Never does a tragedy occur that Republicans aren’t willing to politicize it seems. This time, they’re sinking their teeth into the tragedy of the Costa Concordia, anxiously equating the President with the Italian Captain who abandoned the ship as passengers and crew tried to get off the ship before she sank. The fact that human beings died as a result of this tragedy doesn’t seem to matter.
Just yesterday, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus compared President Obama to the Captain on CBS’ Face the Nation.The RNC chairman said, “In the end, in a few months, this is all going to be ancient history and we’re going to talk about our own little Captain Schettino, which is President Obama who is abandoning the ship here in the United States. He’s more interested in campaigning than doing his job as President.”
The Washington Times chimed in with an op-ed comparing Obama to the Captain. Mike Huckabee (that so called Christian) told a Chicago radio audience, “Anybody on that stage could basically walk in and if they have a pulse, they will do a better job of getting America’s ship back on course than Barack Obama, who has taken us off course. He may be the captain of the Costa Concordia for America’s economy.”
Listen here via Media Matters:
Here is what Rebecca Hageli of Washington Times wrote in attempting to tie Obama to Captain Francesco Schettino courtesy of Media Matters:
The captain allegedly deviated from the proven course to pursue his own agenda. He maneuvered too close to the rocky shoreline, and nature did the rest, resulting in a crippling tear to the ship’s hull. Worse, as the ship began to list, according to news reports, the captain denied fault, failed to summon rescuers or direct a safe evacuation, and eventually jumped ship ahead of his panicked passengers. His actions cost precious lives and untold millions of dollars.
Wait a minute—that does ring a metaphorical bell, but it’s not a reminder of President Obama.
While it would have been beneath us to ever use such a tragedy to demean the Republicans, since they’ve opened the door with their repeated use of the analogy, we must note that the truth is the only comparison that makes sense is the Republican Party to the cowardly Captain.
In 2008, before the new President even took office and amidst a frightening economic plunge, the Republican Party announced to us all that their one goal was to defeat Obama. Not to fix the country or be a part of rescuing her, but to bring down the Democrat who had the audacity to get elected. To this end, they’ve spent three years cheering every failure of America that they brought on with their obstruction. From refusing to raise our debt ceiling (unprecedented) to refusing to even vote on various jobs bills to attaching their corporate lined interests to every bill the Democrats tried to pass for the people, the Republican Party has abandoned America in her time of crisis.
Republicans abandoned the sinking America after their decisions caused the rip in the hull that led to the sinking, and then in order to she their own political hides, they abandoned ship, taking all of the lifeboats with them.
Just as Captain Francesco Schettino chose to go off course, so too did Republicans create this economic failure by going off course during the Bush years; deregulations, unpaid for wars, Medicare Part D unfunded, and lower tax rates for the wealthy all contributed to the economic disaster (torn hull resulting from bad decision to go too near clearly marked rocky shore) America found herself mired in, starting in 2007.
Republicans, like Captain Francesco Schettino, had no interest in saving every day Americans (passengers). Instead, they jumped ship with their bailouts for their buddies, and in so doing not only refused to do their jobs to help the people but took resources the people needed to survive the shipwreck and misappropriated them for themselves and their friends.
Then, when the Chief Rescuer (President Obama) stepped on board and his first thought was of the passengers and not his rich buddies or how he could save himself at the expense and threat to the passengers, the Captain (the Republicans) did nothing but try to obstruct his efforts at saving the passengers.
The Republican Captain didn’t want to be shown up. And he didn’t want anyone else to get credit for being a hero or doing their job when he was so clearly a failure and a coward. Also, he figured he could get his job back if he was able to make everyone else look as bad as he was, so this became his chief priority. Not to save the people, but to destroy them so that he could look better in the eyes of the remaining people who could still vote.
Now, as the Italian Captain lies and denies his way around the obvious facts in an attempt to avoid blame, so too do the Republicans lie and deny their way around every single issue of the day in an attempt to avoid being caught abandoning the Americana.
Republicans have lied to the American people for so long I doubt they even know the truth anymore. Republicans are no different than the lying Captain of the Costa Concordia. They abandoned the ship to save their own behinds after wrecking the ship (our country). They left every day Americans in the rising water to die while they took a lifeboat to safety (bailouts). Then they one-upped the Captain by refusing to send any help or allow anyone to help the passengers (the American people). Then they lied about their actions, with a new story every day. And when that didn’t work, they blamed the rescuers for the shipwreck that happened under their watch.
And then, to add hubris to this cowardly picture of elected service to the people, they spent the next three years refusing to let any of the passengers get rescued while they went on TV to petulantly and pathologically project their failings onto the rescue team.
Epic fail. The only Captain Costa Concordia comparison that makes any sense is the Republican Party to the Captain. They are the show offs who got us into a mess trying to please their buddies, incompetently steered into a well marked (Glass Steagall Act anyone?) trouble area, and then when all hell broke lose, abandoned ship.
The Republican Party can’t even take responsibility for one of its mistakes. They share the Captain’s sociopathic petulance and refusal to own up to reality, and this means that they must continue to blame others for their own mistakes.
I might add that the Concordia actually makes every argument for regulations and shows why they are so necessary, which is just another reason why Republicans choosing to use a rogue actor who violated the regulations as their comparison to Obama is absurd and desperately pathetic. If Republicans were in charge of the world, there would be no regulations and no agency telling the Captain that he should have stayed on ship. They have made the case in the past to the American people that the cruise line would do the right thing because the market demands it and that we do not need government agencies like those who rescued the passengers from the cowardly captain’s ship.
I wonder when it will occur to most Americans that the entire reason Republicans don’t want anyone in government watching the store is because they want to steal from it. They want to break the rules without consequences. They feel entitled to the only lifeboats on that ship and they want to shut you up and shut up the regulating agencies whose procedures the Captain failed to follow. And now they’re trying to tell you that it’s not them who is stealing from you, but it’s the guy who is trying to regulate lifeboats for everyone.
Yes, that guy over there, who stayed on board and is trying to organize the rescues of the remaining passengers. They’re blaming him. But if you look closer, you can see that it is the Republicans who obstructed the rescue, who took all of the lifeboats and refused to allow divers to go down until they got more tax breaks for their buddies.
Democrats and Obama are not perfect, but they have been in the game for the American people, trying to save us all from the Republican shipwreck. That they could not save us all is the responsibility and fault of the Captain, the Republican Party, who refused to allow the rescue team to use even one lifeboat for the People unless they gave the rest to the Corporations.
Republicans have sunk so low at this point that there is no return. Let us not forget that when a Democrat got shot in the head after years of Republicans using incendiary language, Republicans took to the TV to pout about being blamed for the inevitable result of their behavior. No, they didn’t pull the trigger, but they created the atmosphere of paranoia and violence with their rhetoric. Then, like the sulkily, irresponsible, entitled adolescents they are, they were poutraged that anyone would “politicize” their failure in leadership (i.e., hold them accountable one iota).
And yet, when a terrible tragedy happens in Italy, they dive in like the vultures of death that they are to politicize it and try to smear our President with the failure of an Italian Captain. Perhaps there is no low to which Republicans won’t stoop in their desperate effort to derail President Obama and the American people.
In the words of shamed Republican Joe Wilson, a hearty “You lie!” chant should be started when Republicans duck from the issues and their responsibility. Who’s the Captain Schettino now, Republicans?
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.