Rational action will save us

Why Democrats need to pick a candidate who can attract widespread support

I am a Republican. I have always been a Republican. I came from a Republican family. I have no intention of not being a Republican in the future. I believe in the traditional, fundamental principles of the Republican Party. My party has been hijacked.

Recent reports in the Concord Monitor recite the number of prominent Republican leaders in New Hampshire who DO NOT support Donald Trump for reelection as president of the United States. Regardless of past evidence of his inadequacies, the recent unconscionable series of tweets and comments by him about the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, one of the most significant senators of our lifetime and a true American patriot, should erase any doubt about the defects in Trump as a person, to say nothing of his deficiencies as leader of the free world.

Although it would be wonderful if a Republican challenger could topple Trump in the primaries, that is unlikely, barring some kind of earthquake. Speaker Pelosi’s expressed reluctance to pursue impeachment removes that as a real possibility, absent clear evidence of serious criminal behavior. Therefore, the results of the Democratic primary provide the best hope for an alternative that can be supported by Democrats and unaffiliated voters and disaffected Republicans like me.

That is the danger as well.

Garrison Keillor recently wrote a brilliant column on the Democratic primary campaign. It started like this:

“One by one, Democrats are stepping into the arena for the 2020 campaign … Twelve hats are in, more on the way, some serious, most delusional …. It is presumed they’ll be running against the weak incumbent, but after the Cohen hearing, one doubts that. D.T. is accepted by everyone over the age of 10, even those who love him, as a dishonest sleazeball with ADD issues … His best hope is that Bernie Sanders be the Democrats’ nominee, that’s a race D.T. can win in a walk. America doesn’t want an angry President; wacko is bad enough.”

Without talking about all of the Democrats running, here are a few comments about them and superficial first impressions.

First, collectively they have about as much foreign policy experience as Vice President Pence — namely, not much, if any. They include a 37-year-old mayor of a middle-sized city in Indiana who apparently sees no prospect of winning statewide office there so thinks he can run for president; several first-term national officeholders; a retired Colorado governor who performed well in office but is little known; several candidates who are totally unknown; and a couple of relatively experienced U.S. senators, two of whom, Harris and Warren, are trying to push the party as far left as possible, and two of whom, Booker and Klobuchar, who actually have some experience both as a senator and previously as mayor in Newark, in the case of Booker, and county attorney, in the case of Amy Klobuchar.

In addition, there is Senator Gillibrand from New York, appointed to that job when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, who has adjusted her positions on issues whenever practicality required it, and somehow thinks she ought to be a serious contender for president.

Beto O’Rourke from Texas seems like a very nice fellow who served in Congress briefly and then challenged Ted Cruz in Texas, where he was a refreshing alternative but ultimately lost. Based on this record, and the fact that people liked him in that race, he seeks to be promoted to the big leagues.

Which brings us to Joe Biden.

He is well known, has more foreign policy experience than all of the others combined, even when you throw in President Trump, and served in the Senate since he was elected at age 29 and then as vice president for eight years.

Yes, he has a record that evolved over the years, as the country did, and yes, he probably took positions that did not turn out to be correct. However, he has the experience to do the job.

Keillor sums his column up with the following droll but wise ending:

“This is no time for a great leap forward. It is time for him to go so that journalists can go back to writing nonfiction and Congress can get back into business. Let’s put a woman in charge in 2024.

“First, let’s have an old white guy with thin hair throw the rascal out.”


Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He can be reached at bcook@sheehan.com.

Categories: Cook on Concord