Lower deficits, limited government, commitment to the Constitution, free trade, and support for human rights are conservative Republican principles that have been jettisoned during the Trump era. I have never been surprised by Donald Trump's hostility to these positions. Trump, a reality show star and lifelong liberal Democrat until he decided to play the role of a Republican in 2015, has never been a conservative. What I am surprised about, however, are the elected officials who still claim to be conservatives, who have decided to go along with Paxton tossing aside the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan.
|Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton|
Still, at least I am comforted by the fact we Republicans are still committed to federalism, democratic elections, and judicial restraint.
Oh, wait, no.
On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an original action with the United States Supreme Court seeking to invalidate the result of the popular vote in four states - Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia - because officials in those states violated their own constitutions and the United States Constitution in conducting their elections and counting their votes.
It should be noted that Paxton is a shady character. Paxton is currently under state indictment for felony security fraud. More recently, several members of Paxton's staff accused the Attorney General of corruption, bribery and abuse of office for investigating the enemies of campaign donor and Austin real estate investor Nate Paul. The FBI reportedly has an open criminal investigation of Paxton and recently subpoenaed his office for records relating to the accusations.
In short, Paxton definitely wants a pardon from Trump. So what better way to curry favor from the President than file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court seeking to override the election results so Trump can have a second term? Paxton's lawsuit has already earned him praise from Trump and a trip to the White House.
Paxton's lawsuit is a request for judicial activism in the extreme. He is asking that unelected federal judges disenfranchise millions of voters in the four states so that his preferred candidate can win. It's an effort by one state to, through the use of federal power, tell four other states how to run their elections.
One would think that Republican elected officials throughout the country would see Paxton's lawsuit for what it is - an assault on traditional conservative values by a man desperately seeking a pardon. Nope. Seventeen Republican state attorneys general have joined the Texas lawsuit. Now, 106 Republican members of Congress have signed an amicus curiae ("friend of the court" brief to show support for Paxton's lawsuit.
For the record, those Republicans office holders include Hoosier elected officials outgoing Attorney General Curtis Hill, Attorney General-Elect Todd Rokita, and four U.S. House members, from Indiana, Jim Banks, Jim Baird, Trey Hollingsworth and Jackie Walorski. Notably, Rep. Greg Pence, the Vice President's brother, has not signed the brief.
Make no mistake about it, these elected officials are not acting as "patriots" by seeking to undermine American democracy. They are turning their backs on the very conservative values they pledged to support when they ran for office. However, it may have been that they never believed in traditional conservative values in the first place and they were simply lying about their positions to get elected. Legendary Republican ad-maker Stuart Stevens wrote a book about this titled "It Was All a Lie." He may be right.