Now that we’ve got (we hope) law-abiding adults back in charge of our federal government, there are so many urgent and important issues deserving of public scrutiny, debate, and decision that it’s difficult to put them in priority order. Nevertheless, I’m going to try and focus on some of the bigger ones first.
Today: the question of patriotism and loyal opposition.
As you probably know, one of the big Republican/Conservative slogans during the run up to last November’s Presidential election was “Country First!” Partly intended as short-hand for the “If you don’t like the way we run things here, why don’t you go back where you came from?” sentiment that was so popular during the Nixon Administration, “Country First!” has an explicit meaning that’s difficult to mistake. Simply put, it says: “I put the welfare of my nation ahead of my own selfish interests.”
That’s a sentiment every American can appreciate and applaud.
But when used to disguise a selfish attitude, the slogan and the person spouting it are both despicable.
That’s what we’ve got with one of the country’s leading Republican/Conservative voices, Rush Limbaugh, and with all the ditto-heads who follow him, when he openly admits “I hope Obama fails.”
That’s treason, pure and simple.
He’s not saying he hopes Obama loses an election. He’s saying he hopes Obama’s policies do not work out well for the country. And his reasoning is explicit: If Obama helps Americans weather this economic storm, Democratic (not Republican/Conservative) party candidates will be rewarded with votes and election success for decades to come.
As bad a President as Bush was, I never heard anyone hope we’d lose the war in Iraq (although Republicans/Conservatives accused Liberals of that sentiment at every opportunity). I never heard anyone hope that terrorists would succeed in striking America again and killing another 3,000 innocents, or more. I never heard anyone hope that Bush’s policies would produce massive deficits, or that FEMA would be unable to rebuild New Orleans, or even that violating Americans’ basic civil liberties would fail to produce useful information. No. The Left argued that Bush’s policies and practices were wrong-headed, or criminal, or ineffective. But no one hoped they would produce extra misery for Americans to experience.
That’s a horse of a different color.
And it’s not a one-time thing. Back in 1993, David Gergen famously wrote a memo explaining to Republicans/Conservatives that they ought to oppose President Clinton’s health care reform initiative — not because it was a bad idea — but because if it improved health care for millions of Americans, the resulting happy voters would keep the Democratic Party in power far longer than if health care remained as problematic as it was — as it still is.
For their own reasons, we can see, Republicans/Conservatives root for misery, for problems, for ineffective government. That’s the opposite of what I want from a political party. How about you?
Politics is a subtle business, and it’s not always obvious who’s your friend and who’s not. So when you get a clear sign that someone is out to put a knife in your back, it’s smart to pay attention and remember what they’re up to the next time they smile and throw an arm around your shoulders.
In my view, the Republicans/Conversatives have more than obviously revealed their major agenda: grab power, even if you have to lie to the American people to get it, and then use that power not only to enrich the few at the expense of the many, but to turn the clock backwards on science, on peace-making, and on social progress.
Now that this cat is out of the bag, it seems to me, anyone who considers Republicans/Conservatives to be ordinary, patriotic Americans who simply hold a few different beliefs and values is asking for that knife in the back.