Bob Hebert has written an article, An Absence of Class, that officially puts the GOP on notice for being the most dysfunctional party in the USA. The Republican Party is clinging to a strategy of divisiveness, intolerance, and calculated fear-mongering with little recourse to moderation nor providing substantive alternative policy. Here are some of the key points from the article:
In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.
It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.
For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.
This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.
Glenn Beck of Fox News has called President Obama a “racist” and asserted that he “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate, has said of Mr. Obama’s economic policies: “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”
The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship. The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars…
A party that promotes ignorance (“Just say no to global warming”) and provides a safe house for bigotry cannot serve the best interests of our country.
Bob Herbert gets at a crucial point here. Because the USA is treated to this rancor and divisiveness, America cannot come close to intelligently addressing its multiple mega-problems. So other countries are leaping ahead of the US in the huge emerging economic markets like alternative energy production, sustainable manufacturing, and educational reform and proficiency. So while the US continues to fester with a broken financial system, continued US economic weakness and high unemployment, dependence on foreign and diminishing energy and water resources; others are seizing the advantage as Europe and China now lead the way in new energy and climate change technology [often using ideas and technology originally developed in the US] and the Asian Tiger Economies now have leading economic growth rates.
How can a party that has taken a NOPE-A-DOPE strategy[ constantly voting completely NO on many bills and issues with not even abstentions let alone any crossover votes] coupled with its continuing use of ignorance, fear-mongering and being a safe-haven for bigotry really contribute to the US welfare? Now some defenders of the GOP will cite historical precedents when jingoism and bigotry prevailed 50 or a 100 years ago and in the Democratic party [think Tammany Hall].But the Republicans have even outdone Tammany Hall – the discipline of NOPE-A-DOPE is nation-wide. The philosophy of fear-mongering and divisiveness is not just party-wide but also has prevailed for 20-30 years.
So the GOP is now on Notice. Its time for the GOP to to be held to account for these perverse strategies and policies. As well the GOP has to stand and deliver realistic and critically usable policy on tough issues like Climate Change, Sustainable Energy and Resource Usage, and most telling of all – how to Develop and Retain Jobs in the US.