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Lisa Brown will help Congress relocate its spine 

click to enlarge Publisher Ted S. McGregor Jr.
  • Publisher Ted S. McGregor Jr.

A while back, the 5th District of Washington made a tough business decision. It turned out a beloved leader after 30 years of distinguished service. The voters judged he was not fulfilling the American system of separated powers.

That race was the first I covered as a reporter in Spokane, and while there were many reasons Tom Foley lost, my takeaway was that he was carrying too much water for President Bill Clinton. Eastern Washington voters decided to put some guardrails up on the Clinton White House.

So here we are again, with another beloved local leader failing at her duty to maintain checks and balances on a troubled presidency. I believe it's time to make another tough business decision and vote her out.

Lisa Brown and Cathy McMorris Rodgers seem to be campaigning like this is just another election. They banter about health care, education, taxes. And for sure their parties want it that way. Democrats are sticking to traditional issues, and Republicans hope you won't remember who's leading their party.

But let's be real: While issues matter, this election is a referendum on Donald Trump.

Lisa Brown is the most dynamic, ready-to-lead candidate Eastern Washington has produced since Tom Foley. There are many reasons to vote for her, but most urgent is that she will help put the brakes on the runaway Trump train.

What has the Republican Congress' abdicating of its traditional responsibility unleashed? Let's review:

Our president has the emotional maturity of a seventh grader. He alternates between the schoolyard bully, then the victim — whichever suits him. Every action is filtered simply: What's best for Donald Trump. Great presidents are selfless; he's self-obsessed. Apparently an expert scientist, he has proclaimed climate change a hoax. Meanwhile, the floodwaters rise. He undermines our alliances with our oldest, dearest friends. These are the planet's defenders of freedom and democracy; world peace hangs in the balance. His policies are quickly bankrupting us, with tax cuts for the rich that are exploding the deficit and deepening the economic divide that challenges our nation so profoundly. He enjoys playing chicken with our economic security, with anti-business tariffs and trade wars. He's stealing children from their parents at the border and putting them in cages. He lies constantly, about things large and small. He flaunts the rules the rest of us follow, like paying taxes and disclosing the sources of his fortune. He's at war with the press and the First Amendment, despite the fact that he put his hand on a Bible and swore to "preserve, protect and defend" all the amendments to the Constitution. He coddles despots like those in Saudi Arabia and Russia. He defends racists and accused sex offenders — not surprising, because he has shown himself to be both of those things. He's dismissive of women, has bragged about assaulting them — even cheating on his wives. And he's taking a wrecking ball to the institutions that have served us so well for more that 240 years now: the Supreme Court, Congress and its norms and traditions, the Justice Department, the State Department, even the military, where he has undermined missions and mocked our heroes.

This is a president who screams out for adult supervision.

But among all these transgressions, one rises above all. Donald Trump, every day, works to divide us. Our union is precious and tenuous — like a marriage. It's the source of our strength, our happiness and our unprecedented national prosperity. And every day, he beats the living hell out of it, fanning the flames of hatred.

It was another president who warned us about exactly this — the president who knew firsthand the price we paid for our union. George Washington's parting advice, found in his Farewell Address, was pretty simple: Don't get brainwashed by some slick, self-serving demagogue.

This is the stuff of infamy — the most shameful, un-American behavior of any president.

For 14 years of service, Cathy McMorris Rodgers deserves everyone's respect. But she has lost her way. As a party leader, she's one of the president's key enablers. She is complicit.

So here we are, in the great state of Washington, in the district where, in 1994, we sent an unmistakable message to the nation: The checks and balances of our system must be enforced.

Shut out the noise, take a deep breath and look around: We have way, way more that unites us as Americans. So many things we do together, like serve in the military, start and build companies, improve our cities and towns, raise and educate great kids. Key word: together. Here in Eastern Washington, we're working together to make this place even more special. We can't let this cynicism divide us. We must reject the nastiness, the misogyny, the racism and the utter lack of basic human — and Christian — morality.

This is not the usual choice between right and left. This is an existential moment. We all have to vote like our nation depends on us. ♦

The Inlander does not do formal candidate endorsements. Ted S. McGregor is the publisher of the Inlander; his opinions are his own.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Missing: One Spine"

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