The awakened and contrite follower — whether Nazi, Communist, Khmer Rouge or Republican — sometimes attempts expiation and proposes future courses of action that he thinks will redeem his party. But, of course, he fails because he does not understand the actions that grieve him spring from deep-rooted impulses, while his proposals are but cosmetic — lipstick on a cancer, as it were.
So it is with Republican Thomas Koch (“Actions required” Jan. 9-10) offering recommendations to “move forward.” The GOP will only willingly adopt one of his: Prayer, which has served it so well in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
The vice president and Cabinet are not going to employ Article 25.
The Senate will pay lip service to an impeachment trial, but defer it until Jan. 22, when the issue will be moot. Led by coup supporters Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, all the GOP senators who block the trial will present themselves as the 2024 counter-Trump; in fact, many of them will say, “I was for the trial, but it was impossible to schedule it.” Trump will not be feared in any primary.
Koch’s recommendations to “reject the extremes and commit to working together” has been the GOP’s camouflage for its 12 years of misrule. From its leadership’s pledge on the evening of the 2009 Inaugural Ball to make Obama a one-term president, to the hour when 147 of its members were trying to overturn the 2020 Electoral College results in the middle of a breach of the U.S. Capitol — the Republicans’ definition of “compromise” has always been “We get all of it.” Koch does not realize he is asking an extremist party to do something alien to its nature.
Koch’s hopes notwithstanding, neither is the GOP going to revert to a commitment to constitutional principles it abandoned 50 years ago. The core of its sacred “Southern Strategy” is to nurture the fears and anger of its base and exploit it fully. The “Brooks Brothers riot” of the Bush/Gore vote recount was a test run in 2000; by 2021, the GOP had manipulated its base’s anger and cohesion to the point where more effective action was possible — and though it failed this time, next time they’ll get it right.
Sadly, Koch does not realize his party has become evil. He cannot reform it; he must accept what is and let go.
Chuck Gregory lives in Springfield.