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+ READERS RESPONSES
Not All Republicans Are For Trump
Mass Exodus of GOP in Congress Tell a Different Tale
I have spent weeks hammering Republicans who have contorted their broken ideologies and done mind-bending about-faces on morality and Russia and free trade and exploding deficits and a ton of other apparently flimsy tenants of what used to make up their platform to kowtow to a rabid base that props up the worst polling numbers in the history of a first-term president.
Donald Trump, I’ve surmised, has crippled the party, because, really, what could they do? They have to defend this. Supreme Court judges, tax cuts, a booming stock market and low unemployment is not nothing. So what if he’s a criminal and a doofus and the laughing stock of the world and blurts out daily vulgarities as a matter of Twitter discourse? And although having done this kind of thing for decades, I understand it. I do. But it turns out that I was not entirely correct about this. A preponderance of polling and a whole lot of talking does not quite meet the one criterion that matters in this workaday world; actions.
This week, Representative Tom Graves of Georgia announced that he is retiring from congress. At present, Graves makes seventeen Republicans that have decided to quit rather than seek re-election in 2020. This is not too dissimilar to the twenty-three House Republicans who bailed prior to the November 2018 crushing the GOP took in eventually losing forty seats in the midterms. Now, not all of these are merely seasoned professional politicians seeing the writing on the proverbial wall that Trump is headed for defeat and is poised to take the party down with him in November. More than a few have been around a long time – which some may argue means that it has taken three harrowing years of a game show host stumbling his way through the executive branch to make this a sane alternative to continuing the gig. But then again it may just be time to seek quieter pastures. Still, there is something brewing beyond this.
To wit: Only two of the escaping legislators, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. from Wisconsin and New York’s Peter King, are north of seventy. And despite abysmal approval ratings for the president, his pending impeachment in the very same House of Representatives, and the continuing low approvals for congress in general, many of these Republican retirees come from districts (polling twenty to thirty percent higher than the nation’s average) that they will most likely win without much effort. So why not run?
Well, let’s take Greg Walden from Oregon, who has raised a shit-ton of money and is virtually unbeatable in his district. What is his reason for getting out? And, by the way, he is not alone. There are others who have raised enough funds and have superior polling numbers to show that they could keep their jobs beyond 2020, and yet they want out.
I proffer that these representatives simply can no longer bear Donald Trump or where the country is going – fiscally, morally or otherwise. Some announced they were quitting shortly after Trump’s knee-jerk shift in Syrian policy turning America’s Kurdish allies over to their Turkish enemies without notifying anyone, including the Pentagon. Some also mildly raised eyebrows about the spend-thrift lunacy signed off by a Republican president. Recently former fiscal conservative rodeo clown Rush Limbaugh answered a caller concerned about the exploding debt under Trump by saying, “There has never been fiscal conservatives, that was always a myth.”
And then there is the thorny battle between phony Evangelists who claim some form of aborted Christian values and yet tossed them into the shit can for this bleating oaf of a president, who mocks, spats and pays off hookers with campaign funds and holds sway over the human tragedy that is occurring at our southern border.
A good example of someone who is quitting directly because of Trump is Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, the only House Republican to publicly say he was open to impeaching Trump. The next day he quit. Rooney put his mouth where his position is and combined anti-Trump rhetoric with leaving, but for the most part the rest of those who have decided to abandon public service in the past few months have simply given no reason or just the standard, “I’m done.”
It was either Sigmund Freud, Thomas Aquinas or someone or other said that “there are no coincidences” and we know that regardless of whatever lip service people provide, their actions indeed speak louder than words. Something is up.
I choose to see this as some Republicans not being comfortable with all this and to stick around and have to deal with a pro-Trump primary opponent or to rubber stamp this mess is simply beneath them. Many of my colleagues, and still other brain damaged types, claim this is a sign that perhaps things may not go as smoothly in an upcoming senate trial for Trump. But a Republican-controlled upper chamber is not going to kick their president out of office no matter what crazy, illegal, anti-American crap he does. And, again, if that is the way they wish to play it, I cannot argue with them. And this is why although I am considered a cynic, I am a realist. I never believe when people talk about loving America or blah-blah values. This is how things work. Self-preservation wins against America and values every time.
Other commentators and insiders broach the idea that legacy and having the stain of letting these latest crimes and misdemeanors pass will forever put senators in the “wrong side of history” box and that may sway them. But a gig is a gig and if you belong to a club or a team or a company, and in this case a political party, you may have to fall on a sword or two to keep your job or at least keep the whole thing afloat.
But it ain’t all of them. Seventeen and counting members of congress are begging to differ. They won’t stick around to continue to besmirch their names with this madness. Maybe they actually care about the country, the constitution or perhaps they’re thinking of saving their own hides. The last one is probably true, because I highly doubt even in exiting they would vote against the party to impeach Trump in the House. But, nevertheless, what their quitting ultimately says is that it is better than whatever Donald Trump and his cronies are cooking up next. And I can’t say I disagree with that either.
© James Campion December 6th 2019
READERS RESPONSES 12/15/19
I think what you have done in this column the past year or so is a valuable public service and it really culminates with this one. (GAME SHOW HOST + PRESIDENCY = IMPEACHMENT – Issue: 10/2/19) This was inevitable, wasn’t it? If you think about it the entire Trump campaign into the presidency was a collision course with normal government structure. He was and always will be a wild card. It was one of the attractions to those who supported him. Yet, there was never going to be normalcy for even more traditionalists who believe the president is supposed to stand for all the people and not just his party or base. Many argued he would pivot to be more “presidential”, but that couldn’t happen with Donald Trump. Trump has always been about Trump. That’s it. For those who support him and everything about him they won’t ever waver from that and I don’t think they care. For those who can see through him, it can be infuriating. What you have done is get to the core of how this “beyond normal presidency” effects the span of our history as a nation. You stated the week after his victory in 2016 that you would not spend the four years complaining that “this is not how things are done” because you predicted (turns out right on the money) that almost nothing Trump would do will be considered normal. Mainly because he is not a politician and really had no real interest in actually being president, but he appealed to enough people, thanks to the electoral college, to be who he is and not a real “president” per se. It was, as I mentioned, the reason why people wanted him to be president in the first place, to kind of blow up the concept of America, because although people claim to love the country, they actually hate the way it is run and what it stands for, and many of its people – either because of race, gender, age, geographic origins, politics, or support for parts of America they find abhorrent. So if someone comes in to try and remold it, or in Trump’s case, bulldoze it, then they see it as a revolution, and revolutions come with casualties or even martyrs, and I think that is how Trump apologists will see impeachment.
Now, in the case of Trump’s path to eventual impeachment, as you state here, there was going to be a clash between “rule of law” and “parameters of the office” and whatever the heck Trump represents. No one seems to know for sure. When you debate Trump with his supporters, they change the arguments, so there really isn’t any reason – they hate Democrats, they hate the media, they are afraid of foreigners, they fear technological evolution killing jobs and they really fear science, and mostly they are afraid their worldview is dying, and they want it back and are not sure how to do that because it is impossible.
So, I guess what I am saying is you are right, this was inevitable, and it is true that because Trump doesn’t actually know what he is doing there was always a very good chance he was going to break the law, or in this case, many laws. Not sure how to parse that, but I know he should be marked as impeached in the pantheon of our history if for no other reason it cannot happen this way again, especially if we hope to keep our democracy strong.
And thank you for making me consider these thoughts and try and see the reasons and the ramifications of this very odd and even dangerous presidency and where it will go from here. It is comforting to have a voice like yours out there.
Trump is a horrible person and I think this colors the way most people see his work, for whatever it is worth. And I am not one of those victim-types, who claim he gets more shit than other presidents. He does not. He doesn’t like any criticism, boy, he doesn’t like it, but I think it is more his thin-skinned delusional personality than anything else. But I don’t think he is necessarily a horrible president either. Yet, I do think there was a very good chance he would most likely break the law, as he has a long history of it in real estate and as a public figure. I mean, he breaks the emoluments law every day as he has not divested himself of his businesses and trying to host the next G7 event at his golf resort is a pretty glaring example of this. He did use campaign funds to pay off a woman he was having an affair with, which landed his fixer lawyer in prison, and all the other things. Not sure all of this equals or does not equal high crimes and misdemeanors but it is something you could see coming simply because Trump is a horrible person.
This is going to be so much fun. Trump really does need to eat shit and be marred forever by impeachment and he shall be. This is why I voted Democrat in 2018. He needs to be stopped. Or at least officially admonished.
I don’t think Trump gives a shit about anything, much less getting impeached. (DOES DONALD TRUMP WANT TO BE IMPEACHED? – Issue: 10/9/19) And he is not smart enough to be this conniving. If he were he wouldn’t have gotten caught and then handed his enemies all the evidence they needed to bury him. It is a fair question, because it may actually aid him politically, which is the end game of all the Ukrainian shit anyway. It may be the only thing that could get him re-elected. So…
I don’t think Trump is soliciting impeachment. I just think Trump is an idiot. X gets the square.
Nice job as usual.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, "Midnight For Cinderella" and “Y”. +, “Shout It Out Loud – The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon” + “Accidently Like a Martyr – The Tortured Art of Warren Zevon”
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James Campion 1.3.20
Forget Impeachment, Crimes, Lying, Stupidity: We are at the brink of war with Iran. The executive branch is at war with Congress. The Senate and the House are at war. A game show host is in charge of all this. - Welcome to 2020.