A brief moment
Our 4th District Congressman, Dan Newhouse, is drawing outraged criticism from many of his constituents. In this instance, he unnecessarily brought it on himself.
Newhouse was one of 126 Republican politicians who endorsed an amicus brief supporting the Texas Attorney General’s election lawsuit against the election outcome in four states. The congressman might just as well have declared support for a lawless coup, which defeated candidate Trump still seems intent on achieving with his relentless perversion of democracy.
This was avoidable. The inane suit was going nowhere with the U.S. Supreme Court. The congressman could have just kept silent, as did 3rd District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, also a Republican (5th District Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers endorsed the lawsuit). Or he could have done the honest and honorable thing and acknowledged Biden’s victory. Instead, he aligned himself with seditionists, radical white supremacists, Proud Boy domestic terrorists, political toadies and opportunists, unhinged conspiracy theorists and delusional Trump cult zombies who seem to be in the grip of some mass hysteria about the presidential election outcome.
Newhouse’s position was especially puzzling given that, fresh off a huge re-election victory, he doesn’t need to do anything else to bolster his support among conservative voters. And while Newhouse has taken admirable positions on some important issues — positions this newspaper applauded him for, and would do so again — when it comes to Trump he seems to default to vapid fealty. We expect better of Newhouse. Maybe something along these lines:
• “Don’t let anyone tell you for a second that signing an Amicus brief is no big deal. It is a monumental event. It is a declaration of repudiation. A repudiation of American democracy and our birthright to pick our leaders. They are attempting to impose the fired President on the people who fired him.” Steve Schmidt, campaign strategist
• “It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote… As elected members of Congress, we take an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ not to preserve and protect the political interests of any individual, be it the president or anyone else, to the detriment of our cherished nation.” Michigan Congressman Paul Mitchell
• “I can’t fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win…I fear we’d lose our country forever. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can’t stand for that. I won’t.” Michigan state legislator Lee Chatfield
• “Michigan’s Democratic slate of electors should be able to proceed with their duty, free from threats of violence and intimidation. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris won Michigan’s presidential election. It our responsibility as leaders to follow the law …” Michigan state legislator Mike Shirkey
• “Based on what I’ve read in their filings, when Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud — because there are legal consequences for lying to judges. …Rudy [Giuliani] and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets.” U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse
• “This is embarrassing us. It is an affront to our democratic process, and it’s diminishing the presidency. It’s bad for our party, bad for the country and weakens our position in the world.” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
• “The biggest concern that I have is that people here genuinely believe that somehow this election was stolen, and there’s no evidence of that. … We have a process. We count the votes. that’s the way it is.” U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney
• “The spectacle of so many House Republicans endorsing the Texas suit is depressing, and they aren’t profiles in courage.” Wall Street Journal editorial board
Here’s what those statements have in common: They are all by Republicans.
Could there be any redemption in publicly acknowledging that Biden won, as many Republicans have done? Perhaps. But Newhouse may have damaged his credibility too much for that to be meaningful. Here’s part of his response to constituents: “Joining this amicus brief is not about trying to overturn the results of an election, but is simply about ensuring the American people have faith in our elections and our Constitution.” Disingenuous, off point and inaccurate. It seems Newhouse is the one who lacks faith. If anyone should understand our electoral system, support the Constitution and disavow insurrection, it ought to be our congressman.