Bilateral Commentary

Party Before Country III

Author:  Dr. Anthony Bryson


This has become a common theme for me to write about, mostly because I think it is the biggest problem facing this country.  I am not going to beat around the bush on this one and try to make the issue more accessible to people from all points of view.  I’m going to rip the band-aid off and expose the festering wound.  This country is divided on issues because of Party politics, and the clear majority of that has been driven by one side.  Conservatives have done everything in their power to turn every issue into one of an ideological purity test.  Every issue now boils down to what will it take for Republicans to assume control over governance, and then stack the deck in favor of corporations and their rich benefactors.


My god it has been a trying, and tiring, two weeks.  It has seriously been difficult to keep up with all of the bullshit going on in the White House, which has of course flown high cover for the bullshit going on in Congress.  While the corruption of the White House is rightly on every reporter’s mind, they are missing out on some real big problems in Congress, all driven by Party politics and the quest for power, or the maintenance there of.


There was a story that was barely covered this week, that normally would have brought Washington to its knees.  Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and, then candidate, Donald Trump were on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.  This was disclosed in June of 2016, during a Republican leadership meeting in Washington, during a discussion of the Russia hack into the DNC and what information that could produce.  Per transcripts, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged attendees to keep those comments off the record and to remind everyone in the room that they were family.  House Majority Whip Steve Scalise seconded the comment, reminding all that “this is how we will know we’re tight.”  Ryan then finished the thought with, “What’s said in the family stays in the family.”


 If this is not the most repugnant behavior, and the exact garbage that the American people want to see out of politics, then I’m not sure what swamp people are talking about.  This is clearly Republicans putting their Party affiliation above that of the responsibility they have to their country and maintenance of our government as an institution for all.  But this behavior is just part-and-parcel of the Republican Party over the past decade.


Does anyone remember when Mitch McConnell stated that only goal of the Republican Party was to make Barack Obama a one term President?  This has been a consistent position for McConnell, and why the Republicans trust him as the Senate Majority Leader.  Governance is not as important as maintaining a majority so conservatives will always have the ability to shape those laws which impact governance.  For McConnell, Party is all that matters.  This was never so evident than when Donald Trump won the Republican nomination.  McConnell is on record as stating that Trump didn’t know a lot about issues nor did he the requisite seriousness of purpose for the office.  Instead of taking a principled stand and put country before Party, McConnell threw in behind Trump and did everything in his power to get “his guy” elected, much to detriment of the country.


As we have watched the first 100 days of the Trump era unfold, we have seen Republicans do everything in their power to protect “their guy” including obstruction of justice.  Not many people have put it this bluntly, but that is exactly what we have been seeing.  Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has done everything in his power to look the other way as calls for investigation of Trump’s behaviors and connections to Russia have come in from all corners of the House.  He has repeatedly denied conducting investigations into Donald Trump, after holding kangaroo court on Benghazi and Clinton’s emails numerous times.  It has got to the point where even Chaffetz recognizes the position he is in and the ethical conundrum he’s left himself.  As a result, Chaffetz has elected to quit his job and leave Congress, probably in an attempt to get out of the way of the FBI investigation and not be caught in its widening net.  But have no fear, the Republicans have a backup plan to maintain their ideological grip on governance.  Rumors have it that Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a Tea Party Republican, will slide into Chaffetz’s role and continue to reign of error.


If it were possible, Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has upped the game of Chaffetz and made standing in the way of investigations an art form.  As the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Nunes has the access to verify a lot of the charges that have been made.  He has the ability to confirm and then call for the proper investigation of claims.  Instead of being on the up-and-up, Mr. Nunes used his office to fly high cover for Trump and report back to him details of investigations.  This culminated in his infamous visit to the White House to review evidence, and then the impromptu press conference on the White House lawn.  He did this all without the knowledge of the committee he chairs.  Because of these obvious misconducts, Nunes has had to recuse himself from any actions related to Trump and his connections to Russia.  But that has not stopped Mr. Nunes from using his position of power to continue to review information and evidence specific to the case he has recused himself from.


Those are the behaviors of the top players in the Republican Party.  That doesn’t speak to the dozens of others who continue to bury their collective heads in the sand and ignore the obvious corruption around them.  They refuse to acknowledge the incompetence in the White House and instead focus on using that to their advantage to push through an agenda rife with massive tax cuts for corporations and the uber-rich, which stripping away much needed programs for average Americans.  For Republicans its Party before Country in every way imaginable, and nothing is going to stop them.

Dr. Bryson is an adjunct faculty member at Fielding Graduate University, teaching classes in media and political psychologies.  He is the author of the book, The Trump Card: The Long Game of Discrediting Media and Influencing Elections.