It’s Time for the GOP to Take Responsibility for its Actions
At some point, one must take responsibility for one’s actions. It’s the right thing to do, shows the maturity that comes with leadership, and sets a tone of integrity that others will respect and seek to emulate. That message needs to be conveyed to Republicans in Washington, D.C. and around the country who appear unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for their role in the various messes that characterize our current government. They are delusional about their role in making the U.S. the world’s diplomatic and foreign policy laughingstock, vaporizing the federal budget surplus, and otherwise screwing up oversight of governmental operations. All this while seeming to engage in a contest to steal the most money, accept the most bribes, or engage in the most corruption. Running the government into the ground is something for which they must take responsibility.
Republicans do not appear to know that they have controlled the White House for 17 of the last 25 years or that they have controlled the House of Representatives for the last 11 years and the Senate nearly as long. They promised integrity, leadership and, so far, have not lived up to their expectations they set with the promises they made. They promised a quick incursion in Iraq yet, nearly three years later, there is no end in sight for a war that has been poorly prosecuted by the Republican civilian leadership. They promised fiscal discipline and gave us profligate spending and irresponsible tax cuts that will take a generation to overcome. Indeed, they passed the budgets and appropriated the funds that have us in the fiscal pickle we now face. But all they seem to do is blame the “liberal media,” “obstructionist Democrats,” “secular humanists,” and “liberal academics” for their political troubles. The GOP blame game is so phony because these roadblocks, to the extent that they exist, don’t prevent the GOP from moving forward with its agenda. Only they have the votes in Congress. So it is the GOP that must take responsibility for “judicial activism” as Republican presidents have nominated the overwhelming majority of federal judges.
Congressional Republicans have proven to be better at rhetorical bomb throwing–as they did in the throughout the 1980s and early 1990s–than governmental managers and overseers. As they have become increasing drunk with their power, they have engaged in the very corruption that they accused Democrats of when the Democrats controlled Congress. The recent guilty plea in U.S. federal court by Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham to charges of tax evasion, conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, and wire fraud is a case in point. Cunningham, who resigned immediately after his guilty plea, admitted to taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for steering federal business to defense contractors.
Cunningham joins a long list of prominent Republicans such as Representative and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Representative Bob Ney, Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Karl Rove, Ohio Governor Bob Taft, and former Illinois Governor George Ryan who are either under investigation or indictment. Their alleged actions reek of the corruption that comes with being besotted with power. It’s something with which the GOP has to contend, particularly as it faces an increasingly angry electorate in next year’s election.
Republicans have a great deal of work to do to show the voters that they deserve to control Congress. They can begin the process by doing a better job of taking responsibility for their actions.
© Michael K. Fauntroy, November 30, 2005