Republicans are distracting you

Running a modern state, let along a global superpower, is a complicated business — and Republicans are absolutely horrible at it.

The Florida panhandle is recovering now from the devastation of Hurricane Michael — a bit over a year since Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a Republican bill loosening its building codes. Meanwhile, half the Republicans running for re-election in the midterms are swearing up and down that they support ObamaCare regulations to protect people with pre-existing conditions — that is, telling a baldfaced lie about their multiple attempts last year to completely repeal ObamaCare and the ongoing efforts to repeal it through the courts.

How can Republicans get away with this kind of malignant incompetence? Because they’re masters of distraction.

Let me start with the Florida story, which requires a bit of background. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which obliterated hundreds of thousands of Florida homes, the state adopted the strongest building codes in the country. It made new houses more expensive — but certainly cheaper than having to constantly rebuild. And studies after Hurricane Irma found that houses built under the new code fared much, much better than older ones.

But in 2017, pressed by the Florida Home Builders Association, the Republican-dominated legislature passed a bill easing the code requirements, and Rick Scott signed it into law. It’s not clear yet that the less-strict code made the destruction from Hurricane Michael worse (which will take systematic studies). But we can say that loosening building codes at all in an age of clockwork severe weather disasters is extremely stupid. And certainly some new construction did not fare at all well in Hurricane Michael:

New construction just collapsed in front of me in Panama City Beach from #hurricanemichael!!! It is going bad fast! pic.twitter.com/CG5R8jcUuf

— Marc Weinberg (@MarcWeinbergWX) October 10, 2018

Basically, it was inconvenient to a wealthy interest group, and almost nobody (including most state Democrats, to be fair) pushed back. Hey presto, short-term profits at the possible cost of long-term disaster.

Then there is ObamaCare. Last year, congressional Republicans tried multiple times to repeal ObamaCare so they could cut taxes on the rich and came within one Senate vote of success (incidentally, that vote was John McCain’s, who has since passed away). And as part of their traditional judicial activist agenda, 20 Republican state attorneys general, including those of Texas, Florida, and Missouri, are pursuing a lawsuit to repeal ObamaCare through the courts.

Yet across the country, Republican House and Senate candidates are lying straight through their teeth, swearing their allegiance to ObamaCare’s regulations — even people like Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley, who is literally one of the attorneys general involved. I think it’s fair to conclude that should they win in November, efforts to take health insurance away from their own constituents will only accelerate.

Why is this happening? One underrated aspect behind why Republican politicians have gone increasingly all-in on culture war, bigotry, enraged nationalism, and bug-eyed conspiracy theories …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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