Wissot: Blame the voters, not just the politicians
The best of them are hilarious hypocrites like the House Republican from Pennsylvania, Glenn Thompson, who attended his gay son’s wedding three days after voting against a House bill that would have codified federal protections for same-sex marriage. Proving that chutzpah has no limits, his office released this statement after the wedding: “The Thompsons are very happy to welcome their new son-in-law into their family.”
The worst are cynical careerists like Sens. Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, all of whom trashed Donald Trump when they were competing against him for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and are now on their knees begging to kiss the former president’s ring.
Pond scum has more ethical integrity than many politicians. But marginally moral politicians only get elected because a majority of voters in their district or state find their hypocrisy and cynicism acceptable. Our own Lauren Boebert and Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene may be world-class wack jobs, but what about the voters who want wack jobs representing them? Don’t voters deserve some blame for the sorry state of our politics and the even sorrier crop of politicians who are elected to local, state and federal offices?
When Boebert said recently that “the church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church,” she made a mockery of the First Amendment’s commitment to the separation of church and state, but pleased voters in Colorado’s 3rd District who would love nothing more than to see America become a theocracy.
When Marjorie Taylor-Greene shamed a transgender woman in the Biden administration who was born Richard Levine by writing in a tweet “We must do everything we can to prevent Dr. Dick Levine’s pre-teen #Weenie Chop,” she appealed to voters in Georgia’s 14th District who despise LGBTQ people.
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The time has come to call out the voters who make it possible for Boebert and Taylor-Greene to get elected to Congress. Boebert would be back in Rifle packing heat while serving meat and Taylor Greene would resume her duties as a CrossFit trainer in an Alpharetta, Georgia, gym if voters in their respective districts weren’t crazy, or stupid, or both.
The Republican Party today bears little resemblance to the party that nominated Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and John McCain for president. None of those builders of the party’s conservative brand would want to stand on the same stage with election deniers and conspiracy liars like gubernatorial candidates Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania, Dan Cox of Maryland and Kari Lake of Arizona. Neither would they welcome any association with card-carrying members of the Benedict Arnold Society like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and the Boogaloo Bois.
The Republicans’ drift toward the dark side is a reflection of the kooks and cranks who have pushed it in that direction. If those voters refused to vote for crazy candidates in primaries, those candidates would lose. If those voters objected to the former president telling the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” he wouldn’t have sent that message to them.
William F. Buckley, the intellectual godfather of the conservative movement in the 1960s, expelled the John Birch Society from its ranks because he didn’t want to see his nascent movement contaminated by a group who claimed Eisenhower was a communist and his commie pals were busy putting fluoride in the nation’s drinking water. Fast forward to now and we have conspiracy addicts who believed that Hillary Clinton was running a “DC pizza-restaurant-child-sex-ring” finding sanctuary in the RINO-purged GOP. Defending the Republican descent into madness is becoming as impossible a task as defending OJ.
If it seems to you that I’m singling out Republicans for scathing criticism, you’d be right. The Dems are certainly guilty of bending, twisting, spinning the truth in their interviews, speeches and campaign ads. Three presidents from the party have told blatant lies. Joe Biden prevaricated about graduating in the top half of his law school class on a full academic scholarship; Bill Clinton “did” have sex with that woman; and Barack Obama earned a Pinocchio when he said “you can keep your health care plan.”
Democrats, however, don’t fertilize the political landscape with alternative facts. Only Republicans do that. Democrats don’t deliberately misinform and disinform the public. Only Republicans do that. Democrats don’t wage a war against the truth when it comes to unproven claims of voter fraud, science-based recommendations for reducing deaths in a pandemic, and the push to replace democracy with autocracy. Only Republicans do that.
I candidly admit I voted for Joe Biden. So if you don’t like spiraling inflation, obscene gas prices, an economy on the brink of a recession, a botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, baby formula shortages, confused messaging on COVID protocols, direct your anger towards me.
I helped elect Biden. Blame me for that. But if you voted for any of the 120 and counting election deniers (including Boebert and Taylor-Greene) who were rewarded with victories in the recent GOP primaries, I’m going to blame you. No voters like me. No Biden. No voters like you. No them.
Jay Wissot is a resident of Denver and Vail. Email him at email@example.com.