Appreciative words for Principled Republicans

Posted by Tom Camfield

“History will be kind to the long and growing list of conservatives, Republicans and former Republicans who have had the courage to aggressively confront the attack against America by Russian dictator Putin, and President Trump, who is ominously uninterested in confronting Putin’s attack against American and European democracy.”—Brent Bukowsky, The Hill, July 18, 2018

How will my trolls take exception to this blog, I wonder. I’m not saying that only a few Republicans are principled; I’m not even inferring that. I am saying that here’s a sampling of opinion from a few of the country’s best-known and most-respected members of the GOP.

Actually, however, I may be slightly unfair in still including George Will as “Republican.” This long-time icon of American journalism, political commentator and conservative columnist—long considered a “champion of political conservatism”—denounced the party of Donald Trump two years ago (late June 2016) and announced he had changed his affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated. But that just strengthens my point here of social conscience in politics. (And Wikipedia, by the way, still lists Will as Republican.) “This is not my party,” Will said in 2016.

In any case, I fervently hope that a majority of voters will be heeding Will’s example on Nov. 6 and clean out Congress as a weapon against demented Donald—leaving him to rant and denigrate the entire legislative branch for two years while skipping along hand-in-hand with  Vladimir Putin. If only we could come up with a veto-proof Democratic Congress, we could render Donald relatively irrelevant.          

On July 13, even before the Helsinki fiasco, Will published a column in the Washington Post explaining his view, titled “Vote against the GOP this November,” in which he argued that the number of Republicans in Congress “must be substantially reduced.”

George Will is not a man who squanders words nonchalantly. He is a top-of-the-line journalist who exemplifies the honorable use of Free Speech. And I say this although he and I still are conservative/liberal politically. But we do agree on one thing: Donald Trump is a menace to all that is good about a democratic American society.

Will’s July 18 column in The Washington Post concluded about Donald: “This sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.” The column began: “America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing day care. It was a useful, because illuminating, event. Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.” 

THE COLLUSION FACTOR—A key paragraph in Will’s column read: “We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, downing civilian airliners, attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).”

I suggest that whatever political philosophy to which you may adhere that you check out Will’s columns, easily brought up on the Internet.

John McCain is another sort of Republican but I’m sure is the sort with whom Will would sit down and have a beer. They share a social conscience of significance. First off, I’d like to note that the Internet is overrun with derogatory lies about McCain’s military years, the nature of his imprisonment by the North Vietnamese, etc. I suggest that those thus influenced check the specious allegations out through Snopes.com.

I have always been impressed by the fact that after 5.5 years as a prisoner of war, he declined an offer of early release due to the fact that his father was an admiral in charge of the U. S. Pacific Command. Now in the grasp of an aggressive brain cancer that most likely is terminal, McCain still has not forsaken a principled code of military conduct or his underlying social conscience. And he has not lost a beat mentally (see following).

Don’t get me wrong. I have not liked his conservative politics, his campaign for the presidency, his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate and her enlivenment of the Tea Party that has so eroded our democratic system. But when the chips are really, really down, he comes up on the side of the people—as in: Sep 22, 2017 - McCain, who has brain cancer, cast the decisive vote that halted the GOP's first ObamaCare repeal attempt.” (Republican Senators Collins and Murkowski also crossed party lines in the same virtuous way in the public’s behalf.)

If John is going to be leaving us any time soon, it will be with his boots on and in a blaze of glory.  Here’s what he had to say following Donald Trump’s vainglorious visit with Vladimir Putin in Finland:

Washington, D.C., July 16– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on President Trump’s meeting and press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki:

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world. 

“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”

Elsewhere—Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ): “I never thought I would see the day when our American president would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression.“

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said the other day that President Donald Trump’s advisers should consider leaving the White House if Trump continues to publicly disparage the nation’s intelligence community and cast doubt on the evidence that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, "As I have said repeatedly, the Russians are not our friends, and I entirely agree with the assessment of our intelligence community.” He didn’t answer when asked if he was disappointed Trump didn’t side with the U.S. intelligence community.

Trump’s denials that Russia attempted to interfere in the election have been one of the few things about which House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has been willing to publicly criticize the president. He repeated that criticism in a statement Monday. ”There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world,” he said.

Mostly, however, Republican members of Congress reacted to President Trump’s performance beside Vladimir Putin in Helsinki with silence.

Another telling portion of the Will column referenced above: Americans elected a president who — this is a safe surmise — knew that he had more to fear from making his tax returns public than from keeping them secret. The most innocent inference is that for decades he has depended on an American weakness, susceptibility to the tacky charisma of wealth, which would evaporate when his tax returns revealed that he has always lied about his wealth, too.

"A more ominous explanation might be that his redundantly demonstrated incompetence as a businessman tumbled him into unsavory financial dependencies on Russians. A still more sinister explanation might be that the Russians have something else, something worse, to keep him compliant.”

Your turn, trolls. those of you who don’t like my attitude. Why is it you defend so vigorously in general, but without detail, the likes of a completely self-involved, devious and deceitful individual such as Donald Trump? And do you support his slavish deference to a foreign dictator? 

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