New GOP Brand Is Political Jenga
Senator Rubio and Comprehensive Immigration Reform: He was for it before he became against it
Sometimes, I am genuinely baffled as it relates to the political aspirations of the Republican Party these days. What is their plan? Do they even have a plan? Who are its architects? What’s their endgame? How does the American people factor into said plan? Conventional wisdom holds that if you’re not serious about conducting business decently and in order, you’re playing. Since there is mounting evidence that the Republicans are indeed playing, what game are they engaged in? I submit to you that the GOP is currently playing the political edition of Jenga.
In the brand new teaser trailer for Marvel Studios’ 2014 blockbuster ‘Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier’, one statement resonated with me. In that trailer, Alexander Pierce (portrayed by Robert Redford) says this to Steve Rogers/Captain America (portrayed by Chris Evans): “Captain, building a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down – and that makes enemies.” Are the Republicans tearing down the infrastructure they’ve faithfully spent the last 150 years establishing and maintaining? And if that’s the case, what do they envision taking its place? Will the Tea Party consume the GOP from within? Something’s going on. Beyond President Obama, who are their enemies? Democrats? Moderate conservatives? Everyone?
Consider these comments made by junior Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) last recently on the topic of the likelihood of immigration reform legislation moving forward: “I think immigration reform is harder to achieve today than it was three weeks ago because of what happened here.” Mr. Rubio went on to say this on his appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday’: “This notion that they’re going to get in a room and negotiate a deal with the president on immigration is much more difficult to do… because of the way the president has behaved towards his opponents over the last three weeks.” Hold it. So because Mr. Rubio and his fellow House Republicans allowed themselves to be played by fellow junior Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) – and shutdown the entire U.S. government in an unsuccessful bid to eradicate the Affordable Care Act – his solution is to take out his own frustration on the 11 million undocumented immigrants who want to navigate the long path to legal citizenship here in America?
Everyone knows that the Republican Party desperately needs to address the long-simmering issue of immigration. Instead, the GOP has loudly stated in public that it doesn’t want to deal with this matter now because doing so would be credited as a success for the President. The GOP has convinced itself that all 11 million of those people directly affected would suddenly become life-long members of the Democratic Party. So the party of no simply says no; oblivious to the fact that its steadfast refusal to work on this burning issue is rapidly becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Working to quickly craft and pass meaningful immigration reforms would greatly help to Americans to forgive the Republicans for the shutdown, but they don’t see it that way. Jenga.
Have you noticed the fallout since the shutdown ended? Senator John McCain (R-AZ) blames Ted Cruz. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is being primaried by a Tax Party challenger. Mr. Cruz blames all Republicans for not following his lead. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said this during an ABC interview: “Obamacare, flawed to its core, doesn't work. But we don't even hear about that because we've stepped on that message.” Mr. Bush, it should be cited that your father’s (President George W. Bush’s) Medicare D expansion was plagued with problems at its outset. Enacted in 2003, it took until 2006 for its own computer glitches and administrative problems to be corrected. Speaker John Boehner was there back then. During a February 6, 2006 appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday’, Mr. Boehner acknowledged the problems but called for improving it. Too bad he never gave Obamacare the same courtesy.
Jenga, Mr. Speaker.Didn’t Mr. Rubio rise to national prominence on the premise he could deliver immigration reform for the GOP? Weren’t his presidential hopes pinned to this? The man just disavowed his own immigration reform bill by piecemealing it. Clearly, Mr. Rubio is no Captain America.
The goal of Jenga is to carefully stack the wood blocks as high as possible without topping the tower. Either Republicans aren’t good at Jenga or they haven’t familiarized themselves with its rules. If they were doctors, they would be lawyered up to defend themselves in court against charges of political malpractice.
No outreach, no civility, no plan for sustained growth? No problem. The self-described party of ideas is fresh out of them. Constant gerrymandering and voter disenfranchising efforts won’t work much longer. Your tower is perilously close to collapsing, GOP. Why tear the whole thing down? Why not simply rebuild it? We Democrats would help you – if only you would let us.