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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself

From The American Prospect, America As A One-Party State:

Today's hard right seeks total dominion. It's packing the courts and rigging the rules. The target is not the Democrats but democracy itself.

Columnist Paul Krugman wrote of Tom DeLay:

The Texas redistricting, like many of Mr. DeLay's actions, broke all the usual rules of political fair play. But when you believe, as Mr. DeLay does, that God is using you to promote a "biblical worldview" in politics, the usual rules don't apply.

Closed-Door Deal Makes $22 Billion Difference, Washington Post, January 24, 2006

New York Times, December 2, 2004:

The speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, has reached a dangerous new level of partisan zealotry to bolster the Republicans' control of government. For the new Congress, Mr. Hastert intends to cater to what he calls "the majority of the majority" in deciding which bills will get a vote and which won't.

Senator Frist Tightens the Screws, New York Times, November 27, 2004:

Flexing their new muscles, Congressional Republicans seem intent on reigning as a dissent-smothering monolith. First, House G.O.P. members slavishly obeyed the maneuver by Tom DeLay, the majority leader, to render his control of the caucus ethics-proof by making it possible for a party leader to keep his post even if he is under indictment. His counterpart in the Senate, Bill Frist, was more discreet but no less ham-handed. He has engineered a rules change designed to cow the few Republican moderates who may still be willing to nip back at demands for party fealty.

Mr. Smith Goes Under the Gavel, New York Times, November 28, 2004:

Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. But the greater their power, the more they have focused on one of its few limits: the Senate filibuster.

From The Hill, The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress, January 21, 2005:

A few of Frist's conservative allies are interpreting his Jan. 4 comments to mean that Rule 22, which establishes the ground rules for filibusters, is not in effect for the new session of Congress.

It is clear from Republican tactics in the 2004 Presidential election that voting is not considered a fundamental Democratic right. Block The Vote by Paul Krugman details some of those tactics. (NYTimes, Ocotober 15, 2004)

One way the House Republican leadership is rigging the rules:

Under the House rules, 48 hours are supposed to elapse before floor action. But in 2003, the leadership, 57 percent of the time, wrote rules declaring bills to be "emergency" measures, allowing then to be considered with as little as 30 minutes notice. On several measures, members literally did not know what they were voting for.

Sorry, No Amendments. DeLay has used the rules process both to write new legislation that circumvents the hearing process and to all but eliminate floor amendments for Republicans and Democrats alike.

Moderate Republicans who aren't planning to vote with the Party leadership are threatened. According to Michigan Republican Nick Smith, the leadership threatened to oppose his son's campaign to succeed him unless he supported the Medicare bill.

GOP Tilting Balance Of Power to the Right, Washington Post, May 26, 2005

In the 108th Congress the U.S Senate brought Democratic-supported Energy and Medicare bills to the floor for a vote, and then completely rewrote the bills in conference while shutting the Democrats out of the meetings.

Such undemocratic and shocking behavior is justified by a belief that Republican leaders are doing "God's work" -- transforming the United States into a "Christian" nation. The ends justify the means.

"This is a huge undermining of the ethics rules," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the group Democracy 21, referring to the GOP Plan on Ethics complaints. (New York Times, December 31, 2004)

Lowering the Bar for Government Ethics? Washington Post, December 31, 2004

Bending House Rules,, January 4, 2005

"House Republicans pushed through a significant change in the handling of ethics complaints over strong Democratic objections.." New York Times, January 5, 2005

GOP Leaders Tighten Their Grip on House, Washington Post, January 9, 2005

GOP Attacks Reid, Reuters, February 7, 2005

Give Democracy Its Due, Washington Post, April 15, 2005

Another Ethics Standoff, Washington Post, May 29, 2005

Filibusters Are Only Half the Problem, New York Times, June 3, 2005

Lobbying From Within, New York Times, June 17, 2005

What They Did Last Fall, Paul Krugman, New York Times, August 19, 2005

Our current political leaders would suffer greatly if either house of Congress changed hands in 2006, or if the presidency changed hands in 2008. The lids would come off all the simmering scandals, from the selling of the Iraq war to profiteering by politically connected companies. The Republicans will be strongly tempted to make sure that they win those elections by any means necessary. And everything we've seen suggests that they will give in to that temptation.

Gaming the Price of Leadership, New York Times, September 22, 2005:

Never underestimate the brazenness of incumbent politicians determined to sneak unfair rule changes into the game. Incumbent treachery is under way in the Senate, where Republicans are using a big spending bill as cover to try to gut campaign donation limits and give themselves an eight-to-one spending advantage over election challengers.

The Hear-No-Evil Congress, New York Times, October 10, 2005

The House's Abuse of Patriotism, New York Times, October 31, 2005

An Organic Drift, New York Times, November 4, 2005:

Last week, an amendment was slipped into the agricultural spending bill without meaningful debate in a closed-door Republican meeting.

The Associated Press, December 15 2005:

A former top Republican Party official was convicted on telephone harassment charges Thursday for his part in a plot to jam the Democrats' phones on Election Day 2002.

Bush's Fumbles Spur New Talk of Oversight on Hill, The Washington Post, December 16, 2005

Democrats on the committee said the panel issued 1,052 subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party between 1997 and 2002, at a cost of more than $35 million. By contrast, the committee under Davis has issued three subpoenas to the Bush administration, two to the Energy Department over nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, and one last week to the Defense Department over Katrina documents.

GOP Lawmakers Work to Limit Probe of Domestic Spying Program, Knight Ridder Newspapers, March 6 2006


Last updated: March-2006