All Republican displays of dismay that their fellow Republicans have gone all-in for 45 are unconvincing. But displays by former members of Congress are less convincing than most. Here’s Joe Scarborough’s effort, which would have been improved by cutting all of the words save the last paragraph. Or perhaps everything but the last two sentences.
Instead it begins with a personal anecdote.
The morning after my first congressional reelection campaign, I was driving around Pensacola, Fla., collecting signs from supporters’ yards. It was an opportunity to spend time with my dad, who I had always suspected favored my brother over me. But I was confident that the previous night’s victory would make him proud. As we began driving through my neighborhood, the car radio was reporting election results: “And freshman Republican congressman Joe Scarborough breezed to reelection with an impressive 73 percent of the vote.” Turning toward my father in anticipation of some welcome adulation and praise, I found him instead glaring at the radio.
“Who the hell were the other 27 percent?” he bellowed.
Awww, how homey.
Twenty years later, I am asking my father’s question of the party I once represented in Congress. For if it is true that only 40 percent of Republicans believe the United States should remain in NATO, as recent polling indicates, then who exactly are the other 60 percent?
Are today’s Republicans now so tribal as to blindly endorse a foreign policy warped by President Trump’s obvious allegiance to a former KGB chief who controls Russia through repression, bribery and political assassination and who has called the collapse of that evil empire the “greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century”?
What loyal American would embrace a “Putin First” foreign policy that aligns U.S. interests with a Russian dictator’s goals rather than those long championed by America’s military and intelligence communities?
An American who has embraced the idea that loyalty to the GOP is the only form of loyalty, peut être?
How can any red-blooded Republican not be repulsed by their commander in chief’s blubbering belief that a former Soviet spy’s cynical lies were as compelling as the clear and convincing evidence presented by the U.S. military community, the CIA and his own director of national intelligence?
OK, now he’s answering his own questions.
The GOP has made it clear that one does not question the commander-in-chief. When the cic is a Republican. If a Republican president wants to ignore a warning about a massive terrorist attack, that’s OK. If he wants to play Find the Imaginary WMD in Iraq and destroy the country and kill, maim and displace thousands of people and give other terrorist organizations a place to grow in the process, that’s just fine and anyone who questions him is a libwimp terrorsymp.
And if a Republican president wants to grovel before the leader of a country that is less friendly to the U.S., then the only thing a red-blooded Republican can do is take pride in their POTUS’ superior groveling skills. Look how well he cringes before Putin, they’ll say to one another. Not like that uppity Obama who looked down at him! MAGrovelA!
But at last we reach the part that should have come a few hundred words earlier.
But regardless of the verdicts ultimately handed down by historians and the special counsel’s office, the Helsinki summit brought two distressing realities into even sharper focus: The president of the United States is under the thumb of Putin. And the Republican Party he leads no longer deserves to survive.
And Republicans who are dismayed by all of this will continue to do nothing more but express their outrage that there aren’t enough Real Republicans to stand up to him.