One of the major takeaways from the series of dramatic political events that occurred in the space of 48 hours this week is quite simply that the Republicans will do anything to win. Almost literally anything. Chicanery and complex scheming in politics isn't anything new (see also House of Cards), but the intensity and frequency -- not to mention the broad-daylight hubris of it all -- by the Republicans this week has been extraordinary to behold.
It's surely symptomatic of the Republican Party's current status on the endangered species list, but that's also what makes the party's collective fealty to far-right bigotry and oppression even more peculiar, given how the policy areas at issue this week have almost exclusively impacted women and minorities.
We were told the party was endeavoring to reach out to the demographic groups that helped doom its electoral chances last November. Clearly not, and it's disintegrated into a predictably failed outreach effort. There was never any doubt that the extremists who occupy the far-right base, as well as the fire-eaters in the conservative entertainment complex, would never allow the party to soften its posture. And so it goes.
Here now are the top six examples of Republican cheating, racism, hypocrisy and general insanity from Tuesday and Wednesday of this week:
6) They contradicted their own opinions on the judicial review role of the Supreme Court from day-to-day.
On Tuesday, Justice Antonin Scalia decided with the majority to strip a key provision out of the Voting Rights Act, a law that Congress passed and the president signed, most recently in 2006. Then, on Wednesday, he decided with the minority on DOMA, a law that Congress passed and the president signed. In this case, however, he ranted and raved in his opinion about the how the DOMA decision "is an assertion of judicial supremacy over the people's Representatives in Congress and the Executive." He said, "We have no power to decide this case."
The day before, he decided to do that exact thing -- in every way. On Tuesday he decided to contravene a law. Yet on Wednesday, 24 hours later, he said the Supreme Court has "no power" to do so.
Did he honestly believe no one would notice the gaping contradiction between his two opinions? Does the judicial review role of the Court, established in the landmark Marbury v Madison case, only apply on Tuesdays and not the rest of the week? Perhaps Antonin Scalia isn't totally opposed to Marbury. Perhaps he's just Marbury-curious.
5) Big government intrusions on reproduction, marriage and election laws are fine and dandy even though the Republicans claim to hate big government.
This is almost self-explanatory. Republicans would prefer to drown big government in the bathtub -- except, of course, when it comes to telling women what they can and can't do with their reproductive organs (see the Texas anti-choice law as one of many examples); except when it comes to telling same-sex couples whether they're allowed to get married (see DOMA and Prop 8); and except when it comes to adding more government bureaucracy to the voting process (see Voter ID and the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act decision).
4) They made wild claims about marriage equality, and how it could lead to bestiality.
I guess I have to say this again: Rand Paul is not your friend, liberals. Yesterday, Rand Paul appeared on the Glenn Beck Show -- another reason why he's not your friend -- and agreed with Beck that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy. Interesting idea coming from Beck, who's a Mormon. Worse yet, Rand Paul volunteered the idea that same-sex marriage could lead to bestiality.
Rand Paul wondered, "[I]f we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans?"
Beck didn't even mention this -- Rand Paul came up with it himself, clearly channeling Rick Santorum who infamously said that same-sex marriage would lead to "man on dog." What's also astonishing is that Rand Paul, who claims to be libertarian, was also suggesting that there needs to be government laws against marriage equality -- another indication that he's just an opportunist and not a legitimate libertarian.
3) The Supreme Court's decision to undermine the Voting Right Act brought into renewed focus the Republican Party's transparently obvious racism and, specifically, the conspiracy that exposes it: the rigging of elections by disenfranchising voters.
Yes, the Republicans will absolutely block minorities from voting if it means winning more votes. I wrote extensively about the impact of the Supreme Court's Shelby County v Holder decision on Wednesday, but one aspect I failed to mention was John Roberts' laughable blindness in the face of continued American racism, both societally (Paula Deen is the most visible example right now) and specifically as a major facet of Republican politics.
Are we seriously expected to believe that Roberts and the other conservative justices are unaware of the Southern Strategy and racial dog-whistles employed as recently in the 2012 election (Romney's welfare falsehood and his 'Obama Isn't Working' slogan were just two of many examples)? And are we seriously expect to believe that the Supreme Court doesn't see the inherent racism involved in Voter ID laws, voter purges and other obstructions predominantly impacting minorities and minority precincts?
Clearly not, because they chose to declare unconstitutional the aspect of the Voting Rights Act that's tasked with preventing such atrocities.
2) The Republicans intend to hold hostage the Voting Rights Act in order to preserve Jim Crow style Voter ID laws.
On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said the Republicans might oppose a new and updated version of Section 4 (the section of the VRA that was struck down by the Court) unless they secure a deal from the Democrats that would allow them to continue to -- get this -- retain and pass Voter ID laws. The irony is nauseating. The section of the act that's supposed to weed out laws like Voter ID is being held hostage in the name of passing more Voter ID laws.
By the way, has anyone noticed how rabidly obsessed the Republicans are with their precious Voter ID laws? I wonder why that is, considering how the only legitimate reason to have Voter IDs has been thoroughly debunked by, among other outfits, the Bush Justice Department. So... why the IDs? Obviously as a means of preventing minorities from voting for Democratic candidates, in the spirit of poll taxes and Jim Crow.
1) The Texas Republicans held a vote on SB5, a notoriously misogynistic anti-choice law, after the special session ended, essentially undermining all Senate rules.
Yes, the Texas Republican lieutenant governor cheated. Following a heroic 13-hour filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) and several pathetic Republican attempts to derail her effort to block a bill that would've virtually closed all abortion clinics in Texas, the lieutenant governor held a roll call vote on SB5 after the midnight deadline, and even apparently changed the vote's timestamp to the previous day to cover his tracks. If he hadn't retracted his scam several hours later, the Republicans would have essentially rendered the rules of the Texas Senate irrelevant. Why have rules when the president of the Senate can simply ignore the rules and proceed however he chooses? It certainly would've nuked the filibuster, given how the president could simply hold a vote after a session had ended.
This is what they do. No matter how many times I've observed Republican shenanigans like this, it was shocking to see it happen in the light of day and in front of 200,000 internet viewers, to say nothing of the cheering Davis-supporters in the gallery as well as the entire body of the Texas Senate.
And by the way, Governor Rick Perry announced Wednesday that he's calling another special session to vote on SB5. He'll keep doing it and doing it until it passes, proving this: never stand between a white Republican man and his fetus fetish.
That's all... for now. It's an astonishing record of treachery, especially knowing that it was all packed into a 48-hour span. Just two days in the life of the Republican Party -- an outfit that continues to out-do itself with shameful tactics, transparent bigotry and an increasingly discordant message.
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