Americans have had challenges before for sure. The great depression, WWll, and Watergate for example, but during those times there was bi-partisan leadership for dealing with these challenges. Senator Capper, a very conservative Kansas Republican, worked with FDR on much of what had to be done to overcome the great depression. WWll brought us together like never before (or since) with our own General Eisenhower playing a key role. In the Nixon debacle, fellow Republicans, Senator Howard Baker for example, played key roles in holding their Party’s leader accountable. Today with rare exceptions, Republicans are almost totally united in defending whatever President Trump has done or said. Their collective behavior makes surviving as a Democracy, a governance model that has spread around the world, to be the greatest American challenge since the Civil War.
That brings us to the Saturday vote on impeachment. Senator Moran, you were there in the 90’s for a House vote for the Clinton trial on impeachment where lying about sex with a White House Intern rose to the level for you to vote to impeach. Senator Marshall, you were not there, but I think it is fair to assume you would have likewise voted for impeachment and conviction. Given the issue involved then, compared to the actions of Trump in inciting a mob to violence on January 6th, threatening our Democracy, doesn’t that make your votes on the impeachment of former President Trump all the more difficult to defend—false constitutional challenges aside?
And, Senator Moran, it cannot be ignored that this most recent acquittal vote follows in the wake of your earlier impeachment decision to excuse Trump’s effort to extort a foreign leader and government to create false information for the purpose of influencing this past election. What legal or ethical standard do you apply in making these fundamental decisions affecting our national interest and character? Or do you believe that your perceived interest in political self-preservation and an unrestrained commitment to partisanship must always prevail?
Obviously, neither of you were seriously bothered by the fact Vice President Pence’s life was under real threat that January 6th day in the Capitol because he was not doing what President Trump wanted (i.e., reversing the vote of the Electoral College). That threat toward Vice President Pence was clearly provoked by Trump talking directly to his followers, taped for the world to see. Trump made it clear that, in his opinion, his Vice President had the opportunity and the need to act and have the courage to unconstitutionally invalidate the election.
Maybe most surprising is that after you were both there, front row and all, and after getting over I assume the initial shock of having your own lives at serious risk, you two cast votes as if it were no big deal that the Vice President and members of Congress, including the Speaker, were targeted to be assassinated and that the lives of police officers were threatened and lost.
What would a Republican President in the very last days of his or her administration have to do to get your concern? How many people, for example, would have to die due to the President’s instigation? How more threatened would our Constitution and Democracy have to be for you to vote for conviction? Keep in mind, the former President’s defense focused almost exclusively on Constitutional grounds with little or nothing on his innocence for January 6th. In fact, Leader McConnell used his speech after the vote to make the case that Trump was in fact guilty, before explaining his own vote to acquit, based on the situation he created by not taking up the case until after Trump's term had ended. This defense was so paper thin that it was even surprising to hear from the mouth of McConnell, who spent four years looking the other way on Trump's conduct in order to accomplish his singular focus on confirming his often totally unqualified judicial nominees. To say it's been a low point for the GOP would be an enormous understatement, and you Kansas Senators have been right there to cheer it on.
Setting aside all of the above, how do you see your actions helping the Republican Party going forward to reestablish some level of normalcy, some common sense that puts the real interests of the American people first? Today’s Republican Party is certainly not the one that included Dole, Kassebaum, Pearson, Sebelius, and Myers. Most importantly, the American people benefit when we have two strong, sane political parties that represent different positions but who, notwithstanding these differences, are always in the end working to do what is best for the Country. What is the benefit of placing the interests of one man over all the principles that have guided the Republican Party in the past? And how does this serve our nation?
Aren’t your actions of putting re-election and Party affiliation over upholding your oath to defend the Constitution and our Democracy something very awkward to explain?