GOP: Be Afraid

Republicans have no positive policies to hang their hats on. So what does such a political party do?

Scare you senseless.

The Halloween scene is not real, but the GOP “be afraid” scenes are meant to be, just in time for midterm elections. When a political party’s accomplishments only represent obstruction, doing nothing in Congress, staging negative attacks on opponents, shutting down government and threatening its solvency, then how do you get people to vote for you?

Combine two fearful images, Ebola and ISIS, into a Halloween-like ghoul caper.

What better image than a dark, ISIS-robed figure carrying the Ebola virus across our border? At the center of the successful smear-and-snuff effort against ACORN a few years ago, James O’Keefe, later convicted of a political break-in, is a GOP operative seemingly on an extended dirty-tricks contract with Republican officials and/or their funders. In a video clip, he, in effect, acts out for ISIS the makeup of such a devious plan.

Since 2010, the GOP has cut about $600 million in funds for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), only recently approving President Obama’s request for $88 million. Furthermore, according to Dr. Collins, the head of the NIH, “We’d have a vaccine by now if it were not for GOP budget cuts.” But that doesn’t stop Republicans from exploiting an Ebola situation, and the ISIL threat for that matter, that they helped to create – the CDC funding cut thing and the George W. Bush debacle in Iraq that led to ISIL.

A reprehensible ad depicting the James Foley beheading by ISIL was used for a time by Arizona Republican Congressional candidate, Wendy Rogers, before public outrage prompted her to remove its main link. In New Hampshire, with few accomplishments to prompt voters to vote for him, Scott Brown, transplant from Massachusetts, is accusing opponent, Jeanne Shaheen of helping to leave our border exposed to Islamic militants. Most likely, he pulled the threat out of his posterior.

Republican David Perdue is running for the US Senate against Michelle Nunn in the non-border state of Georgia. No matter. He claims that ISIS militants “could breach” the border, the germ of his argument coming from a sentence fragment reference in a Texas Department of Public Safety statement, and, of course, he blames Senator Nunn. His logic is so tortured that even a supporter, Neil Bush, called Perdue’s statement “shameful and disrespectful.”

Then there is Cory Garnder, running for Senator in Colorado. He accuses Colorado Senator Mark Udal of leaving America vulnerable to ISIS attacks because Udal said, “ISIL does not present an imminent threat to this nation,” which is the truth stated by experts.

Seal-the-border-and-secure-it refrain speaks of blocking flights and beefing up burgeoning border patrols, already an unsustainable swarm. GOP candidates in several states see this as the path to victory.  Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif) goes even further. His claim of 10 ISIL jihadists at the border was thoroughly debunked by Rachel on The Rachel Maddow Show, his video clip appears to show him making up the explanation as he speaks to Greta Van Susteren on Fox News.

But Republicans have often used fear to bolster their brand. The George W. Bush administration had color codes of fear after 9/11 to scare Americans regarding the War on Terror and terrorist attacks. Even former Bush Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, in his book, Test of Our Time, revealed he was urged to issue a politically-motivated high-security alert of “orange” on the eve of Bush’s re-election. He refused. Then there was the release of the Osama Bin Laden “threat-tape” right before the same election, when Bush’s opponent, John Kerry was picking up momentum.

Unlike the current Republican Party, at the time, the GOP did stand for something and did have legislative programs. Only one of the two wars – in Iraq – was political or personal, and the Bush administration did pass a Medicare prescription program, though it, in effect, gave huge concessions to drug companies (forbade any drug price negotiations and provided a senior-bankruptcy-threatening ‘donut hole’) and some prescription benefits to seniors.

Current Republicans provide nothing of real value for average Americans. Rather, their efforts obstruct all progressivity: lead to stagnant wages, a paucity of public jobs at all levels of government, a crumbling infrastructure, and curtailed scientific funding – to name a few. There is also disenfranchisement of likely Democratic voters in states they control, an apartheid national culture and an extremely divided federal government.

They still figure they must pitch fear to win, import out-of-state money from billionaires, lose 40,000 voter registrations of black voters in Georgia, suppress voting anyway they can in GOP states, and still propagate confusion at the ballot box.

Absent their Machiavellian designs to manipulate votes, perhaps there would be room for most, in their self-proclaimed Christian place of worship, to listen to the lyrics of an oft-heard inspirational hymn, Be Not Afraid.

James Hoover is a recently retired systems engineer. He has advanced degrees in Economics and English. Prior to his aerospace career, he taught high school, and he has also taught college courses. He recently published a science fiction novel called Extraordinary Visitors and writes political columns on several websites. Read other articles by James.