FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Right’s Sleight of Hand

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.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail