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Are Republicans Majoring in Self-Sabotage?

The Grand Old Party seems hopelessly mired in thoughtless political shenanigans.

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Is the Republican Party still reeling from its dire performance at the ballot box during the 2022 midterm elections? It seems so. Congressional Republicans appear to be stumbling from one political or financial disaster to another. Between the infighting, the toothless congressional inquiries, and the willingness, on the part of most of them, to say “aye” to almost every spending bill that comes under the gavel, one almost wonders if they are trying to hand over control of both chambers to the Democrats come November.

The Kevin McCarthy speakership bid was a multi-vote farce. And then House Republicans got rid of him without having a Plan B – that is to say, without a successor lined up. Several candidates stepped into the ring, but none could get the required support. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) finally took the speaker’s gavel, and at this point, a number of Republican voters might be scratching their heads, wondering if there’s really any difference between Johnson and McCarthy. To borrow from the legendary British rock band The Who: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Now, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is leading the charge to oust Johnson. While it is not difficult to understand Greene’s frustration with the speaker, this is perhaps not the time to plunge the party into yet another leadership spectacle – especially with the general election looming on the horizon.

Republicans couldn’t even agree on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The first House impeachment vote, on Feb. 6, failed because three Republicans voted with all of the Democrats against impeachment. A week later, they managed to get it done – but to what end? The articles of impeachment haven’t quite made it to the Senate yet. The trial is expected to begin within a week of this writing, but the Democrats, who control the upper chamber, are likely going to be in a position to dismiss the charges without a Senate trial.  In terms of political optics, for Republicans to make Mayorkas the fall guy for the out-of-control southern border rather than pinning the blame on Joe Biden himself could be yet another tactical error for the GOP.

Even the Republicans’ investigation into Biden family corruption appears to have almost completely stalled out. It is true that a number of congressional inquiries have faltered only because the Biden administration refuses to cooperate, but it is still not a good look for the GOP in the eyes of the voters.

Republicans Courting Disaster

If all this weren’t bad enough, Republicans have chosen a particularly rocky hill to die on. It is widely believed – and several polls corroborated this theory – that the fizzling out of the anticipated “red wave” in 2022 was due to the abortion issue. Democrats gnashed their teeth and tore at their hair when the Supreme Court nixed the infamous Roe v. Wade decision and sent the abortion question back to the states. But they may have been handed a political gift. How could Republicans have reacted?

The least politically damaging strategy would have been to simply make the case that abortion is now back in the states where it belongs, and it is now up to citizens who have a strong view on the matter to take it up with their governors and state legislatures. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has taken that road. Yet, a lot of prominent Republicans are still determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by talking about federal abortion restrictions. Surveys consistently show that the majority of the populace is not with them on this issue.

Regardless of one’s views on abortion, the cold, hard truth is that most Americans do not favor federal bans. And yet Republicans seem unable to keep their sticky fingers out of this politically poisonous pie.

Biden is now a historically unpopular president – and for all the White House’s denials, polling suggests Americans believe his administration is responsible for the current economic, cultural, and illegal immigration catastrophes that have befallen the country since 2021, not to mention multiple foreign policy disasters. Yet it is entirely possible that even if Trump returns to the White House in January  2025, he could find his agenda severely hobbled by a Democrat-dominated Congress – and all because congressional Republicans don’t listen, don’t learn from their mistakes, and just cannot seem to get their act together.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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