Is there a Don Quixote Syndrome in Washington?

In Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, the main character Don Quixote is afflicted with delusions of grandeur. He sets out on a mission with his trusted squire Sancho Panza to perform his self-appointed knightly duties of reviving chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world.

On one of his mission with his squire, Don Quixote sees thirty or forty windmills rising from the plain and said to his squire, “Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them.” “What giants?” asked Sancho Panza. “Those you see over there, with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

“Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.”

In Don Quixote’s delusional mind he sees towering windmills in the distance as enemies to be destroyed. Like Don Quixote, the GOP leadership sees President Obama as a giant windmill that they have to destroy. They have been trying to do this for the past six years and despite their failures they cannot come to the realization that the president is not the enemy.

The difference with the GOP leadership and Don Quixote is that the GOP does not have someone like Sancho Panza to set them straight. Instead, they have conservative news outlets who feed their delusional mind with the idea that they are doing a heck of a job.

The GOP’s Don Quixote syndrome is one that has caused the GOP leadership real problems in their ability to help solve major political issues affecting the lives of Americans. Their obsession to destroy President Obama and his legacy is an effort that includes obstruction of the president’s agenda, creating an environment of divisiveness, and tarnishing the president’s accomplishments. In doing these things, they have also unwittingly encouraged hatred of the president.

After winning the mid-term election last November to gain full control of the Congress, there was some hope that the GOP would snap out of their Don Quixotic delusional mind. Unfortunately, this has not happened as they have continued their tilting at windmills. Take for example the following three actions they are pursuing to ultimately destroy President Obama: inviting Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Congress (outsourcing leadership), pursuing their perennial effort to repeal Obamacare, and pursuing passage of the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

Outsourcing leadership – about a month ago, the GOP leadership revealed their plan to invite Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Congress. They surreptitiously did this without consulting or making the White House aware of their intentions.

What the GOP expects from their scheme to invite Netanyahu to address the Congress is that he will attack and say that the President’s plan to contain or destroy Iran’s nuclear program is a failure. This will make the president look bad and give the GOP some ammunition for the 2016 presidential election.

The ill-conceived GOP/ Netanyahu plan is a reflection of the GOP shirking their responsibility to engage President Obama and find a bi-partisan plan to deal with the problem of Iran’s nuclear program. This would be the politically correct thing to do if they think the president has not done enough on this issue. To outsource their responsibility is clearly a failure of leadership and a pattern of failing to work with the president on anything he does.

Repealing Obamacare – last week the Republican led House voted for the 67th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Why repeal it when it is working, helping millions of Americans, and it has not demonstrated any of the negative things they said it would do? To eliminate something that is working and replace it with a “nine page plan” that has no real policy or procedural requirements that is better than Obamacare is sheer political insanity and a classic case of Don Quixote syndrome.

The GOP leadership knows that President Obama will veto a repeal bill so why are they wasting their time? The answer is that once the president vetoes it they will say that he has overridden Congress and has not acted within the framework of the constitution on a problem that Congress has deemed unconstitutional. At this stage Obamacare is no longer a political issue but a legal issue that gets the Supreme Court involved, and guess what, this time the Supreme Court might very well vote to strike it down.

Keystone XL Pipeline – last Thursday the senate passed a bill for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline which the president has said he will veto. The one thing that the GOP has claimed repeatedly is that construction of the pipeline will produce jobs. The temporary jobs to construct this pipeline do not outweigh the unanswered questions including environmental and legal issues about eminent domain. The GOP should work to resolve these issues before seeking approval for building a pipeline that could compromise the environment.

For the GOP to continue on their effort to destroy President Obama rather than work with him confirms what many people already know or suspect. They hate the president for no other reason than because of his race. There is simply no other conclusion to draw on this because if this was not the case they would have abandoned their obsessive effort once he became a lame duck president. So while the GOP continues their tilting at windmills, the politics of divisiveness, non-compromise, and hatred continues. All of this hurts the country and creates more cynicism with the political system.