Juan Williams: The GOP shows its true face

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is seen during a press conference after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
Greg Nash

If you think former President Trump went over the top with talk of “American carnage” in his 2017 inaugural address, take a moment to read Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) extreme take on today’s America.

“The militant left has seized control of the federal government, the news media, big tech,” Scott wrote earlier this month in The Wall Street Journal.

The same leftist radicals, he added, have also taken control of “most corporate boardrooms and even some of our top military leaders…They want to end the American experiment and replace it with a woke socialist utopia.”

{mosads}Scott predicts “fed up” voters will rush to the polls to defeat Democrats in the midterm elections, giving Republicans control of Capitol Hill.

If that’s true, it raises a question.

If voters give them the majority in the House and Senate, what do Republicans plan to do in response to this apocalyptic vision of America under assault?

President Biden warned Democrats at a recent midterm strategy meeting that “if we lose the House and the Senate, the only thing I’ll have then is a veto pen.”

But Biden has no idea what he will be vetoing.

Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are happy to answer that question.

“I think you have to tell the American public what you’ll do,” McCarthy said earlier this month, announcing plans to release a House Republican “Commitment to America.”

Early position papers on the plan show the House GOP promising to halt immigration on the Mexican border. They are also intent on limiting federal support for school boards that permit teachers to discuss gay rights or to assign books on racial injustice.

These are themes they picked up from Trump.

Those culture war issues are in constant rotation on right-wing talk radio. They are already in use by Republican governors in Florida and Virginia.

McCarthy’s full agenda, according to Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), will have even more themes sampled from the Trump playbook of far-right grievances — include regulations on social media companies that closed their platforms to Trump.

On the Senate side, Scott has already released an 11-point “Rescue America” plan, a blueprint for action by Republicans when they take over the Senate.

It features similar outlines to the House GOP plan.

Scott promises voters that with the GOP in charge they will see legislation on culture war issues: limiting abortion, and pressuring school boards to stop teachers from discussing racial issues and gay rights.

My personal favorite in Scott’s plan is a proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and name it after Trump.

But the most controversial part of Scott’s plan is a five-year limit on all federal legislation, meaning that Congress would be forced to hold regular votes on whether to renew social safety net programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Scott’s plan also requires all Americans to pay income tax, including the poorest Americans and retirees.

He argues in his Wall Street Journal piece that “all Americans need to have some skin in the game” in the form of paying taxes. “Even if it is just a few bucks, everyone needs to know what it is like to pay some taxes.”

That did not sit well with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s opposition to Scott’s plan comes amid media reports that Trump is pushing Scott to challenge McConnell as the Republican leader in the Senate.

Polling backs up McConnell’s opposition to Scott’s plan, which looks to be potentially damaging to the GOP.

{mossecondads}Obviously, people who rely on Social Security oppose putting the program at risk. In 2020, senior citizens had the highest voter turnout of any age group — 76 percent of Americans aged 65 to 74  turned out to vote.

And seniors have historically had the highest voter turnout in midterm elections, too.

Similarly, polling also supports McConnell’s opposition to Scott’s plan on taxing the poor.

According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll, a majority of voters (51 percent) — including 63 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans — oppose the idea.

But the parallel agendas for congressional Republicans are revealing. It feels like a trip back in time, a sampling of the angry themes Trump used at his rallies.

Until now, the best Democrats could do was to predict the GOP majority would crack down on investigations into Trump and the January 2021 Capitol insurrection.

But now, Democrats can point to the plans openly displayed by McCarthy and Scott.

If Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) remains Senate Majority Leader next year, he may well have to thank the GOP for being upfront about their radical agenda.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections Cathy McMorris Rodgers Charles Schumer Conservatism Donald Trump GOP policies Jim Jordan Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell Republican Party Republican policies Rick Scott

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