The Universal Notebook: RIP, GOP

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Not all Republicans are racists, sexists, conspiracy theorists, and enemies of American democracy. Just those who supported and continue to support Donald J. Trump. 

Trump himself tops the list of Republican scoundrels, but they have become almost too numerous to count. We have plenty right here in Maine, but editorial space constrains me to the ne’er-do-wells on the national stage.  

Former Veep Mike Pence, for starters, wants to be president so badly that he can overlook the fact that Trump almost got him killed on Jan. 6. And U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz once understood that Trump is “a pathological liar,” but, like all spineless Republicans, now kisses The Donald’s ring. Cruz is the kind of leader who runs off to sun himself in Cancun in the middle of the Texas deep freeze. 

Neither Pence nor Cruz will ever be president of the United States, nor will any of the GOP Gang of 147 who voted not to certify the 2020 election results the same day their violent supporters sacked the U.S. Capitol.

Then there are sicko sycophants like Florida Rep. Mark Gaetz, another Big Lie promoter whose political future seems dead now that he is being investigated as a sexual predator. Or worse still, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the nastiest member of Congress. Greene spends her time personally attacking her Democratic colleagues and comparing public health masking policies to Nazi policies requiring Jews to wear yellow Star of David badges during the Holocaust.  

And there should be a special place in hell reserved for the 35 Republican senators who voted against forming a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. No doubt they realized that exposing the truth about the attack would cost Republicans dearly in the 2022 midterm elections.

Still, every honest American already knows that Trump incited the riot, his followers marched on the Capitol on his orders, the people’s house was trashed, people died, and, oh yes, several Republicans in Congress appear to have been in cahoots with the mob.

The total hypocrisy of the GOP is evident in the bald-faced about-faces some Republican representatives did after Jan. 6. There’s Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, who was seen during the riot helping to barricade doors against the invaders. Clyde now calls the attack a “normal tourist visit.”

Only if your tourists are Huns and vandals.

And then there’s House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, the prince of turncoats.

Of the Jan. 6 insurrection, McCarthy initially said, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.” Later, after a trip to Mar-a-Lago, McCarthy did a whiplash 180, saying, “I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally.”

What Trump said to incite his supporters to riot was that they had to “stop the steal.” And he exhorted them to “fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

That seems to resonate with Gen. Michael Flynn, briefly Trump’s national security adviser, because he now openly advocates a military coup, like the one in Myanmar, to put Trump back in office. I never thought I’d live to see the day when treason became a plank in the Republican Party platform.

To paraphrase Flynn himself, “Lock him up! Lock him up!”

By repeating the Big Lie, abandoning all principles of democracy, embracing totalitarianism and voter suppression, Republican scoundrels everywhere are ensuring that Trump has no political future, nor does the Grand Old Party.

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.