Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.
Some leading Republicans gave Americans a master class on extremism this past week by repeatedly reminding us about the threat they pose to our freedoms and our democracy.
Examples of this extremism run the gamut: From two majority-Republican states imposing draconian abortion bans, to voters picking an election denier to be New Hampshire’s GOP nominee for the US Senate, to GOP governors cruelly treating Latino human beings as anything but, to former President Donald Trump’s ominous warning about “big problems” the country will face if he is indicted.
In all those ways and more, over the past seven days, the country has witnessed a parade of Republican fanaticism.
After imposing new bans on practically all abortions, Republicans in Indiana and West Virginia are saying that a woman’s uterus effectively becomes the property of the state from the moment of conception – except in a few exceptional circumstances. For instance, under the West Virginia law that went into effect Friday, a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy after being raped is permitted to obtain an abortion within the first eight weeks – but only if she reports the rape to the police within 48 hours of the scheduled procedure.
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are trying to one-up each other with their callous shuttling of Latino migrants to distant blue state locales to score political points. While volunteers awaited the arrival from Texas of migrants at Washington, D.C.’s main bus station, Abbott’s team, with no advance warning, sent the bus to a location near Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence.
Not to be outdone in the cruelty Olympics, DeSantis chartered two planes to transport Latino migrants from Texas, with at least some migrants saying they were deceived that they were being flown to Boston, where they would be able to obtain work and housing. Instead, they were dropped off miles away from that city on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the Massachusetts coast and popular vacation destination for thousands of people each summer.
If either Abbott or DeSantis viewed these Latino men, women and children as human beings, they would have given a heads-up to local authorities so they could be there to meet the migrants. But today’s GOP is about celebrating cruelty.