It was several lifetimes ago when Republicans would declare that “character matters” when electing a president of the United States.
Do you remember those days? Bill Clinton was campaigning for president. He got elected in 1992. He ran for re-election in 1996. In both campaigns, GOP officials said Clinton’s checkered personal history should disqualify him for election and re-election.
GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole in 1996 once shouted indignantly, “Where is the outrage?”
That was then. These days a Republican president is running for re-election. Donald Trump’s character doesn’t appear to be an issue with Republicans. They ignore the jaw-dropping deficiencies in this incumbent’s character. They remain deafeningly silent when issues arise about Trump’s lying, his treatment of allies, his mistreatment of women, his astounding boorishness.
None of it matters to many among this generation of Republicans.
Now, I say that knowing full well that a number of prominent GOP public figures have signed on with Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. They are the likes of former GOP presidential candidates Carly Fiorina and John Kasich, former congresswoman Susan Molinari and a host of longstanding Republican political operatives, such as Mitt Romney ally Stuart Stevens, Weekly Standard founder William Kristol and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will.
So many rank-and-file Republicans, though, remain hitched to the wagon being pulled by Donald Trump.
Trump’s lying continues to rankle me beyond my ability to express my outrage. It is the incessant lying that has drawn the attention of Joe Biden, who vows to restore “the soul” of the nation.
We need a president who can tell us the truth even when the truth hurts. Trump lies about the pandemic, he ignores the immense cost it has levied against us in terms of illness and death. Trump cannot tell us the truth about the misery that so many Americans are enduring.
Trump cannot speak the truth about suffering. His character, or lack of character, won’t allow him to even acknowledge out loud that “Black Lives Matter.” And do not misconstrue what I am saying here. I am not suggesting that “black lives matter” more than anyone else’s lives. Nor does the movement suggest as much, either.
Trump won’t go there. Why? His version of character doesn’t allow it. Meanwhile, the Republican Party faithful are OK with that.
Doesn’t character matter any longer?