To demonstrate how retrograde the Republican party has become, the reaction to Representative Steve King’s remarks have been slow and awkward. Perhaps the leadership wonders what all the fuss is about. In the past, King spouted derogatory remarks against immigrants at will and received not so much as a mild rebuke from the GOP leadership. Moreover, his Republican colleagues have recently engaged in scurrilous insults aimed at Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. But in this instance, after a few days of silence they determined that old Steve had gone over the top.
Good they have standards, even if they are a bit low. Mo Brooks of Alabama launched a tirade so brutal against a CNN reporter that he resembled Preston Brooks, who caned Senator William Sumner of Massachusetts for insulting his uncle. Given their booing of Ocasio-Cortez, they must be convinced that the new diversity must be resisted. They must be bewildered that their routine booing of Barack Obama while giving the State of the Union address.
At least one Republican did not see any of this behavior amusing — Tim Scott of South Carolina. As an African American he felt emboldened by the new diversity in Congress. The boys club and the dominance of people of a certain social class and race are no longer a lopsided majority. At least give the new guys credit, they have participated in every walk of life. Ocasio-Cortez worked a varied number of jobs and learned the difficulties of laboring at many tasks. Instead of being annoyed, the old elites should be happy that the new representatives might actually work for their constituencies.
But such graciousness is probably beyond this crew. Like the fire eaters prior to the Civil War, the simple challenge by people of different backgrounds will inspire them to behave even worse. Never complain, never explain and keep up the attack, this undoubtedly will be their watchword.
Even so-called Republican moderates cannot seem to help themselves. Lindsay Graham wants the wall to shut out “the others.” No doubt the fantasy caravans will terrorize Lindsay, whose ideas of moderation is to encourage Donald Trump to launch wars and build walls. And this guy was considered a reasonable man in some circles. No doubt change will drive him to distraction as it did South Carolina’s leadership in 1860. The Junior Senator Scott has integrity, Graham has lost his if he ever had any.
When fear combines with purposeless power, it degenerates into nihilism. Republicans have a crazy quilt approach which is designed to make the rich richer while playing to every prejudice of misguided but frustrated voters. Simply, they believe in everything and nothing, and boy do they like to get mad at every modern trend and manifestation. If its not Nancy Pelosi, it is Ocasio-Cortez or perhaps the idea that someone received something that they agreed should not receive. No wonder King feels comfortable in that party. Resentment creates hate and hate breeds irrationality.
For a good many Republicans, King is the rule, not the exception. Did not Mitch McConnell put these prejudices into action when he vowed to make Obama a one-term president. Their behavior going as far back as the Anita Hill case has often derided anything other than those in their inner club. The Obama years showed these tendencies aimed at the president. For those who only blame Trump are being disingenuous, it goes back a long time. Perhaps the voice of Sen. Scott will help reform and redeem the GOP.