Republicans finding something behind them — vestigial spines


The story goes that, in Watergate, Republicans were courageous in helping remove Richard Nixon from office. Most weren’t, in fact. I read one news story recently that said Republican only got serious about impeachment when they lost several special elections, showing that Nixon’s paranoia and lying were threatening their own job security.

The Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee did indeed wrestle with tough choices. Do they send articles of impeachment to the House floor and risk hurting their party or do they turn their back on Nixon’s crimes? Seven Republican House members voted with the Democrats to send at least one of three articles of impeachment to the full House (10 Republicans voted against all three articles). Those seven Republicans acted for the country, not just for their party.

Six months ago, and for most of the days since, many of us have moaned, “Will any Republican leaders find their gonads and stand up to the ignorant irresponsible immature narcissist in the White House?”

But think about where we are today. In the middle of the cascade of daily outrages from Bully Baby Trump, we lose sight of the fact that some amazing things are happening, and may perhaps gain critical mass in the coming months.

These things have happened:

  • The deputy attorney general appointed by Donald Trump appoints a special prosecutor to investigate the Russia mess. One of Trump’s own appoints the man who could bring the hustler down.
  • In defense of “weak” “beleaguered” Jess Sessions, a Republican senator, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, says he has no time available in his judiciary committee between now and never to consider confirming a new attorney general if Trump bumps Sessions.
  • In defense of the special prosecutor, a Republican senator, Thom Tillis of North Carolina (pictured above), asks Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democrat, if he wants to co-author a bill to reappoint a special prosecutor if Trump fires Robert Mueller.
  • Trump pumps a bill from Tom Cotton, Arkansas senator, to restrict legal immigration. Republicans in the Senate say “Meh.”
  • Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just today did not let the Senate go into recess even though he let everyone go home. He will keep the Senate technically in session so that the president of his own party cannot make a recess appointment of a successor to Sessions if Trump cans him.
  • The instances above are surprising. Not as surprising, but wonderfully dramatic, and one of the landmark scenes in the long history of the Senate — John McCain, Republican elder, holding out his hand for several seconds before turning it thumbs down to scuttle Trump’s last hope (probably last) of repealing Obamacare.

What’s going on? Those of us on the left think “not nearly enough.” But … something’s happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

But some Republicans are stirring. In ways six months ago I would never have imagined possible with the party so gleeful at controlling all three branches of government. Too many Republicans are doing the Paul Ryan dance, averting their eyes from their own incompetent president’s appalling behavior and keeping complicit, guilty silence.

But not all of them.

Dare we hope?

— Bruce Benidt






6 thoughts on “Republicans finding something behind them — vestigial spines

  1. Michael Bille says:

    Amen. And, now, taking center stage is not the Republican party, but The Special Prosecutor, the FBI and a Grand Jury. Let us remember, Nixon and his minions were brought down not because of Watergate but what happened after. Bill Clinton came under investigation because of the nothing burger Whitewater, but the blue dress that came to light afterward is what led to his impeachment. I have always thought Trumps true crimes would surface not because of Russia or election related shenanigans…. but because of what’s revealed in his tax returns. You know the gumshoes are going to end up there. I think even Republicans realize Don the Con’s fate is now almost out of their hands……

  2. Dennis Lang says:

    It is a glimmer of hope. Is it possible the democratic process still works–the one we learned about in 8th grade civics, checks and balances, coequal, independent branches of government, all that, awakening from hibernation?
    While in the background these utterly disturbing transcripts of conversations with Nieto and Turnbull, self-serving and incoherent.The visible dissection of the thought process of a malignantly self-serving, image conscious President. (In the future I think all candidates should be subject to a complete psychiatric examination!)
    This while glimpses of a rally in West Virginia that seems populated by a crowd inhabiting a different reality.
    Interesting, challenging times.

  3. pm1956 says:

    It was always an improbable alliance–Trump and the GOP.

    Trump took advantage of a whole lot of long term developments within the GOP (and, to a lesser extent, within American politics), such as the rise of celebrity politics and the role of “news” outlets like Fox. They are the ones who treated him seriously as a “thinker” and a “politician”, and so they made Trump into a legitimate politician–and he took over the GOP.

    What i want to find out (and I am sure I will, in time) is what this will eventually mean for the credibility of people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and the other hucksters and swindlers who made this all possible, and who are still standing by Trump (and profiting from him). Will Trump’s incompetence splash on to those who enabled Trump? I suppose what I am really wondering about is if the viewers of Fox will learn from this episode (Trump), or not. Will the “Never Trumper’s” in the GOP be re-legitimized or reviled?

  4. Dennis McGrath says:

    Brucie: Thanks for this. It’s outstanding and gives us all hope in this gloomy Trump saturated world we live in today. Miss you buddy. Hope we see you ere long.


  5. Stephen Olof Larson says:

    Thanks for bringing these things together. There’s some pretty steady rumblings coming from the ground we all stand on. You can feel it. Something is up, some unfolding, while Der Groper is suddenly gone on a long vacation no one bothered to leak. He may have been sent out to the hall while the locks are being re-keyed. That’s what it feels like.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Still, what remains bewildering to me is what appears the undeterred and excessive devotion by that “base” of advocates–the 33%–exemplified once again in the West Virginia rally. How does one continually ignore the ongoing and obvious perversion of the truth, little lies and large ones, propagated by this President? It’s almost cult-like. Have we seen many other similar historical instances in American political life? Has Trump actually accomplished anything for the forgotten person he claimed to represent?

Comments are closed.