So a look at the results of the 2016 presidential election in the great state of Tennessee reveals the following:
Donald Trump: 1,522,925 — 60.7%
Hillary Clinton: 870,695 — 34. 7%
Seems pretty definitive to me. The people of the Volunteer State voted overwhelmingly for Trump, for change — and against the Establishment, the latter stubbornly unwilling to do what GOP voters have demanded in bringing that change.
Now comes Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker to say this:
WASHINGTON — Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”
In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”
“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”
Mr. Corker’s comments capped a remarkable day of sulfurous insults between the president and the Tennessee senator — a powerful, if lame-duck, lawmaker, whose support will be critical to the president on tax reform and the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.
It began on Sunday morning when Mr. Trump, posting on Twitter, accused Mr. Corker of deciding not to run for re-election because he “didn’t have the guts.” Mr. Corker shot back in his own tweet: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
Did I mention that the Senator has just recently announced he will not be running for re-election? Could it possibly be that this Never Trumper has looked again at those percentages from a year ago and come to the blinding reality of a conclusion that in a showdown between Bob Corker and Donald Trump — Trump wins?
All of which begets the obvious question. Isn’t it time for the good Senator to just resign — now?
There is a perfectly fine candidate to replace him — U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Congresswoman Blackburn has already declared for the Corker seat, but why wait? Governor Bill Haslam is a Republican and would surely appoint Blackburn. All those Democrats who are demanding more women in the Senate would surely be thrilled with Blackburn.
Oh wait. Marsha Blackburn is both a conservative Republican and — gasp! — a Trump supporter. She can’t possibly be a woman!
Actually those are all even more reasons to appoint her. My former CNN colleague Jason Miller caused a ripple yesterday when appearing on CNN’s New Day. Breitbart headlined his appearance this way:
CNN’s Jason Miller Calls on Bob Corker to Resign — Let Tennessee Governor Appoint Marsha Blackburn
Jason summarized the situation succinctly, my bold print for emphasis:
“I think it is important to point out Senator Corker has been attacking the president over the last couple of months here,” Miller said. “And obviously the president took issue with that. Look, Senator Corker definitely didn’t mind kissing up to President Trump when he wanted to be vice president when he wanted to be secretary of state. But now since he didn’t get either of these positions, and now he’s retiring, he seems to just be kind of letting it all hang out there. And I think it’s really showing the true colors of the swamp nature of Washington, D.C. that he is criticizing such basic tenets of the Republican platform like tax cuts.”
“And look, if Senator Corker is retiring and he doesn’t want to be in the U.S. Senate, and he doesn’t want to support President Trump, and he doesn’t want to support such basic conservative principles, he should just resign. Let the governor of Tennessee go and appoint a conservative like Marsha Blackburn, the congresswoman who is running to replace Senator Corker and get someone in there who is actually going to support the president.”
Bingo, Jason. Bingo.
Allow me to elaborate. Corker’s behavior is exactly what is wrong with the GOP Establishment. It explains exactly why Breitbart’s Steve Bannon is out there on a mission to get people like this out of the Senate. It explains why Judge Roy Moore won that Alabama Senate GOP primary. More to the point, it explains exactly why Donald Trump is in the White House in the first place.
The hard fact is that this Republican Senate is utterly incapable of passing the repeal and replace they have been promising for seven years. Is it any wonder the President said this last month?
“I thought that when I won (the election) I would go to the Oval Office, sit down at my desk, and there would be a healthcare bill on my desk, to be honest. And it hasn’t worked out that way. And I think a lot of Republicans are embarrassed by it.”
The President isn’t the only one who thought this. So too, one suspects, did Tennessee voters.
Out there in Arizona Bannon is going to do an event with Laura Ingraham for Dr. Kelli Ward, who is challenging GOP Senator Jeff Flake. As with Corker in Tennessee Flake has gotten on the wrong side of Arizona voters, with one poll having Flake losing his primary by as much as fourteen points.
Off-year elections have a historical tendency to be bad news for sitting presidents of either party. But the depth of pro-Trump feeling that is abroad in the land in the GOP base whether in Tennessee, Alabama, or Arizona or elsewhere says that 2018 could in fact be one very different off-year election, with angry Trump supporters turning out in droves to defeat GOP Establishment candidates whether they are sitting Senators — or not.
In the meantime? In the meantime, having made perfectly clear where he stands, Senator Corker should do the honorable thing by his constituents: resign. And move on.