The GOP’s Stunning Abdication

Our founding fathers led us into a war with Britain over a shilling’s worth of tax on tea. It wasn’t the money, they said, it was the principle of taxation without representation. Back then, principles apparently mattered. The constitution, the law, honesty, integrity and facts actually mattered. Imagine that.

On February 7th, the GOP Senate voted to ignore Donald Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of justice. It was a stunning abdication of their responsibility. Just one GOP senator, former GOP governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney voted to convict Trump. Several other GOP Senators, however, admitted that the Democrats had won the case and that Trump had abused power. Then they said it was no big deal. They used the famous SNL Roseanne Roseanna-dana defense- “Well…never mind.” So much for GOP principles in the age of Trump!

One GOP senator said she thought Trump had “learned his lesson.” What a laugh.

A few days later, Trump fired State Department and NSC officials who had given damaging testimony against him. He then pressured the DOJ into reducing sentences against convicts Roger Stone and Mike Flynn. This was unprecedented presidential interference with our judicial system. Just as Adam Schiff had warned, the failure to impeach Trump merely emboldened him. AG Barr is now turning the DOJ into a political enforcement unit for Trump. No wonder over 2,000 DOJ officials (past and present) have called for his resignation! Trump then fired the National Intelligence chief for reporting new Russian election interference to Congress (as he is required by law to do.) Trump has since appointed a totally unqualified Trump loyalist to head that department.

There used to be two main “guardrails” that kept a president from running amok in office. One was the President’s own party. The other were the laws and institutions that this republic has developed over the last 200+ years.  Both guardrails are basically gone. The GOP continues to talk about the libertarian ideas of the founding fathers while ignoring the tyrannical facts piling up under their noses.

 Meanwhile, with GOP collusion, Trump continues to gut and pervert the State Department, the Judiciary, the DOJ and our various intelligence and law enforcement agencies- and continues to undermine the integrity of our elections.  Honest whistleblowers are punished while convicted criminals are given a break. On February 13, Trump savagely attacked his former chief of staff, John Kelly, because Kelly defended the decorated veteran Alexander Vindiman who had testified to Trumps misdeeds. In Trump’s America, the wicked are pardoned and the righteous are punished.

My parents lived through Hitler’s rise and fall in Germany. I often asked, “How could people go along with that?” They said, “Well, there was a depression and Hitler’s programs put people back to work.” In the Germany of the 1930’s, the level of desperation was pretty extreme, but Obama didn’t leave us in a crisis like that. The solid economy that Trump’s fans point to as his great achievement was already in place when Obama left office. The facts haven’t changed much since then— except for huge, deficit-exploding GOP tax breaks for Trump’s billionaire friends. So why are so many in the GOP so willing to embrace what amounts to dictatorship? Simply put, the idea is money for nothing…

The founders created the impeachment option for just this moment—a president who has run amok.  The GOP has now thrown that guardrail overboard. The only remaining guardrail is the coming elections. The power of the president to manipulate the “media landscape” is really enormous. The power of the people to resist is even bigger—if they can only take in what is at stake. But by the time Trump refuses to submit to the results of the next election or argues that he should have a third or fourth term, it will be much too late. Facts are facts. If we want to be a truly prosperous country again, we need to get there by honoring our Constitution and its Democratic values—not by throwing them overboard.

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