The GOP wins elections by receiving money from business interests and using it to appeal to socially conservative people.
By the editors of the Salt Lake Tribune
After his astonishing announcement that he would not seek re-election in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson is said to have blamed Walter Cronkite for it.
A few months earlier, the legendary CBS newscaster had visited Vietnam and described the longstanding war in that nation as a hopeless stalemate.
“If I lost Cronkite,” LBJ reportedly said, “I lost Central America.”
Today someone on the Republican National Committee should say something like, “If we lost Major League Baseball …” and the Chamber of Commerce. And the main street. And Wall Street.
The Republican Party of the 21st century is also in a hopeless stalemate. There are no useful ideas and no discernible platform other than tax cuts, a wink of white supremacy, and continued loyalty to a former president accused of sparking a violent uprising against the United States government.
When a lawyer sees the facts speak against him, he is arguing the law. When the law is against him, he argues the facts. And when the law and the facts are against him, he hits the table.
Utah Senator Mike Lee is embarrassed to be among the prominent members of the Republican Party who see both the law and the facts against them and fight the culture wars.
Working with senators like Rand Paul from Kentucky, Ted Cruz from Texas and Josh Hawley from Missouri, Lee devotes his energy and camera time to such fallacies as professional baseball’s threat to lose its exemption from federal antitrust laws and attack social media giants like Facebook and Twitter accused the woman appointed head of the Department of Civil Rights of the Justice Department of advocating civil rights and defending some really old and embarrassing Dr. Seuss books jump.
Lee has come up with original and thoughtful ideas over the years about the separation of powers, the dangers of targeting our information apparatus with Americans, and the need for criminal justice reform. And doesn’t belong in this clown car. But there it is.
All of this, even if the economy continues to recover unevenly from the pandemic, vaccinations and other health needs don’t reach working-class neighborhoods, violence on the streets – by the police and against the police – will keep getting worse, the immigration law is an overdue generation reform- and climate alarms rage around the globe.
The Boys of Summer and the Commissioners Office Suits proved the Republicans’ anger by moving this season’s All-Star game from Georgia to Colorado as the former just passed a turnout-limiting bill and that the latter among many states (including Utah) to have a universal vote via email.
Republicans claim that baseball does not deserve its special status for daring to have a political opinion that is different from theirs. Exempting the sport from antitrust laws is silly, but the obvious reason Lee and the company are now striving to do it is a direct attack on the First Amendment rights of owners and gamblers, who have the right to move from any jurisdiction distance that they want to have.
And it’s not just baseball. A who’s who of many of America’s largest corporations posted an ad on two full pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post to make a joint statement against the type of voter suppression laws passed in Georgia and in several in Other states will be considered. The list includes old-economy stalwarts like Goldman Sachs, Ford, General Motors, Wells Fargo, and Target, as well as trendier outfits like Starbucks, Amazon, Google, Netflix, and Facebook.
Republicans face the collapse of a marriage of convenience they have maintained since the LBJ stepped down.
The GOP wins elections by receiving money from business interests and using that money to target social conservatives who are concerned about the loss of their guns, immigration and the excessive equality of blacks, women, LGBT people and non-Christians.
Republicans, however, had real political ideas most of the time: low taxes, free trade, strong defense, and an often real belief, shared on both Main Street and Wall Street, that economic freedom is the greatest opportunity for all .
Now the curtain is closed and all Lee and friends have to offer is a great desire to return to the 19th century. A place where neither the poor nor the rich want to go.
Some Republicans still think their party should have ideas and propose solutions. The other Utah Senator, Mitt Romney, is among the few who have fully formulated counterproposals to Democratic ideas about a higher minimum wage, financial support for families, bailing out Social Security and Medicare, and an infrastructure plan. These ideas are smaller – you could even call them shy – but they are ideas worth discussing.
If most Republicans in Congress are too busy waging the culture wars to address these real issues, Romney and society should find or found a party that will do so. They would serve not only their own political future, but the entire nation as well.