Burke: Republicans not exactly mum on their plans after 2022

Despite what Mitch McConnell says, the GOP isn’t waiting until they win to reveal their platform.

By Tom Burke / Herald columnist

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, when asked about the GOP platform for the 2022 mid-terms, famously answered the party would reveal its plans for running Congress (and the nation) “when we take it back.”

He lied. Because plenty of Republicans have shown their plans for 2022 and beyond. And it isn’t pretty.

First, Republicans are embracing “Trumpism” as the basic tenet of their philosophy; foursquare-endorsing the hedonistic, narcissistic, lying sociopath leader of a coup, the Big Lie, white supremacy, and Christian nationalism.

But Republicans stand for more than ignorant obedience to America’s worst-ever president. Too many Republicans are pro-autocracy, anti-democracy and want to tell you what books you can read (they’re banning the ones they don’t like); what meds you can take (they voted against making insulin affordable); what words you can say (DeSantis and his “don’t say gay” legislation); what history you can learn (slavery, what’s that?), what you can do with your uterus; what gender you identify as; and who you can love.

Consider:

• North Carolina Republicans introduced a bill legislating that a woman who has an abortion can be sentenced to death.

• And as Republicans applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, declaring abortion a “states’ rights” issue, they are simultaneously planning to pass a national abortion ban if they win. (Consistent logic much?) Now the key issues congressional Republicans voted against this session illustrates their destructive strategy of making the Democrats look “bad”; at any cost to the country.

• 88 House Republicans voted against toxin-exposure benefits for veterans and 42 Senate Republicans blocked it — after 25 initally voted for its passage — in retaliation for Democrats introducing another bill aimed at lowering health care costs and combating climate change. (Pure, venal disgusting politics putting party over country.)

• House Republicans tried to defeat the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act which will now bolster manufacturing, create jobs, and lower the cost of consumer goods, again, because they don’t like some other bill.

• 157 voted against the Respect for Marriage Act, which codified marriage equality for LGBTQ and interracial couples. (And in an act of ultimate irony, a GOP lawmaker attended his gay son’s wedding three days after voting against the bill).

• 195 voted against protecting the right to access contraception.

• 209 voted against abortion rights.

• 205 voted against protecting interstate travel for reproductive care.

• 168 voted against the Active Shooter Alert Act.

• 192 voted against $28 million for infant formula aid.

• 193 voted against lowering the cost of insulin.

• 193 voted against federal gun safety legislation.

• 200 voted against the Lower Food and Fuel Cost Act protecting consumers against Big Oil gas price-gouging.

• 208 voted against the Reporting White Supremacy in the Military Act.

• All voted against a $350 billion package for police hiring, new technologies and summer job training.

• All Senate Republicans voted against reducing the cost of prescription drugs for those on Medicare, which would have saved seniors thousands a year; and

• 20 GOP-led states are suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to deny free school lunches to LGBTQ students.

On the campaign trail there’s been an equal outpouring of alarming Republican agenda items:

• Sens. Lindsey Graham, Rick Scott, Ron Johnson, Mitt Romney and others are on record to eliminate Social Security and Medicare within five years. (My advice: Plan now for no Social Security in your retirement if the Republicans win.)

• Republicans have consistently defended access to military-style weapons, and as Joe Biden said, “If you can’t support banning weapons of war on American streets, you’re not on the side of police.”

• In Ohio, Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance says women are obligated to stay in “violent” marriages for, “the good of the family.”

• Sen. McConnell said he would oppose efforts to lower prescription drug prices;

• And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is unequivocally stating, “We need to be the party of nationalism. I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly; we should be Christian nationalists;” (She is, of course, merely paraphrasing Adolf Hitler, who in 1928 said, “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement [the Nazi party] is Christian.”)

• While Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., another Trumpist megaphone, echoed, “The church is supposed to direct government, not the opposite way. The church is supposed to influence government. The Bible says that government rests on God’s shoulders.” (Of course, our Constitution, specifically the First Amendment, says otherwise.)

I don’t claim to be a World War II scholar, but I’m modestly well-read on the subject. And like many others I’ve always wondered why “regular” Germans went along with Hitler and the Nazi philosophy. Today, to my horror, I see what I used to think were “regular” Americans being seduced by authoritarian, fascist, (Christian nationalist) liars set on destroying our democracy and establishing a Christian nation-state and I’m experiencing a living lesson on how it was done.

Gentle reader, please listen to what the Republicans say and how they vote; then consider what your world would be if the likes of Donald Trump, Marjorie Taylor Green, Rick Scott, Lauren Boebert, Joe Kent (running for Congress in Washington state’s 3rd district), Heidi St. John (also running in the 3rd) or Loren Culp (running in the 4th) ruled.

And then vote in November. Vote for democracy. Vote for freedom. Vote for decency. And, I’ll say it plainly: Vote for the Democrat; because democracy, freedom and decency will be mere history if Republicans win.

Slava Ukraini.

Tom Burke’s email address is t.burke.column@gmail.com.

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