Senator Ted Cruz was asked about deficits only being a problem under a Democratic president, he agreed. So he confirms there’s no principle underlying the Republican opposition to deficits and debt, as we’ve all seen for decades. When the President claimed that the country was “turning the corner” on Covid-19 on the DAY that the USA set a new record for daily reported infections, he mocks his voter’s intelligence. In fact, it’s clear he doesn’t even like his supporters, after whining about having to campaign in the last days of the campaign, showing that Republicans don’t even care about their own voters except to the extent where it gives them political power and that power aligns with their voters’ grievances. And just yesterday, a prominent conservative commentator’s claim that “authentic, damning” evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden’s son had been lost by a “large national carrier” just strains credulity even more. So “the dog ate” the most important smoking gun information that could have a direct impact on Trump’s re-election chances? Nobody thought to make a copy? This shows exactly who the Republicans are — in the most charitable view, they are completely incompetent, and in the more realistic view, they are completely mendacious. Either quality should disqualify a TV commentator from their job, and even more so, it should disqualify Republicans from serving in positions of power until they can start telling the truth again (or miraculously become competent), and that includes the current leader of their party.
Recently, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina refused to get tested for Covid-19 before his debate with challenger Jaime Harrison, forcing a change to the format and raising numerous questions, which the article lays out immediately. Why wouldn’t Mr Graham agree to a test? Well Senator Graham tweeted a doctor’s note that said he did not “meet the criteria” based on CDC guidelines for “close contact” after attending Judiciary committee meetings with known positive cases. According to those guidelines “15 minutes of close exposure can be used as an operational definition” of “close contact,” but that other factors should be considered, such as symptoms being present or being coughed on by the infected person, whether or not the infected person was wearing a mask. Did the doctor make his medical assessment based on viewing the video of the Judiciary hearing meetings? How can the doctor, who didn’t attend the meetings, be able to accurately determine the Senator’s risk? And given that these are just guidelines and that the science is still evolving, what’s the harm in taking the test “out of an abundance of caution?” Well, the harm is that were Senator Graham to test positive now, the day before hearings will commence (while the Senate is in recess!) to jam through an ultra-conservative lifetime Supreme Court justice, it would seriously harm the committee’s ability to advance the nominee to a vote as they have a narrow majority in the committee, requiring all members of the majority party to be there to override possible Democratic opposition. We know this party lies, constantly and desperately. So whenever they say anything that defies common sense, like refusing to take a test for the plague after known exposure and before a face-to-face indoor meeting without masks, it makes perfect sense to see why exactly that is.
Recent news has emerged in the Senate race for North Carolina between Thom Tillis (Covid-19) and Cal Cunningham (D) — texts have been revealed that show the Democratic challenger as having had inappropriate texts with a woman that is not his wife. Which in normal times would be a scandal. But attempts by Republicans to express outrage at sexual indiscretion no longer have the weight they used to have. They say nothing when the party figurehead admits on tape to sexually assaulting women because “they let you do it” while he is simultaneously credibly accused by dozens of women over decades of everything from sexual harassment to outright rape. This means that their concerns for the importance of personal morality amongst the elected representatives is being met with what it should be met with — credibility issues. You can’t very well accuse your opponent of something you are happy to accept in shockingly higher degree and number in the leader of your own political party. What this also means is that their ability to take the moral high ground in the future in this and other issues in the future is greatly diminished. You can’t be pro-life when your party doesn’t care about the deaths of 200K+ Americans in six months. You can’t be pro-military when you stand silently by as the troops in Afghanistan have bounties put on their heads. And you certainly don’t get to talk about the sanctity of marriage vows when your figurehead is a three-times married bareback porn star adulterer.
According to this article, a third US Senator, Ron Johnson, has been confirmed as positive for Covid-19. Three more, James Lankford, Ted Cruz, and Ben Sasse are self-quarantining after coming into contact with known infected individuals. 87-year old Chuck Grassley refuses to be tested under similar circumstances. Rick Scott “misspoke” about testing positive. They join Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis who have already tested positive. That is EIGHT Republican senators who will be unavailable for the next two weeks in case Mitch McConnell was planning to jam through a new lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court before the election. That does not include Murkowski and Collins, two Republican senators who’ve both already stated they would not vote for a new Supreme Court justice this close to the election. Last I checked, you need 51 votes to approve a new justice (or 50 if the vice president is needed to break a tie) so that means that even if a vote came up, THEY DON’T HAVE THE VOTES TO APPROVE THE JUSTICE! What an on-brand rake-handle-to-the-face from a party of denialists, fearmongerers, and Russian disinformation dealers. Just as they attempt to do something they swore up and down they wouldn’t do four years ago, another set of lies has caught up to them.