Some courage and truth out of Washington, for a change.
A fine speech by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is making the rounds, but not nearly enough. It deserves more attention. He visited San Bernardino, close to where I live, and gave part of this speech there, then later expanded on it.
He doesn’t name names, but his references are clear enough. Here’s Sen. Sasse calling Trump a demagogue:
And I would humbly suggest that before another person in this body — or in the national media — stands up to scold the American people about how they could possibly entertain voting for candidate x or y, perhaps we should look in the mirror at why so many of our people are running to demagoguing leaders.
Do senators really not understand why this is happening? I think it’s obvious why: Because they get so little actual leadership out of this town — out of either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or out of either political party.
What happened on the national stage yesterday was Trump’s call to ban Muslims:
Make no mistake: There were some genuinely dreadful things said on the national stage yesterday. But they were almost totally predictable. Did anyone here really not see this coming? And why is it that these words are attractive to some? Why do they find so many followers? Because they are comforting to people who are scared. They are food to a people who are starved for real leadership.
Next, the drought on Sunday night was an empty, flat speech by Obama; the flood on Monday was Trump’s ban. Sasse continues:
Neither is what the people need – or what they, at their best, want. But don’t be surprised that people who are being misled by a political class in denial about the nature of this fight come then quickly to desire very different, much more muscular words and utopian pledges.
In another part of the speech, Sasse again refers to (unnamed) Trump: “a megalomaniac strongman steps forward and starts screaming about travel bans and deportations, and he promises to keep us safe, which, to some (and actually to many more than most of you seem to understand), sounds better than not being protected at all.”
Finally, Sen. Sasse exhorts us to return to first principles and what America stands for:
So who are we? We are people who unite around the Constitution. We are people who come together around the 1st Amendment, and we together, 320 million of us, believe in the freedom of religion, in the freedom of speech, in freedom of assembly, in the freedom of the press.
I am a Christian. I am not a Muslim. But I am also in this life an American, and I have taken an oath to the Constitution. And so, as an American, I stand and defend the rights of American Muslims to freely worship even though we differ about important theological matters.
This country invented religious liberty — we’re the most tolerant nation the world has ever seen. Our people want a little less elite sermonizing about tolerance in our communities, and a little more articulation of our shared Constitutional principles – and a lot more articulating of an actual battle plan.
In the last clause, he’s again calling out Obama’s passivity and moralizing.
Sen. Sasse is right. Obama’s perceived and real weakness fuels the demagogic strongman Trump.
Ben Sasse may be presidential material in the near future. For now, at least he provides the clarity that other politicians are neglecting.
This post appeared at American Thinker on Dec. 11, 2015 “Sen. Sasse: Passive Obama v. Demagogue Trump” and has been expanded and corrected here.
Trump among the Quakers (satire);
Trump bullies Francis Scott Key (satire).