6 Ways Rabid Republicans Are Declaring War On America
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The GOP, the party led by angry white men and libertarian corporatists, is ratcheting up its political warfare against everyday Americans with unmatched brazenness.
In Congress, Republicans in both chambers have launched sweeping attacks on long-held centrist priorities and have renewed threats to block Obamacare. These attacks are seen in House bills slashing spending in almost every federal program except for the military and domestic policing for the federal fiscal year starting October 1. Anti-poverty, education, human services, environmental protection, energy, labor, Wall St. oversight—all face cuts averaging 20 percent, although some areas face cuts by a third or more.
These budget bills are part of an escalating fight over funding federal government and raising the debt ceiling. In 2011, the GOP used the debt limit fight to nearly shut down the government, creating chaos that undermined the weak economy. In 2013, House ideologues have delayed adopting budgets with the most draconian cuts until the last weeks, creating a crisis atmosphere to try to ram through their horrendous bills.
On Thursday, for example, the Appropriations Committee delayed its scheduled release of what GOP staffers said would be the details of $40 billion in cuts to next year’s federal human services, labor and education budgets. Two weeks ago, the House passed a farm bill with zero funds for anti-poverty food stamps. In contrast, the House’s FY2014 military and police budgets were on par with 2013 funding levels.
“It’s higher stakes,” said Matthew Dennis, spokesman for the House Appropriation Committee’s Democratic members. “From my perspective, the Republican Party is making demands that are less reasonable than in the past.”
Rabid Republicans are also acting with renewed zeal to roll back voting rights in key Southern states. In North Carolina and Texas, GOP-led legislatures are resurrecting a catalogue of Jim Crow-era barriers to minority voting, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning of the 1965 Voting Right Act’s toughest enforcement provision. In North Carolina, the GOP wants to repeal 20 years of best practices that made North Carolina a model of fair and accessible elections. In Texas, the GOP wants to revise political districts to dilute minority representation and pass tougher voter ID laws.
The White House is not sitting still. On Wednesday, the president began a nationwide tour to tout an economic agenda favoring the middle class. He attacked Republicans for “an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals.” On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would use the still-standing sections of the Voting Rights Act to try to stop the GOP in Texas and North Carolina, although election law experts say that is a risky “ go for broke” strategy based on the conclusion that this Congress will do nothing to restore the Voting Rights Act.
Stepping back, the country seems poised on the brink of a new era of political warfare, with the GOP following Niccolò Machiavelli’s advice in The Prince that one’s enemies must be annihilated so they cannot fight back.
That comparison is not an exaggeration. Just look at David Corn’s report on the party’s newest rabid propaganda machine, where a who’s who of Washington GOP insiders—including the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—have been devising “strategies for killing immigration reform, hyping the Benghazi controversy, and countering the impression that the GOP exploits racism.”
Let’s look at a half-dozen issues where the GOP is throwing the first punch in its renewed war on everyday Americans. It starts with the power of the federal purse and then moves to deliberately creating barriers for non-white voters.