Trump exposed the GOP.
Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, asked for “memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings” pertaining to discussions between Trump and Comey. It’s a start.
The GOP’s indignation over the president’s conduct has been imperceptible. The party leadership was noticeably silent after Michael Flynn had to resign due to his Russian ties. The party hardly made a peep when the president fired Comey. They started to grumble when the Washington Post published its article that the president revealed intelligence to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister that had limited dissemination within our own intelligence establishment. I guess we should be relieved that GOP party members have become “troubled.”
The New York Times reported last week that former national intelligence advisor James Clapper warned that the United States government is under assault from Russia and President Trump.
This is a serious charge. This came before the president gave the Russian officials intelligence on ISIS. But, no investigation. No outrage.
The GOP was outraged in 1998 when it brought charges of impeachment against President Clinton. Yes, oral sex with an intern was wrong. Was it a threat to this nation’s institutions? Did it threaten our intelligence relationships with other countries? Did it demoralize our nation’s intelligence community? Was it even close to what Trump has done, divulge intelligence secrets and obstruct a federal investigation over Russian interference with our election process?
The GOP could draw up articles of impeachment, but that’s my fantasy which many liberals share. However, the GOP could censure the president. Or even send a delegation of senior GOP leaders, none of whom currently hold office in the Senate or House, to tell the president that his conduct diminishes the presidency and this nation’s international standing.
Trump has exposed the GOP to be party that loves itself more than the nation. The GOP is a party that loves power more than it loves governing. (And I can’t not put this in) Whereas God shows a preference for the poor, the GOP turns that on its head and shows a preference for the rich.
Seven years ago Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published a book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism. They observed then that the GOP is more loyal to party than to the nation. They have declared a war on government.
Their hands-off attitude towards Trump makes that abundantly clear.
The longer the GOP stalls and refuses to take its head out of the sand, the easier it will be for the Democrats along with the media to attach the party and the president together.
Although I truly find the GOP positions on the economy, race, climate change, and just about any other major topic really appalling, my concern is more about the institutional damage that has already been incurred.
The other day I read something about the percentage of Americans who trusted the government. Prior to Vietnam and Watergate about 77% of the public trusted the government. Since then the trend has been steadily downward. Today it is about 20%.
We really can’t afford for this trust to fall further. It will, however, if the GOP refuses to accept its responsibility to put this nation’s welfare over party dominance. They must stop delegitimizing Democrats and start seeing them as partners in governance. Certainly, though, the party leadership cannot not do anything.