Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The GOP’s Love Affair with Lawbreakers

The Republican Party likes to bill itself as the party that supports the rule of law and law and order, yet its base it increasingly made up of those that believe that they are above the law and that they can simply disregard and break laws that they do not like.  Such laws range from non-discrimination laws that the Christofascists break over disingenuous claims of "religious liberty" to the gun carrying lunatics and domestic terrorists that seized federal facilities in Oregon.  A column in the Washington Post rightly looks at the GOP's love affair with those who seek to break the law.  Here are highlights:

Ammon Bundy and the other armed militants occupying a federal facility at a wildlife refuge in Oregon have a beef with the administration — the Teddy Roosevelt administration.

[T] “taking of the people’s land,” the “overreach” that moved these rebels to take up arms, occurred 108 years ago, when Roosevelt — a Republican president and a great conservationist — established the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, one of 51 such refuges he set aside, “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.”

So why have the militants chosen this moment, more than a century after the fact, to “unwind all these unconstitutional land transactions,” as Bundy put it? Perhaps it’s because they think the political atmosphere now condones such anti-government activity. 

You can see why they might think so. Several of the Republican presidential candidates have been encouraging lawbreaking, winking at it or simply looking the other way.

A few months ago, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and others rushed to defend Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to obey federal law.  . . . . Cruz identified her jailing as “judicial tyranny” and said Davis was operating “under God’s authority.”

Donald Trump has put at the center of his campaign an extra-constitutional ban on admitting Muslims into the country. Marco Rubio said that if the law conflicts with the Gospel, “God’s rules always win,” and that “we are called to ignore” the government’s authority.

And, of course, there was the 2014 standoff in which Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay grazing fees for his use of federal land, got support or sympathy from Cruz, Trump, Huckabee, Rand Paul and Ben Carson. Cruz denounced the federal government for “using the jackboot of authoritarianism.”

The rancher lost much of his support when he delivered a racist rant. But not all of it:

Flirting with extremists helps conservative candidates harness the prodigious anger in the electorate. A poll released this weekend by NBC, Esquire and Survey Monkey found anger is particularly intense among Republicans: Seventy-seven percent said the news makes them angry at least once a day . . . .

So when some very angry people led by Ammon Bundy took over the (unoccupied) compound at the wildlife preserve over the weekend, the Republican presidential candidates reacted mostly with silence. A scan of tweets from Republican lawmakers also found nary a peep about the armed takeover of the federal facility.

Cruz also released a TV ad Monday protesting inadequate enforcement of the border. “The rule of law,” he says in the ad, “wasn’t meant to be broken.” That’s a fine sentiment. But to live under the rule of law we must follow all laws — not just those we like. 

No comments: