Republicans Aren't 'Afraid' Of Trump. They're Afraid Of Losing Power. Period.
Amy Klobuchar was on "Morning Joe" this morning talking up her KLOMENTUM. I like Klobuchar and not just because she wants to visit "Erotic City" with Prince. I'm impressed with anyone who's so optimistic that early in the morning about a day that'll probably end badly for her. The Minnesota senator kept insisting that if it wasn't for her "constitutional duty" she'd be right there on the "Morning Joe" set in Des Moines, Iowa. She actually insisted this a little too much -- like when you keep telling your cousin that if not for your kid's chicken pox, you'd totally have attended their destination wedding.
Klobuchar said what Republicans were doing during the impeachment trial "sickened" her, as well it should. Willie Geist asked the senator about her Republican colleagues, who I'll remind you are mostly a bunch of crooks. Geist thought it was the EXISTENTIAL QUESTION OF OUR TIME why Republicans still supported Trump. He asked Klobuchar if any Republicans had confessed to her their regret and shame over the sham impeachment trial, as if she's a common priest and not literally competing in the Democratic presidential primary. If any Republicans were secretly Arthur Dimmesdale -- and they aren't --- they'd flagellate themselves in private. They wouldn't confide in their political opponents. Nevertheless, the myth of Senate comity persists.
GEIST: What are Republicans scared of?
Jesus, they just won't let up on this. Republicans aren't "scared." They don't want to do the right thing but can't because Trump stuck a horse head in their bed. Republicans don't want to lose power. Period. End paragraph. Republicans gain nothing from helping Democrats remove Trump and put Adam Schiff in the history books with a big smile on his face. Mike Pence wouldn't have time to throw a spoiled kid's Sweet Sixteen party before the presidential election let alone run a winning campaign. Losing Trump would mean a total wipeout for the GOP. Were any of you more likely to vote for Republicans if they removed Trump? I wasn't. I hate those guys.
Democrats generally believe there's nothing better than feeling like you've done the right thing, even if you lost everything. They all loved the ending of Braveheart. Republicans, however, see Mel Gibson having his guts ripped out -- without anesthesia, mind you -- and are all, like, "Holy crap, that's awful! Who do we collaborate with to avoid that? How many of my friends do I need to betray?"
Republicans aren't the only political scaredy cats, though. Many Democratic voters and candidates are desperately pitching caution and Moderation Uber Alles because they're personally terrified of another Trump term. They'd even turn the Democratic Party into a non-smoking wing of the GOP if they can win over Trump voters. That's true fear. No, it takes brass balls to help an obviously corrupt president walk on impeachment charges while actively conspiring to impeach the next Democratic president before they've even won the nomination.
Klobuchar is legitimately a moderate who seeks consensus in legislation. I can respect that. I don't think she's afraid of Trump. Besides, she believes her KLOMENTUM lies in disgusted Republicans who are going to "switch parties" to support her. We've heard this before. It's an irresistible siren call to Democrats before they wind up crashing on the rocks of GOP obstruction.
KLOBUCHAR: I just had the Republican mayor of Indianola, Iowa, switch parties to caucus for me. I have two former Republican legislators who caucusing for me.
That's almost a complete set of disaffected Republicans, the most prized voters of all it seems. Klobuchar insists that the upcoming election is a "decency check, a patriotism check." She warns that while Republicans might fear their base, Democrats will rack up huge wins with the voters from the middle. This is a strategy that Democrats have never attempted except for always.
KLOBUCHAR: [Republican voters] might not agree with everything said on a Democratic debate stage. I don't agree with everything said on that debate stage. What they're looking for is a candidate who will unite the country and bring decency back.
True, but Klobuchar is still a Democrat who, if she won the nomination because everyone else died, the RNC would deride as just another liberal who eats her salad with a comb. She's pro-choice and believes it's fine for LGBTQ people to exist. Even if you're willing to turn your nose at Medicare for All and student debt relief, holding firm on just those principles will make it hard to "unite" with most Republicans.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).