You may have heard: 18 Republican politicians have nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his interplay with North Korea.
To quote a Twitter reply to journalist Andrea Mitchell’s call for Michelle Wolf to apologize for having publicly insulted Trump’s surrogate liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
In 1950, the venerable Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith – no liberal, she – had some choice words for cowards in her party who folded to the reign of another demagogic GOP fear-mongerer, Senator Joe McCarthy:
Certain elements of the Republican Party have materially added to this confusion in the hopes of riding the Republican party to victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance.
Chase’s stand helped to eventually undo McCarthy’s reign of political terror. It’s another reminder that political cowardice in the face of a national bully is nothing new in America – and that blood-eyed resistance isn’t, either.
I’ve written about this on Truthout regarding Wolf’s April 28 scandalizing of the more timid among American corporate journalists with her ruthless skewering of Trump’s enablers, some of whom were in the room during her monologue.
We are now in a McCarthy moment, but what's worse is that the dominant demagogue is the president, not a senator. Cowards – like Paul Ryan, who kowtowed to the vile Trump for the sake of a policy win for the rich and who now scampers out of the game to duck the longer-term consequences – suck up to the momentary boss man and then dive for the sidelines when they see an opening.
Nobel Prize for Donald Trump? It will of course never happen. Scandinavia faced its own awful reckoning of cowardice versus courage 80 years ago under the rise of Nazism, and has not forgotten it. But for cowards the point isn’t in fulfilling a full agenda, it’s in cashing in on political expediency in order to buy themselves five more minutes or months of personal survival under the rule of a momentary despot.
That’s today’s Republican Party leadership: mice dragging fresh corpses to the cat.