An Article That Captures What Inadequate Republican Leadership Looks Like

On this 4th of July, I hope Americans really reflect on the system of government the Founders created, the benefits we’ve enjoyed from it, and all the people who have gave their lives to launch and preserve it. I hope they realize that this system is not guaranteed, and that they heed those who believe it is currently under threat.

Rep. Liz Cheney has been raising alarms about this, and I view these efforts, as well as her work in the 1/6 Committee, as a robust defense of our constitutional system–something that stands in stark contrast with Republicans who have actively supported Trump’s undermining of our system, or those who have largely remained silent. Among the latter, I’m especially disappointed, perplexed, and exasperated by those who know better, who actually care about the country, but have decided to sit on the sidelines

I include Sen. Romney among this group, and his piece in the Atlantic today is not only disappointing, but also exasperating. I’ll expand on this in the next section.

One thought on “An Article That Captures What Inadequate Republican Leadership Looks Like

  1. Before I begin I need to acknowledge that Sen. Romney has good intentions. He’s calling on Americans to face serious problems we face, and for the most part I agree with the problems he mentions, especially the threat to democracy. This is more than what 99% of congressional Republicans have done. So why am I so critical of Romney?

    First of all, he attempts to frame these issues in a both-sides way–i.e., both Republicans and Democrats are denying serious threats. Romney suggests the left, and presumably Democrats, aren’t taking inflation and immigration. I’m sure this description does fit some of them, but I don’t think this describes Democratic leadership, like Joe Biden, or the mainstream press. There is no comparison with the way the right and Conservative media have dealt climate change and the 1/6 insurrection. There we have not only denial, but lying.

    Second, Romney says something that makes me want to pull out my hair:

    What clears the scales from the eyes of a nation? Pearl Harbor did. 9/11 did. A crisis can shake the public consciousness. But a crisis may come too late for a course correction that can prevent tragedy.

    1/6 insurrection was such a crisis, but members of his party and the Conservative press made a concerted effort to downplay the event, preventing the scales from completely falling off in my view (after initially condemning the insurrection and Trump’s role in it). I include Republicans who have done little or nothing to push back against Trump’s lies. To my knowledge, no Democratic leader or mainstream news outlet has committed such a dereliction. It’s not even close.

    It’s important to really grasp the enormity of what I’m saying above: Republican members of Congress, GOP party leaders, and Conservative media outlets have either directly or indirectly aided Trump in overturning an election. Some of them likely knew this was a lie and that Trump was a threat to democracy. The members that didn’t aid these effort largely stood silently–and I include Sen. Romney among them.

    Sen. Romney goes on:

    The only cure for wishful thinking is leadership.

    And what would that leadership would like now? Here are some examples the type of leadership we need now: Sen. Romney calls a press conference with Chuck Schumer and telling the American people the following:

    A. Donald Trump is lying–and has been lying for a long time. The 2020 election was not rigged. There was no fraud that could overturn the election. He legitimately lost, and Joe Biden won fair and square.

    B. Many of my Republican colleagues–many in the GOP leadership and Conservative media–know this is true. But they’ve been lying to you.

    C. They also have known, for a long time, that Donald Trump is so unfit that he poses a serious danger to the country. Yet, they have either chosen to obfuscate this fact or kept silent about it.

    D. Let me confess now to you the American people that I should have spoken and done more to stop the threat posed by Donald Trump and my fellow Republicans who have supported him. For this I am sorry.

    E. Donald Trump and his supporters–including those in Congress, those in the media, and those on the local and state levels–pose a serious threat to our republic. I urge all Americans to support politicians and local and state officials, especially those seeking positions that affect our elections, who respect the rule of law and the Constitution, while rejecting those who believe in the lies about 1/6 and who believe those votes should have been de-certified.

    F. This is not a partisan issue. That’s why I’m standing with Leader Schumer and my Democratic colleagues today. We have to take this issue seriously. Our democracy is at grave risk.

    (G. Behind the scenes, Romney could also encourage other Republicans like Senators Murkowski, Sasse, Collins or anyone else to stand with him in this press conference. And he and these others should continue speaking out and taking steps until Trump and his supporters fail to win any elections.)

    Now, maybe my suggestions are flawed or unwise. That could be. However, to me, this would be a way Romney and other Republicans and Conservatives could lead a robust defense of the Constitution. What they’re doing now, including Romney, is a failure to keep their oath to support and defend the Constitution.

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