John Colson: Rick Scott’s extremism on display

John Colson
Hit & Run

The leadership of the Republican Party (aka the Grand Old Party or GOP) has deliberately been keeping the U.S. voting public in the dark about what the party and its extreme right-wing culture warriors might do if they win control of Congress in November.

But at least one warrior has shown himself willing to bare his political soul to anyone willing to listen.

So it was that about a month ago, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida, and possible presidential wannabe) put out an 11-point plan that, if endorsed by his party, would have put the GOP on an immediate collision course with our country’s legitimacy and potential survival as a nation.

Now, I should note here that I was on a family-medical mission when Scott’s plan came out in mid-February, and was paying almost no attention to the news and other national contact sports, so I initially missed the stories about Scott’s lame plan.

What I did catch a glimpse of, however, was an interestingly broad rejection of Scott’s ideas by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky. On March 1, about 10 days after Scott’s plan went public, McConnell told reporters that at least two of Scott’s proposals are a no-sale for the party at large.

Even while predicting the GOP will win back control of Congress, McConnell specifically took a hatchet to Scott’s plans to raise taxes on the middle class (the Washington Post reported Scott’s plan would amount to an extra $1 trillion in taxes on U.S. working families), and to set in motion a legislative steamroller to undermine Social Security (which includes Medicare and Medicaid).

“Let me tell you what would not be part of our agenda: 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,” McConnell said.

And that was the first I heard about Scott’s radical plan for delegitimizing large numbers of our country’s less-affluent denizens, while shoring up what is rapidly becoming a near oligarchy right here on American soil.

All of this presents me with a conundrum.

In general, I believe the GOP has long been guilty of ignoring the needs of the vast majority of U.S. citizens in every way possible, in favor of paying close and supportive attention to the wants of our country’s most wealthy citizens.

Given that as a base line, whenever a GOP “leader” says something about national policies, finances, social welfare and really just about anything, my initial response is one of suspicion and a need to do some deep research to determine the truth involved.

Of course, Democrats can be liars as well, although I feel that generally Democrats more closely align with my own interests, philosophy and beliefs, not to mention the truth.

Anyways, back to my conundrum, which involves even reluctant praise for GOP thinking.

I have to say that, deluded and wrong as he is about almost everything contained in his Feb. 20 plan, Scott deserves at least a little recognition for being willing to speak out regardless of the ignorance behind much of what he has written, just as McConnell deserves at least grudging praise for rejecting the plan.

The Washington Post, in a report on Scott’s plan, maintained that, following McConnell’s dismissive words, the brief political “kerfuffle” among alarmed Republicans faded away and news coverage dropped off.

But I don’t think we should let it go so quietly.

No, I believe anyone who cares about the future of our country should find Scott’s plan and read it thoroughly (Google “Rick Scott’s 11-point plan” and you’ll find it).

For one thing, Scott is a leading figure in the GOP, popular among certain benighted quarters of the party’s base, and his hare-brained scheme should not be easily dismissed. If even one sitting U.S. Senator remains so openly committed to Trumpism (and Scott is in that camp), we know there are many others who share his views. And it behooves us to know what these types are thinking and planning, no matter how crazy it might sound.

Additionally, while McConnell dismissed certain parts of Scott’s plan as a nonstarter, he did not cast aside the entire thing, which I found scary (read it and you’ll know why). And as McConnell himself has endorsed or even initiated some outlandishly anti-democratic policies and acts on his own, this disavowal of Scott might be nothing more that McConnell trying to retain his position at the top of his party.

I’m still studying Scott’s plan, which he misleadingly entitled “Rescue America,” but my initial reading has convinced me it is little more than a roadmap to national dissolution and degradation for this country.

So, in light of my suspicion that Scott has merely given voice to what an awful lot of Republicans are thinking but not saying right now, it should surprise no one if I revisit this topic in the future.