We’re all familiar with the insanity of the modern GOP; the statements and attitudes that regularly grace our newspapers and media outlets are a seemingly endless flow of whatever piece of reality-starved drivel which has meandered its way out of a Republican mouth. We, of course, have the usual offenders: Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ted Cruz, Jon Boehner. However, that’s not to say that the second-stringers in the GOP bullpen don’t find their way up to bat in the World Series of Idiocy on occasion.
Take (please, I don’t care where you take him, but just take him) Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado. At an event on the 23rd of September, he fielded a question from a constituent. I can safely say that it was a constituent, because the question was so divorced from reality that it had to be a Republican. The question intimated that the President is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, so you can see where I might draw that conclusion.
Not only did the representative let that completely specious, slanderous assertion slide right on by in a trail of its own repugnant slime, Mr. Lamborn proceeded to reveal that he and others of his party have actively pushed the leadership of our armed forces to undermine our military for political point-scoring. He can be heard, on video, saying, “A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation,’” adding that if generals resigned en masse in protest of President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, they would “go out in a blaze of glory.”
Now, I’m not going to go so far as some have done and call this treason… mainly because it doesn’t fit the definition. Treason is defined explicitly in the US Constitution, the only crime defined thusly. Article III, Section 3 defines treason as follows:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Since the not-so-good Congressman is not actively fighting the United States armed forces (an act that would be exceedingly brief in duration and extremely fatal in result for him), nor is he showing loyalty and aid to any enemy in specific, his statements are not treasonous. It could be argued that his statements are sedition (defined as “conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch”), but even so, it’s a stretch, and Mr. Lamborn further enjoys the protections of the First Amendment. He is free to say whatever he likes, short of actively calling for the overthrow of the government and inciting people to attempt to do so, with no consequences other than the contempt of his fellow citizens. Given that his words amounted to urging active-duty U.S. generals to resign, during a war, to protest President Obama’s foreign policy and score points for the GOP, that contempt should be significant among those who actually do care about our serving military.
You may be asking, “Hey, Jason, the title says hypocrisy! All I’m seeing is business-as-usual for the Republican party!” Patience, I’m getting there. Now, before I go on, the important thing to recall is that the Republican reaction to this statement of disloyalty and bare-knuckled partisan chicanery was non-existent. Not a one of the GOP had a thing to say about it; it just wasn’t important to them. But they did show us their priorities that day, anyway.
There was a second event on the same day, although to call it an event is to cheapen the word to the point of irrelevancy. The White House posted a brief video of the President exiting Marine One and returning the salute of the Marines at the bottom of the ramp with his cup of coffee in his hand. Of course, the conservative media virtually exploded with outrage. Even war criminal and former Congressman Allen West stuck his oar in on Twitter… because we all know that throwing off an optional salute that isn’t parade-ground perfect is so much worse than wrongfully torturing a prisoner, so we can trust his point of view. Right, and if you believe that, I’ve got some bottom land to sell you.
Yes, I said optional. You know why? Because it is. The President is not in the military; he is the civilian head of the military, but is not bound by military courtesy. There is a tradition of the President saluting, but it’s not very old. It only dates back to Reagan. Most earlier presidents eschewed the practice, rendering more civilian honors, including Harry Truman holding his hat over his heart. Furthermore, there is argument to be made that it’s actually inappropriate for a civilian to salute, since they are not a part of the military and thus not allowed the shared honor of military formality. The President is in a nebulous zone in this respect, but that only undermines the outrage. The final nail in the coffin of this faux anger? Bush did worse… and the only sound from the conservative media piranha pool was crickets.
Now, if you’re having trouble finding the hypocrisy, I’ll spell it out for you. On the one hand, we have a GOP Congressman, on an armed-services committee, boasting of his efforts to undermine the command structure of the United States military at a time when we are in active combat operations against ISIS. Conservative response is virtually nil. On the other hand, President Obama makes an optional salute to a Marine that doesn’t pass the extremely-selective muster of people who have, for the most part, either never served or left the service under sketchy circumstances. Conservatives lose their ever-loving minds.
We all know that the Republican mindset is “it’s always worse when the black guy does it”, and nothing about this has dispelled that. However, to flog this non-event as a scandal for Obama while turning a blind eye to the actions of their own man simply serves to underline the corrupt and hypocritical nature of the GOP, and their exclusive focus on what’s good for themselves, not our country.
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