In the four days leading up to Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America, nearly 450,000 people chose to read a four-year-old story in Capitol Hill Blue about a number of Republicans who would not be attending the second inaugural of Barack Obama.
The article, written by Ken Thomas of The Associated Press, said Republicans, after losing the second straight Presidential election to Obama, weren’t in any mood to celebrate.
More than 100 Repubicans, including members of Congress, chose to attend an event in Las Vegas, called “Restore Our Future” or on vacation getaway or just “trips home” while Democrats flocked to Washington to celebrate another four years of Obama living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“It’s a good time to lay low,” said John Feeheary, a former top Congressional aide and president of Quinn Gillespie Communications.
Someone found the article in the CHB archives and posted it on Twitter and Facebook as an answer to Republicans and Trump aides who claim Democrats who aren’t attending this year’s inauguration are somehow “unpatriotic.”
For Republicans, this is a season of introspection and planning for the future.
“When you’re winning, you’re thinking about the possibilities. When you lose, you’re thinking about what went wrong,” Feehery said. “When you’re winning, you’re thinking about your next job. When you lose, you’re thinking about keeping your job.”
Such is the hypocrisy of politics. It’s OK to question the actions of “the other side” while forgetting you did the same thing when you lost a few years earlier.
The uproar leading up to Trump’s inauguration this week started with Democratic Rep. John Lewis saying he would not be attending the inauguration this week because he feels Trump is not “a legitimate President.” That set off a Trump Twitter attack, calling the civil rights icon “all talk, no action.”
“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad,” tweeted Trump.
Lewis is not the only member of Congress not attending the inauguration Friday Some 60 Democratic members of Congress say they have better things to do this weekend.
Some Republicans are skipping the event too. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a high profile GOP politician, is staying home, saying it would cost taxpayers $20,000 for travel and lodging and other expenses if he attended.
There was a time in Washington when political differences were put aside and Democrats and Republicans put on a show of unity for special occasions like inaugurations. From 1981 to 87, I served as a chief aide to three Republican members of Congress, including New Mexico Rep. Manual Lujan, who later became Secretary of Interior, and we found that building coalitions with Democrats advanced legislative goals.
Coalition building and cooperation disappeared after the 1992 election when Republicans took control and Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. His attitude was “f–k the Democrats. We are the majority and we don’t need them.”
Gingrich was also one of the leading hypocrites in Congress. He hammered Democratic President Bill Clinton for his philandering with White House intern Monica Lewinsky while he, as Speaker, at the same time he bedded Agriculture staff clerk Calista Bisek while married to second wife Marianne Gingrich.
Bisek is now Gingrich’s third wife. His is also an “trusted advisor” to thrice-married Donald John Trump.
Trump promised change. He promised to “drain the swamp.”
Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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