If Republicans wanted to prove to America their increasing alienation from the political mainstream, last week’s State of the Union address event delivered in spades.
It all began with Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) inviting “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson to the Capitol. Nothing says “please take me seriously” like inviting a third-rate reality TV star and seeing senators and congressmen excitedly hovering around the bigot and homophobe like preteens at a One Direction concert.
While Democrats cheered when President Obama spoke of ending the war in Afghanistan, Republicans sat stony-faced in silence, angry they won’t get their perpetual war. Yet a recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that 66 percent of Americans believe that war wasn’t worth fighting.
Republicans sat silently when Obama said Congress shouldn’t shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States. Like other polls asking the question, a CBS/New York Times survey found that 80 percent of American agreed with that assertion. Republicans would rather hold America hostage.
Republicans fumed when Obama called for repealing tax breaks for Big Oil, yet 74 percent of Americans wanted to see those gone when the issue was last polled by NBC and The Wall Street Journal.
Democrats cheered when Obama called for a restoration of unemployment insurance Congress let lapse at the end of last year, but Republicans refused to follow suit. They continue to block legislation that has the support of 58 percent of the American people per Quinnipiac University’s latest survey. Just 37 percent support the GOP’s obstruction.
The same poll shows even stronger public support for increasing the minimum wage — 71 percent, compared to a fringy 27 percent who oppose it. Even Republicans support increasing the minimum age, by a 52 percent-45 percent margin. Yet Republicans in Congress refuse to support the wishes of even their own supporters and sat silently when Obama called for raising the minimum wage to a paltry $10.10.
Obama called for Republicans to stop their parade of dead-end Affordable Care Act repeal votes. CBS’s latest poll finds just 34 percent of Americans want the law repealed, but Republicans didn’t just stew in silence — they announced this week several new repeal votes in the House.
Obama also called on a new effort to repeal the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited corporate dollars in our electoral system. Republicans refused to join their Democratic colleagues in a standing ovation, despite the fact that 83 percent of Americans agree with such restrictions, according an Associated Press poll on the topic.
Apparently, the prospect of fewer dead schoolchildren failed to impress Republicans, as they sat in silence when Obama pledged to work to prevent more tragedies like Sandy Hook. The fact that school shootings are now a weekly (if not more frequent) affair was irrelevant to them. Yet CBS’s latest poll on the matter finds 49 percent of Americans want stricter gun laws, compared to just 12 percent who want less.
On issue after issue, it was clear the modern GOP has divorced itself from popular opinion. A heavily gerrymandered House and favorable Senate map might play to its favor in 2014, but absent a genuine rebranding, 2016 will definitely prove that the Republican Party has given up pretenses of representing the majority of the American people.
Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.