In only a week Joe Biden has restored professionalism to the running of the White House. Back are coherence, civility, competence. Gone are chaos, insults, race-baiting, egomania, torrents of disinformation.
As is necessary given the catalogue of crises he faces, Mr. Biden has rapidly come forward with executive orders and policies addressing, starting with the pandemic, the alarming challenges.
His ambition is to move the country from insurrection to resurrection. Befitting a man with 50 years of experience in politics, he appears to know what he is doing.
But depressingly, his clarion call to end the uncivil war in his much-lauded inauguration address has already been met with the jarring realities of the American political dynamic. Already it’s looking like a pipe dream.
Republicans are signalling they have little or no interest in bipartisanship, in advancing his policy agenda. They oppose his actions on immigration, his plans for US$1.9-trillion in economic stimulus, his decision to rejoin the Paris Climate accord and the World Health Organization, his cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and more.
More egregious is the Grand Old sham of a Party’s reaction to the pending impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Barring a startling outburst of integrity, Republicans are going to acquit him. That became clear in a vote Tuesday to dismiss the impeachment charge as unconstitutional. Forty-five of the 50 Republican Senators voted in favour of the motion. Only five broke ranks. For a conviction the Democrats need 17 Republican dissenters. They are nowhere near it.
Given the grievous nature of the former president’s role in fomenting the Capitol Hill riot, the scant support shows the degree to which the party’s ethical standards have plummeted. For lesser offences committed by Richard Nixon during Watergate, far more Republicans indicated they would have convicted him had the matter gone to a Senate trial. The party today capitulates no matter what. Such is the extent of their depravity that even a violent attempt to overthrow the democratic process gets a pass.
What the Republicans are doing today shows how deeply Trumpism and far-right bigotry is woven into the cultural fabric.
For this look no further than what is transpiring in Oregon. On Monday, the Beaver State’s Republican executive put out a statement condemning the 10 party members in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Mr. Trump. The declaration astonishingly went on to say that the mob attack on the Capitol was likely a put-up job, part of a conspiracy by Democrats to undermine the president.
“There is growing evidence that the violence at the Capitol was a ‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans,” it said. “This provided the sham motivation to impeach President Trump in order to advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February, 1933, burning of the German Reichstag.”
That’s how deluded these creatures have become. In Arizona, the party has re-elected as chair Kelli Ward, who believes the election was stolen from Mr. Trump and that the results should have been overturned by Congress. The party voted to censure its own Republican governor, Doug Ducey, who opposed the bid to overturn.
Mr. Trump will view an acquittal as complete vindication, just as he did when cleared in the Senate impeachment trial a year ago. During the proceedings, Democrat Adam Schiff clairvoyantly warned that unless convicted “he will continue to try and cheat in the election.”
An acquitted Mr. Trump will wage war against the Biden agenda, further escalating divisions in the country. On the plus side for the Democrats, a brutal split in the Republican Party could ensue. Word is out that Mr. Trump is contemplating the creation of a new formation called the Patriot Party.
Mitch McConnell, now minority leader in the Senate, appeared to have parted ways with Mr. Trump, saying recently the mob insurgency was “provoked by the president and other powerful people.” But he appears now to be backing off. He voted with those seeking to declare the impeachment bid unconstitutional.
Mr. McConnell has a point in arguing that Mr. Biden’s resorting to so many executive orders in the early going is hardly in keeping with the spirit of bipartisanship his Inauguration Day speech advocated. But the GOP leader and his flock clearly have no interest in seeing that oration’s goals being met.
It was an admirable speech. It set forth the right vision. It is already being forgotten.
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