I was not particularly shocked when the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee all signed a letter announcing that they would refuse to perform the duties imposed upon them by the Constitution. It rather brought to mind two old sayings: 1) If it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck; and 2) If they say it’s not about race (or sex or money or re-election), then it’s probably about just that.
The Republican Congress cannot escape two obvious facts. First, the presently elected Republican legislators have, from the very first moment of the Obama campaign, refused to endorse anything proposed by the Obama administration, and have also refused to even negotiate on critical items. Second, these same Republican legislators have engaged in a coordinated attack on the person of the President. I say “coordinated” because they so often each repeat the exact same phrases in attacking President Obama that we are left to assume that they attend training sessions to learn the recommended phrase of the day.
Political attacks on both the person and the policies of one’s opponents are as old as politics itself. Never in political history, however, has one power bluntly carried on a policy of non-cooperation and abuse so completely as to essentially bring the business of the government to a halt. Not only has the party of No refused to do absolutely anything — they are currently setting a record for numbers of days not in session — but, when the President uses his power to effect whatever little he can, the party, in similar lock step, howls in protest.
The obvious question is: Why? Why now? Why with this one president? Why would they stoop to calling a high level Harvard Law grad, an editor of the law review, a professor of Constitutional law at one of our most prestigious schools, an idiot?
There is only one possible answer. In the words of that astounding man, who has taken this abuse without personal rancor but with obvious sadness at the damage it has done to the country, in case you haven’t noticed, he is presently still black. As viciously as the Gingrich thugs attacked Clinton, they never went after him in such a universally coordinated campaign of slander and mudslinging. It is racism, plain and simple, and it is doing two things, neither of which the mudslingers are going to be happy about.
First, it is, I hope, the last gasp of organized racism in America. Oh, the bigots we have always with us, but a program of institutional racism has been lingering for decades, hiding in the country clubs and other hangouts of the self-absorbed. A large and important chunk of the power brokers just couldn’t handle having a president that didn’t look like them. They are a cancer in our society, every bit as much as slavery was a cancer within our constitution until the Civil War. They will infect their successors to some extent, but this last onslaught will likely not recur. The president has, with all the grace of the noble man that he is, absorbed the last charge of this dying beast. The next president, whether black or woman or minority of any kind, will not have to suffer this disgusting display or bigotry.
The second effect of this racist campaign is much more significant and far-reaching. In choosing to attempt to prevent a black president from claiming any success in office, the party of No has succeeded in displaying itself to the nation as not caring one whit for the needs and wants of the people. It is close to laughable to see Republican poobahs running around trying to scare up support for one of their favorite son candidates. Are they truly and completely incapable of realizing that it was they who created the possibility of Donald Trump as a — gasp — presidential candidate? They have only themselves to blame for the people rejecting the likes of Rubio and Kasich as just more of the same.
I find solace in another old saying, this time from President Lincoln: you can’t fool all the people all the time. By election time, the people will see Trump for the narcissistic blowhard that he is, and they will, I hope, elect someone, whether Democrat or independent, who will start the long and painful process of bringing us back to respect for the Constitution and the American ideal upon which it is founded. We still have our warts and pimples, such as our military interference in other countries, and our attitudes toward women and minorities and our policies regarding abortion. Let us hope that we deal with these things in open and honest — and unprejudiced — fashion.