George Pyle: The Republican Party has gone totally Old Yeller on us

(Anna Moneymaker | The New York Times) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, heads to the Senate chamber after a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Romney announced on Wednesday, Feb. 5, that he would vote to convict the president of abuse of power, making him the first Republican to support removing Trump for his bid to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

Yes, I said the f-word on television. I said it once, but I thought I got away with it all right.

A few people did notice. By the time I got back to my desk the phone was ringing and I had two unhappy emails. The man on the phone just wanted me to know that he was calling my editor to get me fired. One of the emails wanted to know if I knew the definition of fascism.

(That was the word I used appearing on Fox 13 News last Thursday. Why? What did you think I meant?)

One can never tell in this business. But I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get axed for commenting on the outcome of the recent impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate — specifically Sen. Mitt Romney’s status as the lone Republican to vote to convict — by wondering just why it was that all the other Republicans in Congress continue to stand by “that fascist in the White House.”

If nothing else, if the worthies who run The Tribune were to let me go now on that account, they would have to admit that they don’t read my column. That they didn’t know that I have described the administration and its supporters with that term at least twice before.

Trump and Putin are fascist birds of a feather,” July 23, 2018


Let us hear no more of Greg Hughes,” Oct. 11, 2019

I try to avoid calling people Nazis. At least not until they’ve killed 9 million people. But applying the term fascist to the current commander in chief and those who continue to tie their political fortunes to his is, without question, accurate and useful. I just wish I had managed to work it in when I was on CNN earlier in the day.

The signs are all there. An abnormal nationalism that harkens to a mythical past and blames its loss on unfavored ethnic groups or religions. Disdain for government institutions, civil society and a free press. Sexism, racism, xenophobia and mergers of religious and corporate power with government power. Lies told over and over.

It is troubling in the extreme that so many Republicans have adopted the attitude of living with, or even supporting, the president.

There was some hope for Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who had been counted as a #NeverTrump, and former Gov. Jon Huntsman, who left his post as this president’s ambassador to Russia to come home in search of his old job. But, sadly, at a recent debate, they and all the other announced Republican candidates for governor identified themselves as supporters of the president’s reelection.

And, yes, Romney deserved all the praise he got for his vote to convict and for the incredibly eloquent speech that preceded it. But chances are that the senator will continue to validate the current leader by, among other things, voting to confirm Supreme Court and other judicial nominees, who will be on the bench long after this long national nightmare is over.

The conclusion to draw from this is that it is time to put the Republican Party down, like a once-faithful old dog who has gone, not just dotty, but vicious.

Yes, America, we’ve got an Old Yeller on our hands.

The United States, and Utah, should have a center-right political party. A party that stands for small government, low taxes, free enterprise, free trade and investments in public infrastructure. A party that believes in and honors people who scrape and scrap and earn their way up. A party that is happy to engage with the rest of the world, welcome its visitors, merchants, investors, customers and workers, while always keeping a strong military at the ready, just in case.

I probably won’t vote for that party. But we should have one.

If the Republican Party as it stands today really doesn’t want him any more, maybe Romney can start a party that Ronald Reagan would recognize and that wouldn’t make Abraham Lincoln vomit.

George Pyle, reading The New York Times at The Rose Establishment.

George Pyle is, for the moment, editorial page editor of The Salt Lake Tribune.