The GOP’s Decades-Long Domestic Abuse of the Democratic Party

How Republicans F*ck with Democrats Who Keep Trying to Appease Them

This is what Democrats have tolerated from the GOP for decades.

I’m referring to the type of abuser who takes advantage of your good faith and trust, who manipulates you and gets you to do things for them.

After each incident, they may deny that it happened or gaslight with a spin of the story. They often attempt to reconcile and the next time try to convince you they’re sincere.

They convince you to trust them again.
They convince you to trust an untrustworthy person.

I’ll do a flashback to who started what can truly be called abuse, but for now, I’ll start with what President Obama had to put up with.

In the 2/2/21 video below Rachel Maddow describes each set of broken promises and the manipulation perpetrated by the GOP against Obama’s stimulus bill, healthcare bill, immigration reform:

Democrats Nurse Fresh Memories Of Bad Faith Republican ‘Bipartisanship’ | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Inheriting a collapsed economy from George W. Bush, Obama put together a stimulus bill to save it. The stimulus bill should have been bigger but Democrats cut it down in a bipartisan attempt to get GOP votes. Later analysis proved that the stimulus was too small and that investing more would have jump-started the economy more effectively with a faster recovery. It would have been more successful and fewer American people and businesses would have suffered. Obama’s acquiescence to the unmoveable GOP hurt the country.

In a good faith effort, the White House put the bill on hold to allow a bipartisan group of six Senators to work on a compromise. But Republicans were insincere. One GOP Senator bragged to constituents that he had no intention of ever voting for Obama’s healthcare bill.

After long negotiations with Republicans, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) included 188 GOP amendments, yet not a single Republican voted for the bill. They got everything they wanted but when it came time to vote the GOP left Democrats standing at the altar.

After a deep dive into their behavior, I can only come to the conclusion that Republicans want Democrats to fail — even if it damages the country.

When Democrats fail the Republicans are more likely to win the next election. The GOP hasn’t always had this agenda, but for at least the last decade that’s how they roll.

From the USA Today 2017 article “Set the health care record straight: Republicans helped craft Obamacare

“After she was one of three Republicans to vote against her party’s proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Susan Collins said: “Democrats made a big mistake when they passed the ACA without a single Republican vote. I don’t want to see Republicans make the same mistake.”

Susan Collins was either lying or she was ignorant of the truth.

Democrats were duped when trying to get Obamacare passed:

“Not only were Republican senators deeply involved in the process, but the ACA might have become law months earlier if the Democrats, hoping for a bipartisan bill, hadn’t spent enormous time and effort wooing GOP senators — only to find themselves gulled by false promises of cooperation.” — “Set the health care record straight: Republicans helped craft ObamacareUSA Today

Obama brought back an Immigration Reform Bill that many Republicans had supported a few years earlier. The GOP told President Obama they would negotiate on the bill if he agreed to prioritize border security.

In good faith, before there were any discussions of immigration reform, Obama signed a $600 million border security bill giving the GOP what they wanted — 1,500 new border patrol agents, customs inspectors, and other law enforcement officials along the border, as well as two more unmanned aerial “drones” to monitor border activities.

The Immigration Reform Bill? The GOP killed it.

They conned Obama into passing the border security bill first. Then like Lucy with Charlie Brown’s football, they pulled away support at the last second.

In this May 2020 review of the 2013 book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the Politics of Extremism, Scott A. Potter states on Amazon:

“I was amazed from the outset when it was revealed that Republicans had killed their own legislation when it was realized that Obama also backed it and that he, as President would likely receive credit. This would be only one of many infantile acts of obstruction and leaderlessness among Republicans, and now that we have Trump in 2020 we should be embarrassed as a nation to have not paid better attention.” — Amazon review

Republicans make promises they don’t keep. They make demands, drag their feet, block legislation and Democratic judicial appointments.

Fool us once, shame on you…

Fool us twice, shame on us.

Fool us for decades, call us stupid.

Not only was the rogue 45th president completely uncooperative during what should have been a transition period, but the GOP deprived Democrats of a month of legislative power. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell still held majority power and spent weeks in negotiations with Leader Chuck Schumer on a plan to organize the Senate.

Lindsey Graham was still chair of the Judiciary Committee but did not bother to schedule a confirmation hearing for President Biden’s attorney general nominee Merrick Garland, even though our country has been without an Attorney General since December 23, 2020.

The Democrats finally obtained majority status early in February 2021. Merrick Garland’s already delayed confirmation hearing should have taken place immediately. It was scheduled for February 8, 2021, the day before the start of the second impeachment trial of the 45th president, but Senator Lindsey Graham refused to hold Merrick Garland’s confirmation hearing until after the impeachment hearings.

It’s difficult to not interpret this as a vengeful act related to the impeachment. It’s also difficult to not see the purely personal opposition to Merrick Garland for the second time in history.

You may recall what was probably the GOP’s most outrageous and seemingly illegal obstruction ever committed against a president by the opposing party. The GOP completely blocked his Supreme Court nominee while President Obama still had ten months left in his term. Hours after Justice Scalia’s death, McConnell declared any appointment by the sitting president to be null and void, stating that the Supreme Court Justice to replace Scalia should be chosen by the next president.

Completely outside the norms, a blatant power move, and an affront to democracy, McConnell got away with it.

It wasn’t the beginning of the democracy-killing that the 45th president took to extraordinary levels, but was certainly a signal of the extremism to come. Senator McConnell was one of the biggest enablers of the 45th president whose behavior eventually facilitated the violent insurrection at the Capitol.

Here’s the pisser — Democrats never get credit for their efforts to work across the aisle. They never get credit for the number of GOP amendments they add to their bills.

FNC never reports that Democrats included Republicans when crafting a bill or how hard they worked to be bipartisan. Never.

They call us socialists if we push progressive policies.
They call us socialists if we push moderate policies.
They call us socialists if we push conservative policies.

They use inflammatory names…or make them inflammatory and repeat them no matter what Democrats do.

The perfect con. The GOP obstructs. Then GOP legislators and the right-wing media tell their viewers that it’s Democrats who are partisan. Using the fact that Democrats passed legislation without GOP votes as their proof. The GOP, in classic abuser style, always claims that they are the victims — that Democrats locked them out of negotiations when in reality the GOP put up roadblocks at every turn.

Once President Biden was in office, Karl Rove started his gaslighting op-eds — he went right for the Democrats Achilles heel — being perceived as not willing to compromise. Not true but it’s the Dems biggest trigger.

Wall Street Journal opinion pieces:

“The new president’s (Biden) actions don’t suggest he’s interested in bipartisan progress” — Karl Rove January 27, 2021

On February 3, 2021, Rove lies claiming Biden “unwilling to compromise.”

What really happened? The first group Biden met with at the White House were GOP members of congress who presented their own COVID Rescue package. And more recently Biden hosted a bipartisan group to discuss infrastructure.

It’s the GOP who has been shamelessly partisan. They ram through Supreme Court Justices, and tax cuts for the wealthy. They don’t express one ounce of interest in working with Democrats. While they get criticized for that, it never sticks. GOP voters don’t care.

Described so well in “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party” book description:

Julian E. Zelizer pinpoints the moment when our country was set on a path toward bitterly partisan and ruthless politics, ignited by Newt Gingrich…who introduced the rhetoric and tactics that have shaped Congress and the Republican Party for the last three decades.

Gingrich became one of the most powerful figures not through innovative ideas or charisma, but through a calculated campaign of attacks against political opponents. This warfare worked, not as a strategy for governance but as a path to power, and what Gingrich planted, Republicans reaped.”
— July 2020

AM stations mainly wanted to keep listeners engaged — but ended up remaking the Republican Party.

“No one set out to turn the airwaves into a political weapon — much less deputize talk-radio hosts as the ideological enforcers of a major American political party. Instead the story of how the GOP establishment lost its power over the Republican message — and eventually the party itself — begins with frantic AM radio executives and a former Top 40 disc jockey, Rush Limbaugh.” — The Atlantic

The Burning Down the House book description also mentions the other sad truth: “Democrats were alarmed but did not want to sink to his level and took no effective actions to stop him.” (referring to Newt Gingrich)

It boggles my mind how often I hear the “we didn’t want to sink to their level” argument. It’s a poor excuse by those who believe the only way to stop them is to behave the exact same way. That’s the equivalent of a parent thinking the only way to handle a two-year-old’s screaming tantrum is to use identical behavior. Some parents do, but clearly throwing a screaming fit is not an effective approach. But neither is allowing yourself to be a doormat. Throwing up your hands and not acting is a codependent response — a response of someone with weak boundaries, low confidence, and a lack of relational and leadership skills.

The day after House Impeachment Managers said never mind to witnesses and longer trial.

The GOP’s manipulative gaslighting has progressed over the years. Their lack of integrity is off the charts.

But it takes two to tango. Watching Democrats even when, or especially when they are in the majority, continually try to appease the GOP and allowing themselves to be manipulated is incomprehensible.

Democrats could bring this dynamic to a screeching halt at any moment.
But they don’t.

Any adult with healthy boundaries and assertiveness skills could have stood up and not tolerated the manipulation without becoming bullies themselves.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could have effectively stood up to Newt using her brilliant clapback skills without being one bit nasty. She would have tactfully called out his bullshit and put him in his place without breaking a sweat. Elizabeth Warren or Ayanna Pressley each with a different style would push back and called him out in an equally effective manner.

We are lucky to have these three and others in Congress as role models, but speaking the truth about what’s going on, setting limits, and demanding accountability must come from party leadership. And it must happen every time it is warranted.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders haven’t had the will or the courage to tactfully play hardball with the GOP. At least not often enough or consistently.

Even though we’ve seen Nancy Pelosi be a truth-telling badass who draws lines in the sand, she was only willing to do that on a few occasions in the last four years. She brilliantly handled the 45th president’s government shut down of 2018–2019. Remember that? The shutdown stemmed from an impasse over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in federal funds for his border wall.

Some still insist that Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to hold the ex-president accountable almost never was strategic on her part. I would argue that for Pelosi to not crack down on him the moment he engaged in impeachable (if not lawless) behavior, enabled him for four years. Pelosi’s “He’s not worth it” was enraging and an irresponsible reaction to his increasingly serious assaults on democracy. Nancy had her reasons. My question about her inaction — “How’d that work out for you?”

Too often Dems were stuck in their political codependency. Always justified as being “for the good of the country” or “to put unity first.” The problem is that it’s almost never what’s best for the country and does not unite us. Like all codependent “peacemaking” behavior, it doesn’t resolve issues but sweeps them under the rug — at the expense of the passive party.

On February 8, 2021 Democrats who are now in the majority, with their pathological compulsion to be bipartisan were starting to cave on the COVID-19 Rescue Bill…to appease a few conservative Democrats and trying to get Republicans votes. They were ready to renege on campaign promises and were going to remove essential elements of the bill even though the majority of Americans wanted those things.

President Biden stated in a CBS interview that he doubted the final COVID bill would include the $15 minimum wage. He was referring to Senate rules but making that public statement seemed to hand that part of the bill over to the GOP on a silver platter.

Democrats were also planning to lower the income threshold for the $1,400 rescue check from $75,000 to $50,000, supposedly to give it only to those in need, as though $50K is an upper-class income!

Thank goodness for the Progressive Caucus! Representative Pramila Jayapal told Rachel Maddow on February 8, 2021, that the Progressive Caucus fought hard and finally prevailed to keep the $75,000 income threshold, and the $15 minimum wage.

One more “f*ck with the Dems” by Mitch McConnell:

“After the two sides conferred, the House managers gave up demands for witnesses in exchange for reading Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record as evidence. While there was a widespread outcry at what seemed to be a Democratic capitulation, there were reasons the Democrats cut this deal. The Republicans as a group would have dragged the process on well into the spring, muddying the very clear story the impeachment managers told. They allegedly said that if the Democrats called witnesses, they would use the filibuster to block all Democratic nominees and legislation.” -Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American

Once again the GOP played hardball threatening to obstruct Biden’s nominees and legislation.

I think we would have been screwed either way.

There was never going to be a conviction even with more evidence. It seemed like a good idea to present witnesses to the American people but we should never underestimate the sabotage the GOP and right-wing media are willing to perpetrate.

Wrapping it up on February 13th got us seven Republican Senators voting to convict as well as McConnell immediately telling the American people that the ex-president was absolutely guilty but got off on a technicality. And it cleared the way for the legislative agenda of the Biden administration. Ha! The GOP will no doubt continue to obstruct.

Sadly, as I stated in “Even a Failed Coup Can Destroy Democracy,” the United States never holds its highest officials accountable.

Who knows if we ever will. And that’s why we’re in the fix we’re in.

Our democracy has been hanging by a thread and with the second impeachment acquittal, that thread lost a few more strands.

It’s time for the Democratic leadership to gain the skills they need to function as grownups. It’s time for the Democratic leadership to strengthen their boundaries and confidently stand in their power.

Our democracy depends on it.

This was originally published on February 18, 2021 on another platform.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Unequivocal Me

Unconstrained cogent perspectives with analysis of why folks do the weird stuff they do as we ponder the future of democracy in the U.S.