Yesterday, I heard at the news that the leading Republican candidate for the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, voluntarily withdrew his candidacy. Even though he had a comfortable lead upon his adversaries, McCarthy decided to throw the towel.
Allegedly, the reason for McCarthy’s withdrawal was that he did not manage to get the full majority of the Grand Ole Party backing his candidacy. A radically conservative squadron in the House, closely affiliated to the infamous Tea Party, demanded a much tougher opposition against the ongoing agenda of President Barrack Obama and judged the more moderate McCarthy as ‘being not fit for the job’.
Probably, McCarthy decided that he did not want to be a ‘lame duck’ speaker after his ballot and withdrew two days ago.
This event emphasized once more, how firm the grip of the extremely conservative and erratically religious Tea Party currently is on the Republican Party. This is something that never ceases to amaze the more secular Europeans and leaves them in ´shock and awe´.
How can it happen that arguably the most modern and economically forward country and global leader, the United States, is more and more sliding towards being the Christian pendant of a `fundamentalist nation´: utterly divided between modernty in the large cities at the East and West coast and the almost medieval habits and choices in the heartland of the nation?
A nation in which a very small part of the political caste is keeping the rest of their peers hostage with their policy of “demonizing their ’foes’ in the White House and in Washington as a whole, not listening to their allies and adversaries, not negotiating about anything and never deviating from their fundamentalist policies, which seem to be carved out in marble”. The Tea Party seemingly stands “For God, Our Nation, Our Constitution, Mom’s Apple Pie and the Gun under our Cushion” and is arguably world record holder in its unworldly behaviour.
The effect of such popular and strong populist/extremist parties at the far ends of the political spectrum is always that they act as a magnet upon the more moderate political leaders, with their success: `if you can´t beat them, join them... and if you really don´t want to join them, be as close to them as possible`.
For the Republicans, this unavoidable political behaviour turns cooperation with the Democrats, extremely necessary for the topics that really matter, into a mirage for the foreseeable future. Consequently, these effects and their consequences turn the nation more and more into an uncontrollable political monster.
And then there are the two most prominent Republican candidates for the next presidential elections, which will be held in November 2016: Donald Trump and Jeb ‘the brother of...’ Bush. One is an extremely successful businessman, who wants to run the nation as one of his companies; the other is son and brother of two former American presidents and extremely rich businessmen and wants to claim his position in the political ‘family business’.
Although one cannot abnegate Donald Trump of being a smart and streetwise tough guy with undeniably a lot of pizazz and a “refreshing” lack of political correctness, the man is clearly an idiot, who started to believe in his own infallibility and greatness. A country is definitely not a large corporation and everybody who thinks it is, is going to do a lot of damage to the nation and especially to the rights and privileges of minorities. The fact that Trump really seems to have a chance next year is a tell-tale signal of the current sorry state of American politics.
And Jeb Bush? Well, what can we say about him from our position in remote Europe?! That he seems a smarter, but nevertheless much bleaker version of “George Dubya”?
A president, who made a travesty of his presidency and pushed the world in three terrible wars, of which the consequences last until this very day and probably much, much longer: the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and ‘the war on terrorism’.
The combination of George W. Bush naivety(?), his undeserved trust in and loyalty to his advisors (a.o. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove) and fellow government-members (i.e. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld), who mainly used the Iraq war as a cashcow for themselves (i.e. Halliburton, Blackwater), as well as his capability to tell the most gruesome lies with a face as if he believed his words himself, made him the epithomy of a dangerous leader.
By coincidence, Dutch television showed yesterday evening the movie ‘Fair Game’; this movie dealt with the betrayal against the former CIA Agent Valerie Plame and former ambassador Howard Wilson, by former Chief of Staff of the President George W. Bush administration, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby and neoconservative spindoctor of President Bush, Karl Rove.
The happily married couple Plame (a covert CIA agent heavily involved in the Middle East) and Wilson (a former ambassodor with assignments in Gabon and Niger) had a devastating encounter with the White House´s advisors, after Howard Wilson refused to confirm the blatant lie of George Bush Jr et al, that Saddam Hoessein had try to buy uranium (‘yellow cake’) in Niger, in order to create his much-desired nuclear bomb.
Scooter Libby and (probably) Karl Rove publically leaked the identity of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent, instantly ending her career, and tried to crush her and her husband Howard Wilson, when they justifiably denied the existence of WMD’s and production facilities for such weapons in Iraq.
This supposed yellow-cake purchase order, as well as Iraq’s purchase of aluminium tubes – supposedly for the creation of nuclear ultra-centrifuges – in combination with Colin Powell’s Razzie Award-worthy home video specially created for the United Nations, showing supposed ‘weapons of mass destruction’ storages and production facilities in Iraq, acted as the ‘smoking gun’ that triggered the war in Iraq.
However, all this evidence – except for the purchase of the aluminium tubes itself – had been rigged and were later confirmed as being utterly untrue. But then it was already too late. Iraq was conquered and left in the total and utter political chaos that it is in today, due to an endless series of stupid actions, perfidious political choices and almost criminal miscalculations. And so is the whole Middle East left in a chaos, as a matter of fact, partially as a consequence of this utterly stupid war.
While objectively all this says nothing about the presidential qualities of Jeb Bush, it is nevertheless worrisome that Jeb Bush is the best candidate (i.e. the candidate with the deepest pockets from a financial point of view) that the Republican party can come up with. Personally, I would state that ‘two times a Bush, is more than enough!’
And last, but not least there is always the most prominent member of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, hanging as a black supercell cloud above the political landscape! Someone whose determination, political gutsiness and enormous influence is only surpassed by her dangerous stupidity and naivety.
Personally, I consider the Russian president Vladimir Putin as a ruthless, unscrupulous, corrupted and dangerous man, who is imperturbably following his own agenda for a new and great Russia and is willing to sacrifice a lot for his goals. Nevertheless, he is an intelligent and well-educated chess player, who bends the rules and plays tough, but undoubtedly knows where the point of no return lies that he should never pass. He is a battle-hardened professional, who will probably not scr*w up eventually.
However, when I look at some of the more ‘idealistic’, ideologically-driven and God-fearing members of the Republican party – like for instance the aforementioned Sarah Palin – I am not so sure that they will not push the world to the brink of a nuclear war, when push comes to shove. At times, these people act like a child with a loaded gun: nowhere near to comprehending what they are doing and what is at stake in (international) politics.
November will show another episode in the eternal soap around the US debt ceiling and the coming year will probably be full of raunchy and nearly lethal politics in the United States. Just like French strikers are willing to sacrifice their own future and the future of their company for their own goals, these Tea Party republicans – and probably some of the others too – are seemingly willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of their country and their people for their own political goals. That is a disturbing prospect.
There is one tiny glimmer of hope that I have. That is that the more moderate and down-to-earth Republicans become so sick and tired of the erratic and dogmatic conceptions of the Tea Party squadron within their realm and of the Tea Party’s unwillingness to cooperate with the Democrats, that they decide to reform the party into a ‘Grand New Party’. That is the only way out of the political chaos and implosion that is seemingly looming in the United States, when the Republican Party does not find a way out of the political mess it created.