You probably know that Republicans didn’t draft a party platform in 2020. Instead, they produced a short memo that incorporated the 2016 platform and basically stated they will support anything then-President Trump wants going forward.
In keeping with this policy void, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to produce a Republican agenda prior to the 2022 midterm elections. McConnell is a very shrewd politician who prefers attacking President Biden and the Democrats to defending GOP policy positions that aren’t very popular with the voters. I suspect McConnell believes that it’s better for the party to be accused of not having good policies than to publish a document that removes all doubt.
Aw, but presidential aspirant Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wasn’t satisfied with his leader’s strategy; so, he released his 11-Point Plan to Rescue America on February 22. This document contains copious quantities of red meat for the Republican base about socialism, wokeness and critical race theory. There’s way too much to unpack in the 11-Points for one blog but here are some of the more revealing highlights:
Scott wants to:
- Close the federal Department of Education; he says education is a state function.
- Move many other government agencies out of Washington or shutter them entirely.
- Reduce the federal government work force by 25% in 5 years and sell government buildings and other assets.
- Immediately cut the IRS funding and workforce by 50%.
- Stop funding non-essential state and local projects until the federal budget is balanced.
- Prohibit debt ceiling increases absent a declaration of war.
- Require all Americans to pay some income tax “to have skin in the game,” even if a small amount.
- Sunset all federal legislation after 5 years, presumably, including Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare and other social programs. If a law is worth keeping, Scott claims, Congress can pass it again.
- Require that Congress issue a report each year to tell the public what legislators plan to do when Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt.
Scott would also defend 2nd Amendment gun rights “at all costs,” have zero-tolerance for “mostly peaceful [Black Lives Matter?] protests,” oppose abortion and LGBTQ rights, gradually end all imports from China until basic human rights there are honored and promote strong America First policies.
Lastly, Scott wants to finish building the border wall, and “name it after President Donald Trump.” Well, I agree that it’s certainly fitting to name an obscene and ineffective structure to honor a man with like qualities.
But here’s the thing. Since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the GOP has touted the same old tired conservative agenda over and over again. Funny thing though, they never draft serious legislation to get much of it accomplished when they control the government. You know why? They would be voted out of office in the next election for even making the effort. Like, could any politician who proposed sunsetting Social Security and Medicare in five years get reelected? Hell no!
Scott isn’t up for reelection this year so most of his 11-Points are to curry favor with the right-wing, which he hopes will support him if he decides to run for president in 2024. I suppose his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) a few days later had the same purpose, but it was even more radical.
It was shortly after Russia had invaded Ukraine that Scott was reflecting on the greatest threats to the United States at CPAC, according to Microsoft News. This current leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, apparently wasn’t concerned about Russia’s aggression and its thousands of nuclear tipped missiles. Nor did he speak about China’s expansionist objectives in Asia, Islamic terrorists or any other foreign threat. Oh no! After listing all the wars that America has survived from 1812 through the Cold War, Scott told the ultra-conservative audience, “Today, we face the greatest danger we have ever faced: The militant left-wing in our country has become the enemy within.”
“The woke left now controls the Democrat [sic] Party, the entire federal government, the news media, academia, big tech, Hollywood, most corporate boardrooms, and now even some of our top military leaders,” Scott added. Obviously, he wasn’t talking about antifa or some wild-eyed group of left-wing radicals; he wants to pin an “enemies” label on millions of ordinary Americans who simply don’t agree with his far-right philosophy or agenda.
Scott made similar assertions during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in March when he claimed that the “woke left” wants to, “end the American experiment” and “replace freedom with control.”
Dangerous, false rhetoric like Scott’s has become the norm among members of the GOP. I see the vicious grilling of Black Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans as a classic example of the GOP’s ongoing modus operandi. Consequently, I believe the main thing Republicans want to accomplish if they take power in 2023 is to destroy Democratic politicians and the Democratic Party.
So, I don’t believe Scott’s 11-Points will be adopted as GOP policies, even though most Republicans would probably support them. McConnell made that clear last month when he mocked Scott’s proposals by informing reporters, “Let me tell you what would not be a part of our agenda: We will not have — a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years.”
Too many “scary” Republicans in office methinks!
Even I was shocked when the GOP decided to pass on a party platform in 2020, in favor of blind obedience to the Trump cult of personality. That’s a stunning admission for one of our two major national parties, that their success or failure now depends on the will of one man. Hard to believe that those who consider themselves “patriotic Americans” could even fall so low, or be so completely dominated by one individual. But it happened just that way. (Rick Scott running for president in 2024? That did make me smile just a bit, in an otherwise dreary – but accurate – assessment of where we are.)