Where would the GOP’s hostage fiasco rank on the list of modern Republican misdeeds?
The list, alas, isn’t brief. We could go through Hoover’s failures of the late 1920s, or perhaps Joe McCarthy’s crusade in the 1950s. Nixon’s crimes in the early 1970s are legendary, as are the many Reagan-era scandals — Iran-Contra, criminal fiasco at H.U.D., the Savings & Loan debacle — of the 1980s.
The more contemporary offenses are no doubt fresher in everyone’s minds: the Gingrich/Dole government shutdowns, the Clinton impeachment debacle, the Bush v. Gore scandal, the politicization of the Justice Department, the Plame scandal, the fiscal recklessness, the financial industry negligence that contributed to the 2008 crash, etc.
I think that many of these things honestly are things that both sides do. Yes, the S&L scandal took place under Republican presidents, but four of the Keating Five were Democrats. Iran Contra was bad, but not as bad as the things LBJ did in Vietnam. Clinton reappointed Greenspan and signed the repeal of Glass-Steagal.
Impeachment, the Gingrich shut down, the politicization of the DOJ, and the debt ceiling hostage fiasco, however, are uniquely Republican acts to me, because they are the acts of Machiavellian radicals for whom the means always justify the ends. Many (not all) in the Republican party believe that when the Glorious People’s Conservative Revolution comes, all their sins will be washed away by the clean water of Galt’s Gulch. Very few Democrats think this way.
Anyway, for me, impeachment and the debt ceiling hostage fiasco are the two worst things among the ones Benen mentions.