Thinking back just off the top of one’s head, it’s easy to recall the shock that accompanied Rush Limbaugh’s pronouncement that, no, he didn’t want Obama to do well as U.S. President. People were taken aback, it was a more innocent time. Later, we learned that the day after Obama was elected McConnell gathered his forces and said no deals, not one, the single biggest goal was to make Obama a one-term president. It is not new for the GOP to put party over country.
Is there a distinction between not helping or wanting Democratic success versus actively cheering for the U.S. to fail, as some are doing now? Maybe, to a degree, but The Daily Beast’s David Rothkopf and Joe Scarborough discussed how Republican dogma is playing out with respect to Ukraine and in this context, it does matter, a lot.
Rothkopf said, speaking of Biden’s historic speech in Poland:
I think the message of the speech from beginning to end was of strength, and I also think that it was a speech that resonated not just in the context of Ukraine but in the context of a shift. The United States and Europe and our allies are looking at Russia in terms of a long-term threat. They’re not going to be satisfied simply to end this war, hopefully to win this war, but they’re going to require that Russia stays where it is, that it stops its talk of aggression.”
It is difficult to discern changes in policy when the nation went four years without a Russian policy other than appeasement on the few topics they did engage. The new policy might simply be called “normal,” but Rothkopf went further and more expansively.
“I think, finally as to your first point about the incredible hypocrisy of the Republicans who have taken both sides of this issue, as they had so many others, that, you know, this dividing line between autocracy and democracy is not a remote foreign issue. We are fighting that war right here, right now with people like Donald Trump and others in his party seeking to undermine American democracy and embrace hallmarks of authoritarian governments. so historical speech.
The similarities in the rise of autocracies against traditional western liberalism haven’t been lost on anyone but this speech might represent the most direct line in the sand that Biden and the Democrats have drawn, both internationally and here at home.
It was left to Scarborough to point out the obvious, the Republicans have contested that line for some time, moving further from the Democrats and closer to the Russians:
“Many of the Trumpists are actually having their words played on Russian television to, again, try to inspire the Russian people to keep killing more Ukrainians. It’s not a good look, especially when many of the same people were the ones in the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party who celebrated Ronald Reagan’s ‘evil empire’ speech, who celebrated Ronald Reagan joking and saying the bombing would begin in five minutes. Again, it is hypocrisy. They’re not concerned about what is best for America, they’re not concerned about what is best for democracy, they’re not concerned about what is best for Western Civilization. They just want Joe Biden to fail or any Democrat to fail.
Joe has not built his name on his subtle and nuanced observations of the American political scene but he can be direct and somewhat brave. That statement will resonate and each elected Republican will hear it and evaluate whether they should wince. It won’t come instinctively.
Scarborough finished up:
“You wonder how twisted somebody’s worldview would be when we are in the middle of the most critical foreign policy challenge since the end of World War II. I don’t know how you do it.”
Oh, come on. One would die to be on that panel and follow up on that softball. First and most obvious, you have to be twisted enough to look at Donald Trump, the least educated, least respected, and least responsible leader on the right, and say, “That’s our guy!” Second, you have to be twisted enough to look wistfully at Russia and say, “Damn, I wish we were more like that, where the right people were always in charge, everyone damned well knew their place, and troublemakers fell off buildings.”
The Republicans are not rooting against the United States. They are rooting against Biden because they see the Russian government as an aspiration and it’s tough to see it fail, almost a gut punch if you’re like Tucker Carlson… or Trump. They are rooting for the United States to become more like Russia.
But if the motherland falls, you’re left as an orphan.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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