I know that Senator Benjamin Sasse (R-NE) is not a popular topic around these parts.
The conservative (yes, conservative – his voting record is more conservative than any legislator in Congress not named Mike Lee (R-UT) or Ted Cruz (R-TX)) Senator has run afoul of many supporters of President Trump for his willingness to chastise the President when his comments drift away from conservative philosophy.
Sadly, Sasse’s strong voting record and his eloquent and strident defense of conservatism don’t seem to matter to many Republicans who admonish him for speaking out against President Trump when the President says or does things that don’t line up with our conservative values.
The most recent example of this came in the wake of this tweet from President Trump:
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Now, while this may seem like your ordinary run of the mill spat between the President and the mainstream media, what the President is suggesting much more serious than that.
Imagine, if you will, that President Obama had said something similar to this in Fox News’ direction – conservatives would have been apoplectic, and rightly so.
Now, there is a difference between President Obama’s rhetoric and President Trump’s tweets. Not many of us actually believe that President Trump will push to revoke NBC’s licenses or to shut down CNN for delivering “fake news.” However, when President Obama banned Fox News from his press gaggles, everyone was immediately very concerned about the 1st Amendment.
That being said, the President should never have tweeted the above statement – even in jest.
It was for this that Senator Sasse spoke out in defense of the 1st Amendment, reminding the President that he swore an oath to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (which includes CNN’s 1st Amendment right to speech the President doesn’t like).
Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/XLB7QXM3bQ
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
Sasse’s sassy remark set off a Twitter firestorm in which many of the President’s defenders came out to scold Sasse and call for a primary against him (please don’t primary Sasse – his voting record is near perfect). However, the most profound attack against Sasse came from Fox News host Sean Hannity who opined that he regretted ever supporting Sasse’s Senate run.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 12, 2017
First, Hannity is just plain wrong here. Sasse was the best candidate for the position and he’s one of the most ardent, eloquent, and zealous defenders of the Constitution in the Senate today.
Thankfully, Sasse had a ready reply for Hannity, arguing that it was the pundit who had changed, not Sasse.
Sasse then asked the question that every conservative who is okay with Trump’s tweet should be asking themselves; what happens when the next Democrat president talks about censoring conservative news outlets?
Question for conservatives:
What will you wish you had said now if someday a President Elizabeth Warren talks about censoring Fox News?
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
CNN’s Jake Tapper had similar thoughts on the subject:
Sadly, this observation from Tapper and Sasse was mostly ignored and President Trump’s strongest supporters continued their attacks on the Nebraska conservative.
Conservative blogger Allahpundit explained what was unfolding in his usual tongue-in-cheek manner…
1. Trump’s will is the proper conservative position
2. When that’s unclear, whatever makes liberals cry is the proper position
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) September 7, 2017
Here’s the thing… no one, not even Sasse, is arguing that Republicans (and conservatives) shouldn’t support the President’s agenda.
What Sasse, and other conservatives, are saying is that when President Trump strays from conservative ideology it is our duty to step in and explain to him that conservative values are always a better way to govern. Conservatives should fight for conservative ideas no matter who the President is.
As conservatives, making liberals angry shouldn’t be our end goal. Our goal should be to improve our world, secure our nation’s future, and to advance conservative ideas because conservative ideas are the best way to improve our world and secure our future. When any politician strays from conservative principles, it is we who should be calling them back to the sound foundation of limited government, greater personal liberty, and the inherent value of every individual. We should do these things even when the President is from our party.
Don’t blame Ben Sasse for standing for conservative principles, he’s only doing what we asked him to do when we elected him.