Is the GOP Inherently Corrupt?

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Inherent — existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.

No, the disgraced 45th president of the United States was not the cause of the corruption that infects today’s iteration of the GOP. He was merely a cancerous symptom of a deep dive into the throws of corrupt behavior that’s been part of this party for decades now.

If we’re lucky, he’ll be the final nail in the coffin by which the party begins to moderate their views and act like they want to participate in our democracy the way our Founding Fathers expected. If not, we may be looking at an America most of us would never have thought possible — the authoritarian march to fascism. We’re not there yet, but it’s getting pretty damn close.

Again, though, it didn’t start with Trump. This once-proud party, the one that can claim Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower as one of their own, has been thumbing its nose at the Constitution for well over 50 years now. The evidence is overwhelming.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson became aware of Republican Presidential candidate Richard Nixon’s campaign trying to sabotage negotiations over a possible peace agreement between the North and South in Vietnam. Johnson’s team was aggressively pursuing to end that disastrous war.

Nixon knew that a peace agreement would most likely derail his chance of victory in 1968, being that it would have given his opponent, Vice-president Hubert Humphrey, a vital shot in the arm with the public. So he’d enlisted his campaign Chief of Staff at the time, H.R. Haldeman, to do what he could to throw a “monkey wrench” into the peace talks.

As the peace agreement never materialized, Nixon’s ploy worked, and he went on to win a close victory over Humphrey. LBJ was livid after finding out what shenanigans were going on and, in a phone call with his close friend Senator Everett Dirkson of Illinois, expressed his exasperation: “I’m reading their hand, Everett. I don’t want to get this in the campaign. And they oughtn’t to be doing this. This is treason.” Dirkson agreed.

LBJ never went public with it, for he thought the American people would be too shocked, especially since the election was only days away. In subsequent years, recordings and documents corroborated much of what went on in the election of 1968. Nixon was a crook then and an even bigger crook as president.

We know, of course, that not only did Nixon win in 1968, he also won re-election in 1972, only to become embroiled in Watergate — a complex scandal of corruption that ended in his disgraced resignation from the office of the presidency in 1974. In typical Republican fashion, his successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him.

In 1986, another scandal during a GOP presidency engulfed the nation. This time, it happened during Ronald Reagan’s second term. Several investigations ensued surrounding the Iran-Contra affair — a complicated scheme involving selling arms to Iran in the hopes of winning the release of American hostages in Lebanon.

A portion of the money from the sale was also used to support the contras, rebels fighting the Marxist-oriented Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration saw the contras as worthy fighters trying to stop communism from spreading in Central America.

The scandal was seen as a significant scar against Reagan, at least as it pertains to his legacy. Many administration officials were charged and convicted with crimes, including National Security Council (NSC) staff member Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, head of the NSC John Poindexter, and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. North and Poindexter both had their convictions overturned on appeal. Weinberger and five others involved in the scandal were subsequently pardoned by President George H.W. Bush in December 1992.

Lawrence Walsh, who headed up an Independent Counsel looking into the affair, and whose report led to the prosecutions, was livid over the pardons. Bush was talked into the pardons by none other than William Barr, who was the interim Attorney General at the time and would serve in the same capacity under Trump nearly 30 years later.

In a statement issued after the pardons, Walsh minced no words in his reaction: “President Bush’s pardon of Caspar Weinberger and other Iran-Contra defendants undermines the principle that no man is above the law. It demonstrates that powerful people with powerful allies can commit serious crimes in high office — deliberately abusing the public trust — without consequence.”

In retrospect, over a nearly 25 year period, we had folks in the Republican Party at the highest levels in power, circumventing the United States Constitution to pursue their own goals. We had Nixon doing everything he could to obtain power in 1968, succeeded by the whole sordid Watergate mess and resignation in disgrace; his subsequent controversial pardon from Ford, allowing him to escape accountability; and the Iran-Contra affair, which ended in even more controversial pardons.

Ironically, North, for one, has achieved hero status from many on the radical right. He’s looked to as a hero and patriot even though, as the Iran-Contra committees’ majority report stated, North and others charged in the scandal “violated the fundamental constitutional requirement that government actions be funded by monies subject to congressional oversight.” That report also found that senior officials within the Reagan administration had knowingly misled Congress.

The corruption and lying didn’t stop with Iran-Contra. President George W. Bush and his administration lied to us repeatedly during the run-up to the Iraq war. We were told Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. None existed. Yet, the lie became the prelude to invading the country, which led to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians and United States military service-members, not to mention the thousands more who suffered life-long injuries.

We were treated back then to the usual chest-beating and flag-waving from those on the right side of the political aisle. Again, they were the real patriots. Those protesting the war were un-American commie leftists who hated the country. Remember freedom fries and the Dixie Chicks?

Many on the left were upset that the 44th President, Barrack Obama, didn’t investigate the Bush/Cheney Iraq War fiasco. Obama wanted to move the country forward and not look back. You could certainly understand his reasoning. But again, the lack of accountability from another GOP scandal merely served as a recipe for further wrongdoing.

What these incidents prove more than anything else is that the GOP only holds the Constitution in high regard when it suits their self-interest. If it means subverting the ideals and requirements of that document, so be it, as long as they achieve whatever political goal they want to achieve.

The decades of wrongdoing became encapsulated when America made one of THE worst mistakes ever in 2016. It elected the most corrupt of them all: Donald Trump. There’s no need to list the litany of offenses against the people of America by the disgraced former president. The only saving grace was that he did not get to serve another term.

Will he be charged with anything? It isn’t very likely. Oh, he may get an indictment for crimes he committed as a private businessman. But crimes as president? Don’t hold your breath. We don’t do that in this country, it seems.

If we don’t, we only have ourselves to blame for what may occur in the future. The floodgates were pried open widely by the former president. It’s the culmination of decades of corruption, lies, and a disdain for the Constitution by the GOP. They own him, and he holds them in the palm of his hand. It’s as if it were an arranged marriage. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect match.

The insurrection by a mob of Trump crazies on January 6, 2021, showed us that our democracy is in peril and can no longer be taken for granted. We now have a political party aligned with a dangerous and pathetic demagogue who encompasses all of the bad that his GOP predecessors inflicted upon our system of government — multiplied exponentially.

Nixon started the decline; Trump not only embraced it but took the banner of deceit and ran with it. Now, we’re left with a party engrossed in corruption, racism, lies, and a disdain for the one document they always like to say is sacred. The sad part about that is that the GOP had a chance, a real opportunity to end his disastrous presidency — twice. Both times, they decided their backsides were more important than convicting an impeached president.

Trying to find dirt on a presidential rival was just fine with them, thank you very much. And so was inciting an insurrection. Again, nothing seems beyond the pale anymore with this once-proud political party.

Therefore, to declare the GOP as inherently corrupt and rotten to the core is not a pipe dream or some radical left version of the truth. We’ve seen it — we’re living with it as we speak. 

As a matter of fact, all one needs to do is look at the amount of indictments or convictions, dating back from Nixon through Trump, to see which party engages in criminal behavior the most. It’s not even close. Depending on which metric is used, the GOP leads the way by miles. 

The only chance for redemption, the only opportunity for a political reset, is to completely and categorically reject Donald Trump as their de facto leader.

Anything less will render their existence to nothing but a rogue and dangerous party, hell-bent on wrecking our democracy and maintaining power at all costs. As the old saying goes, absolute power corrupts. Eventually, the United States Justice Department will most likely need to step up to make sure the previous president pays dearly for his crimes against America.

Here’s hoping that Attorney General Merrick Garland sees it the same way.


  1. Your allies over the pond can see the way it’s going too. It looks like the love affair between the GOP and Trump may be wavering but they need each other. Trump needs he GOP to back him if he makes another attempt in 2024 and they think he’s the best bet and they think they control him. But just in case they’ll improve the odds of winning back the house and senate by reducing the number of black voters. Cheating is their way and if it wins I pity America especially if Trump does get in though at this point I think any Republican President is suspect when you look at the individual records of the likely runners.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Jill! Yes, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz seem to be the face of the party these days. Oh, and the moron former president too. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They sure don’t. So why in the hell do they jump over backwards to keep the damn job? UGHHHH. Must be the free Capitol Hill Parking! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Power, my friend. Power & perks, such as tons of free travel, free lunches, accommodations, golf outings, concerts. Even private school tuition for their children (Remember Duncan Hunter?) And … the free parking, of course! 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Knowing that Joe Manchin and other Dem Senators are on calls with Exxon people makes my damn blood boil Jill!!! This IS unacceptable!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff, arguably yes. When i speak to the staff of my Republican Senators or Congressman, or in other states, the message that resonates is the party is “adrift” and we need them to return to their principles as we need a viable party to counterbalance the Democrat party.

    As a former Republican and Democrat, now independent, this messages hits home more. The other message that I hammer home is it matters not what party is in power, we cannot have what happened on January 6 ever happen again, full stop. To vote to not seat a committee to investigate this insurrection is malfeasance in my view. Trying to whitewash it as if it did not happen is inexcusable. I usually close with the party cannot punish the truth tellers and glorify the ones who don’t.

    These messages might not sit well with more progressive members of your readers, but to me, if we want the message to be heard, we have to deliver one that they know in their hearts to be true and shame them into acting on it. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Dear Jeff,
      Thank you for your taking stock of what the GOP has become. To me, GOP is the acronym for Grotesque Obscurant Parasite!

      Dear Keith,
      “To vote to not seat a committee to investigate this insurrection is [not mearly] malfeasance” but also nonfeasance (failure to perform an act that is required by law; the failure to act where action is required, whether wilfully or in neglect) and misfeasance (transgression; the wilful inappropriate action or intentional incorrect action or advice).

      Yours sincerely,

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dear Jeff,

        You are very welcome. I would like to inform you that there is a typo in my previous comment: I actually meant “[not merely]” rather than “[not mearly]”.

        The antics of the GOP have provided a great deal of fodder for you and me to write about. In any case, it is going to be an arduous task because saving and rehabilitating the USA aside, we also need the political economy of saving the planet. Yet the entrenched and insidious issues of plutocracy have loomed even larger, thus continuing to thwart many efforts mounted to save the nation and the planet. Whilst Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet, the planet of America, so to speak, has already ascended to plutocracy. Social and economic polarizations can further exacerbate the issues of wealth, and such polarizations are increasing for the following reason: The USA is very much plagued in varying degrees by misinformation, disinformation, post-truth politics, demagoguery, plutocracy, oligarchy, ochlocracy, kleptocracy, kakistocracy, narcissistic leadership, neoliberalism and globalization.

        The underlying opposition is not so much between the Democrats and the Republicans as between the rich plutocrats and the rest of the population. The Democrats need to (re)form their party to unite the 90% of the people living at an entrenched economic and political disadvantage in order to deal with the Plutocrats. In any case, it is going to be a very tall order for Biden to turn things around. It would have been much easier if some Republican senators had been far more honest and incorruptible, for they have been very greedy, uninspired, cowardly and lack criminal, moral and political accountabilities. It is all quite a big mess in danger of getting bigger still. Even a global pandemic still cannot unite folks in the USA and wake them up. Perhaps it will take an even bigger crisis to do so, such as a series of climate change disasters.

        The best and most dedicated amongst the likes of us are also inveterate teachers of everlasting, transcendental wisdom to save humans from themselves, their self-interests and their destructive ways. I often even have to coin new words to do so. The latest example is my neologism “Viral Falsity“, which you can see in my extensive and analytical post entitled “💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 🦠“. This post of mine now has twelve major sections (plus a detailed annotated gallery) instantly accessible from a navigational menu.

        In this said post, I have attempted to unpack as much as I can the core issues and fundamental causes that have plagued many folks, whether or not they are victims or perpetrators.

        The last section named “Denouement: Democracy, Education, Legislation & Sustainability” even gives a very dire warning of what humanity is heading towards if there is still no concerted, meaningful and large-scale change for the better. It also provides a multipronged solution to “get humans to cooperate at scale in ways that put in sufficient limits to ensure survival and empowers creativity and freedom to support individuals to do whatever they responsibly choose.”

        On the whole, the post has become much longer that it was, and has received a lot of comments, now totalling about 124.

        I would like to wish you and your family a lovely weekend celebrating the Independence Day. Thank you for discussing whether the GOP is inherently corrupt.

        Happy July to you!

        Yours sincerely,

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you SoundEagle for your thoughtful and poignant comments. You understand the stakes as well as anyone. To me, all of these things-the plutocracy, climate-deniers, misinformation etc..-center upon one huge issue: money in politics and the revolving door of lobbyists in and out of D.C. Until we get that under control, I don’t know how we ultimately save our democracy-and the planet, for that matter.
        Recently, if you’ve heard, Exxon execs were taped basically saying they have about 10 Senators in their back pockets, including 5 moderate Dems. This should anger every last one of us. Exxon is well aware of the danger they are to the planet. They know fossil fuels are killing the planet. Yet, for $$$$$$$$ in profits, they could give a crap. If the pandemic has showed us anything, it’s that there are many among us who are beyond selfish. They care of themselves, and nobody else. The corporations are much like this. At least with them, their duty and goal is to make a profit. With others in our society though, it’s basic ignorance and selfishness. I just don’t know how we combat that. At least you and I are trying to get these issues out there and are trying to solve and make people aware of the huge problems we face.
        Thanks again, friend, for your participation and thought provoking ideas. I really appreciate it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Dear Jeff,

        I am delighted by your well-considered reply, and would be grateful if you could be so kind as to copy and paste your reply to the comment section of my said post entitled “💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 🦠“, to which your reply clearly pertains and also belongs. Please feel free to expand on your comment if you have additional matters to convey about the post and any aspects of its contents. Thank you in anticipation.

        Happy Independence Day!

        Yours sincerely,


    2. I’m going to do something I normally don’t do Keith. I’m going to praise a Republican. In this case, Liz Cheney. Kudos to Pelosi for putting her on the committee, and kudos to her for agreeing to do it. I think it at least gives it a hint of bi-partisanship, which is always a good thing. I disagree with Cheney on just about everything, policy wise. But on January 6, and her take on Trump and what happened? She’s been spot-on, so we progressives need to laud her for that. She, I suppose, along with Romney and a few others, are remnants of what you could call reasonable Republicans. It’s a dying breed. But they are out there nonetheless. I have no problem acknowledging that. We need so many more, though.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Jeff, she deserves praise. As you note, I can disagree with someone on her policy positions, but what I do not like is politicians blatantly lying to cover for a deceitful acting former president. By the way, a former Fox News president said today his former network was guilty of spreading the former president’s false election fraud claims as well as denying and questioning the use of masks which led to more deaths. These are his words, but I agree with these statements. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Nailed it, Jeff. I’d always thought of the word inherent as referring to an element that was present at the formation of whatever the subject matter was. But, looking at several different definitions of the word, I see that’s not necessarily so. I mention this because, as you also wrote, the Republican Party–the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower–had noble beginnings. The early GOP was the anti-slavery party; it was a party that valued inclusion and diversity. In recent years I’ve tried repeatedly–and unsuccessfully–to get my Republican friends to take the time to go read some of the Republican Party’s founding documents and compare them to the current party’s views and policies. The transformation–for the worse–is astounding. Any truly objective person who examines the GOP of the mid-to-late 19th century alongside today’s Trump-owned party would not recognize the two as the same.
    And you’re right that the GOP’s transformation was not a sudden event that occurred in November of 2016. Unfortunately, it took something as shocking as Trump’s election to open my eyes to the Republican Party’s corruption, a corruption that was decades in the making.
    The original Republican Party was one of principles; it proudly advocated for righteous causes. Today’s Republican Party has one principle: gaining and holding power at any cost. And it has one (un)righteous cause: promoting fealty to Donald Trump and Trump-style authoritarianism.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Jerry! Yes, there was a time when the GOP had a moral compass. I mean, when you can claim Eisenhower and Lincoln, that ain’t bad! But boy have they fallen off the deep end. Until they really get their butts kicked for a few years, I feel that nothing will change. With the electoral college/voter suppression etc..they will always be a threat to win presidential and Congressional seats. But to what end? What do they want for this country? You and I both know that it’s power and not much else. Tough days ahead my friend.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m not near as politically astute as you, Jeff, but there are two things I see happening. One is that many members of the younger generation aren’t familiar with some of the events you mentioned and thus are easily taken in by the rhetoric that Trump and his adherents repeatedly put forth.

        The other relates to those on the opposite end of the spectrum — the “oldsters” who were frightened out of their wits by all the talk that Russia and the Communists were going to take over the U.S. Unfortunately, these folk now associate “Socialism” with Communism and are taken in by the propaganda endlessly repeated by the Republicans. Of course, racial bigotry is also a carry-over among this crowd.

        In any event, there is little doubt the next few years are going to “tell the tale.”

        Oh! And I cannot close without adding my praise to your OUTSTANDING post!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thank you Nan! I really appreciate your feedback. You’re very politically astute. Do not sell yourself short! Totally correct about the younger folks today. You know, I heard something the other day where there was a survey among young GOP college students across the country. It found that a pretty big majority of them are much more open to discussing things like racism, especially in class. If true, that would bode well for us into the future. Not sure what poll it was. But it jumped out at me that maybe we just need the old folks to slowly drift away-which they will of course-naturally. Eventually maybe the party will morph into something else. Something better I hope. But my God. We are SO far away from that! Right now, they’re completely unrecognizable. We’ve got a long, long way to go!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Just checked it out. What a beautiful song! I’m a fan of his and Crosby,Nash, and Young too. But I’ve never heard it before. Thanks for sharing Jerry!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful, brief analysis of how the GOP went from being “The Party of Lincoln” to being the party of obstruction and conspiracy theories. While we can see how the GOP came to be frequently referred to as the GQP (Goofy QAnon Party), the question now is … will this be the end of the party, or is this only the beginning of a party that prefers fascism over democracy? Thanks, Jeff, for this excellent post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, I suppose the current era corruption began with Nixon, but Harding and Coolidge deserve honorable mention as well. And Reagan’s constitutional abuses were far greater. And yes, they are apparently ready to march us toward a fascist state.


    1. I suppose ragnar. But I do not want to live in a libertarian world friend. It’s not a nice place. It’s never worked anywhere in the world. Can you name me a country where libertarianism is the main form of political thought and governance, and is successful? Please list them for me.


      1. Well ragnar you just proved my point, right? Bottom line, as I wrote to you earlier, libertarianism is not a viable form of government. Never has been, never will be.


      2. Please share YOUR interpretation of exactly what socialism means to the average citizen. BE SPECIFIC. Don’t talk about “the government.” Keep it personal.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nan, Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterized by social ownership of the means of production and democratic control, such as workers’ self-management of enterprises. It includes the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be public, collective, cooperative, or of equity.


      4. Try again. I asked for your personal interpretation. How do you see it in action in the life of the average citizen? (I can read definitions like what you provided all over the internet!)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Nan, take a trip to Cuba, Venezuela, heck to any country with a Socialist government. Look at the hellholes that they turned into. Go to California and see the places where there are needles and feces all over the place. Socialists run places like that and things go to shit in situations like that.


      6. Nobody is advocating for pure socialism ragnar. The ones that are are minority. We are nowhere near pure socialism in this country. It’s not going to happen. Anytime a Dem is potus, the right warns everyone of socialism and gets the base all riled up. It’s all a bunch of BS

        Liked by 1 person

      7. We already have some socialism in this country, which is still based in capitalism. Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid etc…It’s a mixture of capitalism/socialism. Which to me, is fair. A little more socialism to help working people is also fine with me as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Brookingslib, here are a few questions for you: 1: Who would you take more seriously in terms of debate about the merits or lack thereof regarding Socialism: Bernie Sanders who talks about implementing Socialist policies or people like Steven Crowder who grew up in a system with it? 2: Who would you be more inclined to trust regarding health care issues: The government or yourself and your doctor? 3: Even though there is a difference between them, what is a better system: Pure Socialism or Social Democracy?


      9. 1). I don’t know who Steve Crowder is. 2) Your question is very broad. With Medicare, you can go to whatever doctor you want for the most part. I’m not old enough yet but am very much looking forward to having the ‘socialist’ coverage for my older years. Oh, and I paid into that btw, just as you have. 3) Social democracy, which is pretty much what we have in America.
        One question for you friend: Why are most of the Scandinavian countries ranked the highest in the world for being happy and content?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Brookingslib, maybe due to greater financial/economic stability. In your opinion, what is the best way as to educate people and get them to see the benefits of Medicare For All?


      11. I would say one way is to check the various bills that are floating around Congress. Sanders and Rep Jayapal of WA have one they co-sponsored. And then just check what the different European countries do for their healthcare. Not all the same old course but the overall gist is that everyone is covered.


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