What people thought beyond the pale, screwing with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), is what Republicans in Congress are now doing. Amendments from the most MAGA segments of the party are winning votes. Those MAGA members including Chip Roy (R-Texas), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and one of the craziest, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have no interest in protecting the country, only in their cultural issues like banning abortion, hurting transgender people, and ending inclusion/diversity. They are willing to put the country in jeopardy.
Proving again why it is crucial to get rid of all Republicans, we see Speaker McCarthy allowing a small group in his party to dictate national policy because he is afraid they will challenge his speakership, demonstrating how weak he is. Those like scary Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), now control the House, and in essence, McCarthy. Even Republicans who may claim some sanity, and they are hard to find, are acquiescing to the crazies because they are scared shitless they will be primaried. It’s all about winning, “to hell with the country.”
Not satisfied screwing with the NDAA, Republicans decided to become full-time overlords to the 700,000 residents of D.C. While there were always amendments impacting D.C., stopping needle exchange at the height of the AIDS crisis, or making it illegal to spend money on abortions for poor District women, now they have gone much further. They are rewriting D.C.’s election laws, including requiring a photo ID to vote, and prohibiting the city from sending unsolicited mail-in ballots to registered voters, among other provisions. Another amendment prevents the city from using traffic cameras, currently a key source of income for the city.
Mayor Bowser suggested if passed, it could cost the city up to $1 billion over four years, money that would be made up by cutting services the city now provides including policing, and healthcare, among others. These amendments were passed by both the House Appropriations Committee, and in a bill advanced by the House Oversight Committee. One scary amendment would allow people with gun permits issued anywhere, to carry them in D.C., including on Metro.
You would think with all the serious issues facing the nation, and facing their own constituents, congressional Republicans would focus on something to help the people who elected them. Clearly, not their interest. We must question the sanity of people who elect them. There are clearly a bunch of sick people who elected and reelect Marjorie Taylor Greene, who sane people see as the village idiot. But this village idiot today has sway over the Speaker of the House.
The issue Democrats face in the next election, is so-called, ‘independents,’ who are dissatisfied with the Democratic candidate. They either don’t fully understand how our government works, or don’t care. I am tired of listening to those who claim to be ‘independent’ tell me Biden isn’t doing enough, Democrats aren’t doing enough; without saying what they think they could do. They seem to not understand it is not about waving a magic wand, it’s about having the votes.
In 2016, those ‘independents’ handed the presidency to Donald Trump by voting for Jill Stein. They bitched about the candidate and what the Democratic platform didn’t say, and literally handed the election to Trump, who they claimed they couldn’t stand. Even intelligent people like Rachel Maddow, kept bashing Hillary Clinton. What did she think that would accomplish, if not electing Trump? Going back to 2000 we saw Ralph Nader do the same to Al Gore. Getting just enough votes in Florida to give Bush the presidency. You would have thought by now people would learn, but they apparently haven’t. Today some are talking about a No Labels third-party run.
Third Party candidates don’t win, they are only spoilers. I always ask friends who are ‘independent’ what they stand for, and get wishy-washy answers. The majority either lean Democratic or Republican. They don’t have their own platform, or proposals. When they complain about the party’s candidates, I ask why they aren’t willing to get down in the dirt working to get a candidate they like. Seems they would rather sit on the sidelines till the general election, and then bitch. It has become really tiring.
So good people wake up. Either the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate for president, and for nearly all congressional seats, except for the very rare one, will be the winner. Whose platform do you like better? Even if it’s not perfect, and you hold your nose, vote for the person who will support most of what you want. If you don’t, you are screwed, and are screwing the rest of us.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.