Long ago and, oh, so far away, an extremely famous Republican president was sitting drinking a bottle of his favorite, Johnny Walker Black. His companion was a high official but certainly no drinker. The question under discussion was, “Why are so many GOP representatives and solons deserting the party leader to join with the Democrats to move forward a bill of impeachment?”
Now, it’s good to remember that there was no Fox News Channel then and no Hannity and no Laura Ingraham and no Tucker Carlson. So there was a GOP channel, and it drew fantastic audiences, but it did not pull together a whole huge segment of the nation in a loyal marching order.
As I just said, the topic under discussion was why there was not a solid bloc of GOP M.C.s fighting tooth and nail to keep a GOP standard-bearer in office at the White House.
“The thing you have to remember,” said the rapidly aging president, “is that most Republican members of Congress aren’t fit to be dog catcher.”
This was a startling comment from a man who had been a solid Republican all his working life.
What’s worse is that with the passage of time and the demise of the man in question, I can no longer ask any follow-up questions. Why? Why were the Republicans in Congress so disorganized and slow to rally ’round the flag? Why, when the Democrats were so ferocious, were the GOP members so weak-kneed, so fearful, so damned afraid of being accused of being partisan when their living was in the most partisan game in the nation, namely, party politics?
All of this is racing through my bloodstream right now as a similar game is being played. Donald Trump has clearly done nothing seriously wrong. He has done the nation a huge amount of good economically and politically and militarily. Why are the GOP members deserting him not in huge numbers, but in numbers large enough to cost him the Oval Office if they keep at it?
Why are the Democrats so forceful and motivated and the GOP so laid-back?
I don’t know. There has just always been a power locus within the Democratic Party that just is not there among the Republicans. There is a power center within the Left that just does not exist inside the Democratic Party. The Democrats are more focused, more ready to fight, more willing to take to the barricades to win the game. And now, with the desertion of various women and Mitt Romney within the Grand Old Party, we’re seeing it again.
It’s a psychological issue. The Dems have no real political point of view they are willing to fight for and die for except for the life-and-death need to have power. Will this be enough? I am not sure. But I know that the party that wants to win the most has a very good chance of winning, and that scares me.
By every rational marker, the GOP should have a lay-down hand to win in 2020. A stellar record economically and in foreign policy. A charismatic leader. The only real question is who wants it the most. The Dems have offered Mr. Trump gifts from on high: Joe Biden and Liz Warren. Will that be enough? We’ll see. Nixon had enough gifts in 1972 to stay in office a thousand years, and it wasn’t enough. Will it be this time? We shall see.