Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Republican party has been unfailing in their attempts of sabotage. The only problem is that they haven't been sabotaging the Obama presidency or the Democratic party, they've been sabotaging themselves. It can be seen in the headlines, especially during election season or times of high stress. The most infamous of cases being Missouri representative Todd Akin's comment that "[if] it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" made national headlines, drawing criticism from all over the political spectrum.
The thing is though, this wasn't a lone incident. The Republican party has had numerous representatives make comments which are beyond outrageous. The latest of which has come from Texas representative Louie Gohmert who made the claim that after the Boston Marathon bombing that reading United States citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda Rights was a mistake of colossal proportions, leading him to say that the Muslim Brotherhood has sway over this administration.
First off, reading him his Miranda Rights was the right thing to do. He is a citizen of the United States and therefore has a right to due process, which includes the reading of his Miranda Rights. The purpose of saying that "anything you say can and will be used against you" is a reminder of the fifth amendment where you have the right not to indict yourself. Anything that he says before those rights are read to him isn't able to be admitted into a court of law. Which means when he says something that they want to use to launch an operation, they can't tell congress how the information was obtained because it would be illegal and therefore inadmissible.
While this is a position that was held by several members of congress, the media, etc., Gohmert goes off the deep end when he goes on to say that the incident was handled poorly because it wasn't fast enough. That the president didn't initially call it a terrorism attack, which he didn't because at the time it wasn't known who did it and terrorist attack implies radical Islamists, and that the police were too slow in catching him. It took ten years after the bombing of the Twin Towers to catch our target and he's complaining about two days. He says this incompetency is because the Muslim Brotherhood has members in high ranks within the administration helping to shape policy. In true McCarthyism fashion, he has no evidence for such claims. The regular drone strikes of this administration are targeted at eliminating radical Islamists in groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, but rep. Gohmert says they're influencing policy decisions and that this administration is weak on terrorism.
The statements don't just stay on Obama's policies though. Many have come from the controversial issues of marriage for homosexuals, where many have made the jump from allowing two consenting adults getting married to an adult partaking in bestiality. In 2003 Rick Santorum, a 2012 Republican presidential hopeful, said that marriage has always been between a man and woman. That wasn't to pick on homosexuals though, that pedophilia, bestiality,or anything else weren't marriage either. The brilliant neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a rising star in the Republican camp, made similar comments this past year, saying that "no group, whether they be homosexuals, whether they be NAMBLA, whether they be people who believe in bestiality" should be able to change the definition of marriage. Representative Gohmert also made comments saying that if we were going to allow homosexuals to get married, why not polygamy or bestiality.
While these are not the only comments of such a nature on allowing homosexuals to get married, they are examples of the type that Republicans have made. It should be clear that the difference between homosexuality and bestiality or pedophilia is massive. Homosexuality is two consenting adults loving each other. In bestiality, an animal cannot consent to sex. It should also be noted that bestiality doesn't occur anywhere in the animal kingdom or nature, whilst homosexuality appears in a multitude of species. Pedophilia is between a child and an adult at the very least, not to mention that often it is not consensual. However, even if it was consensual, the younger wouldn't be allowed to get married until they reach the age of consent and then they could be married.
There have been several other off the cuff remarks, whether they be referring to Latino workers as "wetbacks" as Alaskan representative Don Young did in early 2013. Representative Dennis Johnson said that opponents were trying to "Jew [him] down". Jim Gile, county commissioner for Saline, Kansas, used the phrase "nigger rigging". Again not the full list of racial slurs, but a diverse example nonetheless.
An American Problem
While at first it seems that the GOP making such remarks only hurts themselves, unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case. Their comments hurt everyone except Democrats, by which I mean those individuals who are running on the Democratic ticket. People aren't split into Democrats and Republicans, they believe different things, they don't conform to a set view determined by party affiliation. They vote based on their beliefs and views, not choosing their beliefs and views based on how they vote.
In combination with the diversity of individual's beliefs, the other large issue at play is that the United States is a largely a two party system. While there are third parties out there, when it comes to elections, it is a two party race at this point between Republicans and Democrats. This means that if one party alienates a group of people, then those people have only one choice if they want to have any say in who is elected. Take for example the past election between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Many people, especially conservatives, felt that the election was a slam dunk, near impossible to lose. As it turns out they were wrong, in large part to losing it for themselves.
During the course of campaigning, a video was shot by a bartender at a private event that Romney was the guest speaker. In the course of his remarks, Romney said that 47 percent of citizens were mooching their way and not pulling their weight. This comment was a culminating point in what was a large part of his platform where he often was critical of those receiving government assistance, often referring to them as moochers.
While this isn't the only thing that lost Romney the election, comments like it certainly helped. The problem is that for those of us who haven't been thrilled with Obama's presidency thus far had no alternative to vote for. Many ended up voting for Obama not because they wanted him back in office but because they didn't want Romney to win.
This creates a political culture that is one sided. It means that while a person may feel that Republicans have a better fiscal policy, they're not going to vote for someone who seems bigoted, someone who refers to minorities like second class citizens with harsh slurs, and other absurd comments. It removes the Republicans from issues they thrive on, such as defense spending, because of their record of alienating comments.
A one sided culture gives the Democratic party enormous power with the voters, despite the fact that president Obama has signed into law acts which give the government the right to target American citizens both domestic and abroad with drone missiles, as well as continuing to launch regular drone strikes in the Middle East. He authorized the 'Fast and Furious' program which gave Mexican drug cartels guns with the intention of tracking them. The problem is they never got tracked and resulted in the death of at least one American border patrol agent and an unrecorded number of Mexican citizens.
There's nothing to counter-balance those opinions though. While Republicans have commented on the 'Fast and Furious' program somewhat, it was largely avoided during the election. On the drone policy Mitt Romney said he agreed with it during the third and final debate on foreign policy. Even if he hadn't agreed though, between him and the rest of the Republican party, they made enough comments that were in such poor taste that they lost themselves the election. In acting in such a way they not only ruin their own chances, but in a very real way undermine what it means to be a democracy by shutting themselves, one of the two parties, off from a majority of voters.
It doesn't just hurt them, it hurts everyone. It puts voters in a spot where they have a choice that is unfairly lopsided. How does a Latino citizen who's voting pull the lever for a person and party who demonizes them as second class citizens? How does a teacher pull the lever for a person and party that says that they make plenty enough and that we don't need more of them? How does a homosexual vote for a person and party who says that their love isn't as good as heterosexual love? How does the person who believes strongly in separation of church and state vote for a party and person who says we shouldn't be surprised that a school becomes a place of carnage because God isn't taught in the classroom? How do parents that work multiple part time jobs, but still need government assistance to feed their children vote for a person and party that says that they're mooching off people who are working hard?
The reality is that they often can't, and people who know people in those situations or care about people in those situations, they often can't either. That means that the Republican party hasn't just sabotaged themselves, they've sabotaged what America was founded upon: choice. It leaves one party for a lot of people, which leaves only one choice if they want to be a participant in our current political culture. It's like being given a multiple choice test with only one option and sometimes, it isn't the right one.