The Universal Notebook: Are Republicans coming to their senses?

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Do you suppose Republicans are starting to get the message that America is sick and tired of their meanness? I’m not sure they are.

Paul LePage, for instance, thinks he lost so badly in his bid to become governor again because his message did not resonate with voters.

“We missed the message,” LePage rationalized. “It’s about abortion, not about heating oil.”

In fact, LePage lost so badly because decent Mainers didn’t want another four years of a belligerent bully in the Blaine House. That’s the same reason Donald Trump will lose badly if he runs in 2024.

Edgar Allen BeemAmericans — and some Republicans — are finally coming to their senses. They saw that most of the candidates who pledged allegiance to Trump lost in the midterm elections. They also saw how Trump incited his mob to riot and insurrection when he lost the 2020 election. They saw how he stole state secrets when he left office. They saw that the Trump Organization is guilty of tax fraud. They understand that Trump is and always has been a liar, a cheat and a criminal.

Some Republican lawmakers are unrepentant and irredeemable however. Take wannabe Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy for example. The day of and the day after Trump’s insurrection, McCarthy understood that Trump incited the riot and should resign and said so. Then he went down to Mar-a-Lago, kissed Trump’s ring (or something else) and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the speakership.

And then there’s Rep. Jim Jordan, the former Ohio State wrestling coach who knew about allegations of sexual abuse against the team doctor but never did anything about it. Jordan can’t wait to start House investigations of Hunter Biden and the Department of Justice. Remember how much time and taxpayer millions Republicans wasted investigating Hillary and Benghazi? Well, Jordan’s witch hunts will be far worse.

House Republicans are chattering like cats about to pounce at the prospect of hanging Hunter Biden around his father’s neck. The $11 million Hunter Biden may have received from Ukrainian and Chinese businesses, however, is chump change compared to the $2 billion sycophant son-in-law Jared Kushner got from the Saudis for persuading his father-in-law to ignore the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden just cashed in on his family name. Kushner helped Trump run the U.S. government as a subsidiary of the family business.

The coup de grâce for the GOP was Herschel Walker’s loss to Rev. Raphael Warnock in the runoff election for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia. Republican failures on November 8 were largely attributable to fielding terrible candidates and Walker was the worst.

No responsible adult of any political stripe can be forgiven for supporting the senate bid of a brain-damaged ex-football player with a history of domestic violence and paying for abortions. Walker’s only qualification was that he won the Heisman Trophy in 1982 while playing at the University of Georgia, but now it turns out he actually lives in Texas.

So this fall Americans saw just how bankrupt the Republican Party is. It has no candidates, no ideas, no solutions. It is a cult of personality that thrives on vindictiveness.

As if to underscore this point on a local level, eight Maine senate Republicans just blocked $500 million in heating assistance for Maine people simply because they couldn’t stand to have Gov. Mills, who had brokered the deal with leaders of both parties, look good. I guess they missed the message. It was all about heating oil after all.

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.

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