Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Death of Honor in the GOP


Being a Republican used to mean something. A higher standard of conduct was demanded and expected. Honesty and integrity were commonplace. We policed our own. We were "the Party of Family Values".

Looking at the news today, one can witness the death of honor in the Republican Party.

It's indicative of the culture at large, in one sense. A society that increasingly rejects God and His standards will elect men and women who do the same. To paraphrase Scripture, they profess one thing with their lips but prove another with their actions. However, our inherently sinful nature does not excuse wrong actions.

Here are just a few examples I'm thinking of.

Republicans in Congress spent seven years claiming they would "Repeal and Replace" ObamaCare as soon as they were given control of the U.S. House U.S. Senate White House. American voters gave them everything they asked for, but when the time came, they were unprepared and unwilling to do what they had promised to do for seven years and four election cycles. They lied to the American public. They said what they needed to in order to get elected, never intending to actually follow through, otherwise they would have been prepared to act when they time came.

You can even look at the nomination of Donald Trump, a man with a crude and immoral past, who exhibited no change on the campaign trail, belittling and demeaning those who opposed him, and who fabricated and circulated false and (to be honest) slanderous quotes and stories about his GOP competitors.

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin made a pledge to run for only three terms in Congress. He repeated that promise numerous times and through his re-election campaigns. Now, he brazenly breaks it without remorse, and expects us to be fine with it.

Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature have seen unprecedented scandal and outrage in the past two years, and last eight months in particular. A state representative resigned after allegations he sexual harassed his assistant. A full ten percent of the State Senate GOP caucus has left office for crimes: one state senator went to federal prison for embezzlement of nearly two million dollars, another is likely going to prison for a very long time due to child prostitution and child porn, another broke campaign finance laws by embezzling $100,000 from his campaign for his private use, and another just resigned and was charged with sexual battery after previously getting in trouble for drinking and driving. The governor's chief finance officer has had repeated drunk driving charges, and still holds his position. Several former legislators have had run-ins with the law, or are rumored to have not sought re-election in order to avoid scandal coming to light.

Three other state representatives ran for office, only to turn around and resign to take private sector jobs within as little as 24 days of being re-elected. They spent time and money asking voters to elect them to represent them, then spurned that duty in favor of greener pastures. They thus denied their constituents of the representation they voted for and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by causing special elections.

Republican candidates (nationwide and in Oklahoma) spend millions of dollars on the campaign trail touting conservative principles, only to betray those values when they get in office. The pressure from leadership, lobbyists, and groups desperate for more government taxpayer money, along with the siren call of power, is too much for them to withstand. They take the easy road, tossing aside their campaign rhetoric (which they neither believed nor intended to keep) -- and along with it what voters expected them to do based on what they were promised.


All of this, and Republican Party leaders and elected officials (by and large) just shrug, and say "well, look at the Democrats."  That's not good enough. The Party of personal responsibility needs some serious self-examination. Democrats aren't the ones who have been in the Oklahoma news these last two years with scandal after scandal. Democrats get in Congress and do what they said they would do.

The responsibility doesn't lie solely with the candidates and elected officials; we, the voters share some of that blame, because we've fallen for the slick campaigning and elected and re-elected these individuals. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

The Republican Party needs to clean up house from top to bottom. If the elected officials won't do it, then Party officials need to speak up. The silence has been deafening.

Voters have a responsibility to weigh the actions of each elected official against what they pledged to do and against what they ought to do, and throw them out if they fail to match the standard. If we don't do our duty, we can expect the Republican house to begin to crumble.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Excellent post Jamison. Couldn't agree more. It is indeed a sad state of affairs.