Notice what is not happening? What we are not hearing? Republicans standing up to President Donald Trump. No, this is not yet another dump Trump diatribe. Rather, it is a look at the lack of spine, leadership, honesty, in politicians (we pay their salary, they work for us), some journalists and talk-show hosts (total bootlickers who give fake news a bad name) and evangelists (who raise blatant hypocrisy to new levels). Along the way, we need to touch base with John Kennedy, Sam Houston and Edmund Burke.
Wouldn’t you like to have dinner with them?
As any sane American – and others – knows, we have a president who is honesty challenged. Some would say he is a serial liar. The Washington Post (booo!) has counted 2,000 provable untruths spoken or done by Trump, but who’s counting? My favorite are the Time magazine covers featuring Trump that he put in the lobbies of his various properties, only they were fakes. Those particular stern-faced portraits never appeared on a Time cover. Actually, Trump has appeared on more than 15 of that magazine’s covers, mostly unflattering shots. He has boasted — incorrectly, would you believe? — that he has set a record with his cover appearances.
Sorry, Donald. No one has been featured as many times as Richard Nixon, who appeared on the cover 55 times.
Let’s start with those Republicans in Congress who favor Sam Rayburn’s creed: “To get along, go along.” They vote in lock-step for bills they don’t like, but are afraid to go against Trump. Can you imagine what these GOP Congress members are saying in private?
Then there are those ridiculous Republican-controlled Congressional investigating committees which are a transparent attempt to block the Russian-collusion scandal. Do they think we are idiots? Wait, we elected them, so don’t answer that question. Where are the GOP leaders? Former Speaker John Boehner has left, apparently because he couldn’t put up with the Trump team, but didn’t have the courage to say so. Current Speaker Paul Ryan is leaving, as well, “to spend more time with my family.” Across the Rotunda, we have Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, with delusions of mediocrity. Once Lyndon Johnson held that position. LBJ wouldn’t stand for Trump’s antics one millisecond.
The Washington Post’s count of Trump’s lies is now 3,001.
We have the media, some of which are fighting back to an extent, except for Fox News, which is an oxymoron. Do you ever watch those programs like Fox and Friends? They are like an SNL sketch. These are the same talking heads who daily whipped Barack Obama during his presidency for, among other things, playing so much golf. Have you heard one single GOP pundit mention Trump’s constant golf outings? Our alt-right evangelists thunder about sin, adultery, the flames of eternal hell. But Trump? “Why, we simply hate the sin but love the sinner.” Hypocrisy is alive and well in the pulpits, and we must wonder about these blatantly pro-Trump religious leaders’ tax-exempt status.
There are just a lot of bad things going on in America today, but who is to stop them? Who has the guts to stand up to the bully?
Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We do have good people who point out that the emperor is wearing only golf clothes, but not many Americans are paying any attention. There are a few bold voices. William Kristol is founder and editor of the Weekly Standard, and a solid conservative Republican (he still thinks the Iraq War was a good idea), but constantly pounds the Trump administration for its boorishness, stupidity, lies. David Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times (booo!), thinks the President is a buffoon. I like Brooks because he said the best movie ever made was the John Wayne Western, “The Searchers.” George Will, another far right writer, left the Republican Party because he could no longer tolerate the Trump circus. So we do have some good men and women, but not enough, and their voices get lost.
Among the GOPers in Congress, only Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have the courage to speak out against Trump, however both are leaving office. Our two Texas senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, are puppy dogs panting for attention from the Oval Office.
Cruz must have forgotten Trump insinuated that Cruz’s father had some connection to John Kennedy’s assassination. Speaking of JFK, he once said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.” Like right now. Kennedy wrote a book (or Ted Sorenson did) called “Profiles in Courage.” It was a best-seller and won a Pulitzer Prize. Kennedy profiled eight U.S. senators who stood up for their beliefs and often paid the price. One was Sam Houston whom JFK singled out for speaking against the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which would have allowed those two states to decide whether to permit slavery. This was his most unpopular vote back in slave-holding Texas, and he was defeated when running for re-election. Yet two years later Houston was elected governor of Texas.
However, when the state joined the Confederacy, Houston refused to be inaugurated as governor and was thrown out of office.
What would General Houston say of today’s leaders? Incidentally, in all of this we may ask: What about the Democrats? The party is inept, confused, no goals or clear message, useless.
You young folks have heard of Sen. Joseph McCarthy or at least McCarthyism: unsubstantiated or even false accusations, which intimidate everyone to keep quiet. Even President Dwight Eisenhower soft-peddled attacks on the demagogue, and history has not been kind to Ike for this. In a few years, our pols will be saying, “What I should have done was…” By then, who cares?
This just in: The Washington Post’s count of Trump’s lies is now 3,251, and it’s still early in the week.
Ashby asks at firstname.lastname@example.org