Republicans have this thing where they sometimes say exactly what they’re thinking. I know, crazy, right? You would think such a vice would be endearing, but it becomes a problem when your strategy is wrapped up in not actually telling people what you’re thinking. As we showed you earlier this week, that’s what happened to a former member of the state senate and now congressman from Wisconsin named Glenn Grothman.
If you haven’t heard that name before, you would be wise to remember it; this guy is a Bachmann-level embarrassment in a comfy district.
Grothman tried to explain it away, but it fell flat when earlier this week, a Facebook post from Todd Allbaugh, the former chief of staff for retired Republican State Senator Dale Schultz, hit a nerve with the public and went viral. Well, at least in Wisconsin it did. We just had an April snowstorm…it doesn’t take much to get us excited.
Senator Schultz was, at several points over the past five years, the most powerful person in Wisconsin government. When several major pieces of legislation came up, Republicans in the state senate held the majority by the slimmest of margins with a 17-16 advantage; so if, perhaps, one of those Republicans was actually willing to listen to reason, that person could choose to wield great power.
And that was Dale Schultz. His power even surpassed that of Scott Walker for a time, because before a bill could make it to Governor Walker’s desk, it first had to go through the moderate Schultz.
Of course, that kind of power is unacceptable to the GOP by a non-extremist, which is why he finally just retired when Republicans ran a primary candidate against him from the right.
One of those major pieces of legislation to go through the state senate is Wisconsin’s so-called Voter ID law. In Allbaugh’s Facebook post, he said he was in the room when the law was being discussed by Republicans, and found himself disgusted at the anti-patriotic sentiment on display:
You wanna know why I left the Republican Party as it exists today? Here it is; this was the last straw: I was in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters. (emphasis mine)
That post led to an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday, just two days after the original Grothman word barf.
Mr. Allbaugh has plenty of company in those that no longer recognize the Republican Party. Several Republican senators, including the outspoken Lindsey Graham, will do just about anything to prevent a Donald Trump nomination, while outsiders can see very clearly that the possible Trump nomination is the inevitable result of a party that abandoned it’s beliefs long ago in favor of nurturing and catering to extremism.
After former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman dropped out of the 2012 Republican primary, he phrased his dissension to this pattern quite eloquently:
“I will not be attending this year’s convention, nor any Republican convention in the future until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States — a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits… I encourage a return to the party we have been in the past, from Lincoln right on through to Reagan, that was always willing to put our country before politics.”
Even if you don’t believe what he said, it’s hard not to stand up and clap after reading something like that. Perhaps it resonates deeper with me because I too walked away from the Republican Party roughly a decade ago. It’s incredibly difficult to make such a public statement as Mr. Huntsman and Mr. Allbaugh, but it’s also necessary if the GOP ever again hopes to win the hearts of voters with their ideas rather than their tactics.
Featured image screengrab via YouTube