What Have the Republicans Been up To?

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Republicans have voted to repeal ObamaCare so many times that I have lost track. It is all symbolic, of course, since the Democratic-controlled Senate would never in a million years concur and the chances of Obama signing into law legislation eliminating the program that bears his name is about as likely as Republicans repudiating Abraham Lincoln.

Republicans are riding a one trick pony.

If all you do is listen to Republican rhetoric about how great they are because they oppose ObamaCare, then you are missing what they have been up to. Not to mention that they don’t believe in a free market in health care, they do believe in forcing some Americans to pay for the health care of other Americans, and they once proposed every bad thing about ObamaCare that they now oppose.

To see what the Republicans have really been up to, we can use as our guide the latest edition of the Freedom Index that was just published in The New American. In case you are not familiar with the Freedom Index, it is “a congressional scoreboard based on the U.S. Constitution” that “rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.”

Although 8 Republicans in the Senate scored 100 percent, only 8 in the much larger House did likewise. There were 5 out of 45 Republicans in the Senate who received a failing score. There were 109 out of 232 Republicans in the House who received a failing score. This disparity merely affirms what I have pointed out several times in the past: Although Republicans are bad enough when they are the opposition party, they are even worse when they are the party in power.

This is the party that says in its platform:

  • We are the party of the Constitution.
  • We are the party of government reform.
  • We are the party of maximum economic freedom.

This is the party that says on its website: “We believe in the power and opportunity of America’s free-market economy.”

But while the Republicans were suckering conservatives with these lies, here are ten examples of what they were really doing.

1. Indefinite Detention. Only 19 out of 232 Republicans in the House voted for an amendment offered to the defense authorization bill “to eliminate indefinite military detention of any person detained in the United States, its territories, or possessions.”

2. Farm and Food programs. Only 62 Republicans out of 233 in the House voted against the bill to fund federal farm aid and food stamps.

3. Buying Russian Helicopters for Afghan Security Forces. Only 67 out of 228 Republicans in the House voted for an amendment to the defense appropriations bill to defund a $553.8 million DOD contract to purchase 30 helicopters from a Russian state-owned arms export company for the new Afghan military.

4. U.S.-China Joint Military Exercises. Only 125 out of 227 Republicans in the House voted for an amendment offered to the defense appropriations bill to prohibit funds “to be used for United States military exercises which include any participation by the People’s Republic of China.” (The joint exercise was conducted in September and in November Chinese troops put boots on U.S. soil while participating in another joint exercise.)

5. Military Intervention. Only 30 out of 227 Republicans in the House voted for an amendment offered to the defense appropriations bill “to prohibit funding for military actions after December 31, 2014, that are carried out pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

6. NSA Surveillance of Phone Records. Only 94 out of 228 Republicans in the House voted for an amendment to the defense appropriations bill “to end the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act.”

7. Continuing Resolution. Only 144 out of 231 Republicans in the House voted against a motion to concur in the Senate amendment to a House bill to suspend the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continue to fund the government through January 15, 2014, at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level.

8. Aid to Egypt. Only 13 out of 46 Republicans in the Senate voted for an amendment to the 2014 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill that would redirect foreign aid to Egypt to the repair of U.S. bridges “until the President certifies to Congress that democratic national elections have taken place in Egypt followed by a peaceful transfer of power.”

9. Continuing Resolution. Only 18 out of 45 Republicans in the Senate voted against a bill to suspend the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continue to fund the government through January 15, 2014, at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level.

10. Employment Nondiscrimination. Only 32 out of 42 Republicans in the Senate voted against a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

It should be evident that the Republicans Party is the party of war, militarism, the warfare state, the surveillance state, personal and corporate welfare, foreign aid, more debt, and more unconstitutional spending. And regarding the last item, although I am equally as pleased that 32 Republicans voted against such nonsense as I am disgusted that 10 Republicans voted for it, I am not gullible enough to believe that Republicans have any philosophical objection to anti-discrimination laws. The vast majority of Republicans in Congress support all the other federal anti-discrimination laws, as I have written about here.

So why do most conservatives who don’t support any of these things continue to hold their nose and vote Republican? Why do most conservatives who don’t support any of these things continue to endorse Republican candidates who do?

And why do some libertarians continue to think that the Republican Party is becoming more libertarian, the lesser of two evils, better than the Democrats, our best hope, or our only chance? Why do some libertarians continue to think that they need to or should work within the Republican Party? Why do some libertarians invite Republicans to speak at “liberty” events? Why do some libertarians call Republicans “libertarian-leaning” who are drug warriors?

What have the Republicans been up to? No good, as usual.

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