Bender: Heroes among Republicans are hard to find

"Where's the pushback on the Big Lie? I don't mean one mealy mouth, vaguely worded whisper for the record. I mean repeated pushback ... Speak out. I dare you."

Tony Bender
Tony Bender

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds has guts. He keeps repeating the truth about the 2020 election: Trump lost by 7 million individual and 74 electoral votes, and that the election was fair. There are numerous issues upon which I'd disagree with Rounds, but let's not sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff with democracy on the line.

In contrast, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Nepotism is angling to be Trump's running mate, and I believe she'd do what Mike Pence wouldn't — throw democracy under the bus.

The landscape in North Dakota is similar. Rep. Kelly Armstrong knows the truth but chooses instead to deflect the issue by complaining that an organized insurrection with Confederate flags and tentacles leading to members of Congress has been “politicized.” Well, it looks political because Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger were the only Republicans with the courage to join the Jan. 6 Commission. Armstrong was originally chosen, but after Jim Jordan was rejected, Armstrong was out, too. Putting Jordan on the committee is akin to putting the accused on the jury.

Meanwhile, Trump supporters Doug Burgum and John Hoeven remain finger-in-the-wind politicians curled up in fetal positions under their desks, ordering out for milquetoast, emerging occasionally for photo-ops in Bison jerseys. Maybe they could pardon a turkey or something sometime, too. Something meaningful like that. And Kevin Cramer just wants to find the good in people. Platitudes and appeasement have worked so well in the past.

Where's the pushback on the Big Lie? I don't mean one mealy mouth, vaguely worded whisper for the record. I mean repeated pushback like Rounds has demonstrated even if it means being in Trump's doghouse. Be like Mike. Speak out. I dare you. But they won't. They stood silent while Trump manufactured his monster, a brainwashed base that believes a billionaire serial liar cares about them and is inexplicably the last bastion of truth.


Heroes are hard to find.

Now, in response to the Big Lie, Trump and complicit Republicans are stacking the deck in key states, placing sycophantic officials in key positions, and by passing state laws to disenfranchise Democratic voters, all the while repeating the Big Lie to an uninformed base.

Conservative media feeds the Big Lie with a steady dumb-beat of misinformation nationally and right here in North Dakota through cable TV crazies and radio talkers whose milquetoast is buttered by Mr. Pillow and Big Oil. Put a nickel in the jukebox and they'll sing any song you want. Like those cowardly Republican politicians, some of these sewage spewers, deep down inside, know better, but they just won't do the right thing. This is about their bottom line, their future, not yours, lemmings. Party before country. Me before you. They must go through a lot of Ambien.

The hilarious thing, if it weren't so pathetic, is the politicians would only lose a few percentage points in their next landslide. In North Dakota, flatulence followed by the letter R would win. And speaking of such ill winds, could conservative talker ratings fall any lower?

I care less about which party wins than I do about a just, enduring democratic republic. But I am Diogenes. Just put me in the gulag next to Mike McFeely. We'll sing Woody Guthrie songs because we understand what the lyrics mean. Forget the pillow, and we ain't eating milquetoast.

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.

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