116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
When political historians look back on the decade ahead of us, they will write of the struggle for the soul of the Republican Party. The combatants they will describe are mainstream Republicans like Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney and the right fringe of Donald Trump, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Ron DeSenatis, and Gregg Abbot, as I’ve noted before.
Most Republicans I know in Iowa are conservative in its traditional sense, the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Bush family. But prattle of freedoms lost, of citizens not being heard by politicians too long in power, come from Sen. Chuck Grassley’s primary opponent.
For Grassley to be challenged from the right by Jim Carlin is absurd. I would never vote for Grassley, but to charge that he doesn’t fight for ”our freedoms” is crazy. There is no other way to describe it.
The Republican uncivil war is national and irrational. Those political historians will describe Trump-devotees versus traditionalists. Nowhere is this battle clearer than in Missouri. A former governor, who resigned is now running for the U.S. Senate. Eric Greitens has continued to have substantial support from the Trump base, though not from the party leadership. They are in a quiet war.
Donald Trump, Jr. is campaigning with Greitens. Junior doesn’t have the stability or intellect of his father, but he is in his father’s image enough not to be disinherited. I understand he knows that he should put his pants on one leg at a time.
Here is a news report in The Guardian of Junior at work. “On 25 April, the former Missouri governor, Eric Greitens, now running for U.S. Senate, posted a video on Twitter of him and Donald Trump Jr, firing semi-automatic rifles at a range.”
“Striking fear in the hearts of liberals everywhere,” the former president’s son said
“Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, shared the video even though a woman whom he had an affair with accused him of tying her up and tearing her clothes off without her consent, which was part of a scandal that precipitated his resignation as governor. His ex-wife, Sheena, accused him of knocking her down and hitting one of their sons hard enough to knock one of his teeth loose, according to an affidavit filed as part of a child custody dispute.”
The paper reported, “In the accompanying post, Greitens wrote: “Striking fear into the hearts of liberals, RINOs, and the fake media” was his purpose.
Responsible Republicans, decent ones, have the responsibility to their party and to our country to speak out. The RINOS, Republicans In Name Only, as the governor calls them, must not speak, but shout, “enough.”
Over the years, I have not spent much time looking for the soul of the Republican Party, but there is one. We in Iowa, will only know if Sen. Grassley speaks out for what he must feel: Trump influence must be challenged; it is not what the Republican Party is all about.
Unless they start now, the Republican convention in 2024 will be a chaotic one. The rifles may be left at the door, but that accusatory, paranoid compulsion to “get” the RINO is as deadly. If those historians look back on silence, they will chronicle cowardice as well.
Norman Sherman of Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s press secretary.