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Performance Art Is All the GOP Has Left
They offer nothing to improve schools, support families, help small businesses, lower drug prices, rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, or heal the racial divide - just performance art
Today’s Republican Party has stopped even pretending to have “ideas.” Instead, they’ve become the party of performance art, and it’s hurting America.
Last week Hillary Clinton pointed out at a meeting of New York Democrats:
“Republicans will claim they're on the side of parents and family values. But they will do nothing for actual parents or families. Nothing on child care, nothing on paid leave, nothing to help working moms and dads get by and get ahead.”
Now Republicans across the country are planning to imitate the Canadian Trucker Tantrum, trying to pull together enough vehicles to shut down Washington, DC the day of President Biden’s State of the Union speech next Tuesday.
Why are American truckers traveling to DC? Something about federal vaccine mandates that don’t exist, or maybe federal mask mandates that don’t exist, or maybe they’re hoping to pick up a date? Who the hell knows?
This is what the Republican Party has been reduced to: performance art.
The Biden administration put forward a very positive program to deal with the massive crisis of drug addiction in America and Republicans have hysterically gone off on a lie, accusing him of wanting to pass out free crack pipes. It’s performance art that will lead to more overdoses, hepatitis, and HIV deaths.
JD Vance, the morbidly rich banker who wants to be the next Republican senator from Ohio, tried to grab headlines by viciously attacking George HW Bush’s Desert Storm Commander, General Barry McCaffery, while saying America should ignore Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Your entire time in military leadership we won zero wars,” Vance tweeted at the general who actually won that 3-day war, driving Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. “You drank fine wine at bullshit security conferences while thousands of working class kids died on the battlefield. Oh, by the way, how much do you stand to gain financially from a war with Russia, Barry?”
Apparently there are limits to performance art, at least in public forums like Twitter. (McCaffrey, by the way, doesn’t drink wine.) The Lincoln Project’s Fred Wellman tweeted in reply to Vance:
“You piece of shit. He nearly lost his arm in Vietnam. He led the 24th Infantry Division in our massive assault into Iraq in Desert Storm. You…were briefly a fucking PAO in an air wing. I can’t wait to see your loser ass absolutely shamed on election day. Coward.”
Outrage is a powerful force, but it tends to be short-lived. Like leaning on a hot stove, there’s a lot of noise and jumping around but in the end nothing productive usually comes out of it.
Republicans billionaires who funded the “Tea Party” used outrage to try to destroy Obamacare, although now the GOP base is signing up for plans in droves while Republican politicians keep telling us we should prefer corporate insurance like Obamacare instead of Medicare For All for both seniors and everybody else. Performance art to help their donors make a profit.
Republicans have been complaining bitterly about the inflation that the entire developed world is experiencing right now, pretending they think it’s all President Biden’s and the Fed’s fault. So they’re going to deny the Fed its 5 new members along with a vote on its chairman and vice-chairman that was scheduled in the Senate for today.
“It’s government spending causing inflation,” they say, along with the Fed’s zero-interest policies (that arguably kept us out of a second Republican Great Depression during Trump’s presidency). Therefore, every single Republican on the Senate Banking Committee refused to show up for a committee vote yesterday on President Biden’s five nominees to the Fed, which is currently understaffed.
By not showing up they denied Democrats a quorum so a vote — that would have pushed Biden’s nominees to the floor of the Senate for the vote scheduled for today — couldn’t happen. It didn’t change the outcome, it merely delayed it. Performance art that cripples the Fed as we face a crisis.
Republicans are also showing up at school boards across the nation, protesting the teaching of American history and sex education. Just like the Republicans on the Senate Banking committee, they’re making TV-worthy performances but not offering a bit of help.
Republicans aren’t volunteering to pitch in during the most severe teacher shortage in history. They’re not contributing books to school libraries or helping teachers buy supplies. They’re just complaining and threatening. Performance art.
Republicans went bat-guano crazy when President Obama (along with Britain, France, Russia, and China) worked out the deal that stopped the Iranian nuclear program dead in its tracks. In a bizarre display of unthinking performance art Trump pulled us out of it, now much to the regret of the entire world, as Iran is back to building nukes.
But outrage-based performance art is all the GOP has these days.
Nothing to improve our schools, nothing to support our families, nothing to help out small businesses, nothing to lower drug prices, nothing to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, nothing to heal the racial divide.
All they have is performance art, and most of that is damaging our people and our nation.
America deserves better.