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Accountability matters

Throughout the 2020 election cycle, Republican voters have found themselves deeply divided. Party solidarity is gone. The traditional party platform, addressing issues on the economy, taxation, deficits, foreign policy and the like, upon which Republican candidates have campaigned in the past was absent. Instead, traditional Republicans had to grapple once more with a campaign style based on former President Trump’s grievance-based narratives aimed at a fanatical base of delusional conspiracists and white supremacists who have become addicted to the lies and misinformation disseminated via social media.

For our elected representatives, questions of loyalty, not to the party but to a former president, dominate tactics and strategies on virtually every issue. Do I vote for what I believe is right for America and risk offending Mr. Trump and his base? Or do I cover my butt and vote for what I know is wrong but will be spared his vengeance? This was made abundantly clear in Congress on Feb. 4 and 5, when members of the House of Representatives considered two tough issues, in my opinion

The first issue was about removing QAnon adherent and first term Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from two congressional committees for endorsing the executions of Democrats and spreading dangerous and bigoted misinformation. Taking away a member’s committee assignments normally would be done by the top House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, but after consulting with Mr. Trump about the matter, who endorsed Ms. Greene, McCarthy declined to act. The full House took up the matter on Feb. 5.

As reported by the New York Times the following day, “The House on Thursday exiled Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene even as fellow Republicans rallied around her. The House voted 230 to 199 to remove Ms. Greene from the Education and Budget Committees, with only 11 Republicans joining Democrats to support the move. The action came after Ms. Greene’s past statements and espousing of QAnon and other conspiracy theories had pushed her party to a political crossroads.”

The second issue was about taking action to remove Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her Republican caucus leadership position for having voted in favor of impeaching Mr. Trump. She justified her vote on the basis of the need for accountability in office. Ms. Cheney received lopsided support (2-1) at a lengthy closed-door meeting of her Republican caucus on Wednesday, Feb. 4 to remain as number three in the leadership lineup.

What made the difference in the outcome of each of these issues? The vote to support Ms. Cheney was taken by secret ballot and no one had to worry about voting one’s conscience, while Thursday’s endorsement of Ms. Greene by House Republicans was a very public affair.

It appears that our Republican representatives in state and federal government find themselves constantly between a rock and hard place and will remain so until Mr. Trump is held accountable for inciting the violent insurrection and attack on democracy at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and barred from holding federal office again.

OSCAR W. KNADE

Montoursville

Submitted via Virtual Newsroom

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