Conservative columnist George Will, with whom I have usually disagreed in recent decades, recently wrote a brilliant and important column in The Washington Post chastising Republicans he labeled “the president’s poodles” and calling on voters to back Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.
The president Will referred to was, of course, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE, and the leading poodle he criticized was, not surprisingly, House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.), who is leading the GOP toward a probable electoral abyss in November.
The brilliance of Will’s column is that he was able to dramatize one of the great and simple truths about American democracy: the importance of its system of checks and balances. By doing so, Will also dramatized the single greatest truth about the midterm elections in 2018, which is that the only way to create a check and balance today is to vote Democratic for House and Senate candidates in the midterm elections.
For the first time in my political lifetime, I have endorsed every Democratic nominee for the House and Senate, every Democratic nominee running for governor, and every Democratic nominee for the state legislature.
Time and again since Trump was elected, I have warned about the danger to America of a one-party Republican state in Washington, dominated by the dangerously authoritarian president, who has the disturbing habit of repeatedly praising foreign dictators while attacking our democratic allies.
Lest anyone think I am partisan by calling for the election of all Democrats in the midterm elections, consider these columns I have written during this midterm cycle:
I offered high praise for former President George W. Bush for his sweeping criticism of the Trump presidency, which I called his finest hour. I offered high praise for former first lady Laura Bush in a column titled “God Bless Laura Bush,” applauding her stand against the cruel and callous Trump policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. I offered the highest of praise to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE (R-Ariz.) in a column titled “John McCain’s timeless truths.”
And, I would alert readers my column in The Hill on Thursday will criticize former President Obama for having done so little to support Democrats in the midterm elections, so far, which I describe as his being AWOL from the most important midterms in a century.
George Will is absolutely right when he describes many Republicans in Congress as being poodles of the president, and when he recognizes the danger to the republic if this president and his GOP poodles continue their one-party dominance of the presidency and Congress. It is a profoundly powerful argument for every American to vote in the midterms, which I believe more of them than expected will do, in order to restore checks and balances to American democracy at a critical moment.
Will’s clear and cogent column is not only a call to action for Republicans to vote against Republicans in the midterms, it’s a call to arms for conservatives to act like true conservatives and oppose Trump, whose actions and views are anathema to the legitimate conservative cause, which I do not agree with but do respect.
My view is that former President Reagan, who would vehemently challenge Russian dictators who attack America, would agree with George Will. I believe the great conservative columnist William F. Buckley, who once supported liberal Democrat Allard Lowenstein for Congress, would agree with Will as well.
The historical dean of conservatism who lived during the years of the American Revolution, Edmund Burke, who would likely agree with Will, famously wrote that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Burke was right then. Will is right today. The way to protect the nation today from the triumph of evil is for good men, and good women, to vote Democratic in the midterm elections.
Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.