The pro-Hillary crowds were all abuzz this week when Secretary Clinton picked up another post-debate endorsement from Republican former Senator John Warner. Oh look, they seemed to say. The GOP is fleeing Trump like rats from a sinking ship. Victory is at hand, comrades!
Something about that didn’t set quite right with me but I didn’t know exactly why until I was reading Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt newsletter today. In it, he goes over some of Warner’s history from the perspective of someone who experienced his tenure from inside the Beltway. This is helpfully reprinted over at National Review today, and Jim reminds us that Hillary is far from the first liberal cause that Warner championed.
People, people . . . Sometimes I feel like the only man with memory in land of amnesiacs. It was just two years ago that Warner was endorsing the Democrat in the Senate race…
John Warner is the kind of Republican who supported Roe v. Wade and embryonic stem cell research, voted for the Brady Bill, sought to extend the Assault Weapons Ban, voted to reject the nomination of Robert Bork, voted against Bill Clinton’s impeachment, broke with the rest of the party on the Terry Schiavo case, was part of the Gang of 14 on the “nuclear option,” co-sponsored a resolution opposing the 2007 surge of additional U.S. troops in Iraq, and cosponsored cap-and-trade legislation.
John Warner is exactly the kind of Republican you would expect to see endorse Hillary Clinton.
That’s the sort of perspective we need in a moment such as this. Context is everything when you’re talking about politicians with lengthy resumes, particularly when they no longer have any more battles to fight. I have a bit of experience with that myself, being from upstate New York. You may recall that it was my own congressman, Richard Hanna, who was the first sitting GOP member to endorse Hillary and bail out on Donald Trump. That was a sad moment around here because I’ve always liked Richard and wanted him to do well, despite his rather shaky conservative credentials at times.
Much like the reminder that Jim offers about Warner, it’s worth remembering that back in 2012 Hanna was at an ERA rally telling women they should donate their money to Democrats.
“I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault,” he told the crowd of mostly women. “I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”
And also like Warner, Hanna waited until he had no more battles to fight before stabbing us in the back. (He’s retiring after this term.) So this isn’t some unique moment of victory for Hillary Clinton. It’s a politician doing pretty much what they’ve been signaling slightly more subtly all along. It’s just an opportunistic time to do it when you know the national media will leap all over the headline in an effort to prop up the Democrats’ chances in November.