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Dole’s death sparks nostalgia for a bygone era tainted by Trump’s GOP

Memories, however, are often overlooked – perhaps, ironically, in the name of a bygone decency – Dole’s complicated legacy. The Kansas native, who suffered serious battlefield injuries in World War II before becoming a titan of late-20th-century American politics, was in many ways emblematic of the Republican Party’s sour stew. .

Although Dole’s career as a horse-trading lawmaker stands in stark contrast to Republican filibustering over the past decade, he was a relatively early ally of then-candidate Donald Trump, endorsing him in May 2016 , even as other old party lions resisted. , and was one of the few who attended the GOP convention that year in Cleveland. One of the main drivers of the Americans With Disabilities Act 26 years earlier, Dole decided to side with a candidate who openly mocked a journalist with a disability. In the kindest assessment, Dole appeared to either misunderstand or underestimate the anti-democratic agenda of the right-wing movement that now dominates Republican politics.

It was a narrow concession, although more than the vast majority of GOP officials would openly concede. For an ambitious Republican, taking a firm stand against Trumpism today is an invitation to be removed from office or from the party itself. Tory Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, for example, is expected to have a Trump-backed main challenger on Monday, when former Sen. David Perdue plans to announce his candidacy, due to Kemp’s reluctance to bow to the lies of the ‘former president.

The danger for Republicans risking a backlash from Trump has further complicated business on Capitol Hill, where Congress faces a series of year-end challenges that GOP lawmakers either fuel or refuse to help solve.

Only eight senators have remained in office since Dole carried the Republican standard until the 1996 presidential election, when he was handily defeated by incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton. On Sunday, Clinton was among the prominent members of his party to honor a former rival.

“Bob Dole has devoted his entire life to serving the American people, from his heroism during World War II to the 35 years he spent in Congress. After all he gave in the war, he did not had to give more. But he did, “Clinton tweeted. “His example should inspire people today and for generations to come.”

President Joe Biden, who visited Dole in February shortly after announcing he was being treated for advanced lung cancer, honored Dole by ordering flags to be hoisted at half mast and calling his former colleague of the Senate of “a statesman like few in our history and a war hero among the greatest of the Greatest Generation.”

Establishment Republicans have hugged the praise, while Trump said the GOP “has been made stronger by his service.” Senatorial Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who occupies the leadership post Dole once held, has been particularly enthusiastic.

“Whatever their policies, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action must admire his character and his deep patriotism,” McConnell said in a statement. “A shining light of patriotic good humor burned throughout Bob’s heroic struggles as a teenager through to his entire Washington career in the years that followed.”

McConnell, who vowed during his 2020 re-election campaign to be the “grim reaper” in the face of Democratic policy proposals if Republicans retained their majority (they didn’t), applauded Dole for, among other things, his “great bipartisan accomplishments” – a particularly vivid irony given the traffic jam on the Hill now.

The Minority Leader, for example, had refused to help Democrats tackle the debt ceiling after a short-term extension in October, although he later opened talks with the leader of the majority Chuck Schumer last month. He blamed the crisis on Democrats – ignoring his own party’s role in building up debt under Trump – and initially insisted that his colleagues across the way act alone to avoid a potentially catastrophic default. Debt limit fights, which cast doubt on the government’s ability to honor its pre-existing obligations, are a relatively new stick of Congress, but the GOP has been willing to embrace despite Democrats voting with them to raise the limit. when the Republicans were in power. .
Next week, the Senate will return to the table to craft a must-see annual defense spending and policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, which has been delayed by demands from a Republican senator to ‘Add an amendment placing greater restrictions on Chinese products made by Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang Province who are in forced labor camps.

A similar policy in China has already been adopted in the Senate, regardless of parties, but the House has yet to act on it. Republicans and Democrats have said adding the amendment now to the NDAA would go against a constitutionally-dictated process that requires such actions to originate in the House, where President Nancy Pelosi has promised a version is currently in preparation.

Ugly rhetoric of today’s GOP

In previous generations, like Dole’s, these were seen as matters to be settled outside of the partisan arena. But the political politics surrounding these issues could in fact be among the most tame fights unfolding in Congress.

In the House, Democratic leaders are once again weighing up how to react to a vile attack by a Republican on one of its members, with Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado repeatedly suggesting that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota is a terrorist.

“One of my employees, on his first day with me, got on an elevator at the Capitol. And in that elevator we were joined by Ilhan Omar,” Boebert told a crowd in September, as the CNN’s KFile reported last week. “It was just the three of us in there and I looked and I said, well, look there, it’s the Jihad Squad.”

“She doesn’t have a backpack, she wasn’t dropping it and running, so it’s okay,” Boebert added, to laughter and applause from the crowd that briefly made his remarks somewhat inaudible.

Dole’s death sparks nostalgia for a bygone era tainted by Trump’s GOP
The story, an Omar spokesperson said, was “a fabrication.” But the pattern of attacks on the Democrat, who is Muslim and was born in Somalia before coming to the United States as a refugee and becoming a citizen, is very real. KFile reported on similar comments Boebert made at an event in Colorado last month. Omar told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday in State of the Union that she expected Pelosi to “take decisive action” against her fellow Republican this week.

“I think it’s important for us to say that kind of language, that kind of hate cannot be tolerated by the House of Representatives,” Omar said. “We should punish and sanction Boebert by stripping her of her committees, berating her for her language doing everything we can to send a clear and decisive message to the American public that if Republicans are not going to be adults, and condemn this, that we’re going to do it. “

If this happens, it will be because the Democrats, led by Pelosi, will vote for it to be so, as they did when they voted for censorship and to remove the Republican representative from Arizona, Paul Gosar, of his committee assignments after posting a photoshopped anime video that appears to show him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City. Only two Republicans – Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney – joined Democrats in this vote, while McCarthy declined to explicitly condemn Gosar’s behavior and instead threatened retaliation against the ” new standard ”by a future GOP majority.

McCarthy also signaled that he would not take any material action to reprimand Boebert, who said on Twitter: “I apologize to all members of the Muslim community that I have offended with my comment on Rep. Omar. J contacted his office to speak to him directly. There are a lot of political differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction. “

The conversation between Boebert and Omar did not go well. The Democrat said she hung up on Boebert after “refusing to publicly acknowledge his hurtful and dangerous comments” and then “doubling down on her rhetoric.”

Speaking to Tapper, Omar found out about McCarthy, questioning his honesty and willingness to take on members like Boebert, a far-right GOP frontrunner.

Dole’s death sparks nostalgia for a bygone era tainted by Trump’s GOP

“McCarthy is a liar and a coward,” Omar said. “He does not have the capacity to condemn the kind of fanatic Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric that are trafficked by a member.”

In the Washington Dole leaves behind, GOP leaders’ acceptance of this kind of dangerous language is closer to the norm than the “standards” of older statesmen on both sides, including Biden, who languish now. Whether Dole saw it coming or not, he and many others did little to stem the tide. That his now famous 2018 salute from the coffin of former President George HW Bush, his decades-long political rival, touched such a nerve underlined the complexity of a man who, so different from Trump at this time and so ‘others, saw fit to support him. in two campaigns.

Still, there were notes of grace on Sunday for Dole, whose courage and sacrifice with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division are not in question, as well as praise for his work in Congress for, among others, defending a bill that strengthened social security in the early 1980s.

“From courageous service overseas and in Congress, to his fierce advocacy for our veterans and the creation of the WWII Memorial, Senator Bob Dole was an American hero in every sense of the word,” tweeted Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who entered politics as senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. “May God grant peace to his family and to all across our nation who loved and knew him.”


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