Identity may be defined as the distinctive characteristic belonging to an individual, or shared by members of a particular group and is best construed as being both relational and contextual. After the 2012 general election, Republicans sought to change their identity, or rebrand the party, but they have had little success primarily because being conservatives they are opposed to change or abandon their supporters whose identities and agenda they typically espouse. Many Americans are aware Republicans have adhered to a ‘do-nothing’ policy over the past five years and, with good reason many pundits and political observers asserted it was because they lacked a clear-cut agenda the people could embrace that even staunch Republicans are warning is not a path to victory.
A little over a week ago, Republican Joe Scarborough and conservative mouthpiece Bill Kristol openly agreed that Republicans in Washington are agenda-less and treading water as if they can just bob along and ride a populist wave to victory in November. Scarborough and Kristol remarked that after Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky primary victory, he still cannot say “Let me tell you what we’re doing right now…issues, issues, issue,” because they have none whatsoever. Kristol concurred and said, “What is the agenda? What is the Republican Congress going to pass,” and what do Republicans stand for. Kristol particularly targeted House Republicans and their “failure to have an agenda, to push the issues, to go populist.” It is likely that both Kristol and Scarborough have a much better idea of the GOP’s agenda if they were paying attention to a few reports, and GOP celebrities, in the news this past week identifying Republicans as the party of guns, racism, god, dirty energy, and the rich that will drive their agenda going forward.
There was a very enlightening survey this past week that bifurcated the demographics by income that included the so-called one-percent and everyone else in America. The results were not surprising, but they did verify that everything the richest Americans support is precisely what Republicans have, in the past and going forward, championed that identifies them as the party of the wealthy elite and will drive their agenda. In fact, the poll results reveal that policies near and dear to the wealthy elite are closely aligned with the Republican Study Group that is proposing a budget more extreme than Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity and decimates domestic spending across the board. The budget privatizesMedicare by 2017, cuts Social Security, raises the retirement and Medicare eligibility age to 70, abolishes Pell Grants, eliminates several consumer protection departments, eliminates funding for health care, wipes out spending on domestic programs, and gives massive tax cuts to the rich and corporations while raising taxes on the rest of the population. What is not surprising, is that every Republican policy the one-percent overwhelmingly supports was opposed by the great majority of Americans. The wealthy elite are one of the faces of the Republican Party and drives their agenda.
In another bit of news this week, Republicans revealed their identity, and agenda going forward, will continue to be as servants to the dirty energy industry; particularly the Koch brothers. Ohio Republicans successfully put an end to renewable energy standards (RES) to give the Kochs and their ilk a monopoly on supplying energy in the state despite overwhelming support from voters and the manufacturing industry. It is true the Kochs, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and the Enterprise Institute pushed to eliminate renewable solar and wind energy to preserve their profit margins, but it was Republicans who passed the legislation the dirty energy industry demanded. The Kochs and dirty energy are another face of the Republican Party and drives their agenda.
It surprises no-one in America that Republicans identify with racists, particularly in the former Confederacy and this week South Carolina racist Governor Nikki Haley revealed why. Every year in the state around the Memorial Day weekend there are two events for motorcycle enthusiasts; one for the good white folk and one for African Americans. If Nikki Haley has her way, there will not be an event for African American “bikers” because, well, former Confederacy says it all. Haley said because there was violence during Black Bike Week “It is time for ‘that’ Bike Fest to come to an end.” Now if violence is the determining factor for who can, and cannot, hold events in racist South Carolina, then Haley had better announce that college football games and the white bike fest must come to an end as well, but she reserved her prohibition for African American motorcycle enthusiasts. Racists are one of the faces of the Republican Party it drives their agendas in myriad policies they promote.
Despite the preponderance of gun violence and frequent mass shootings, Republicans refuse to address gun safety measures and after the tragic deaths in Santa Barbara County last week, it is glaringly obvious why. One of the celebrity faces of the Republican Party, gun fanatic Joe ‘the plumber’ Wurzelbacher, wrote an open letter telling the victims’ survivors that “your dead children don’t trump my constitutional rights,” and later that “guns are for hunting down politicians.” Joe plumber has been the face of the Republican Party since 2008 and he added to his bona fides this week by speaking for NRA-serving Republicans and their rabid gun fanatic supporters. Guns, the NRA, and Joe the plumber are synonymous with Republicans and will drive their agenda to keep guns on the street and Republican voters happy.
There is no greater indication of the Republican Party’s agenda, and identifying trait than the featured speaker at the Republican Leadership Conference this week in Louisiana. Republican leaders gave Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson their rapt attention and wild support for calling the party to align itself more closely with god and bring government in line with the Christian church. Republicans have embraced the “religious liberty” crusade with open arms and it drives their national and state policies and agendas founded not on the Constitution, democracy, or equality for all, but on the bible and bastardized Christianity that defines the dangerous religious right. Phil Robertson is the face of the Republican Party and his religious mindset is increasingly driving their theocratic agenda.
Political pundits are wont to claim Republicans obstruct governance and oppose policies and agendas that benefit the entire nation because they are clueless and lack issues, policies, and agendas, but that is not the case. Their identifying traits are god, guns, gold, oil, and racism that defines not only their agendas and policies, but their hateful religious, racist supporters and the party itself. When one thinks of the Koch brothers, religious extremists, the NRA and guns, racial animus, and favoritism of the rich they cannot help but think of Republicans; and their religious, gun-toting, racist, oil-whore, and wealthy supporters. Republicans are not, like Bill Kristol claimed, agenda-less and lacking issues to support, they are just waiting for their opportunity to complete their thirty-year crusade to intertwine government with the church, arm every man, woman, and child, eliminate renewable energy, enact Jim Crow laws, and hand America to the rich. The face of the Republican Party is a multifaceted creature combining Phil Robertson, Joe the plumber, the Koch brothers, Ku Klux Klan, and the one-percent and it does not portend well for this country because they are the faces of a large segment of the population.