In the weeks since the November elections, Republicans in several states have reacted to losses at the polls by trying their damndest to cripple their duly elected replacements.
Acting like spoiled children on a playground who’ve lost while playing by the rules, they’ve been changing the rules. In those cases, new GOP laws (those rules) and legal responsibilities of governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state and similar officials now limit the powers of incoming Democrats.
Here, in our desert oasis, we’ve been given a similar “slap-in-the-face” by our - need I say it - Republican governor. He’s resurrected a political loser at the polls by giving her the U.S. Senate seat voters wouldn’t. Another loser “wins.”
Our two candidates to replace Sen. Jeff Flake were both members of the U.S. House. Voters in this “purple” state gave the job to the Democrat. So, the Republican was rejected with two more months in office. Most folks thought that was that.
Aha! But, wait! For defeated, voter-rejected GOP candidates, there’s “life after death.” At least for Martha McSally. Mitch McConnell’s choice for the open Seat of the late John McCain.
Former Senator John Kyl had been keeping the seat warm. But, guess what? A couple of weeks ago, Kyl said he’d quit the end of the this month, ahead of schedule, and before the January swearing in of the next Congress.
So, our Republican governor quickly announced his replacement - Martha McSally - who gets a couple of days seniority over the duly-elected Democrat. Important for choosing office space and other perks.
McSally was the made-to-order candidate for Republicans. An incumbent, of course. Pretty good on her feet when campaigning. Experienced on Capitol Hill. But, more than that, she was the first female USAF fighter pilot to see combat. A fact she kept way out in front in her campaign.
But, to me, the most important “out front” campaign claim was her repeated bald face lie that she had protected- and would continue to protect - our health care insurance, especially for those with pre-existing conditions.
Yes, a lie, if you bothered to check her recorded votes in the House the last two years. More than 50 times, she voted to kill the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare. Always “no.” Always. But, in her campaign ads, especially late in the race, there she was. Her voice. Her picture. She lied about other things as well, which seems to be accepted conduct these days for hungry office-seekers of both parties. But, who’s counting?
It was the “straight-into-the-camera” health insurance lies that were her most blatant. Black and white. Many Republican incumbents did the same this year. Some won with the lie - some didn’t. Those who won while lying did so because a poorly informed - or uninformed - electorate didn’t check and didn’t hold them accountable.
We’re living in a strange “Alice In Wonderland” political world at the moment. Where lies are used in place of truth. Where voters reject your candidacy, but you still win. Where losers in Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and elsewhere rewrite laws to cripple the winners. Where South Carolina Republicans want to cancel the 2020 presidential primary so Trump won’t have opposition. Where voter laws are ignored but the “winners” still “win” and the “losers” still “lose.”
I don’t know what’s happened to the Republican Party. No more Nelson Rockefellers, Barry Goldwaters, Bob Doles, Warren Rudmans, Jim McClures, Dwight Eisenhowers, Henry Cabot Lodges.
The “law-and-order” Party now conducts law-breaking operations to stop legal asylum-seekers from entering the country to make their cases. A Republican Congress refuses to exercise its constitutionally required “checks-and-balances” on an out-of-control President who’s operating like a banana republic dictator. It allows trade wars to be started unilaterally; international treaty obligations broken. It conceals scientifically-supported reports. Cuts academic, health and scientific research funding. Denies veteran’s their full benefits. Puts thousands of children in makeshift prisons.
None of that - none - could be assigned to the Republican Party I was raised to respect. It has become a home for congressional cowardice, ruinous policy-making, treacherous behavior in our international conduct, a “home” for racists, anti-Semites and radicals and a threat to the lives of people struggling with health problems beyond their control.
A responsible political party does not do those things. Does not countenance those things. Doesn’t make losers winners.
Oh, wait. There’s Arizona.