What Gianforte’s Meltdown Says About TrumpCare, the Republican Party
On healthcare it shows just how hollow the GOP talk about abolishing ObamaCare really was over eight years.
What makes this whole episode even more ludicrous, however, is that Gianforte himself had previously said that he would comment on the GOP health bill, once he saw the CBO score.
“In an interview with the Washington Examiner just after the GOP bill passed the House in early May, Gianforte declined to say whether he backed the measure, saying: “Personally, I would have liked to have seen CBO results prior to voting.” He added, however, that “we have to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
“On Wednesday, at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, Jacobs asked Gianforte whether he supports the GOP bill, now that we have seen the CBO results. Gianforte declined to answer, then said: “Let me talk to you about that later.” After that, as the audio captures, the scuffle started. According to the Fox team’s account, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” then “began punching the reporter.”
Many Republicans have refused to do town halls and refused to answer questions. But now it’s gotten so bad, simply to ask if they support TrumpCare is enough for them to punch you out. In a way, doesn’t this say all you need to know about TrumpCare?
Overall, it underscores something I’ve been arguing lately: it shows that the Republican party is a party with a bad conscience if I can quote Friedrich Nietzsche for a moment.
The bad conscience goes back to the New Deal. The party has never made its peace with the ND while the country has always supported it. Their pigheaded refusal to adjust means they have to try and win elections on an ideological agenda most Americans disagree with.
To do that they have to in some sense-some fundamental, deep sense-lie to the public. The cultural wars and social upheavals, first in the 1960s and more recently with the rise of LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter, fired up women’s rights activists have only exacerbated this sense for the GOP that the country is getting away from them.
But rather than adapt, they double down and triple down. That’s the bird’s eye, long view of the thing.
In 2009 in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, they led by Mitch McConnell made the despicable choice to rather than fight the Great Recession, sit back and obstruct Obama under the logic that he was the President and he’ll take the blame.
This calculus largely held up, unfortunately, as even much of the Left blamed Obama not Mitch McConnell for the slow recovery.
So obstruction works. Therefore obstruction is a perfectly acceptable tactic even in the middle of a terrible recession. Even then party interests trump-Trump?-national interests.
In 2011, Mitch McConnell gloated after debt ceiling chicken: it was a hostage worth taking.
In 2016 he refused to even give Merrick Garland a hearing. He was widely criticized but after Trump won-his illegitimate win-McConnell again got to gloat and pat himself on the back.
Now we have Russian interference in our election. Even after what McConnell did in obstructing rather than cooperating in the middle of the Great Recession, it is astonishing that McConnell even here with the legitimacy of our democratic system of government itself on the line, still put party over country. But that’s what he and his party have done.
This is the backdrop to Gianforte’s aggravated assault of reporter Ben Jacobs last night. You already have GOPers saying it either won’t matter to today’s result-after all 75% of the vote is already in-or that maybe this helps him as they think voters will appreciate him assaulting the ‘liberal media.’
The GOP believes that most voters will actively reward assault on the press. Truly Donald Trump’s party.
“If you thought our politics couldn’t get any worse, just look at what happened on the eve of today’s special congressional election in Montana. “A Montana sheriff has issued a citation for misdemeanor assault against Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte after a newspaper reporter said the politician ‘body slammed’ him, an account that was backed up by witnesses,” per NBC News. Before Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault, his campaign blamed the reporter, Ben Jacobs of the Guardian, for the incident. “[A]s Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions… It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.” And according to MSNBC’s Garrett Haake, a GOP strategist endorsed that strategy to blame the press.
What is wrong with our politics? It’s shameful that ANYONE considers this good strategy. Also in this current state of politics — where winning is everything — there is notable silence from the Republican Party. A little bit more our democracy was weakened last night. As the saying goes, you get the politicians you deserve. Question: Don’t we deserve better than this?
What does it say about the GOP that someone up for assault is acceptable for them so long as he wins? This sociopathic win at all costs philosophy is what comes from being the party of a bad conscience.
Steve Schmidt’s words bear repeating here regarding Trump Russia but they apply more broadly to the modern GOP:
“Any Republican member of Congress who takes the president, his spokespeople’s assertions that [Comey was fired] because he was unfair to Hillary Clinton is either a fool, or they have so lost sight in this era of tribal politics, of their responsibilities to the country, that they have become faithless to their oaths,” Schmidt said about the president’s memo detailing his reasons for firing FBI director James Comey.
Schmidt next refers to this tweet from longtime chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, Mark Salter, suggesting that “the security of the United States might now depend on electing a Democratic Congress in 2018.”
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.