For eight years Republicans told us all about Barack Obama.
What they told us was not rooted in fact but rather good old-fashioned racism disguised as patriotism. They wanted the man, and as an extension of him the Democratic Party, to fail. They hated who he was and what he represented, not only as a politician, but as a larger than life figure that gave hope to millions of poor and working class Americans. His triumphs would be the triumphs of the American people whom he had empowered through his words and actions. If the country succeeded then it would be Barack Hussein Obama's photo that would become a staple of American households, becoming a new generation's Ronald Reagan. Living in a world where all this could potentially happen was simply too much for Republicans to endure.
So they created a Barack Obama that never truly existed and presented this version of the president to their followers. In Republicanland, there existed a Barack Obama for eight years that intentionally tried to ruin the country. Every one of his executive orders would be government overreach. Obamacare would kill us all. His support for an increased minimum wage would bankrupt cities. His advocacy for marriage equality would destroy the social fabric of our nation. His international "apology tour" would ruin our reputation abroad. The Iran Deal would empower terrorists. The Paris Climate Agreement would lead to massive jobs losses here at home. The opening of Cuba would be an unmitigated disaster. And even in moments when he wasn't engaging in disastrous policy decisions, Barack Obama would be the "vacationer-in-chief," someone for whom the job of being president was simply too much to handle.
As we know, this version of Barack Obama was a complete fabrication. Obama actually averaged the fewest executive orders of any president since Grover Cleveland. Not only were there no death panels, but Obamacare actually saved as many as 50,000 preventable deaths. Early studies of the effects of an increased minimum wage in places like Seattle have been overwhelmingly positive. Nationwide marriage equality hasn't turned the country into an apocalyptic hellhole as predicted by people like Ted Cruz. Not only did Barack Obama not engage in an apology tour but the United States had the highest approval rating of any country in the world among foreign citizens during his tenure. The Iran Deal was actually well-received among the younger generation in Iran, the generation most likely to shape future relations with the United States. As American unemployment continued to drop, clean-energy jobs actually surpassed oil drilling jobs for the first time in our nation's history. The opening of Cuba has led to an increase in tourism and has improved relations between the two countries. And, of course, Barack Obama's vacation time paled in comparison to that of both George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.
Today, Republicans' worst fears are being realized as Donald Trump is actually the exact person they pretended Barack Obama was for eight years.
Less than six weeks into his presidency, Trump has already tried his best to intentionally ruin the country. His cabinet is grossly unqualified and his administration has already had more leaks than the lower levels of the Titanic. His Muslim ban executive order was shot down and was a clear example of government overreach. His support to repeal the ACA will literally kill thousands of Americans, making congressional Republicans the overseers of an actual death panel. His withdrawal of transgender protections puts the health and safety of an entire population of Americans at risk. His upcoming executive orders to undo environmental protections will irreparably damage our planet. He has been mercilessly mocked on the world stage due largely in part to his already having incidents involving China, Australia, Mexico, and Sweden and now he's so toxic that he can't even address the British Parliament. All this "winning" has been so exhausting that Trump had no choice but to depart to the Southern White House this weekend for the fourth time in six weeks.
And, of course, there are the unprecedented levels of corruption. While Republicans unsuccessfully tried to generate some kind of scandal during Barack Obama's presidency, Donald Trump has been marred by scandal since before he took office. Already, he has had his NSA Security Adviser resign, his Labor Secretary withdrew his nomination, and his Attorney General has now been caught lying under oath to Congress. In addition, it has recently come out that the Vice-President used a private email that was hacked while he was governor. This, combined with Trump's staff using an app that automatically deletes messages and the fact that Trump himself is still using an unsecured phone and is willing to share national security information with patrons at Mar-a-Lago is causing widespread concern. In addition, Trump himself is clearly using the office to enrich himself and his family. He has attacked Nordstrom for dropping his daughter's brand, and has had one of his advisors violate ethics rules by promoting that same brand. Trump has also raised fees at Mar-a-Lago, has hosted a Saudi Arabian lobbying firm at his DC hotel, and has been given a Chinese trademark that he has been seeking for more than a decade.
Yet through all this corruption, Republicans have been steadfastly silent. What once appeared to be earth-shattering issues of concern are now dismissed as being trivial or nonexistent. Trey "Benghazi" Gowdy is suddenly not concerned with an administration's failed raid that killed a Navy SEAL. Jason "Hillary's Emails" Chaffetz is suddenly not concerned with an administration's handling of sensitive information. Marco "Man Of The People" Rubio is suddenly afraid to hold a town hall meeting. Other than Lindsey Graham and John McCain expressing feint-hearted concern and Susan Collins voting against Trump cabinet nominees, Republicans have been unwilling to speak out against what is quickly becoming the most corrupt administration in history.
The reason is that for the last eight years, Republicans put party over country. They wanted Barack Obama to fail, and thus, they wanted the country to fail. Now that there is a Republican in the Oval Office, they want to ensure his success. It doesn't matter that this man is a Russian puppet, Republicans will support him no matter what. The party of patriotism has now become the party of Putin and they have done so because all they care about is the Republican brand. As voters start thinking about both local and national elections in the coming months, they need to take a long, hard look at the Republican Party and what it stands for. Because right now, the Republican Party stands for a foreign adversary and against the American people.
And it is a view that seems unlikely to change anytime soon. At this point, congressional Republicans are pot-committed to supporting the current administration no matter what. They are now intrinsically linked to the administration's successes and, more importantly, its failures. In remaining silent, congressional Republicans are essentially supporting the administration's xenophobic, misogynistic, and racist policies. They are supporting a blanket repeal of the health care of 20 million Americans. They are supporting an anti-environmental agenda. They are supporting the scaling back and repealing of laws protecting the LGBTQ community. They are supporting the loosening of financial regulations that protect the American consumer. All this while simultaneously supporting the least transparent administration in American political history.
Today's Republican Party no longer believes in America. They believe in themselves. They believe their party can do no wrong. By not speaking out against the Trump Administration, congressional Republicans have become willing accomplices in all the damage that the administration has done and will continue to do. All the signs are there, yet congressional Republicans are refusing to act against their own. They have sold their soul to the devil and right now the devil is a former KGB agent who is now the authoritarian leader of Russia. It is a far cry from the Republican Party of the Cold War days that always put country first. But this new Republican Party views a successful African-American to be more threatening than a foreign adversary.
And because of this, they can no longer claim the mantle of patriotism.
For eight years Republicans told us all about Barack Obama.