Political leadership that’s unfit
By Rod Haxton, editor
When asked recently whether he thinks Trump is fit to be President, Sen. Pat Roberts paused for several seconds and replied, “Define ‘fit.’”
With that clever response, Roberts resurrected memories of the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings in which one of the key elements of his defense was the definition of “sexual relations.”
Even if Roberts’ response was tongue-in-cheek, the fact that he couldn’t offer a simple affirmative response says a lot about the state of the Republican Party and their presidential nominee. He wasn’t asked if he liked Trump, or whether he agreed with his policies . . . only whether he was “fit” to be president.
Even if one doesn’t like Hillary Clinton. Whatever one thinks about her e-mails, or husband or her connection with Wall Street, it would be difficult to make the case that she’s not capable of being President.
Even Roberts would have to reluctantly admit she is “fit.” No definition required.
That this is even an issue with one (or both) of our Presidential nominees should be disturbing. Even more troublesome is that a U.S. Senator still endorses a candidate for President even when he won’t acknowledge that the same individual is “fit” for that office.
What that says about Trump is disturbing.
What that says about those individuals who continue to support his campaign is mind-numbing.
Republicans are fearful that their wives and daughters will be groped by sexual predators in transgender bathrooms, but it doesn’t bother them to support a Presidential candidate who says (on camera) about a young girl he has just met, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years.”
Trump describes how he can sexually assault women by grabbing them inappropriately because he’s famous. Yet Republicans still support their nominee because this is just “locker room talk” and that makes lewd behavior acceptable.
And this doesn’t even begin to address Trump’s bigoted, racist and misogynist comments which have become standard fare at his campaign rallies.
Even more disturbing is how those who pretend to be leaders in Kansas choose to defend the indefensible.
Sen. Pat Roberts describes Trump’s comments as “abhorrent.” But, he still supports the Republican nominee and remains a member of Trump’s agricultural task force which, if someone were to ask Trump, he probably didn’t know existed.
Apparently abhorrent behavior isn’t enough to disqualify one from being President of the U.S.
“Disgusting” is how Sen. Jerry Moran describes Trump’s comments and behavior. But, if Trump wants to lose Moran’s support he’s going to have to do or say something much worse.
Tell us, Jerry, exactly how low are you willing to set the morality bar?
First District Congressional candidate Roger Marshall was “speechless” and “embarrassed,” but a presidential candidate who has allegedly assaulted a number of women is a small price to pay when it comes to appointing nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Marshall says this presidential election comes down to electing someone who may appoint up to three Supreme Court Justices (which may not matter because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says any appointments by Hillary Clinton won’t get a hearing anyway.)
In Marshall’s way of thinking, a presidential candidate who commits sexual assault, scams people of millions of dollars with a fake university, is found guilty of housing discrimination and has his charitable foundation shut down by the New York Attorney General has the character to appoint the kind of individuals we need on the U.S. Supreme Court.
That would be troubling enough, but Marshall doesn’t end there.
“Hillary Clinton shares neither Kansas values or Kansas concerns,” said Marshall. “The Republican nominee, at the very least, shares many of our concerns.”
Exactly what would those concerns be?
Trump knows nothing and cares nothing about Kansas values. Trump cares about Trump.
For Marshall to offer that Trump somehow cares about the working class people of Kansas says a lot about Marshall’s poor judge of character. However, it should make him feel right at home with a Kansas Congressional delegation that puts politics ahead of people.
If one was hoping for at least some shred of dignity from Bob Dole, the patriarch of the Kansas Republican Party, they had to be sadly disappointed when he unequivocally offered his support for Trump because “I’ve been a Republican forever.”
That, sadly, sums up the problem.
Once a Republican, always a Republican, forever a Republican. Political party comes before country, state and human decency.
It’s because we have put politics ahead of morality and compassion - and, in many instances, common sense - that we are unable to work toward solutions to major issues at the state and national levels. Lawmakers can’t put partisan politics aside long enough to do what’s best.
Lawmakers, whether in Topeka or Washington, D.C., are elected by party, but they are also elected to represent their constituents. Their primary duty isn’t to walk lockstep like a herd of political lemmings.
Being a “Republican forever” isn’t an answer. It’s not leadership. It’s an excuse to walk over the cliff with everyone else.
Rod Haxton can be reached at email@example.com
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