The House “Freedom Caucus” as the Champions of Human Reason


Washington Post, House GOP looks to protect Trump by raising doubts about motives of his deputies

Greg Sargent, Republicans are throwing Giuliani under the bus. But there’s a problem.

Jonathan Chait, New GOP Ukraine Defense: Trump Was Just a Patsy for Sondland

I know what many of you are thinking: America has become divided into warring tribes with painted faces, yelling and sticking their tongues out at one another. There is no place any more for reasoned argument, yea, not for anything that bears the slightest resemblance to reasoned argument. So why is a lone blogger wasting his time and ours by deconstructing arguments?

You, dear friends, may very well be right. Certainly, if we were together, drinking—let us say at the Happy Acres happy hour—I would not engage you in vigorous disputation over the matter.

However, regardless of the accuracy of the claim that all of us have lost all appetite for reasoned discourse, I can name some people who do not share that view. Or who, at least, are not yet prepared to put all their eggs in that basket.

They are Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows and the 30-odd other members of the House Freedom Caucus.

Currently, these solons and champions of human reason are eschewing the Deny the Undeniable Defense. As Chait puts it, they don’t “deny that the extortion scheme took place.”

Ixnay, likewise, on the Defend the Indefensible Defense. In Chait’s words, once again, they do not “defend the extortion scheme as a legitimate exercise of foreign policy.”

Nor have they yet fallen back on the pure tribalism amoral defense: Just Get Over it.

They are instead arguing a version of the Explain the Inexplicable Defense–an argument which, if it bore the slightest resemblance to reality, might give some cover to Trump. (For the gory details, see the WaPo story cited above.)

And why not embrace the patently illogical arguments? Why the hell not?, you may well ask.

Have these folks searched deep within their souls and found some lingering reservoir of moral strength and courage?

No, I don’t think so.

Well, then, are they not aware that vast hordes of Trump supporters would forgive any sin on his part? Has it escaped their notice that the Trump cultists do not give a tinker’s damn about anything bearing the slightest resemblance to a structured argument?

Yes, yes, my friends, it has assuredly not escaped their notice that vast swaths of the American public subscribe to the Cult of Trump.

Well, all that being the case, how may we explain this deep and incomprehensible mystery?

The answer must lie in a recognition by Messrs. Jordan and Meadows and others in their merry band that the utterly gullible, though vast in numbers, are not quite vast enough to keep them in power.

That, for folks other than the terminally stupid, continued tolerance of Trump will have to rest on something that is a second cousin of a plausible explanation.

It is an act of utter desperation. Chait and Sargent lay out the case why this dog will not hunt.

But, all that said, I sleep tonight with some small assurance that there is at least a scant hope for America, and that the light of reason has not entirely died. Even the House Freedom Caucus has seen the need to find a defense that might exonerate Trump, if it were true.

Progress, indeed.


As I prepare for slumber, I see that today’s readers now come from Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Thailand, and the United States. Also Russia. It gives me a real special feeling to know that I have readers in Russia. Not gonna be accepting’ any perfume from strangers.