The problem with the Republican Party is that it's a loathsome institution whose entire leadership class is rotten to the bone.
In May, I took stock of one abysmal month of Republican governance. Now is a good time to revisit the subject, and round up the latest big-ticket items on the Republicans' list of horrors and atrocities.
The greatest ongoing instance of Republican moral bankruptcy is, of course, the Roy Moore Senate campaign. In 2016, 13 women credibly accused President Trump of having sexually harassed or assaulted them. Most Republicans initially distanced themselves, but quickly ginned up excuses to unite once more around him. Now in 2017 they are doing the exact same routine with a credibly accused molester of teenagers — a man whom locals describe as trawling local malls and a child custody court for underage girls to pick up, and whom eight women accuse of sexual harassment or assault when they were between 14 and 18 years old and he was a 30-something district attorney. Trump has re-endorsed Moore, and the Republican National Committee has moved back into the race.
We're in a place where ClickHole can do devastating political satire by simple and direct reference to current political events:
Most rank-and-file Alabama Republicans, of course, simply refuse to believe the accusations. The right-wing propaganda firehose of Fox News and Breitbart has combined with Trump's endless smears of any non-reactionary media to create a near-impregnable barrier around the minds of the Republican base. A good many Alabama Republicans would be yelling "FAKE NEWS" if Roy Moore were bundling their own children into Jeffrey Epstein's jet before their very eyes.
And what is the point of defending these disgusting, ancient, be-wattled perverts? The Great Republican Tax Increase of 2017, undoubtedly the worst tax bill in American history — a huge cut in corporate and inheritance taxes, partially paid for by increasing taxes on a large swathe of everyone below the top 1 percent. It's pillaging the country to hand money to corporate shareholders and the idle rich.
Republicans managed to ram it through the Senate partly by doing it last-minute under cover of secrecy, with no hearings or markups, literally scribbling in the margins of a draft bill in the middle of the night. Not surprisingly, it's filled with errors, including an accidental $300 billion corporate tax increase — though that particular mistake will surely get removed in the conference committee.
Another key Republican strategy for getting this thing through was abject lying about what it would do to the deficit. Then when the deficit does explode, they are already signaling they're going to seize on it as a pretext to slash social insurance programs and food stamps.
And just so you know who this is all for, Mick Mulvaney is now firmly ensconced in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, already busy at work tearing its guts out to make it easier for banks to loot the public. More formal financial deregulation is next on the agenda — setting the stage for another globe-spanning financial crisis less than a decade after the last one.
Finally, there is the Russia scandal. This has already netted one indictment, of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for money laundering, and two guilty pleas, from former campaign aide George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, both for lying to the FBI. There isn't time to run down the entire complicated story, but as Brian Beutler argues, there is a near-ironclad pile of direct and circumstantial evidence that the Trump campaign at least cooperated with the Russians in some way.
Needless to say, if Democrats had done one hundredth of the things Republicans are doing out in the open, Sean Hannity would have a rage stroke live on the air. But that's the modern conservative movement for you: a fetid pile of lies, bad faith, shamelessness, bigotry, and literal conspiracy with a hostile foreign power, all weaponized in the service of scorched-earth class war.