The three men who have destroyed American politics

American politics is now dangerously less functional than it was a few decades ago. These changes for the worse are mainly due to the actions of three men. All are Republicans, but their sins aren’t based on political ideology per se. They’re based on interfering with the processes that America depends on. 

The first of the three is Newt Gingrich. He is the man most responsible for damned near destroying working relationships between Democrats and Republicans. He made demonization of the opposition an expectation for legislators. Before him, the parties talked to each other and there were personal friendships that crossed party lines, most notably that between Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch. Before Gingrich, Republicans in Congress understood that their primary function was to make the country work; after Gingrich their primary function was getting rid of the opposition.

The second is Rupert Murdoch. He turned media impartiality into a complete charade. He used Fox News as a Republican organ but the rest of the media didn’t treat Fox as the journalistic pariahs they deserved to be. “Fair and balanced” should have been treated as the lie it was by the rest of the media, not just in private but in print and on the air, but they didn’t, even when the owner donated a million dollars to one political party.  The result of treating Fox News as an actual news organization was that the rest of the media allowed itself to be forced to bend over backward so as not to appear too liberal. The end result of this was to sacrifice actual objectivity for the appearance of objectivity. At a time when impartiality and objectivity were mutually exclusive, they chose impartiality, and the result was that they turned into political scorekeepers, not guardians of anything, not an institution worthy of being considered the Fourth Estate. Impartiality is not appropriate when one party is behaving substantially worse than the other, as Donald Trump demonstrated so vividly with his “good people on both sides” statement in the aftermath of Charlottesville. When Trump came along, the news media had lost the habits necessary to stop him. Instead, they gave him a billion dollars’ worth of free coverage because he sold copy and air time. The irony in all this is that the result of their concentrating on impartiality instead of objectivity - and instead of responsibility - is that they are now considered Fake News by a substantial portion of the population. The monster their impartiality created killed the very impression they were trying to preserve. 

The third is Mitch McConnell. When Barack Obama was elected President, McConnell started using Gingrich’s playbook, making opposition far more important than running the country (and stating baldly that opposition was his biggest priority). But that was just a continuation of Gingrich; it was late in Obama’s second term that McConnell started becoming really dangerous. This started with a Senate Majority Leader refusing to vet the President’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice. By the time he did this, the media had been neutered to the point that they didn’t raise a fuss and continue raising it - they treated it as something belonging in a news cycle instead of the fundamental threat to democracy that it was. This was later followed by his using the Nuclear Option to confirm Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, making such a critical confirmation a strictly partisan matter. 

When Donald Trump became President, he didn’t understand all that much about his powers and limitations, and so he pushed in unprecedented ways, including allowing his family’s businesses to be supported by the White House. This normally wouldn’t be a danger because Congress would set him straight, but Mitch McConnell was Senate Majority Leader and wasn’t about to set him straight about anything. The most critical of the checks and balances in the Constitution was being ignored. 

The worst, the absolute worst, example of this was McConnell’s reaction to Russian interference in an American election. The Republican Senate Majority Leader along with most Republicans in Congress at best ignored the intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Russia had interfered with an American election and at worst actively protected the President and disputed the intelligence community’s conclusions. Five years ago that wouldn’t have been a sentence in English. Five years ago Republicans in Congress would have considered that treason. 

They would have been right. 

Some blame Trump but Trump isn’t the problem, Trump is the result of the problem and is the ultimate proof of how severe the problem is. 

Trump once said his followers would continue to support him if he shot someone in Times Square. He’s right, of course, and I seriously believe he’s right with no exaggeration whatsoever. That’s ultimately more on Murdoch than anyone else. What’s far worse is I’m by no means sure that the Senate wouldn’t continue to support him. 

Right now, the checks and balances set up so carefully by the Founding Fathers are failing. The 2020 election could potentially kill them altogether. 

We have three men to thank for that.

Views: 165

Comment by koshersalaami on May 18, 2019 at 3:25pm

Songbird and Jon, thank you.

Robert, of course these aren’t the only three. As to the three best, that would be way harder because “best” would be hard to define. It would have to be some mix of right and understanding the importance of being effective (and making it a priority). 

Anna, I’m really of two minds on the town hall. I don’t like fueling the car that wants to run me over, and I don’t like legitimizing an organization that isn’t really a news network, but I also like a shot at taking some of their viewers away from their viewpoint. Both sides have cases. 

Comment by The Songbird on May 18, 2019 at 3:32pm

I saw that too, Anna, and have to agree.  Why shorten your own exposure, to make a wider point .. that even less people will be aware of?  I think having an alternate lined up first would have made a much better point, as well as give a different network a new angle.  There are too many kneejerk reactions going around as it is.  

Comment by koshersalaami on May 19, 2019 at 6:45am

https://mobile.twitter.com/justinamash?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwc...

This is Republican Michigan Representative Justin Amash. Read from “America’s institutions” (I think third tweet) down to the video of Capt. Picard. This is what we need from the Republican Party. Actually, it’s what we need from both parties. 

Comment by Doc Vega on May 19, 2019 at 2:26pm

Kosher that thing doesn't happen at real networks? Are you insane? CNN and MSNBC have been caught repeatedly lying then even refusing to retract their lies! What the hell are you talking about? have you quit taking your ADD medicine? The Millenials have been compromised by politicized public education to the point of being unable to critically think and they have been indoctrinated into being so incredibly ignorant they can't distinguish between socialism and capitalism! But, you are older! You have no excuse for being this ignorant! Oh, that's right! Educated in the north where unions, entitlement, and leftist diatribe prevail! Still you have no excuse 

Comment by Doc Vega on May 19, 2019 at 2:30pm

Kosher, Newt Gingrich? The man who forced the Clinton Administration into a balanced budget through the "Contract With America" while Bill Boy went around closing military bases! The continued pattern of leftist bullshit in America, deficit spending, weaken the military, and raise taxes while representing the interests of illegal aliens and refugees for the vote. This is why the Democrats suck and any oblivious soul who supports their insanity sucks along with them!

Comment by koshersalaami on May 19, 2019 at 4:16pm

Interesting how you disconnect closing military bases with balancing a budget. What exactly do you think cutting spending means? Let me guess: cutting spending on things Gingrich doesn’t think we need. 

What doesn’t happen at real networks is reporters/commentators instantly forced to change their analysis of a situation (short of a statement of bigotry, which in some areas wouldn’t be allowed on Fox either) because their analysis didn’t conform to the slant of their bosses. If anything like that did happen, the reporter or commentator would presumably be forced to issue an apology and a statement that what they said did not reflect the thinking of the network. That’s not what happened with Hannity. What he said initially was simply ignored. 

Of course the millenials can’t distinguish between socialism and capitalism. The way your side defines socialism, socialism is such an integral part of capitalism that they’re almost impossible to separate. There have been elements of what you would call socialism in American capitalism at least since Roosevelt, including under Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, both Bushes, and Trump. I meant Franklin Roosevelt but, if you include antitrust legislation, since Teddy Roosevelt. You have never known an America without it. I doubt your parents did either. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on May 19, 2019 at 8:19pm

Murdoch is merely a very high one percenter whose 'profession' doesn't allow him to hide like the others, he is also emboldened by spending much time outside the USA. Gingrich is a piece of shit, divorces his wife while she has cancer in the hospital, has sex his driveway in front of his neighbors who are forced to take preventive measures so his own children are prevented from seeing their father in the act. As to McConnell, he didn't waste the inaugural celebration for our BLACK HAWAIIAN FEARLESS LEADER who saved this country, and the world, from total meltdown ... for the last time imagine a McQuack and Palin response to Shrub's legacy, instead, the Kentucky piece of turtle excrement began his plan to OBSTRUCT everything he could the same night of the election, at his own little private crybaby dinner, surrounded by his fellow traitors yet, on balance, failed miserably until Putin jumped in to lend a hand.

Comment by Maui Surfer on May 19, 2019 at 8:20pm

in his driveway, true, and very sad, story ... poor kids almost were traumatized for life even worse than they already are

Comment by moki ikom on May 20, 2019 at 12:51am

I'm more inclined to see that con-artist and liars using politics destroy Democracy.  They don't destroy politics, they employ politics to it's fullest measure of self-serving corruption.

Comment by koshersalaami on May 20, 2019 at 4:20am

The fact that Gingrich is personally a pig speaks to his character but not to his public, uh, service. If we went by sexual mores, Clinton could be considered a way worse President than Bush 43 who seems to have been a model husband, but we know in terms of policy that wasn’t the case. Your observation about Putin making McConnell successful is a good one. 

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