Why do major Republican figures keep saying stupid things?
It’s one thing to trip into a gaffe or a misstatement. That happens to people who have to live in front of cameras all day long. What we’ve experienced just over the past two weeks are calculated statements and actions – attempts to express a deliberate position – which are too skull-numbingly idiotic to be defensible on any level. We’re not just talking about Louie Gohmert or Steve King. Even Chris Christie has joined in.
Two weeks ago far-right Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers tried to persuade the party to back away from another pointless losing fight over rape and abortion. Now she’s been tagged as the GOP’s “abortion barbie” and she’s lined up for primary challenge.
Bobby Jindal, who one chastised Republicans for becoming the “stupid party” went all the way to England to repeat a laughably idiotic falsehood about Muslim “no-go zones.” He’s still doing it.
House Speaker John Boehner for some reason thought it would be cute to invite a foreign leader to address a Joint Session of Congress for the express purpose of undermining America’s stated foreign policy. Needless to say, that move isn’t working out the way he’d planned.
As measles outbreaks spread across the country, physician Rand Paul could have encouraged people to do the responsible thing and ensure that they vaccinate their children. Instead he recognized a vital opportunity to lecture people about “liberty.” Again. Along the way he accidentally encouraged people to do something that is not going to help him or the GOP at all. Journalists have been looking back over his deep history of interactions with conspiracy groups and other nutjobs.
Chris Christie took a forceful stand against the spread of diseases that could threaten his constituents when he personally intervened last year to illegally imprison a nurse who had been doing charity work with Ebola patients. Now that we are facing a real outbreak of a disease that we will genuinely have difficulty controlling, he waffled this week on the importance of mandatory vaccinations.
For some inexplicable reason, new Republican Senator Thom Tillis felt the need to speak out for liberty by deriding rules that force restaurant workers to wash their hands. This is not an issue on anyone’s agenda. It is not controversial. No Congress or legislature is about to vote on it. He just felt the need, as a public service, to make sure people are aware of how batshit-delusional many Republicans are by mouthing off on an irrelevant matter.
And as a preview of stupidity to come, the Republican-controlled Senate once again failed this week to re-authorize the budget for the Homeland Security Department. McConnell is trying and failing to stop the Senate’s Cruz wing from blocking funding to protest the President’s immigration plans. This is an absolute loser on every possible level.
There is no less politically advantageous hostage they could have taken. Republican stonewalling over Homeland Security funding is exactly the kind of childish, self-defeating tantrum that McConnell promised would not happen and I said we should expect. Here we are. The funding deadline (set by Republicans in negotiations last year) is February 27.
I’m out of explanations. Really, I do not understand why these grown men and women are so consistently taking actions that seem not only at odds with the national interest but with their own. This is bizarre. There has to be someone in the GOP who can make this stop, but it’s not clear who that may be.