Mythical Good Republicans


The Unicorn Defends Itself, one of the series of seven tapestries The Hunt of the Unicorn (Wikimedia Commons)

When our daughter was growing up, in the age of Newt Gingrich, her father and I tried to explain that he was an aberration, that back in the day, Republicans and Democrats usually disagreed but often found ways to work together. We told her that many Republicans cared about the good of the country, that some supported and voted for civil rights bills and the minimum wage. Minnesota had good Republicans, we said. We might not agree with them or vote for them, but they were not corrupt or evil or committed to making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

She did not believe us.

“Where are these mythical good Republicans?” she asked.

Looking at the U.S. Senate today, I echo her question.

Trump shut down the government in a temper tantrum over being denied a boondoggle of a border wall that no border Congressmember, Democrat or Republican, wants. He told Republicans in December that he would sign a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open and then, when the Republican Senate unanimously passed that CR, he turned around and said he wouldn’t sign. Since then, he has held the entire country hostage and forced government employees from TSA screeners to prison guards to work without pay.

The Republicans in the Senate can stop this craziness. They can vote on the CR that the House. has already passed or vote again on the CR that they passed in December. If the current occupant of the White House vetoes a CR, they can override his veto.

Republicans in the Senate have that power. They can reopen the government.

Instead, in a cowardly abdication of their public duty, they allow Mitch McConnell to tell them that they cannot even debate or vote on a budget bill.

Where are the Republican Senators who care more about country than about party or pique? Where are the Republican Senators with courage to be leaders instead of followers? Do the mythical good Republicans exist any longer, or have they gone the way of unicorns and fairy dust?


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2 responses to “Mythical Good Republicans

  1. Jeff Flake said not long ago that there are two kinds of people in Congress: those who can count, and those who lose. So on one hand, you can’t really blame them for catering to their constituents.: if your people want a wall, it’s suicide not to support it. What I do blame them for is failing to gently bring them along to a more reasoned view. They gleefully played along with Trump’s . . . I guess I’ll call it bombast, though that’s far too polite a word, when they might have been meeting their constituents and educating them a little. Or maybe the populist groundswell is just too strong. In any case, there will come a time when they absolutely must say “enough.” Remember that they backed Nixon too, until they couldn’t.


    • Thanks for the comment. While this post focused on Trump, there’s so much more—from environmental issues to repeating racist tropes to …

      I do blame Republicans—or Democrats or socialists—for catering to their base. Their obligation is to represent people, not to echo the most till-informed of their prejudices. Some still stand up on principle: thinking of MN Pat Garofolo rejecting the nasty Muslim-baiting of last week and of Rod Hamilton doing the same. But too many seem more motivated by party, prejudice, and profit.


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