Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Not Satisfied With Obstruction, Extremist GOP Is Betting on Chaos

Monday night, Tucker Carlson continued his campaign of hate and lies when he agreed with his guest, Jason Whitlock, that a lot of what the left supports is satanic. That's a theme that pops up among right wing extremists every now and then. For example, you might remember when Eric Metaxas and Franklin Graham said that those who opposed Donald Trump were "demonic."

But for Carlson and Whitlock, their comments were initially based on projection - suggesting that the only agenda liberals have is to oppose Trump. But then Carlson took it a step further.

I've always wondered this -- what is the actual support for the ideas? Not, you know, do you like Trump or Biden? But, for example, do you think men can get pregnant? Or do you think some races are morally superior to other races? Like the core ideas of the Democratic Party.

He's suggesting that the core ideas of the Democratic party are that men can get pregnant and some races are morally superior to other races. That isn't just a hateful lie, Carlson knows it's not true. He is simply trying to incite his viewers into fits of rage. 

But let's take the opportunity to articulate some of the ideas the Democratic Party is putting forward. Right now they are in the midst of passing a massive $1.5 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that is long overdue — something even a few Republicans agree on. In conjunction, they are working on a $3.5 trillion budget plan. Here are a few of the ideas contained in that bill:

Low-income families would get what’s effectively a “child allowance” — money to help raise kids — for longer, via an expanded child tax credit. Seniors on Medicare would get new dental, vision, and hearing benefits, as well as lower prescription drug prices. The coming bill would create new programs for universal pre-K, subsidized child care, free community college, and paid family leave. Some unauthorized immigrants would be able to get green cards. Then there’s major spending on clean energy, housing affordability, and much more.

Democrats are also working on legislation to secure voting rights for all Americans, end gerrymandering, and limit the influence of money in politics.  Meanwhile, in addition to mounting a massive evacuation effort in Afghanistan, the Biden administration in prosecuting hundreds of cases against the insurrectionists that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, doing everything possible to get Americans vaccinated against COVID, restoring programs that would reduce migrant flows at their sources in Central America, shoring up our relationships with Asian countries to confront the challenges posed by China, attempting to re-negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement, and nominating the most diverse slate of federal judges in our country's history.

Republicans are, of course, free to disagree with any of those ideas. That's what is supposed to happen in a democracy. But people like Carlson know that actually having a discussion about Democratic proposals would not go well for the GOP. Being against things like a tax credit that will cut the rate of child poverty in half wouldn't be a winning political argument. 

The calculation Carlson is making is that he doesn't want his viewers to know what the actual Democratic agenda is. He wants them to believe his lies and ramp up apocalyptic visions of a satanic opposition. That is all the right wingers have at this point — which is why they continue to escalate the so-called "culture wars."

I had to take a few minutes to decide whether to share this video from PoliticsGirl because I prefer tackling Republican talking points with facts. But I eventually realized that she isn't offering the flip side of right wing fear mongering. It is a rational response to the inflammatory rhetoric coming from folks like Carlson.

She's right. Rep. Chip Roy actually said, "Eighteen more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done. That's what we want." The reason they need chaos is that, despite the lies and obstruction, Democrats are succeeding at what they promised — and that does not work for the Republicans.

When Obama was elected in 2008, Republicans dropped all pretense of having an agenda and simply relied on total obstruction of anything Democrats tried to accomplish. Fast forward to 2020 and it is clear that obstruction isn't enough this time. They're going with chaos fanned by lies, disinformation, and culture wars. That is a breathtakingly dangerous agenda. 

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