Republicans returned to Washington after a week long recess earlier today with a slew of issues to address, most of which are internal struggles. As a whole, the GOP is nearly falling apart. Though their strength in numbers is strong, their stability is quite the opposite. Below are just four examples from a long list of problems facing many conservatives.
Division– within the party.
There’s a lot of different types of Republicans that don’t share any similar interests, especially right now.
The far right of the Republican party– those who consider themselves true conservatives– accuse the other side of being too Democratic.
Away from the middle, there’s Tea Partiers and libertarians who are now accompanied by the newest edition of ideological conservatives– the members of the Freedom Caucus. Though it’s only a small group of 42 Republicans within the 247 seats the party has in Congress, the caucus has already managed to shoot down two potential Speakers that sought to replace John Boehner.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise if soon they’re helping to shut down the government when the debt ceiling is surpassed early next month.
Rep. Frank Lucas (R- Okla.) recognized the issue this past week in light of the lack of unity in electing a new speaker.
“Until we decide that we’re going to function as a team instead of as a series of groups trying to enforce their agenda on the majority of the House, then we’re going to have the treadmill kind of thing where we’re just walking faster and faster but not actually physically moving,” Lucas said.
The only thing it seems the current Republicans of Congress are together on is showing disapproval of the left.
Who’s going to take the reigns?
A lot of people see that no semblance of stability came under Speaker Boehner, which is one reason among many that he has chosen to resign.
Despite this claim, statistically the party has never been more put together. Partisanship increased drastically with Boehner at the front of operations, showing the party voted together more than 90 percent of the time (even though that may have been solely to vote against Democrats).
Since Boehner announced he would be stepping down from his post as Speaker of the House later this month following Pope Francis’ visit weeks ago, Republicans have been scrambling to come together and choose a leader for the congressional majority.
Paul Ryan is one of the most popular contenders for the job. That being said, he has repeated over and over that it is not a job he’s looking for.
On the topic of separation within the GOP, it’s also important to recognize that individuals who lean far to the right of Ryan won’t be so quick to show him support.
For example, after hopeless Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz came out and accused the GOP leadership of acting as “effective” Democrats, he also denied to support the approach to conservatism Ryan takes.
This comes from the man who opposes Planned Parenthood in all of its forms, wishes to impose and anti-gay amendment to overturn the constitutional ruling that legalized gay marriage, disagrees with implementing any restrictions to gun rights and wishes for more boots on the ground (and a wall) along the Mexican border– the man who had also drained the U.S. economy of $20 billion in a government shutdown in 2013.
Working in harmony with the other party, obviously, isn’t his forte. Working within his own? Also debatable.
It isn’t just Cruz that acts in such a way (though he is a prime example). The views of the Republican party are often twisted in one direction or another in the most extreme ways, not allowing for anyone to work together.
How, then, will it ever be possible to work alongside Democrats when they can’t work with each other?
Are they attacking Hillary?
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, like always, is back on trial under the close inspection of Congress for her involvement (or lack thereof) in the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Democrats, for the most part, back up Clinton more than they do her Republican counterparts. The Select Committee on Benghazi, which is made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats, has been examining the case. Many consider the conservative side of the argument to mull over a taxpayer-funded conspiracy against Clinton.
Partisanship aside, Republican politicians, particularly Rep. Richard Hanna (R- N.Y.), have claimed that the Benghazi committee is biased towards nailing Clinton for crimes she may or may have not committed while ignoring substantial amounts of evidence regarding broader issues and others members involved in the events that unfolded killing four Americans.
The viewpoints, obviously, differ among the party in this situation as well.
Those who are on the committee think everyone else should butt out. Those who lean further right think Hillary is only being nailed because she did everything that would nail her. Those who see her as completely guilty are already calling for her resignation– although she hasn’t even come close to securing the Democratic nomination.
Someone shut Trump up.
Donald Trump has been making headlines again, consuming the news on major outlets.
His most recent plight is the war on terror, one he claims he could’ve averted– starting with the prevention of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center 14 years ago.
As he is known to run his mouth, Trump did just that. He claimed that the worst terrorist attack in the history of our nation happened under President George W. Bush.
True though it may be, it’s doubtful that anyone, especially someone with the foreign relation experience of Trump, could’ve predicted and prevented such an event.
Trump most likely knew this, too, as he couldn’t explain how he would have acted upon al Qaeda before the terrorist attack. His “massive whistle blower system” didn’t prove to have any backing and he had no hindsight plan for military intervention.