This weekend, I wrote that there are no heroes in politics. I was one of those people who was drawn to particular candidates and declared myself as part of a “team” of supporters.
During the 2012 and 2016 election cycles, I was “Team Perry,” a true believer in former Texas Governor (now Energy secretary) Rick Perry.
Sadly, the man I saw as a warrior in the fight to bring true conservative idealism back to our government happily discarded the red, white, and blue and wrapped himself in a banner of grotesque orange, in honor of the psychopath that now inhabits the Oval Office.
It is a requirement.
I’ve found that those who succumb to the MAGA virus no longer possess the ability to distinguish between patriotism and tribal, nationalist loyalty.
I’m not looking for political heroes. I’ll use a discerning eye to see how these politicians vote on issues that are important to me. Do they represent my values with their vote?
And as I’ve had to inform a series of GOP operatives, looking for political donations, I will contribute to those candidates who do not run on being “Trump Republicans,” but any who send out campaign literature touting their loyalty to Donald Trump, as if that’s a positive attribute can keep moving.
We send our representatives to Washington to stand for us, not to rubber stamp Donald Trump’s lunacy, without question.
Given the current climate of Washington, and the disarray of the Republican party, in general, it’s no surprise that bold voices are becoming more scarce.
What is a surprise is when you actually hear one. Not only do you hear it, but rather than some angry, frustrated voice of protest (which I completely understand), it’s calm and reasoned.
This is where I talk about Senator Ben Sasse.
Sasse caught attention this weekend after responding to a tweet by saying he often thought of leaving the Republican party (although, not for the Democrat party).
In a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the Nebraska Republican expanded on that comment. He also discussed the rumored dysfunction of the Trump White House.
“I think it’s pretty obvious,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday, “when you are engaging the White House, as I do many, many times a week, that there’s just a lot of chaos and a lot of reality TV circus.”
That’s because the people put a reality TV huckster in the Oval Office. Chaos and idiocy is all he actually knows.
Sasse’s comments come after a week of hard hits for President Trump. Not only did someone claiming to be a senior White House official write a scathing op-ed for The New York Times, but leaked excerpts from journalist Bob Woodward’s new book mesh perfectly with the notion of an administration in freakish turmoil.
According to the Woodward book, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said of Trump: “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in crazytown.” Kelly denied calling Trump an idiot but has not specifically denied the rest of the quote.
Similarly, anonymous wrote, “Meetings with [Trump] veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”
And who is willing to put their political ambitions on the line, to take up the sword and shield of liberty and risk it all by facing down the party loyalists and MAGA maniacs, whose rage and flop sweat now determine the direction of the GOP?
There comes a time to take serious inventory of your own character and determine if this is where you want to be, or if there is some other way of standing for your nation.
When asked by Tapper about his considerations for leaving the party, Sasse said he probably thinks about leaving every morning when he wakes.
“I conceive of myself as an independent conservative who caucuses with the Republicans. But, frankly, neither of these parties have a long-term vision for the future of the country,” Sasse said.
Both political parties need a “future focused vision,” Sasse argued, rather than “screaming at each other” and focused on opposing each others’ agenda.
He’s not wrong.
Neither of the “Big Two” parties are thinking beyond winning the next election. With no real vision, of course you’re going to get nothing better than constant hammering at each other, with no cooperation or consideration for the people at home, waiting for them to do something positive.
And no, Trump is not different. For Trump, it really is all about his ego.
When asked about “anonymous,” Sasse said, “obviously, it’s an impulsive White House, right? I mean, there are a lot of really good people around the president. He has done a good job, frankly, in a lot of the people that he’s hired, but I think they’d like to be focused on a long-term agenda.
“I think Donald Trump, in the campaign of 2015-2016, was obviously right that Washington, D.C., doesn’t work and does need to be disrupted. But then the question is, the disruption toward what end?”
Sasse has his critics.
“He’s all talk!” “He doesn’t do anything!”
Sure he does.
He pointed to a recent bill on cyber-security that he co-authored that was recently passed.
No, he’s not just sitting around issuing homey, colloquial quotes.
And yes, our government should be a safe laboratory for free thought and higher ideas.
Plus, he added, “Frankly, in a democracy, one of the most basic, most important things we do is, we talk together about who we are as a people. Basic civic norms, deliberation and dialogue, reflection on universal human dignity and why the First Amendment is the beating heart of American life, those are all ways of saying we talk, so that we don’t have violence as the way to figure out how to use the levers of government power. So, if we’re not talking together about who we are as a people, we’re going to lose a republic.”
So was a Trump presidency worth it?
“No, I’m arguing that the 2016 election was a dumpster fire, and that both of these candidates went into the election mostly being against the other one, and the American people basically said, pox on all your houses. And then they decided who to vote for that was the less bad, in their view. And we shouldn’t be having elections like that in the future. We should have two good parties that have a long-term vision for the country, competing to be better than the other one, not competing to be less bad or better at the quick putdown on Twitter.
“And so I think that, again, President Trump has done a bunch of good things. The deregulation packages he’s put through, the judicial nominees have been really good. But as far as focusing the country on a long-term agenda around the future of work and the future of war and helping kids understand the First Amendment again … we’re not focused on any of those things. And they’re more important than the day-to-day legislating we are doing.”
Maybe it’s time to kick the dirt over the party of Trump and start fresh somewhere else (NOT with the Democrats, who suffer from the same malady of stagnant thought). That, however, is going to take leaders willing to speak up, step out, and deliver a clear vision for the future.