Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Five Things Republicans Have Repealed
By Tina Dupuy

House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans should be judged not on what laws they’ve made but by what laws they’ve repealed. I’d like to offer a brief list of the fallout of the GOP’s existential crisis:

1. “Hitler”

The first time I heard someone call the first black president of the United States “Hitler,” I laughed. Who’d be more offended by the comparison? Hitler.

But now the slur is ubiquitous. “Hitler-like.” “Wants to be Hitler.” “Dictators like Hitler and Obama.” I was going to cite specific examples of Republicans calling Barack Obama a Nazi, but it’s so widespread it’s already a meme.

The list of offenders is endless from Congressmen Paul Broun (R-GA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman and self-satirist Rush Limbaugh.

Here’s the irony: Hitler was a conspiracy theorist. He used the rhetorical devices of appealing to fear, evidence denial and mystical reckoning to further his agenda.

An example of that from this week would be the sputtering of Rep. Dana Rohrabacker (R-CA) who said: “Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud. At the federal government, they want to create global government to control all of our lives.” Bingo.

Thanks to absurd overuse abuse—Republicans repealed Hitler. This lazy insult has become a surefire way of shutting down real debate about an actual (not Republican-imagined) evil tyrant coming to power. Spoiler alert: Paranoid conspiracy nonsense helps.

2. Racism

Right-wingers calling black people racist and feigning to be the victims of “reverse racism” has pretty much killed the word racism. It’s difficult to even talk about prejudice and discrimination based on your skin color when old white men claim they’re the real victims.

It’s a Republican whataboutism or I’m rubber, you’re glue. Just call the victims of racism racists and declare anyone who brings up racism a race-baiter. They’ve ended “racism.”

3. Town Halls

Where politicians meet the people! The bastion of democracy. The place where you can look your representative in the eye and tell them what you need from your country. A celebration of civics where people learn about their representative and their community. But the 2009 Summer AstroTurf Olympics (the GOP attempt to stop health care reform) turned the town hall into a sea of old people screaming on YouTube, stricken by a death panel canard. Now, according to the New York Times, many congresspeople no longer host these events because they’re concerned they’ll be hijacked by moneyed interests–like many groups named after tea.

4. Empathy

On the Paleolithic outback with our ancestors, empathy kept us from pushing our own clan members in front of bear-size hyenas. In this way we increased our numbers to the current population of seven billion or so.

The one thing all major religions share in common—what is universal among those of faith—is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you’d have done unto you. All of humankind agrees and owes its very existence to this premise.

But when Obama said judges should have empathy and nominated the first Latina to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, the right had to reflexively come out against empathy. The Wall Street Journal claimed empathy was the opposite of reason (pretty sure that’s irrationality on both counts).

The then-chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, waxed poetic: “Crazy nonsense empathetic! I’ll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind!”

Nix empathy and we no longer care about the less fortunate, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised or our neighbors. It’s like if Ayn Rand were Jesus’ virgin mother. Creepy.

Republicans repealed empathy the same way they repealed compromise, by making it akin to treason—or possibly Hitler!

5. Congress

If you have three pillars holding something up and you take away one pillar, the whole thing falls. It’s simple physics. We have three branches of government and one makes dysfunction look bad. Republicans’ self-fulfilling prophecy about government being inefficient is hurting the country the party claims it loves.

When did nihilism become patriotic? Coincidentally, it was around the time African-American Hitler tyrannically signed a bill mandating health insurance companies spend 80 percent of their premiums on health care.

So judge House Republicans on what they’ve repealed.

© Copyright 2013, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor-in-chief of Tina can be reached at [email protected]


  • sheknows

    I hear so much about the terrible things Republicans say and do. The callous, unthinking, prejudicial and just plain stupid things.
    They argue that the left does it too, yet we never get shown examples of things which even come close to their words and deeds when it comes to “too”.
    I am beginning to think that 1. The Republicans just never run out of elected officials that make horrendous comments and show unchallenged insensitivity. 2. There simply are no examples of people in any other political party that do or say what they do and say.
    The Republicans of today are quite unique. They surprisingly represent the attitudes and dogma of a great many Americans. Frightening! Not the “let the poor suffer” part of the party of course. They just blame the Dems when SS or food stamps gets cut…and the poor Republicans who depend on these things believe them! That’s the beauty part.
    Don’t know an actual decent Republican lawmaker, and that’s a shame. If there are any, which I’m sure there are A) why are they so quiet about the takeover by the stupid and B) Why aren’t they Democrats or Independents by this time and have left the party in disgust?

  • JSpencer

    I’m glad the GOP aversion to the concept of empathy was mentioned, since I see this as central to thier other afflictions. We see this shutdown of compassion and affinity exhibited in so many arenas, I suppose it could be called a war on empathy at this point. When they view most of America as the enemy and treat division as the cure? I’m baffled as to what their expectations really are. E pluribus unum must be blasphemy in their current philosophy.

  • DaGoat

    The GOP is not devoid of empathy, it’s that they value things like self-reliance, personal initiative and individualism more than Democrats. Of course Democrats value those things too but value empathy more than GOP, so really we’re talking about a continuum with Democrats tending towards one side and GOP the other. There are advantages and disadvantages on each end of the spectrum.

    When conservatives heard Obama was emphasizing empathy in choosing a justice, their concern was that Sotomayor would rule based on emotion and empathy rather then the rule of law. And of course their partisanship played a big role, seizing on that issue and turning it into something that it wasn’t. If you looked at Sotomayor’s record there was nothing to suggest she would rule that way. But saying the GOP repealed empathy isn’t any more accurate than a conservative claiming Democrats repealed personal responsibility.

  • cjjack


    Given the GOP’s tendency over the last few years to tar and feather those they consider to be “RINOs,” I am not exactly convinced that they value individualism anymore.

    In 2008, Ron Paul (arguably the most individualist Republican to come along in a generation) was for the most part uninvited from the main stage of the GOP. He managed to get on that stage 4 years later, but other outliers (Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer) were shut out, with Huntsman barely hanging on as the lone moderate in the pack.

    Odd that the party of individualism shuts out anyone who dares to challenge party orthodoxy.

  • StockBoyLA

    “The GOP is not devoid of empathy, it’s that they value things like self-reliance, personal initiative and individualism more than Democrats. Of course Democrats value those things too but value empathy more than GOP…”

    Which party claims to be full of family values and Christians? And what is Christianity about if not about empathy, being part of a community and helping others? And aren’t these American values and in fact the very heart of democracy, which is about people each contributing to society to help build a strong country? Yet the Republicans do whatever they want to do, even if it means hurting the very Americans who elected them. Even if it means dividing America just so they can have power and feel superior.

    Republicans look in the mirror and see their fantasy version of themselves.

  • JSpencer

    it’s that they value things like self-reliance, personal initiative and individualism more than Democrats.

    Sorry, but I have to put that in the realm of popular GOP mythology. Almost all the democrats I know are hard-working, independent individuals – or are retired from having been just that. The difference has to do with being more willing to learn from different points of view. I see republicans (with exceptions) as less willing to depart from their dogma.

  • DaGoat

    Thanks, cjjack, SBLA and JS. I was speaking in very broad terms and you will find plenty of exceptions as well as people who aren’t being honest with themselves. That is true of people in both parties.

    JS on willingness to depart from dogma I see empathy and dogma closely tied together in Democrats, so it’s hard to separate one from the other. It is Democratic dogma to use empathy as a primary concern over other concerns. That’s the way it looks to me anyway.

  • sheknows

    I believe there is a connection that is being missed here regarding empathy ( or even sympathy).
    DaGoat’s argument is that other “values” are of equal of greater importance than empathy. I don’t think it has anything to do with vying for precedence in Republican ideology.

    The simple reason Republicans are opposed to social programs which assist others is because they are convinced that these programs are used only by the dark(er) skinned minorities, who as we all know are the 47% Rommney speaks of. It was NO slip of the tongue that he said that!
    Almost all Republicans I know here actually believe that SNAP, SSDI ( especially), and Medicaid are used primarily by out of work, lazy con-artists that are trying to get something for nothing. SS and Medicare they feel have a PLACE in our society, but should not be “so expensive”. They don’t know why it is but believe the Democrats are truly just “throwing money away” and “over-spending” on these programs. (They do not look into the cost of them or the fraud associated with them by the entire medical field). All the others, are just to take care of our lazy, poor cons who work the system. That is honestly what they believe!
    It isn’t about caring or empathy. It’s about prejudice and bigotry.

  • JSpencer

    DaGoat, agreed, empathy and pragmatism need to work in tandem.