Where was Peter Roskam this week when President Donald Trump ordered 5,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to stop a caravan of Central American migrants?
Why didn’t the congressman call out Trump for pandering to the paranoid with his absurd warnings of an “invasion?”
And where was Randy Hultgren last week when Trump whined that news coverage of this “bomb stuff” — a Trump supporter mailing pipe bombs to the president’s critics — was slowing Republican “momentum” before Tuesday’s elections?
Why didn’t the congressman call out Trump for his shallow self-interest, and for trivializing domestic terrorism?
While we’re at it, let’s also remember that all this latest craziness is related. The alleged bomber was fueled by a steady diet of Trump bile and lies. And the alleged killer of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last weekend had complained, in his hate-filled writings, of just the sort of “invasion” bugaboo that Trump sells so well.
None of this should have surprised anybody. Venomous words lead to venomous actions.
Yet Roskam said almost nothing. And Hultgren, all smiles, stood beside Trump at a rally in Downstate Murphysboro.
Anything for reelection, you know?
For more than two years, as Trump has degraded our country, the Republican-controlled House has been silent — at best — and Exhibits A and B from Illinois have been Roskam and Hultgren.
They have failed to stand up for those Midwestern values of decency in which most of us take great pride. They have only reluctantly, with great circumspection, spoken out against the president’s racism, misogyny, divisiveness and daily dishonesty.
The Republican majority in the House has failed, and a new Democratic majority can’t come soon enough. Our national government desperately needs a counterweight — a moral corrective — to the Trump administration.
Last month, we endorsed all Democrats in 12 Chicago-area races for Congress. We can’t remember the last time we’ve done that. Two years ago, in fact, we endorsed Hultgren in the 14th District over a lackluster Democratic opponent, and we might have endorsed Roskam in the 6th at that time had he bothered to fill out our questionnaire.
But things have changed. Roskam and Hultgren have lost their way. And two highly qualified Democratic opponents, Sean Casten in the 6th District and Lauren Underwood in the 14th, offer voters excellent alternatives.
Once again, we urge the voters in those two districts to choose Casten and Underwood.
The Republican House has been a disaster. It weakened the Affordable Care Act, resulting in higher premiums, but never came up with a credible replacement. It added $1.9 trillion to the national debt. It supported Trump’s foolish trade wars, hurting Midwestern farmers the most.
The Republican House overhauled the federal tax code to rescue struggling billionaires, at the expense of the rest of us. It did its best to derail investigations into Russian interference in American elections.
A Democratic-controlled House could reverse some of that damage and, more importantly, hold the Trump administration accountable. It could reopen the House investigation into Russian meddling — and go at it seriously this time. It could obtain and make public the president’s tax returns, revealing any shady deals and perhaps getting to the bottom of Trump’s bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A Democratic-controlled House could put a halt to incipient efforts to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits. It could end the gutting of financial and environmental regulations. It could pass a clean DREAM Act, granting legal and stable residency to young people who were brought to our country as small children.
We’re pretty sure that Roskam and Hultgren, like many Republicans in the House, secretly loathe Trump. But they have meekly assented to his hateful politics in return for policies they like, such as a more conservative Supreme Court, lower taxes on corporations, and financial deregulation.
It was a bad bargain, for which our nation is paying a heavy price.
Let’s vote on Tuesday as if character counts.
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