Jon Stewart, the long-time star of “The Daily Show,” devotes his time to lobbying on behalf of veterans who suffered grievous harm while defending our country. He raged yesterday against Senate Republicans who suddenly withdrew their support for legislation to provide long-term care for veterans who suffered from exposure to burn pits.

(CNN)House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democrats and comedian and activist Jon Stewart railed against Senate Republicans who voted against legislation to help veterans suffering from ailments related to toxic burn pits, calling it a “gut punch” to the veterans who had come to Capitol Hill to celebrate the legislation.

“So ain’t this a bitch?” Stewart said Thursday at a news conference on Capitol Hill. “America’s heroes, who fought our wars, outside sweating their asses off, with oxygen battling all kinds of ailments, while these motherf**kers sit in the air conditioning walled off from any of it? They don’t have to hear it. They don’t have to see it. They don’t have to understand that these are human beings. Did you get it yet?”

“And if this is America First, then America is f**ked,” he said.

Stewart, speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead,” said later of lawmakers, “I’m used to lies. I’m used to hypocrisy. I’m used to their cowardice. I’m not used to the cruelty, the casual cruelty … a bill they had fought for, for more than a decade.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Stewart said earlier during the news conference, lied to veterans by saying “we’ll get it done” and then voting against the bill. Stewart also criticized Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican retiring at the end of his term.

“Pat Toomey didn’t lose his job. He’s walking away,” Stewart said. “God knows what kind of pot of gold he’s stepping into to lobby this government to shit on more people. I’m used to all of it, but I’m not used to the cruelty.”

Stewart apologized for his foul language, but then outlined what the senators were voting against, with a veteran saying the bill “gives them health care, gives them benefits, lets them live from become an addict, keeps veterans from committing suicide.”

Historian Heather Cox Richardson explained that Senate Republicans were acting out of spite because they were angry that Democrats had reached agreement with Senator Manchin to pass a bill to boost technology and oppose climate change.

Blogger Robert Hubbell explains that Senate Republicans are voting against popular bills solely to punish Democrats for reaching agreement on the climate/energy bill. Republicans want to go into the midterm elections running against a Democratic Party that failed to accomplish anything.

Hubbell writes:

Just how good is the surprise agreement between Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin? It is so good it has caused a Republican nuclear meltdown resulting in an uncontrolled release of anger and irrationality. Under orders from Mitch McConnell, Republicans are seeking revenge by voting against legislation they previously supported—thereby voting against the interests of their constituents and American business.

So, too, with the Respect for Marriage Act. Susan Collins was attempting to convince her Senate colleagues to support a bill granting federal recognition to same-sex and “inter-racial” marriages. After Schumer and Manchin announced a deal on the Inflation Reduction Act, Susan Collins said that it would be “much harder” to pass the Respect for Marriage Act because Manchin and Schumer kept their negotiations “under wraps” until after Senate Republicans voted in favor of the CHIPS Act.

For example, Republicans supported the $52 billion investment in the US semiconductor industry (the so-called CHIPS and Science Act). The CHIPS Act was widely popular among Republicans because it challenged Chinese dominance in semiconductor manufacturing. After Manchin and Schumer resurrected the Inflation Reduction Act, House Republicans voted against the CHIPS Act en masse—thereby voting against American jobs, technology, and cybersecurity. Despite the Republican tantrum, the CHIPS Act passed and is headed to Biden’s desk for signature—a BIG win for Democrats.

Hmm . . . because Democrats kept negotiations among Democrats under wraps regarding the Inflation Reduction Act, that is cause for Republicans to vote against federal recognition of same-sex marriage? That makes sense only if the GOP’s animating principle is to frustrate Democratic efforts to do anything.

Another example is the GOP’s cruel flip-flop on support for a bill providing compensation to military veterans injured and sickened by toxic “burn pits.” The PACT Act had previously passed in the Senate with support from 42 Republican Senators. On Thursday, the PACT Act came back for another vote in the Senate (to approve technical changes). To “punish” Democrats, Senate Republicans voted against the bill they previously supported. The only people Republicans “punished” by voting against the bill were veterans suffering from cancer and emphysema from toxic fumes generated by “burn pits” used to dispose of ammunition.

Former Daily Show host John Stewart (now veterans advocate) was furious at the GOP’s betrayal of veterans. See Newsweek, Jon Stewart Calls Out GOP ‘Cruelty’ After Vote Against Veterans’ PACT Act. Republicans will regret their cruel vote, especially Ted Cruz, who was caught celebrating the defeat of the bill by “fist bumping” GOP Whip Senator John Thune on the Senate floor—a gesture that will rank with Josh Hawley’s “white power salute” to the insurrectionists on January 6th.

The GOP’s votes against American competitiveness, jobs, veterans, and same-sex marriage are irrational and destructive. Republicans are providing free advertising copy for Democrats in the midterms. While it remains too early to attach reliance on polls, the trends are moving in favor of Democrats (but by no means assure Democratic victory).

With each cruel vote—including upcoming votes to safeguard contraception and abortion at the national level—Republicans will distance themselves from persuadable independents. Indeed, as the three votes today demonstrate, Republicans have no interest in governing but are concerned only about obstructing the Democratic agenda—even if that agenda benefits Republican constituents.

The Republicans have become the party of “rule or ruin.”