Republican Senator Roy Blunt from Missouri has joined Senator Rob Portman of Ohio in choosing not to run for reelection. Both could be viewed as more “statesmen-like” in a caucus who has misplaced that definition. Blunt’s own words are telling, as gleaned from the article called: “This GOP senator slammed Trumpism on his way out the door,” by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large. Here a few paragraphs:
“Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt said something on Monday — following his surprise retirement announcement — that is worth paying attention to as we continue to monitor the control that former President Donald Trump continues to exert over his party.
‘I think the country in the last decade or so has sort of fallen off the edge, with too many politicians saying, ‘If you vote for me I’ll never compromise on anything,’ and the failure to do that — that’s a philosophy that particularly does not work in a democracy. We’ve seen too much of it in our politics today at all levels, and rather than spending a lot of time saying what I’d never do, I’d spend more time saying what I’d try to do and be willing to move as far in the direction of that goal as you possibly could rather than saying, ‘I’ll never do this.’
Blunt is arguing that the Trump-led push for total purity to principle — or, more accurately, utter fealty to whatever the former President decides he thinks that day — makes for a miserable political existence. (And left unsaid but heavily implied: a very long stay in the minority in Washington.) Who Blunt is talking about in that quote doesn’t require too much reading between the lines to figure out.
There’s no question that the fear of a Trump-backed challenger in his 2022 reelection race played into Blunt’s decision. Ditto Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who previously shocked the political world with his retirement announcement last month.
Here’s what Portman said about that decision:
“I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision.”
Sadly, to this independent voter, seeing the Trump party, which has replaced the Republican Party, embrace conspiracy-minded parroting along with outright lying is disturbing. But, don’t take my word for it. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof wrote a piece about Portman’s retirement saying the GOP is losing a statesman and replacing him with a kook, referencing one of the more notorious new GOP Representatives. Blunt would be on the statesman side.