Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Put a Cork in It, Bob

As a case in point that even most non-Trumpy Republicans aren't willing to do what it takes to save the GOP, we give you... former Tennessee senator Bob Corker, who recently sat for an interview with Politico about life after Washington.

Roughly half the interview is empty fluff. We're glad for the former senator that he loves serving on corporate boards and playing golf, but, to be honest, we don't really care. Another 48% of the interview is Corker sounding like a very reasonable fellow, and lamenting how hard life in the Senate became for an alleged dealmaker like him. For example: "The number of people who are willing to burn political capital by reaching across the aisle to solve problems was diminishing. So no question: When you reached about year 10, you're impatient, you wanted to get things done, and when you realize that it's unlikely that that's going to happen—yes, you begin to look at other ways of productively living your life."

And then there was the 2% of the interview that actually caught our attention, best embodied by this quote: "I mean, if you look at the presidential race today, neither of the two leading candidates are even discussing solving our nation's biggest issues right now." There are a few more remarks along these lines, but this is the main one.

This is, to be blunt, absolutely ridiculous. Donald Trump does indeed spend most of his time talking about his personal grievances, and other non-essential things. But to suggest that Joe Biden is no better? Please. Take a look, for example, at the White House's "Statements and Releases" page. Not everything on the page ties to a specific issue (like, say, the tribute to Rep. Mary Peltola's husband), but here is a list of things that has come up in just the past week:

Again, that's just a week's worth. And yet, you could take that list and whip up a pretty decent approximation of the Democrats' 2024 platform (which, we assume, will be something more than "Eh. Whatever it was 4 years ago.").

Broadly speaking, we don't engage in advocacy when we write this site. It's not our place to tell readers who to vote for or what to believe about tax policy or whatever. However, was originally created to encourage people (especially people abroad) to vote. So, the one thing we will advocate openly for is democracy.

There are a number of explanations for Corker's ridiculous assessment of the presidential race, but we seriously doubt that he's not paying attention, or that he's so old that he thinks "the issues" are tariff rates and whether or not to re-charter the Second Bank of the U.S. No, we think that Corker is resolving cognitive dissonance. He doesn't want to vote Democratic because he's a Republican, and he doesn't want to vote Republican because he hates Trumpism. By adopting some version of "a pox on both their houses," it allows him to avoid making any tough choices, and to feel basically OK about any vote he might cast (probably for the Republicans). One cannot help but think of John F. Kennedy's paraphrase of the third canto of Dante's Inferno: "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality."

What it boils down to is this: Republicans who claim to hate Trumpism need to radically alter their thinking, and stop considering their votes as being about defense spending or tax rates or school vouchers or whatever. The real issue on the ballot in 2024 is democracy. All those other issues are subsumed under that umbrella, and will be consumed if a proto-fascist is elected president. If Corker can't wrap his mind around that, and put his high-handed words about Trumpism and about America's broken politics into practice, then he is a part of the problem, and everything he says is just hot air. (Z)

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