One of the problems with modern politics is the propensity of some people to look for the next “rock star” in the world of politics. It happens with both parties, but I am disappointed to say that it’s common in conservative circles. More often than not, the person in question is elevated not because of anything they’ve done but usually due to something they’ve said.
In that respect, I always caution people about fully embracing a politician. Politicians are almost always going to disappoint you. That isn’t an attack on them personally. It’s just the nature of the game. It’s politics. It happens. It’s why I am never shocked when a politician does something they ordinarily would not do or appears to be a departure from something they’ve done for years.
There is a difference, however, between being making political decisions at times and grandstanding for the sake of doing so. The real political leader is not afraid to call out members of their party for engaging in behavior of that exhibited by somebody in the opposition party. Currently, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse fits the bill.
Sasse hasn’t shied away from being critical of President Donald Trump when necessary. Naturally, such an inclination earns him derision among the pro-Trump crowd but even the knee-jerk reactionary anti-Trump contingent lambasts Sasse because he’s not engaging in knee-jerk reactionary rhetoric. I had somebody tell me Sasse is “enabling” Trump by voting to confirm his cabinet nominees. That’s a silly criticism as Sasse’s decision to approve is based on his determination the candidate is fit for the role not because Sasse doesn’t like Trump.
In a recent podcast, Sasse had some things to say about Trump and the GOP, the latter being eye-opening:
“There’s a risk in our media-driven, and particularly digital media-driven culture; TV-based, broadcast-based, and image-based culture of this digital moment,” Sasse says. “There is a danger that we create shorter and shorter attention spans, more and more unbridled passions, less and less self-control and self-restraint. I don’t think that our Founders would believe that America could long prosper if the people were not readers.”
I asked him how, in a word, he’d describe Trump. All he came up with: “current president.”
But Trump isn’t his only problem. Asked for one word to describe the Republican Party, he again came up with two: “question mark.”
Sasse was presented with a similar question:
Asked what the GOP stands for, he says, “I don’t know.”
I give Sasse credit for being honest. In retrospect, with Donald Trump as president, it’s hard to explain to people what the GOP stands for these days. It’s easy enough to roll through the usual litany of reasons people are used to hearing and have heard for the last 35-40 years.
Talk is cheap. Sasse understands that. Hopefully, there will be more like him who will choose to lead instead of just go along for the sake of party politics.
The entire podcast can be heard here.