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September 11, 2018


Professor Sheila S. Kennedy’s blog of yesterday poses the question of just where Senator Sasse of Nebraska stands as a conservative Republican who sometimes criticizes Trump (if mildly) and recently said that he was considering daily whether to give up his Republican status to become an independent. That is music to the ears of progressives like me, of course, but I want to hear the whole tune before deciding that here, finally, is a voice of reason in the cult jungle Trump has created with his vitriolic politics of resentment and victimhood. Professor Kennedy asked for comment, and here, slightly edited, was mine.

I join the wet blanket contingent on this blog in re Sasse, and suggest that the reason some of us are heartened by his discussion of approaches to issues is that there are so few if any Republicans who deviate from the Trump line that we are overly quick to give such a few deviants a pass. Yes, he is articulate. Yes, his talk of becoming an independent sounds good, but with no independent party in Washington, with whom will he caucus, a party of one? Let’s get real.

However attractive his words, the record shows that he votes with Trump time after time and is a hidebound conservative. He seems to want to have it both ways, i.e., mildly criticize Trump but vote the Trump line. How does that compute? The old saying of “Pretty is as pretty does” comes to mind, along with “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.” I note that he did not vote against the Trump-Ryan tax bill that amounted to a huge theft of taxpayer money (and that of taxpayers’ grandchildren) and I have not yet heard him complain of Trump’s tariffs (even though he is from a farm state with soybean farmers on the edge of bankruptcy who favor market capitalism but have become welfare recipients due to the whims of Trump, the tariff sheriff). Finally, the adages of “You can’t tell a book by its cover” and “He talks a good game” also come to mind.

Whether Sasse is courting a primary run against Trump in 2020 is immaterial since Trump will not weather the storm of impeachment and criminal indictment, or both, during the interim. I rather think he is positioning himself as an alternative to President Pence in 2020, and since both are right wing to a fault, I for one will be voting for (I hope) Elizabeth Warren.       GERALD         E



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