Sheep in Elephant Costumes

Imagine for a moment that this is how Senate Republicans had used their power over the past three and a half years:

  • Objected to the appointment of a special counsel into an imaginary crime most Republican senators already knew at the time didn’t happen and denied funding for the probe when it was stacked with Trump-hating Democrats;
  • Instead of issuing subpoenas for the president’s son, they had subpoenaed every member of Barack Obama’s inner circle, including the former vice president, and held weeks of public hearings into how a foreign operative paid by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee peddled anti-Trump fabulism about Russian election “collusion” to some of the most powerful government officials in the country and the compliant news media in an attempt to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign;
  • Investigated Obama holdovers for their role in framing the president’s national security advisor, a three-star Army general;
  • Exposed the Obama-era officials who illegally leaked classified information to the media (and named the reporters involved) and made sure the Justice Department prosecuted those felonious partisans accordingly;
  • Supported the president’s national emergency order to secure the southern border;
  • Followed up on its own lengthy report detailing all the treachery associated with the character assasination of Brett Kavanaugh, including criminal referrals for perjury and the suspected involvement of Democratic staffers;
  • Called witnesses during the Senate impeachment trial including Rep. Adam Schiff, the contemptible chair of the House Intelligence Committee who lied to Congress and the public for three years about evidence of Russian collusion;
  • Drafted legislation to punish discriminatory social media companies now attempting to interfere in the 2020 election to favor Joe Biden and the Democrats.

This list could continue, but you get the point. One could convincingly argue that had Senate Republicans followed through on just half that list, we would be experiencing a very different political climate right now—one that didn’t reward lawlessness and promote thuggery, or leave our constantly-imperiled president out to dry.

Instead, aside from a brief burst of courage during the Kavanaugh debacle, Senate Republicans have been an embarrassment to the party—a textbook example of how to squander your political power and betray your constituents. The past few weeks have been a particularly shameful period for Senate Republicans; while the country burned, they had little or nothing to say in defense of the country or our president. 

One senator, a former Republican candidate for president who lost a winnable race, continued his execrable, boot-licking slide to the Left without a word of objection from his colleagues. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) marched with Black Lives Matter, an extremist insurgency hellbent on destroying every foundation of a free and civilized nation, in a show of solidarity. “Black Lives Matter,” he tweeted on June 7.

As usual, the only Republican leader who spoke up against Romney’s knee-bending was President Trump. When Trump randomly tweeted, “THE LONE WARRIOR!” a few days ago, he wasn’t being funny or even self-aggrandizing. Trump is almost single-handedly taking on the rampaging mob—this after fighting impeachment, dealing with an unprecedented national health crisis, and now orchestrated racial unrest just in the past six months alone. Senate Republicans, however, have not had the stomach or the cajones or the backbone to join the president in any of these fights.

To the contrary, Senate Republicans are capitulating to the Left. They canonized George Floyd, a repeat offender high on drugs when he was killed by a white Minneapolis cop. One by one, GOP senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, fed into the trope that the country is afflicted with “systemic racism” and blacks are routinely killed by whites because we are a fundamentally racist nation. 

After mentioning Floyd and the names of two other blacks killed by whites over the past few months, McConnell preached: “These events do not look like three isolated incidents,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on June 1. (They were, of course, isolated incidents, each with circumstances very different from the others.) “They look more like the latest chapter in our national struggle to make equal justice and equal protection under the law into facts of life for all Americans rather than contingencies that sometimes depend on the color of one’s skin.”

In a video posted on Twitter, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) echoed these treacly boiler plate sentiments. But he went a step further, insisting the riots and violence that had decimated cities across the land the prior weekend were caused by “domestic terror groups on BOTH the far left and right.” (He later tried to walk that claim back when pushed for evidence.)

And when Trump made his walk across Lafayette Square to stand up against the mobs attempting to vandalize an historic church, Senate Republicans clucked in disapproval. “I’m against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop,” lectured Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of many known politicians who took the oath of office while touching a Bible. Sasse later said that he would support Democrats’ calls to investigate Trump’s visit to St. John’s Church.

This week, Senate Republicans continue to beclown themselves. During a June 30 appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) fumbled his way through a heated interview about his bill to make it easier to sue police officers and his support for Black Lives Matter. Just as statues of Christopher Columbus started to fall across the country, Senators James Lankford (R-Ok.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) introduced a bill to scrap Columbus Day and instead declare a national holiday for Juneteenth.

Democrats have been rebranding Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day, so why shouldn’t the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee play along?

But it isn’t just Senate Republicans acting badly. The Republican governors of Texas and Arizona are succumbing to the latest coronavirus hysteria by reinstituting nonsensical and unscientific lockdown orders. Doug Ducey and Greg Abbott once again have ordered the closure of various businesses, including bars and fitness centers, while limiting the number of free citizens allowed to congregate on private property. On Thursday, Abbott issued a mandatory face-covering order which applies to people outside and children over age 10. Anyone caught violating Abbott’s decree after one warning will be fined $250.

Who needs Andrew Cuomo when you’ve got Greg Abbott?

There is much more at stake in November than the White House. Republicans hold the slimmest of margins in the Senate with several GOP incumbents on the ropes. State legislatures will control redistricting decisions after the 2020 census is complete, with huge ramifications for the political future of the country.

This is no time for weakness, let alone groveling to the Left. Republicans in the Senate have done little with their power while their Democratic counterparts in the House have run roughshod over their political opponents, especially the president. Time is ticking; Republicans need to wield their power forcefully and unflinchingly over the next four months—or they will deserve to lose it in November.

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.

Photo: Getty images

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