This afternoon, I caught the tail end of a news report concerning the pending departures of two Republican Senators, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. The news comes days after George W. Bush made statements that were understood to be against President Donald Trump. After the news segment, I knew I had to blog about my reaction to these Republicans’ reactions.
Currently, I am looking at the problems within the Democratic Party. But I would also like to look at the problems of the other major party in American politics. These developments provided a prime opportunity.
What do I have to say? There are three things, actually. But first, let’s discuss what transpired over the past few days.
Bush and Obama Speaking Out
In what were unusually occurrences, two former White House residents leveled criticism against a current WH resident. On Thursday, October 19, 2017, George W. Bush and Barack Obama each spoke out against Trump.
Bush took aim at the toxic level of nationalism espoused by Trump, among other things:
We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism—forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.
While at two stops, in New Jersey and Virginia, Obama called out Trump’s support for white supremacists and the tactics the Republican used on the campaign trail.
Both men were right in this regard. For the record, Trump has been using dog whistles and prejudice to get ahead.
Two Senate Republicans Taking the Offensive
On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018. During a speech Flake gave on the Senate Floor, he decried that the level of political discourse had devolved to a level unseen before.
Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.
Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.
And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength – because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.
Senator Bob Corker, who recently announced that he was retiring from the U.S. Senate, escalated his feud with Donald Trump on Tuesday, the same day GOP lawmakers were due to have an “uneventful” lunch with the president. In the morning, the two traded insults via Twitter. Corker also went on numerous programs to denounce Trump.
Despite the building acrimony between Trump and a number of senators, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are have downplayed the developments.
Why This Is Nothing to Get Excited Over
On the surface, all this criticism being aimed at Trump — especially from Republicans —might seem newsworthy, but I don’t see it that way. Here’s why:
1. This Will Do Nothing to Put a Dent in Trump’s Support.
Even if Trump has done a considerable amount of damage to the presidency and the standing of the U.S. abroad, those comments against Trump might not faze him or his supporters. Sure, they might act out and we might see some stupid rage tweets, but he and his followers will use this to justify his presence in the White House and they will stand stronger in their vicarious position. They are anti-establishment folks and these attacks from establishment people thus serve as vindication.
While Trump’s approval ratings have consistently fallen since his inauguration, his base of support might rest with at least 1/3 of all Americans.
2. We Shouldn’t Forget That George W. Bush Was Terrible When He Was in the White House, Too.
While Bush has a point about Trump, Democrats run the risk of rehabilitating Bush and others in his cabinet. In fact, Democrats had already started the process last year. This is dangerous because they are whitewashing history. We must remember: We got Barack Obama as president because George W. Bush was terrible when he was in the White House.
Under Bush, we got the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars Americans are still fighting after 16 years. The war in Afghanistan was severely mismanaged from the outset and those problems were taken to the unjustified war in Iraq.
But that’s not all.
As I mentioned in July, there were at least 8 big areas where Bush was terrible, including his administration’s attacks on voters’ rights, the Patriot Act, the mismanagement of FEMA, and the increase in the national deficit.
Also, Bush and Obama had a role to play in aiding Trump’s candidacy. Many of the people who were against the Democrats and other Republicans were anti-war. Besides those missteps I listed above, Bush also oversaw the greatest economic crisis we face since the Great Depression. Then Obama continued Bush’s wars, expanded the number of wars we were in, and left many people who were struggling out in the cold.
Sadly, some people are more than happy to forget these things in order to pile on Trump. While there are many, MANY good reasons to criticize Trump, too many people are skipping over Bush’s (and Obama’s) missteps and focusing on surface issues.
I’m just keepin’ it real.
3. Flake and Corker Highlight the Lack of Integrity Within the Republican Party.
Flake and Corker are among only 3 Senators to speak out against Trump and they’re on their way out. John McCain is the other senator. He’s 80 and he has cancer.
You don’t see other Republicans doing this, although some of them have opposed Trump with a few voters here and there.
These people are angry at Trump because he is rude, uncouth, hypocritical, immature, temperamental, and just plain mental. He has no respect for our armed forces and no respect for the office of the presidency. But do the Republicans oppose him on policy? Heck no.
Were they against the bombing on the airfield in Syria? No.
Were they against the attacks on net neutrality? No
Did they try to protect the privacy of ISP customers? No
Did they kill the bills aimed at repealing the ACA? No
Were they in favor of the Iran Nuclear Deal? No
Did they reject Trump’s request to increase our military budget? No. In fact, they and at least 8 Democrats voted to increase military spending to $700 billion.
Four Americans just died in Niger but no one is asking why we’re there in the first place.
Flake and Corker had voted for all of the policies Trump has promoted. And they are still trying to give unneeded tax cuts for the very wealthy.
The senators voted for all of Trump’s cabinet picks. And each of those picks was a person who opposed the cause of their department.
Among the worse picks are Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt. The latter would like to get rid of the Department of Education and suck public schools dry in favor of unaccountable charter schools. The latter is gutting the EPA and he just relaxed rules for 80,000 chemicals.
Flake and Corker also voted for Gorsuck’s butt.
Give me a break.
Bresnahan, John, Kim, Seung Min, and Schor, Elana. “Trump tries to rally Senate Republicans after reigniting civil war.” Politico. 24 Oct 2017. Web. <http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/trump-gop-civil-war-capitol-hill-visit-tax-244104>.
Collinson, Stephen. “Bush, Obama blasts will be water off Trump’s back.” CNN. 20 Oct 2017. Web. <http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/20/politics/donald-trump-barack-obama-george-w-bush-presidents/index.html>.
Isenstadt, Alex and Robillard, Kevin. “Flake announces retirement as he denounces Trump.” Politico. 24 Oct 2017. Web. <http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/flake-retiring-after-2018-244114>.
Nelson, Louis. “Trump and Corker hurl insults as GOP strives for unity.” Politico. 24 Oct 2017. Web. <http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/trump-attack-bob-corker-tax-reform-244102>.
Politico Staff. “Full text: Jeff Flake’s speech on the Senate floor announcing his retirement.” Politico. 24 Oct 2017. Web. <http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/24/jeff-flake-full-text-senate-speech-transcript-244116>.
Salam, Reihan. “No Bush, No Trump.” Slate. 20 Oct 2017. Web. <http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/10/without_president_george_w_bush_there_d_be_no_president_donald_trump.html>.