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






Grand Old Paranoia

I’m speechless about a new Daily Kos/Research 2000 survey, drawn from a national sample of 2,000 self-described Republicans. The survey found:

• 68% either believe Obama should be impeached (39%), or are not sure (29%)
• 58% either have concluded Obama was not born in the U.S. (36%), or aren’t sure (22%)
• 64% either feel their President is a “racist who hates white people” (31%), or aren’t sure (33%)
• 79% either think President Obama is a socialist (63%), or are unsure (16%)
• 57% either believe their Commander-in-Chief wants “the terrorists to win” (24%), or are not sure (33%)
• 76% either are convinced ACORN stole the 2008 election (21%), or are not sure (55%)

I’m not a big fan of President George W. Bush. But if I had announced to the world during his first year in office that he should be impeached because he is secretly an illegal alien, facist, who hates black people, and wants the terrorists to win, my relatives would have had me commited.

I’m sure of it. Even if I had just said that I was on the fence about those conclusions, they would have had me in a straight jacket. Not just my Republican relatives, but my Democratic relatives as well.

I grew up in one of the reddest states in the nation, and so I like to think I understand Republicans pretty well, and usually like them. Daily Kos doesn’t hide it’s liberal bent, but Research 2000 claims it had the most accurate final state and congressional polls of any firm in the nation in the 2005, 2004, 2002 and 2000 elections in ten states.

But still, can this possibly be true?

– Loveland

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