WASHINGTON — A former Republican officeholder — who was highly effective at his job — recently asked me if returning to politics in the current atmosphere was worth the effort. Would being a GOP legislator in the Trump era involve too many sacrifices of principle? Does federal office even matter as much as it used to? Wouldn’t writing books or running a charity be a better use of time and talent?
I understand the reluctance. Being a public official in 2019 not only requires constant fundraising and family sacrifice, it involves the possibility of being captured by smartphone camera at nearly every public moment and being subjected to constant internet calumny. And it is not possible in much of the country for a Republican to run and win as an anti-Trump candidate. Even Mitt Romney had to pull back from his criticisms of President Trump to win a Senate seat.
These concerns are a concentrated version of a dilemma faced by many citizens. Is politics too damaged to justify our continued engagement as donors, activists and voters? Wouldn’t it be more effective and satisfying to improve the community in nonpolitical ways — giving to a soup kitchen instead of a politician, volunteering at a senior center instead of knocking on doors in a precinct?
These questions have a personal relevance. In a variety of public and private posts over the last 30 years, I have done my part to give the center-right party in America an agenda and message of social justice, rooted in ideals of solidarity with the poor and suffering and a concern for the common good. That project is in ruins. The constituency for compassionate conservatism (as a friend put it) is less of a political party than a dinner party. The main messages of today’s GOP are demographic panic, ethno-nationalist pride and a nihilistic destruction of norms, institutions and elites.
So why should a Republican run for office, donate to a candidate or even stay in a party that has gone off the moral rails?
My best answers:
Because the moment is perilous. The next two years may see a crisis of democratic legitimacy. It is quite possible that the pressures of investigation could further destabilize the president’s personality, causing him to lash out in unpredictable and unconstitutional ways. It is quite possible that Trump will question the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election if he loses. In either scenario, responsible Republican figures would be required to defend the integrity of federal law enforcement or the electoral process. And this may determine a great deal about the country’s future.
Because the moment is not permanent. Having left behind a trail of ruin, Donald Trump will one day face his own reckoning — from federal law enforcement, from the impeachment process or from a disgusted electorate. The essential work beyond that point will be institutional repair. Someone will be charged with restoring honor, integrity and dignity to the office of president of the United States, to the leadership of the House and Senate, and to the Republican Party (if its reputation is not broken beyond repair). Someone will be charged with reaching across jagged divisions and restoring a sense of shared national purpose. Someone will need to reknit the shredded democratic norms of civility, moderation and compromise.
Because the demands of conscience and justice remain pressing. Bluntly: The argument that citizens should take a break from politics because it is so corrupted and corrupting is often made by relatively comfortable white people. If you lived in a neighborhood where the schools are dysfunctional and the foster system is dangerously broken, there would be no vacation from governmental failure. If you lived in a country where young women are routinely infected with HIV or where children die from malaria, America’s global role would matter greatly to you. Those who downplay the importance of politics are generally insulated from the consequences when governing goes wrong. The demands of justice do not go away when citizens are disillusioned with the practice of politics. To the contrary, the scale of injustice tends to increase as responsible citizens abandon the political enterprise.
To my Republican friend thinking about running for office: We are headed into a time of political testing, when the right words from a responsible conservative might turn some crucial tide. It is also a time when some form of a center-right party (whatever it is called) will be reconstituted at the national level. And it is always a time when the suffering and vulnerable need allies.
Our nation was fortunate in the quality of its founders. Soon our political culture may require a re-founding. And this is a high calling.
(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group
Source: Real Clear Politics
Scott Morefield | Reporter
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs criticized Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and other Republican critics of President Donald Trump’s latest comments about late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Speaking with former Reagan’s campaign director Ed Rollins on Wednesday evening about the president’s recent positive polling within the Republican Party, Dobbs gave GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel “great credit” before ripping Trump’s GOP critics.
“These are better numbers than Reagan had and Nixon had when they both had 49 state victories,” Rollins said, referring to the fact that 78 percent of Republicans are enthusiastic about Trump. “I am not predicting that, but I’m simply predicting there are a lot of Republicans out there ready for the fight. They are proud of this president. They want this president reelected.”
“We’re starting to see some movement within the party,” Dobbs noted. “And by the way, I think Ronna McDaniel deserves great credit, the chair of RNC, for holding the line and supporting this president with full support, when there are people like, say, Mitt Romney for example, undercutting this president because he made some nasty remarks about John McCain. There is a reason for those nasty remarks. There is a history between those two men. And the people who are attacking him, including Mitch McConnell attacking the president for his views on John McCain, is asinine.” (RELATED: Trump Says John McCain Put Him In ‘Jeopardy’ By Giving Dossier To FBI)
Romney tweeted Tuesday his criticism of Trump’s McCain comments, writing:
I can’t understand why the President would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 19, 2019
Dobbs and Rollins ended the segment with a discussion about McCain’s Obamacare vote and the “bad history” between Trump and the late senator.
“I knew John well, and liked him over the years,” said Rollins. “But the reality is Trump did what he had to do and won a big, big election …”
Source: The Daily Caller
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, came to the defense of the late Sen. John McCain on Tuesday after President Donald Trump launched another verbal attack at the former war hero and POW.
"I can't understand why the president would, once again, disparage a man as exemplary as my friend John McCain: heroic, courageous, patriotic, honorable, self-effacing, self-sacrificing, empathetic, and driven by duty to family, country, and God," Romney tweeted.
Trump and McCain feuded ever since the former called into question McCain's status as a war hero during the 2016 presidential campaign. McCain, who died last August after a battle with brain cancer, also cast the deciding vote that prevented the Senate from repealing Obamacare in 2017. It has been reported McCain gave the FBI a portion of the salacious, unverified dossier about Trump shortly before Trump took office.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter
- Freshman Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Braun of Indiana are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act.
- Scott and Braun want to put an end to lawmakers stepping into the so-called “revolving door of K Street” — using their connections to become well-heeled lobbyists once they are out of office.
- “I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, co-sponsor of a recently introduced bill banning ex-members of Congress from lobbying Congress, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview his bill would help get Congress out of a “rut” — but he’s not expecting the legislation to gain traction anytime soon.
“I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun said. “But so many incentives are put in place with pensions, the ability after you’re done to become a lobbyist, so you do nestle in, and then you start maybe not making the right long-term decisions. You basically make a decision: what will be best for me to nestle in further, be around here longer.”
Braun and Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act, introduced Feb. 28. Braun connected the legislation to his reform agenda, including doing away with taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress. (RELATED: Two Senators Introduce Bill To Keep Members Of Congress From Cashing In As Lobbyists)
Although the lawmakers are “barking up the right tree,” their solution might not be realistic, a government transparency expert told TheDCNF.
“You generally do see more of a reform agenda from some of the newer members that come into the Senate or into the House. We’re hoping some of their policies actually gain traction and can be supported in a bipartisan way,” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, said in a phone interview. “The public is tired of politics as usual.”
Scott and Braun want to put an end to lawmakers stepping into the so-called “revolving door of K Street.” Current law mandates ex-House members must wait a year to lobby their former colleagues, while ex-senators must wait two.
Few have voiced opposition to the BLAST Act, but Braun predicts “people from everywhere coming out against it” if it ever received a committee hearing.
“Part of it would have to be where you grandfather the people that are here so you can get people to vote for it,” Braun said. “To be honest, there’s not enough urgency among the average individual here … That’s what we’ve had running the place the last three, four decades and look at the results.”
Scott and Braun’s bill could have unintended consequences, Bruce Mehlman of lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas told TheDCNF.
“The bigger challenge is that registered lobbying represents only a small part of the total spent on influencing government policy, and this proposed law would merely encourage even more ex-Members to avoid disclosure while serving as ‘senior advisors,’ ‘strategists’ or ‘consultants at law and PR firms,’” Mehlman said in an email.
“Whenever you’ve got a system that is so ingrained like this one, I’m sure there will be resourceful ways to skirt,” Braun said in response. “If you craft good legislation from the get-go … you have a way to at least throw something out there as the first barricade.”
Braun also discussed President Donald Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” slogan, which the senator said he used some while campaigning.
“I think [Trump] just shook the system, like maybe on the Richter scale a seven earthquake, but not many buildings toppled,” Braun said.
Braun and Scott want to topple those buildings one at a time, although it’s slow-going. Both were in the small club of freshman senators who arrived on Capitol Hill for the start of the 116th Congress. They would always beat the other lawmakers to lunch by at least 15 minutes, and a friendship was born, Braun said.
“Scott said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve always believed in being punctual,’ and I said, ‘Well, I just like to be the first one in the food line,’” Braun said with a laugh.
They’ve worked on numerous reform-minded pieces of legislation together, including a bill introduced during the partial government shutdown to cut off congressional salaries if Congress fails to pass a budget. It gathered more than 10 cosponsors.
“I think until Scott and I got here a lot of people spoke about it in their campaigns, but we’re in here actually dropping bills. That’s the difference,” Braun said.
Braun is serving his first term in the Senate after beating former Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly in a close race during the 2018 midterm elections. A former state representative, Braun grew his father’s automotive parts business Meyer Distributing and has a multimillion-dollar net worth. He self-funded his Senate campaign through the Republican primary, reported The Indianapolis Business Journal.
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Source: The Daily Caller
Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent
President Donald Trump vetoed a congressional disapproval resolution of his national emergency declaration at the U.S. southern border Friday afternoon, in a ceremony at the Oval Office.
Trump’s national emergency declaration nearly a month ago is paired with a number of executive actions designed to make approximately $8 billion of funding available to begin construction on a wall along the southern border.
The resolution passed the Republican controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House by a large majority and officially registers a rebuke of Trump’s action. The resolution is non-binding however unless both chambers of Congress are able to muster a two-thirds majority, support they are not currently able to demonstrate.
Trump made his intentions clear before the vote in a simple tweet:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
Twelve Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for the resolution saying that Trump is circumventing Congress’s enumerated power of the purse to appropriate funds and using them as he pleases. Nearly all have noted that future Democratic presidents would exploit Trump’s action and declare their own national emergencies to fulfill campaign promise
The senators’ main concern centered on the idea that Trump is circumventing Congress’s enumerated power of the purse to appropriate funds and use them as he pleases. Nearly all have noted that future Democratic presidents would exploit Trump’s action and declare their own national emergencies to fulfill campaign promises. (RELATED: 3 Senate Republicans Are Banding Together To Support Resolution To Terminate Trump’s National Emergency)
They included Sens. Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey, Roy Blunt, Lamar Alexander, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Jerry Moran, Mike Lee, and Roger Wicker.
Trump made clear ahead of the vote and after the vote that he would issue a swift veto. The veto will likely put the matter to rest as neither chamber of Congress appears to have the necessary two-thirds majority to overturn Trump’s veto.
Source: The Daily Caller
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican opposition grew Thursday to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwest border as the Senate chugged toward a showdown vote that seemed certain to rebuff him despite his last-minute warnings.
GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Mitt Romney of Utah Romney became the sixth and seventh Republicans to say they’d vote Thursday for a resolution to annul the border emergency Trump declared last month.
Just four GOP defections would ensure the measure would be sent to the White House, where Trump has promised a veto. There is no indication that foes of his declaration have the votes to overturn his veto, and Trump said as much at midday.
“I’ll do a veto. It’s not going to be overturned,” Trump told reporters. “It’s a border security vote.”
He did not answer when reporters asked if there would be consequences for Republicans who vote against him.
But a White House official said Trump won’t forget when senators want him to attend fundraisers or provide other help. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations.
Trump wants to use his declaration to steer $3.6 billion more than Congress has approved for building border barriers than Congress has approved.
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Trump’s rejection of Lee’s proposal left many Republicans boxed in: defy Trump and the conservative voters who back him passionately, or assent to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and dangerous expansion of presidential authority.
Democrats, set to oppose him, said there was no emergency at the border. They said Trump issued his declaration only because Congress agreed to provide less than $1.4 billion for barriers and he was desperate to fulfill his campaign promise to “Build the Wall.”
“He’s obsessed with showing strength, and he couldn’t just abandon his pursuit of the border wall, so he had to trample on the Constitution to continue his fight,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
On the Senate floor, Alexander — one of the chamber’s more respected lawmakers — said Trump’s emergency action was “inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I took an oath to support,” citing the power Congress has to control spending. Romney, his party’s 2012 presidential nominee, used a written statement to called Trump’s declaration “an invitation to further expansion and abuse by future presidents.”
The defections by the two high-profile lawmakers added weight to the growing list of GOP opponents to his border emergency, and left little doubt that the Republican-run Senate would snub Trump. The challenge in a battle related to his signature issue — building barriers along the Mexican border — is striking.
Thursday’s vote would be the first time Congress has rejected a presidential emergency under the 1976 National Emergency Act. While presidents have declared 58 emergencies under the statute, this is the first aimed at acquiring money for an item Congress has explicitly refused to finance, according to Elizabeth Goitein, co-director for national security at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice.
On Twitter, Trump called on Republicans to oppose the resolution, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., helped drive through the House last month.
“Today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” he tweeted, invoking the name of a Democrat who boatloads of GOP ads have villainized in recent campaign cycles.
Republicans had hoped that if Trump would endorse a separate bill by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, constraining emergency declarations in the future, it would win over enough GOP senators to reject the resolution blocking his border emergency.
But Trump told Lee on Wednesday that he opposed Lee’s legislation, prompting Lee himself to say he would back the resolution thwarting the border emergency in Thursday’s vote. Trump tweeted Thursday if Congress wants to amend the law governing emergency declarations in the future, “I will support those efforts.”
Other GOP senators who’ve said they’d vote to overturn Trump’s border emergency were Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Tillis, though, has wavered in recent days. He and Collins face potentially competitive re-election fights in 2020.
Republicans control the Senate 53-47.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is backing Trump, went to the White House late Wednesday to see if some compromise could be reached that would help reduce the number of GOP senators opposing the border emergency, according to a person familiar with the visit who described it on condition of anonymity. Trump’s Thursday comments indicated the visit didn’t produce results.
The National Emergency Act gives presidents wide leeway in declaring an emergency. Congress can vote to block a declaration, but the two-thirds majorities required to overcome presidential vetoes make it hard for lawmakers to prevail.
Lee proposed letting a presidential emergency last 30 days unless Congress votes to extend it. That would have applied to future emergencies but not Trump’s current order unless he sought to renew it next year.
The strongest chance of blocking Trump is likely several lawsuits filed by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others.
Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.
Even Romney Who is a #NeverTrumper backs Trump on the #Shutdown Agreeing with Trump’s stance on the partial government closure, Romney backed Trump’s call for a wall on the southern boundary and also states he doesn’t comprehend the Democrats’ placing on the problem. ” You (Pelosi) and also your fellow Democrats have voted for over […]