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.

 

 

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail