“Sasse has the intellectual credentials and resume that Paul Ryan wants you to *think* he has”

He has a Ph.D in American history from Yale.  In November 2016 he was one of the few leaders of the GOP who did not eventually toe the party line in support of Donald Trump. He goes on Sunday morning news shows and gives brilliant performances.

He has yet to respond to my requests to appear on The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast, but I can forgive him for that.  He is probably busy.  I will keep trying.

But why does the Nebraska Senator, for all his brilliance and conviction, continue to provide a rubber stamp for Donald Trump? Ben Mathis-Lilley explores this question in an essay at Slate titled “The Wasted Mind of Ben Sasse.”  It is subtitled “The Nebraska senator has urgent, persuasive ideas for saving American politics. Why won’t he act on them?”

Here is a taste:

...But at the same time, Sasse’s Senate votes have so far aligned with Trump’s wishes 95 percent of the time, the same level of support that Trump has gotten from right-wing ideologues like Ted Cruz and party loyalists like Chuck Grassley. Sasse voted to confirm ill-informed Cabinet appointees like Ben Carson and Betsy DeVos; he’s voted to steamroll the judicial filibuster and stayed silent about the secretive way the Republican health care bill was written and presented to the public. During a June 25 appearance at a conservative activist conference, as other senators in his own party were criticizing the bill and the process by which it had been constructed, Sasse asked whether his remarks would be on the record before announcing that he would not have any comments at all. It was only after the proposal had almost completely stalled that Sasse proposed an alternative.

This, in a nutshell, is the central problem of Ben Sasse. He is a performatively deep thinker, an advocate of public decency who makes a case for good-faith discourse that is both eloquent and, in the FAKE NEWS!!!!!!1! era, timely. He states that case convincingly in his new book about raising hard-working and civic-minded children, The Vanishing American Adult. “Living in a republic demands a great deal of us,” he writes in a sort of mission statement for his public persona. “Among the responsibilities of each citizen in a participatory democracy is keeping ourselves sufficiently informed so that we can participate effectively, argue our positions honorably, and hopefully, forge sufficient consensus to understand each other and then to govern.” But so far, Sasse’s practical participation in our democracy—he was elected to the Senate in 2014—has mostly advanced the interests of an increasingly authoritarian, unreasonable Republican Party. In his first remarks on the Senate floor, he argued that the body should “strengthen and clarify meaningful contests of ideas.” Four months later, he wouldn’t even give Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a perfunctory meeting. And he certainly didn’t advocate giving Garland a hearing and a floor vote, as one would imagine he should have given his expressed desire for the Senate to become a lively forum for dramatic, legitimate debate rather than pre-written sound bites and predictable party-line votes.

Read the entire piece here.

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