Civic Virtue and the GOP

Every new revelation brings us farther beyond some red line or other that ought to have triggered serious consideration of impeachment. Yet Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and nearly all the rest of the Hill GOP feign obliviousness. They are Sgt. Schultz. They see nothing. They know nothing. They hide to avoid having to answer questions.

As a partisan political strategy, their silence might have the advantage of avoiding a confrontation with Trump that could turn him against their legislative agenda, elements of which he ought to be opposing right now as contrary to the interests of his base. The “healthcare” bill, despite its evolution during marathon secret GOP negotiations, remains a cynical exercise in shrinking Medicaid “handouts” to make way for tax cuts for the well-off. And Medicaid is a crucial program for a substantial fraction of the Trump Nation.

Whether or not the Sgt. Schultz routine is politically savvy, it is ethically deplorable. It reflects a contempt for civic virtue. There are times in the history of a political community when partisan maneuvering must take a back seat to stewardship. This is one of those times.

The White House is occupied by a dangerously uninformed, completely incompetent, indecent, classless bully whose words and actions amount to the political equivalent of criminal negligence at the least and who now has lost all credibility on the question of whether his campaign organization worked with Russian intelligence to throw the election in his favor.

For Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and most of the rest of the Hill GOP to whistle as they pass this set of enormities is a deep stain on our politics and should be answered in November 2018 in the only language these trustees of our republic apparently understand.

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