By Bob Gatty
In nearly five decades of covering and being involved in politics, never have I seen more disgusting tactics being employed by one political party against the other as I am seeing today with Republicans, both nationally and here in South Carolina.
One of the most despicable came Monday, July 19 when SCGOP chairman Drew McKissick sent out a mass email to “fellow Republicans” urging them to begin organizing churches to boost the GOP vote in the Palmetto State.
In a state where innocent parishioners were gunned down on June 17, 2015, as they prayed at Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, McKissick wrote, “Churches are where many conservatives are,” so “If you want to shoot ducks, you hunt where the ducks are. It’s the same principle with politics and organization.”
They simply have no shame.
Of course, it is the GOP that is standing in the way of federal legislation that would have kept that Glock 41 .45-caliber handgun out of Dylan Roof’s hands. Known as the Charleston Loophole bill, the legislation, sponsored by Rep. James E. Clyburn (R-SC), has passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but is being blocked in the Senate by Republicans.
The bill extends the initial background check review period from three to 10 days. After that initial 10 business day period, if a background check is not completed, a purchaser may request an escalated review to spur the FBI to complete its investigation.
If the escalated review is not completed within the required 10 days, the sale may proceed. This compromise will ensure that background checks for potential firearms purchasers are completed before sales proceed, while also protecting the rights of law-abiding gun purchasers to purchase weapons in a timely manner, Clyburn explained.
“Had the FBI background check been completed, the perpetrator of the Mother Emanuel massacre would have been barred from purchasing a firearm,” said Clyburn. “In 2019, almost 3,000 guns were sold to people with criminal records, mental illnesses and other circumstances which disqualify them from purchasing a firearm due to the inability to complete background checks within three days. Since 1998, the “Charleston Loophole” has put over 75,000 guns into the hands of prohibited gun owners.”
So, what is the SCGOP doing instead of supporting reasonable legislation to keep churchgoers, school kids, concert goers, really everyone, safe? They are telling people to go “hunt” in the churches.
Now, I know they are telling their supporters to go the churches to “hunt” for supporters, for votes, not people, but surly they could have framed their request in practically any other way that would not have been so insensitive. But, it is simply reflective of the GOP mentality.
The second problem with that statement and strategy is the questionable mixture of politics, government and religion. McKissick, in his email appeal, claims that the party’s goal “is not to make churches into an annex of a political party, but rather to educate and encourage conservatives in those churches who share your values to become better citizens and advocates for their values in the public arena.”
Here’s how he closed his appeal:
“Remember, politics is all about math, and our job is to focus on addition and multiplication. That means getting more conservatives involved.
“Churches are full of them.”
What does that sound like to you?
Supporting the ‘Big Lie’
Meanwhile, the Republicans are continuing their loyalty to Donald Trump and his “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him and are doing everything they can to sabotage President Biden’s initiatives. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that would be his top priority, and he has stuck to that.
A great example is the Child Tax Credit that was temporarily expanded in the American Rescue Plan. This month, middle-class families across the nation began receiving the benefits of that. Monthly payments of $250 or $300 per child are hitting bank accounts and will be used to pay bills, put food on the table, and alleviate stress for working and middle-class families across the country,
That program was created and enacted by Democrats, with not a single Republican vote. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee were worried that somehow some people would receive improper payments and it would contribute to inflation. Never mind the need. Never mind the millions of families who are suffering from the economic consequences of the pandemic.
When Donald Trump was president, the GOP had no trouble in passing the tax cut boondoggle of 2017, which provided massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
More than 60 percent of the tax savings went to people in the top 20 percent of the income ladder, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The measure also slashed the corporate tax rate by 40 percent.
Adding trillions to the federal deficit was no problem then for Republicans as they blindly followed Trump. But now, with families reeling from the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s too much to ask for help for those who are living paycheck to paycheck and have families to raise.
So now the Republicans are attempting to brand Democrats with being responsible for rising inflation as prices rise as the economy returns from the catastrophic pandemic that Donald Trump ignored and attempted to wish away by his ineffective and delusional non-leadership.
Priorities are clear. When you vote, please keep this in mind. When you vote, remember to vote in opposition to the Republican lies.