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A Perfect Storm of Bad Republican Policies

Sep. 12, 2017
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Photo credit: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley, Public Domain

When you’re a Republican U.S. senator voting against flood assistance as millions of Americans flee for their lives from catastrophic hurricanes, you have to be an awfully glib politician to fabricate a plausible excuse. And when you’re the U.S. president intentionally destroying a federal program protecting young people who’ve grown up in this country from deportation to another country they’ve never known, don’t bother adding to the stream of lies you’ve already told about immigrants.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and Donald Trump made some pretty pathetic attempts to defend their own indefensible actions in the midst of a raging, perfect storm of catastrophic Republican policies. A “perfect storm” is the term used to describe numerous, simultaneous events feeding upon one another to create massive damage far beyond anything seen previously. That seems appropriate to describe a combination of American catastrophes that includes unprecedented devastation from back-to-back hurricanes.

But Republican denial of global warming that creates weather extremes and their rolling back of environmental protections aren’t the party’s only zombie chickens staggering home to roost. Other destructive party policies deserving burial include under-funding necessary government services and threatening to intentionally create economic disaster by defaulting on their country’s financial obligations.

 

Let’s Deport High Achievers

Adding to the national chaos, Donald Trump gratuitously tossed into the mix more Republican appeals to racism and hatred of immigrants by announcing his decision to end a humanitarian program protecting from deportation a large number of high-achieving young people who grew up as Americans in immigrant families. The so-called “dreamers” are virtually indistinguishable from any other children who grew up in America, unless you’re a racist who considers them color-coded. They were brought to the U.S. by undocumented parents as babies, toddlers or very young children through no decision of their own.

President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) allowed nearly 800,000 of these young people to receive renewable work permits and access to higher education. All Americans benefitted as the result of more young people achieving success and contributing to their country’s economy.

It’s a toss-up which Republican twisted himself into the most grotesque knots trying to justify their horrific political actions: Johnson explaining why he voted against desperately needed flood assistance, or Trump declaring his “love” for the dreamers as he ended their protection against deportation, and access to decent jobs and education. Johnson receives special recognition for claiming his vote not to help those devastated by floods was a protest against preventing Republicans like himself from threatening to destroy the American economy. Johnson said he would have voted for flood assistance “in a heartbeat”—even though he didn’t.

Johnson said he was mad the vote also included raising the debt ceiling to allow the government to pay its economic obligations. Of course, it would be insane for the U.S. government to default on paying its bills causing the stock market to crash and wrecking the U.S. economy. But that hasn’t stopped tea party Republicans like Johnson from regularly threatening to force a government default to extort more extreme right-wing legislation.

So, get that? Johnson voted against assisting flooded-out Americans because he was angry he wouldn’t get a chance to vote to destroy the U.S. economy.

Trump’s public excuses for cruelly destroying DACA were especially ludicrous coming from a president famous for advocating unconstitutional, discriminatory policies. He claimed he was forced to kill DACA because he was afraid it might be declared unconstitutional if it were challenged in court. Then, he sent out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose shady, racist past is well-known, to falsely claim DACA caused “a surge of minors at the southern border” and “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.”

Trump claimed he wanted Congress to pass legislation protecting dreamers brought here as children. That’s easy for Republicans to say when they don’t really expect a Republican-controlled Congress to do it. But, what if Trump was actually telling the truth for a change? Trump just wants to “win” by getting legislation passed, and Republicans aren’t very good at that. Trump just sided with Democratic leadership to pass the bill providing flood assistance—combined with raising the national debt limit to avoid government default that angered Johnson.

If Trump regularly joined with Democrats and moderate Republicans (he’d only need two dozen moderates out of 241 Republicans in the House and three Republican Senators), he could pass so much legislation he’d get tired of winning. Of course, Trump would have to quit trying to appeal to white supremacists, but he has always been able to reverse political positions on a dime.

Our childlike Republican president could pass a lot more legislation benefiting the American people than the party’s current leadership that is still stuck with defending a swirling storm of bad Republican policies that have millions of Americans fleeing for their lives.

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