Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Congressional GOP, Political Paralysis, And The Rise Of Trump

     Reading about the united intransigence of our GOP Senate leadership (which includes SD's John Thune) with regard to a potential nominee for the Supreme Court, you have to
Thune And The GOP "Leaders"
To Heck With Governing.  We've Got A Nominee To Block
(photo from pbs,org)
wonder why anybody is surprised by the Donald Trump phenomenon.  
At about the same time that Trump was mopping the floor with his opposition in the Nevada caucuses, CNN produced a poll that I think is reflective of 

Republican rank-and-file attitudes all over the country. An amazing 96% of NV caucus-going Republicans are either angry (60%) or dissatisfied (36%) over the way the federal government is operating.  Though the "angry" number is about 40% in the 3 preceding primary/caucus states, this level of hostility toward their government by Republicans, whose party controls Congress, is deservedly awful news for the "establishment wing" of the party, which seems to be doing all it can, so far hopelessly, to stem the Trump tide.
     Why we Pubs seem to have been taken off-guard by Trump should come as no surprise.   Consider a revealing current situation that should explain much. Last week the Billings (MT) Gazette editorialized about the snail's pace movement in Congress on funding and reform for the Veterans Administration. The editorial opined that "veterans deserve better choices" and noted that two bills designed to improve VA services to veterans were passed by Senate committees in December, yet there has been no action on them on the floor of the Senate itself.  I don't know who among that phalanx of scowling Republican senators pictured above is responsible for this foot-dragging, but I'd sure be encouraged if they could muster up the same amount of collective enthusiasm for disabled vets as they do for politically blocking a presidential appointment. 
     Meantime, closer to home in South Dakota, I still wonder at how quickly and without objection from our Republican congressional delegation the requirement for Country-of-Origin
I Can't Stand Him
But I Get His Appeal
(photo from
labeling was tossed aside.  
Ask the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association about the value of that labeling law to their businesses.  I understand that COOL was a sticking point in our trade agreements with Canada and Mexico, which is why I doubt that many ranchers are ignoring Donald Trump's broadsides against trade deals that hurt American economic interests. Meantime, I saw no evidence of any effort by Thune, Rounds or Noem to protect and preserve that law.  

     So as disabled veterans await some action and ranchers wonder about competing against imported cattle, our senior Republican Senator John Thune gets media face time by vowing to block an appointee.  I'm sure I'll be hearing from Thune supporters with their explanations of how the political process works and how Thune's office is all over these matters, but compelling as their defense of the status quo may be, a lot of ordinary folks aren't buying it.  The GOP establishment, by its own politically-induced paralysis, created the Donald Trump phenomenon.  And I doubt that they'll "own it."  More likely it'll own them.  


  1. John,
    Conservative republicans have been angry since 2008 when President Obama was swept into office and their anger has only intensified, some cannot even explain their anger rationally except that it has something to do with the black guy in the White House.
    Trump is poised to play on those "poorly educated voters" on Super Tuesday as he will gain southern support.
    The establishment GOP has gone from what can we do to stop Trump to can we in goo conscience vote for him.

  2. You ought to run for the legislature, Mr. Tsitrian.

  3. Besides our hard-working Sen. John Thune, there's also our hard-thinking Sen. Mike Rounds: