The word duplicitous may be unknown or novel among Republicans, but it should not; particularly because it describes their speech and actions as a matter of course. The word means contradictory doubleness of speech or actions, often belying one’s true intentions by deceptive words, counsel, or action. The term came up this week when Republicans in the Senate, offended that the President singled them out by name, expressed disappointment that their typical obstructionism, traitorous backstabbing, and contrary demands drew sharp and fairly blunt criticism from the President the likes they have not heard in six years. For many Americans, particularly those supportive of the President, his blunt talk was long overdue and likely why Republicans were taken aback that the President had the temerity to attack Senate Republicans; by name no less.
It was actually White House spokesman Josh Earnest who used the term ‘duplicitous’ after the President lashed out at the over five month delay in getting a Senate confirmation vote on his nominee for Attorney General Loretta Lynch. More on that later. The President did not mince words in telling Senate Republicans there was no excuse for not confirming Lynch whom he nominated back in 2014 and said “This is embarrassing, a process like this.” The only thing the President failed to say is that Republicans have been an embarrassment for the past six years, but apparently he was couching his bluntness with a little diplomacy; a less restrained President would not have held back.
The President also singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “trying to tell the world, oh, don’t have confidence in the U.S. government’s abilities to fulfill any climate change pledge that we might make.” Again, the President held back from really raking McConnell over the proverbial coals, and he failed to berate turtle-boy mercilessly for telling governors not to implement new carbon emission rules. Rules that McConnell claimed, like the climate change agreement, were illegal and that Republicans were working to put an abrupt end to them. Seriously, the President should have slammed McConnell for issuing a directive to governors to violate federal law while he was on a roll, but he was likely making another attempt at being diplomatic with McConnell; something it is time to bring to an end.
The President criticized John McCain for bitching and moaning about something in the nuclear negotiations with Iran that might prohibit expediting the war he has panted over for the past decades. But that is just typical John McCain who condemns something he has never seen if he even thinks it might prevent another war. The President could have let the old warmonger’s typical remarks go instead of giving him any exposure; most Americans acknowledge that McCain hates peace and like his running mate Palin, it is best to ignore them both. However, with the aid of some Democrats loyal to Israeli Netanyahu, McCain helped successfully pressure the President to relent and give Congress say over the P5+1 negotiations, so the criticism targeting McCain was likely face-saving, but not duplicitous.
Now, when White House spokesman Josh Earnest used the term ‘duplicitous,’ he was referring to the never-ending wait for Senate Republicans to hold a confirmation vote for Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Specifically, Earnest condemned Senator Chuck Grassley by noting that Grassley counseled President Obama back in October not to dare attempt to push through Ms. Lynch’s confirmation during the lame duck Senate in November and December, but now says the delay is the fault of Democrats who should have acted when they had a Senate majority. It is that kind of bovine excrement that Earnest called “duplicitous.” When he was asked if using such a terribly harsh word like ‘duplicitous’ to describe Republicans was a very smart move or would accomplish anything positive, Earnest replied, “Being nice has gotten us a 160-day delay. So maybe after they look up ‘duplicitous’ in the dictionary we’ll get a different result.”
However, the real duplicity came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the President criticized him for both holding up the Lynch confirmation vote and telling foreign nations America has no intention of meeting its commitment to reduce its carbon emissions that are driving global climate change. McConnell said that “Rather than spending so much time criticizing people like Chuck Grassley and myself, he ought to be out there lining up the Democratic votes for trade promotion authority. This is a time for presidential leadership.”
Republicans loyal to multinational corporations that are moving American jobs, and tax free profits, offshore maintain that President Obama should be working on their legislative effort to give the President executive authority to negotiate trade deals without having to bother going through, or face delays, in the United States Congress. Many Democrats are rightly in opposition to such a bad deal fearing it will cost even more American jobs and lower environmental standards. President Obama says he can protect jobs and the environment, but he is only President for another year-and-a-half and if Republicans have demonstrated anything over the past six years, repealing things that do not profit corporations is their raison d’être.
What is duplicitous and very telling about how Republicans operate, and where their only loyalties and priorities lie, is that they are pushing the President to seek unilateral authority to negotiate and sign an international trade deal; something that requires congressional approval. And yet they have done everything in their power and all but forbid him from exercising his rightful executive authority where Congress has no say according to the Constitution; like on immigration enforcement and negotiating with foreign governments. In fact, on every occasion President Obama has exercised executive authority, Republicans have taken extreme measures to thwart his executive authority including threatening a lawsuit, passing approval for an international border-crossing construction project, and demanding a final say over a United Nation’s nuclear agreement with Iran. However, they are rabid to grant unconstitutional presidential authority to negotiate an international trade agreement without Congress’ “interference” because it benefits Republicans’ biggest donors.
McConnell and Republicans push and demand that the President lobby Democrats for authority to skirt Congress for a corporate-friendly trade deal is without doubt contradictory doubleness of speech and actions. It is also without a doubt something the President needs to harshly condemn with the same bluntness he has displayed recently and he needs to do it in very public forums at every opportunity; and he needs to inform Americans why Republicans want Congress out of the way. If nothing else, it will inform the American people that Republicans cannot support the Constitution when it comes to Executive authority on any level and just how far they are willing to go to enrich corporations, kill more Americans’ jobs, continue to endanger the environment, and keep corporate income tax free. However, informing Americans of any of those aspects of a bad trade deal is something one of its biggest proponents is hardly going to do because that would be duplicitous.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.