Republicans Starting To Bail Out On President

It is not usually newsworthy when a state legislator switches political parties, but, recently, a news article caught my eye when the longest serving Republican legislator in the Iowa General Assembly announced that he was switching political affiliation to the Democrats. How could that be?

I did some research on this gentleman, named Andy McKean, and found that he had served both in the Iowa State Senate and the Assembly for a total of 24 years. The reason he gave for switching parties is that Donald Trump had become the face of the Republican Party.

“I believe that his actions have coarsened political discourse, have resulted in unprecedented divisiveness and have created an atmosphere that is a breeding ground for hateful rhetoric and actions,” McKean said. “Some would excuse this behavior as ‘telling it like it is” and the new normal. If this is the new normal, I want no part of it.” “Unacceptable behavior should be called out for what it is,” he added.

To some, Mr. McKean might be suspect because he spent some time in the State of New York, and attended school at SUNY Oneonta. Perhaps he picked up some unknown liberal genes while residing in our fair state — and they have just come to fruition in Iowa. But, it is hard to make that argument when, for 24 years, he has represented a largely conservative, agricultural area in Iowa.

Some might be suspicious of him because he is a retired attorney and, on top of that, a square dance caller! But, let’s face it, this is not good news for Republicans. We are not talking about a young, progressive coming out of nowhere and deciding to switch parties. This is a person who is the longest serving Republican in the Iowa legislature.

I guess the article caught my eye, in part, because it identified, better than most arguments, why I have had trouble liking this President. It is not his policies or lack of government experience that most irk me… we knew going in that he had been elected, in large part, because he had no governmental experience and ran against the “elite” in government.

But, it is the “coarseness,” the continual goading and blaming, with demeaning attacks on people and institutions in four-letter “tweets” that have turned me against him. Despite having run (and both lost and won) in political campaigns, I never thought my opponent was a “jerk” or incompetent–or a pariah of some kind. Having a competitive race between good people who may disagree on some of the issues has been a hallmark of American politics.

One of my political idols around here has been Amo Houghton, our former Congressman. He is the only Chairman of a Fortune 500 Company to ever have been elected and served in the U.S. Congress. He was the epitome of competence and civility while he served. Last year, as a Republican, he came out and called for national unity and for replacing Donald Trump from the highest office in the land.

The Democrats though would be smart not to “take the bait” and get off on a tangent of impeachment which is certain to fail in the U.S. Senate. Instead, if more people like Rep. Andy McKean in Iowa start to switch parties and the Republican nominee is Donald Trump–the people will decide, and we will likely be having a new President starting in 2021.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.