Ben Sasse's rant

In the Senate election of November 2014, Ben Sasse, a conservative Republican endorsed by the Tea Party, won the race propelled by the same popular sentiments that brought Donald Trump to the White House two years later.  Nebraska is a Republican stronghold with Senator Deb Fisher and three GOP congressmen.  Sasse is now running for re-election.

He has been critical of the president on several occasions but voted with him on most public policies such as tax cuts, the border wall, the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and acquittal of all impeachment charges, and he has issued a full-throated endorsement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

He has not criticized President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 crisis, nor has he lobbied for masks and social distancing.  On his website, he is in agreement with the assessments of the president quoting the CDC:

Who is at risk?

The current risk assessment from the Centers for Disease Control states: The immediate risk for individuals of being exposed to COVID-19 is thought to be low.

In fact, on September 10, 2019 when he was gearing up for re-election, the president tweeted his support:

Senator Ben Sasse has done a wonderful job representing the people of Nebraska. He is great with our Vets, the Military, and your very important Second Amendment. Strong on Crime and the Border, Ben has my Complete and Total Endorsement!

That endorsement quelled his criticisms until he won a primary and was assured victory on November 3.

What then could explain his screed bruited by the New York Times in the headline?  "Slamming Trump, G.O.P. Senator Warns of a 'Republican Blood Bath.'"

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a scathing takedown of President Trump during a telephone town hall with constituents, saying he cozied up to dictators and white supremacists.

For nine minutes he castigated the president for mishandling the pandemic and treating it as a P.R. opportunity; "kissing dictators' butts" while ignoring human rights abuses; mocking evangelicals behind closed doors; flirting with white supremacists; and mistreating women.

The most ironic accusation, in light of the revelations of Hunter Biden's chicanery, is "his family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity."

To be fair, Sasse has advocated a more muscular approach to the Chinese and a stronger defense of Hong Kong.  But there are arguments on both sides of the issue.

Most of the "conservative" NeverTrumps throw narrative spitballs while Sasses lobbed a grenade and added: "What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?"

Has he been spooked by polls?  Does he seriously prefer Biden?

In his words, contemplating a Democrat victory, he evokes a "Venezuela-style" Supreme Court with dozens of justices installed by ascendant Democrats.

A cynic could wonder who is pushing his buttons, or even more cynically and vulgar, whose butt is he kissing?

Image: Matt Johnson.