Talbot County
Democratic Forum

Viewpoints

It wasn’t that many years ago when the GOP claimed to be the party of national security, law and order, family values and morality, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, and our Constitution. They no longer can make those claims. They have abandoned all of these values and principles over recent years by selling their souls for political power and personal wealth to their mega-rich corporate and individual donors and, now, Donald Trump.
National Security. Donald Trump and his complicit congressional Republicans are failing in their most fundamental duty, to keep our nation and its citizens safe. Despite our intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Russia – a hostile foreign power – attacked our country and democracy by interfering in our 2016 elections to help Trump get elected, and is continuing its attacks leading into the 2018 elections, Donald Trump denies this out of personal fear of any hint that he is an illegitimate president. He has been aided by Republicans in Congress, most notably Trump devotee Devin Nunes and his partisan Republican House Intelligence Committee, assisted by Speaker Paul Ryan’s acquiescence and support, who refuse to investigate and instead undermine government investigations and attempts to fight back. They all have declined to do anything to protect us from further Russian attacks, preferring instead to attack and undermine our top law enforcement agencies including the Justice Department and FBI and their leaders to protect the president from investigations.
The GOP stands alone in refusing to support even basic measures to reduce gun violence and deaths to protect our citizens, most especially our children, by trading their votes in exchange for massive political donations from the NRA and out of fear the NRA will force them out of office if they cross them. It’s been nearly three months since the Parkland shootings, and still they have done almost nothing to keep our children safe.
Law and Order and our Constitution. Republicans have supported Donald Trump in his attacks on the very pillars of our democratic republic and Constitution. In addition to their attacks on our Justice Department and the FBI to protect Trump and avoid taking steps to protect our country from Russian attacks, Republicans have remained silent signaling their tacit support when Trump has attacked our free press and individual journalists protected by our Constitution, our courts, our intelligence agencies, and individual companies such as Amazon whose CEO’s he doesn’t like, and anything else that gets in the way of his attempts at authoritarian rule. Trump, with Republican acquiescence and support, seeks to undermine our trust and confidence in the very institutions provided for by our Constitution that have made America the shining light of freedom and democracy in the world. He behaves like other despots throughout history who have sought to establish authoritarian dictatorships and fascist states, which likely explains his admiration for leaders of Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, Turkey and now North Korea.
Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause of our Constitution (which forbids personal gains by presidents from business with individuals from other countries including those representing their governments in exchange for favorable treatment by our government) by refusing to dissociate himself from his businesses as he promised he would. He has been profiting from payments by foreign representatives who have stayed in his hotels and bought his properties.
Family Values and Moral Behavior. Republicans have promoted the image of being a moral and Christian party embracing family values for years, since the advent of the “Christian right” and “Moral Majority” of the 1980s. Since then, especially with the emergence of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency, they have made it abundantly clear they no longer hold family values and moral behavior important in our country. They have completely embraced and acquiesced to Trump, openly excusing or remaining silent on his disgusting and reprehensible immoral behavior replete with waves of scandals involving sexual assaults of multiple women, illicit affairs with porn stars, prostitutes and other women while being married, paying them off to keep quiet, insulting people nonstop, and lying incessantly. Republicans and, shockingly, the evangelical “Christian” community, 85 percent of whom support Trump, continue to give him and his fellow abusers like Alabama’s Roy Moore a pass as Trump further debases and stains the Office of the President.
Fiscal Responsibility. Republicans abandoned any legitimate claim to fiscal rectitude and responsibility, beginning in 1981 with Ronald Reagan’s “Voodoo Economics” (so named by his VP George H. W. Bush). His “trickle down” flim-flam failed miserably, requiring emergency corrective action. Republicans have continued to push this con on the American public, first under George W. Bush and now again with the Republican tax cut sham that showered massive tax cuts on the wealthy and will add one and a half trillion dollars to our debt, followed by their bloated budget that added another 800 billion dollars in deficits. Reagan and Bush both tripled our debt while increasing federal spending more than any other president since FDR (according to conservative Forbes and Wall Street Journal). In both instances, Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama had to scale back deficits dramatically. Now Trump and the Republicans are at it again with out of control tax cuts for the wealthy and government spending. The evidence is overwhelming that Democrats, not Republicans, are the party of fiscal responsibility.
Personal Responsibility. The Individual Mandate, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allowed 20 million more Americans to access quality health care, was originally a Republican idea hatched by the conservative Heritage Foundation and featured in House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s health reform proposal as well as Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts’ health care law. Its purpose is to make every American take some responsibility for their own health care. As soon as President Obama and the Democrats wanted Republicans own idea in their health reform legislation, Republicans turned against it with a vengeance. After years in which it was upheld by the Supreme Court and Republicans tried to kill the ACA, they were finally able to scuttle the individual mandate by sneaking an amendment in their tax and spend bills.
Congressman Andy Harris is one of the more extreme examples of these Republicans and their unprincipled agenda, supporting everything Trump, even his morally repugnant behavior including embracing the disgraced child abuser Roy Moore while representing only his wealthy donors’ agendas at the expense of the majority of his constituents. He and his fellow Republicans have nothing positive left to campaign on, since their tax cut bill remains highly unpopular while doing next to nothing for the vast majority of individuals and small businesses and further enriching the wealthy in our country.
We can stop the Republicans. All we have to do is vote Andy Harris and the rest of them out of office this November so we can return to real American values held by Democrats and their desire to govern on behalf of all Americans, not just the mega-rich.
Mike Brown is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum