Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 7:38 am | Overcast 65º


Dick Polman: What Will It Take for Republicans to Say Enough Is Enough?

Kudos to Reed Galen — a lifelong Republican, veteran of three presidential campaigns, son of former Republican operative Rich Galen — for articulating the obvious truths that his cowardly party brethren loath to admit.

After hearing the bombshell news that dim princeling Donald Trump Jr. gleefully emailed “I love it” at the prospect of getting Russian intel about Hillary Clinton, and took the meeting with his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Paul Manafort, Galen cut loose.

“The Republican Party I was born into and worked in for two decades is nearly gone,” he wrote. “Far from (advocating) a strong national defense, far too many members of the GOP appear ready and willing to die on the hill for a president who certainly would not do the same for them.

“How long will Republican leaders on Capitol Hill continue to defend the president, his family, and the strange actions related to one of our foremost foreign opponents?... How much longer will they man the ramparts for him?”

How much longer indeed. Because even now, even after top Trumpsters have finally been caught copping to collusion with the enemy, elected Republican leaders are still refusing to speak out. What’s their definition of a smoking gun — a video of President Donald Trump sleeping with Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s hackers?

What we got from senators of the party that once prided itself for being tough on Russia was denialism and silence.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said the emails are not “relevant to the administration.” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, “I don’t really have a reaction.” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., took refuge behind a closed door.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, tried to praise Jr. for releasing the emails, somehow forgetting that he released the emails only because The New York Times was poised to do it first, and that Junior’s coerced transparency came after two days of lies about his meeting with the Kremlin-connected lawyer.

Basically, they’re still fine with Russia penetrating our sovereignty, and with Russia’s chumps running the White House into the ground, as long as they can cling to their wet dream of getting Trump’s signature on a bill that slashes taxes for the wealthy and zaps health coverage for 20 million people.

Politically, Republicans do have a dilemma. If they stood tall and denounced Trump, and called for the impeachment proceedings that are so richly warranted, the Trumpkins back home would go bat-crazy. They’d stay home in the 2018 congressional midterms, convinced that Trump was being railroaded by “the Republican establishment.”

If I were to give Republican leaders the benefit of the doubt, I’d guess that they’re waiting for a sufficient share of Trumpkins to wake up to reality — something that could conceivably happen when the revelations become too explosive to dismiss.

As Galen acknowledges, “Only when the questions shift from, ‘How can you take away my health care?’ to ‘How can you support a president in league with the Russians?’ will we start to see any movement. Only when their home town newspapers, television and radio stations and local grandees start calling them out for their defense of indefensible behavior will Republican members stand up.”

It would be nicer, of course, if Republican leaders behaved like leaders instead of followers.

And there are plenty of people in the conservative commentariat to help stiffen their spines. On Fox News, right-wing pundit Charles Krauthammer remarked on Donald Junior’s emails: “To say ‘I love it’ contradicts six months of stories (denying any links to Russia). I defended them because, up until today, there was no there there. Now there is a there.”

Do Republicans on the Hill not think it’s significant that Trump’s eldest son took the meeting, and brought two other insiders to the meeting, without having checked out and vetted the Russian with whom they were meeting?

In Junior’s own words, he “was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.” That’s worse than amateur hour; that’s a security risk. What a disgrace that no Republican saw fit to condemn it immediately.

And who’s filling their moral vaccum? Trump. He tweeted madly the other morning, most notably this gem: “Remember, when you hear the words ‘sources say’ from the Fake Media, often times those sources are made up and do not exist.” Alas, his tiresome agitprop has been trumped by the words of his high-quality son.

All told, Galen says, “Every new angry tweetstorm pushes us further down the road to instability. President Trump is facing a crisis likely of his own making and certainly of his own behavior. Republicans need to be Americans first and tell him enough is enough: Put the country first; or let someone govern who will.”

“Country first.” At the end of the day, how is that not a no-brainer?

Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia, a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania and is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @DickPolman1. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >