FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Right’s Sleight of Hand

by PAT WILLIAMS

Too often in politics when the going gets tough, the tough head for the door.

That’s what faces George W. Bush in this election year as Republican incumbents, particularly those in the U.S. Senate and House, scurry away from his failing presidency. South Dakota’s Republican U.S. Senator John Thune, currently campaigning for a leadership position within his party’s hierarchy, has this advice for his colleagues “distance yourselves from the President.” That piece of political strategy is not new to candidates of either party. In the mid- 1990s some Democratic candidates temporarily distanced themselves from President Bill Clinton and Republicans in the early 70s deserted Richard Nixon.

This year, however, the political abandonment means something very different. The current political shelter-seeking has much more to do with protecting failed policy than it does dissing an unpopular president. From raging deficits at home to the political wreckage in the Middle East, the ruins of bad federal policy of the Far Right ideologues litters the landscape.

In poll after poll, Americans, including Rocky Mountain westerners, seem on the verge of punishing those Republicans for their failed policies. The arch conservative members of the U.S. House and Senate, who have either written or rubber stamped new laws that have moved American policy farther to the right of center than anyone can remember, are now hoping beyond rational hope that the voters will assign all blame to George W. Bush and little or none to the missteps of right wing policy.

The president, already an apparent lame duck in the middle of his second term, is seen as expendable. The public widely discounts his competence with a whopping 67% of people, in the latest Associated Press poll, believing that “the United States is heading in the wrong direction.”

This reign of error is not due to the policies of moderate conservatives. This is not your father’s Republican Party; it is not the party of Nixon, Rockefeller or Gerald Ford. Rather this is the party of the ideologues: Gingrich, Army, Delay, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. It is not the party of George H.W. Bush, but rather the party of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and George W. Bush. Their extreme policy initiatives include privatizing Social Security, selling the public’s land, trickle-down tax cuts at the expense of middle income people, exporting Democracy through gun barrels, a hands-off energy policy, and denial of global warming. Those on the Far Right have had full sway in both the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government. For decades they have been longing to experiment with their policies and now they have “unimpeded” and the wreckage of their wrong-headed ideas threatens America’s and the world’s future.

Those in charge and responsible for the current mess are more than eager to write off their historic policy blunders as nothing more than the incompetence of one man–George W. Bush. The Far Right is counting on the inattention of the American people to pull off their political slight of hand.

PAT WILLIAMS served nine terms as a U.S. Representative from Montana. After his retirement, he returned to Montana and is teaching at The University of Montana where he also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West.

 

 

Pat Williams served 18 years as Montana’s Congressman. He now lives in Missoula where he teaches at the University of Montana.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 23, 2017
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
Paul J. Ramsey
What Trump’s Travel Ban Reveals About His Long-Term Educational Policy
Norman Pollack
Two Nations: Skid Rows vs. Mar-a-Lago
Michael Brenner
The Great Game: Power Politics or Free Play?
Sam Gordon
Falling Rate of Profit, What about Some Alienation?
Jack Random
Sidetracked: Trump Diaries, Week 8
Julian Vigo
The Limits of Citizenship
James Graham
French Elections: a Guide for the Perplexed
Jeff Mackler
The Extraordinary Lynne Stewart
Lee Ballinger
Chuck Berry: “Up in the Morning and Off to School!”
Binoy Kampmark
Romancing Coal: The Adani Obsession
Nyla Ali Khan
Cultural Syncretism in Kashmir
Chad Nelson
The Politics of Animal Liberation: I Can’t Quit You Gary Francione
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail