The Never-Ending Mind of Filosofa

I think many of us are still focused on the election results and what it all means going forward as a nation, and I am no exception. Try as I might to put it out of my mind, it keeps coming back like a boomerang.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these past couple of days/nights, and I thought I’d share just a few of my thoughts with you.


There is much reason to be relieved by the results of Tuesday’s election, but … I would urge caution – it was not a sweeping mandate.  Republicans had more to do with their own losses than Democrats did with their wins.  They pandered to Trump, let him choose the candidates, and as usual Trump chose poorly.  Trump’s criteria was two-fold:  to earn his support, the candidate had to pretend to believe the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from Trump, and the candidate had to swear an oath of loyalty to Trump … not to the Republican Party, not to the country, but to one single ‘man’, Donald Trump.  Even a number of Republicans were, as is now obvious, offput by the unqualified candidates Trump chose to support and it was that, more than anything else, that drove some of the Republican losses this week.  The Supreme Court also played a role, unwittingly, in the unexpected Democratic wins with their decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  People care about their rights. It would behoove our politicians and our Supreme Court Justices to keep that in mind.  The government exists to serve the people, not the other way around.


Republicans seem to have forgotten the actual purpose of government’s existence.  As Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, government is to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” … the operative word here being ‘people’.  All people.  Democrats’ policies are primarily people-centric, while Republicans seem more interested in making the nation wealthy, but only for a few at the expense of the rest of us.  While I won’t go so far as to say that nobody should have more than another person, I will say that I find anyone who has millions or billions of dollars to his name to be obscenely, grotesquely uncaring about humanity.  Sure, if you work hard, you make your company successful, you should reap the rewards, but not to the point of having billions of dollars while other people in your country, your own city, are going to bed hungry at night.  THAT is simply inexcusable.  And yet, that is what the Republican Party stands for.


I have heard it said that there is no real danger of an autocracy taking over in the U.S., for we have the Constitution.  Folks, the Constitution is a document, and like any document, it is only as good as the people who are in charge of upholding it.  A document can be destroyed, can be altered, can be burned.  It is a concept, a foundation upon which we build, but it is not indestructible.  It relies on the people we elect to defend and uphold it, and … AND it relies on We the People to agree to honour it by ensuring those we elect to support the Constitution, actually do so.  I wonder how many voters in this country have actually read the U.S. Constitution?  It’s only just over 8,000 words, including the 27 amendments, just about the length of 8 of my blog posts. And the language is simple enough for anyone who can read at a 9th grade level to understand.

The document was intended to grow along with the nation, not to be a set-in-stone, unwavering set of laws.  The framers knew that times would change, situations would evolve that might require additions or alterations, and they fully expected those additions and alterations, expected the document to grow with the times.  And to an extent, it has.  Women were given the right to vote in the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, just barely over a century ago.  It was the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, that gave 18-year-old citizens the right to vote – this came about largely due to the war in Vietnam and the case was made that if an 18-year-old was old enough to risk their life for their country, they should have a voice in our government.  The last amendment passed was the 27th, in 1992, that disallows members of Congress from granting themselves pay raises that would take effect prior to the next election.  1992 … 30 years since the last amendment to the Constitution.  A lot has changed in that time, and the document is sorely in need of some updating, but back to the point … it could be destroyed without too much ado.  It is a safeguard, but … just as your home is your safeguard against the elements, wild animals and wild people, your home can be broken into, burned down … destroyed.  So can the Constitution.  So can democracy.

What’s Wrong With The Right?

Most of the mid-term focus has centered on the Senate races, and with good reason.  The Senate is currently evenly divided at 50/50 and if Republicans can net just one new seat, they will take a majority and all bets for anything worthwhile coming out of Congress are off.  But we also shouldn’t ignore the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats are up for grabs and most predictions are that the Republicans will gain a majority there.  That supposition might not be so discouraging if there were normal human beings, educated people with the best interests of the nation at heart, running for House seats, but as Dana Milbank shows us in his column today, that ain’t the case!


Think you already know crazy? Meet the House GOP Class of ’22.

By Dana Milbank

7 October 2022

Can we have order in the House?

Not if this crowd takes over.

Much of the public focus in the midterm elections has been on the, er, exotic nature of the Republic nominees in Senate and gubernatorial races, and understandably so. There’s Mehmet Oz’s crudite, Doug Mastriano’s white supremacists, and Herschel Walker’s … well, pretty much everything he says and does. But GOP nominees for the House are no less erratic — just less well known.

There’s the woman from North Carolina who was accused of hitting one husband with an alarm clock, trying to hit another with a car (and also menacing him with a frying pan) and punching her daughter. She denies that, though she also invoked a conspiracy belief that alien lizards control the government.

There’s the man from Ohio who lied about his military record, lavishly promoted QAnon themes, acknowledged bypassing police barriers at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and with 120 gallons of paint turned his entire lawn into a Trump banner.

There’s the man from Michigan who claimed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman participated in a satanic ritual, who once disparaged women’s suffrage, and who, though Black, raised concern about Democrats “eroding the white population.”

Then there are: the Texas woman accused by her estranged husband of cruelty toward his teenage daughter; the Colorado woman who backed an effort to secede from her state; the Virginia woman who speculated that rape victims wouldn’t get pregnant; and the Wisconsin man who used campaign funds from his failed 2020 race to come to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, where he apparently breached Capitol barricades.

What they all have in common is that they’re in competitive races, which means they could well be part of a Republican House majority in January. And that’s on top of a larger group of GOP nominees in deep-red congressional districts who are a motley assortment of election deniers, climate-change deniers, QAnon enthusiasts and Jan. 6 participants who propose to abolish the FBI and ban abortion with no exceptions, among other things. Some won nominations despite efforts by party leadership to stop them and continue without financial support from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Maybe this is why Kevin McCarthy, the man who as House speaker would have the task of leading this rogues’ gallery, calls his agenda a “Commitment to America.” Many members of his new majority might be good candidates for commitment.

J.R. Majewski, a Republican running to represent Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, at a campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 17. (Tom E. Puskar/AP)

J.R. Majewski, the Trump-backed lawn painter from Ohio, has a different agenda: He wants to “abolish all unconstitutional three letter agencies,” including the CIA. He has said he’s willing to fight a civil war, and he made a campaign video in which he carried a rifle and said he would “do whatever it takes” to “bring this country back to its former glory.”

Sandy Smith, a Republican seeking to represent North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, speaks at a rally in Wilmington, N.C., on Sept. 23. (Chris Seward/AP)

In North Carolina, Sandy Smith is folding into her plans for the country the domestic-abuse allegations against her: “I never ran over anyone with a car and I never hit anyone in the head with a frying pan. … I am bringing a frying pan to DC, though,” she tweeted in May. (Disclosure: My wife, a pollster, is a consultant to Smith’s Democratic opponent.) Smith also wants “executions” of those who, she falsely claims, stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.

Republican House candidate John Gibbs speaks with reporters in Byron Township, Mich., on Aug. 2. (Sarah Rice for The Washington Post)

Maybe this is what John Gibbs, the Michigan Republican who questioned women’s suffrage, had in mind when he wrote as a Stanford student that women don’t “posess [sic] the characteristics necessary to govern” because they rely on “emotional reasoning.”

McCarthy will surely have to put down many an uprising from what might be termed the Insurrection Caucus. Wisconsin nominee Derrick Van Orden, like Majewski and a few other GOP nominees, was outside the U.S. Capitol that day — and was photographed inside a restricted area, though he says he left when things turned violent. And Kelly Cooper, a nominee in Arizona, wants “the prisoners of January 6th … to be released on day one.”

George Santos, left, is a Republican running for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, while the GOP’s Zach Nunn is running to represent Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District. (Bloomberg News; AP)

George Santos, a nominee in New York, claimed he was the victim of election fraud in his failed 2020 bid. Sam Peters, a nominee in Nevada who has used the “#QArmy” hashtag and embraced being called the “male” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, characterized those facing charges for the insurrection as “civically engaged American citizens exercising their constitutional freedoms.” And Iowa nominee Zach Nunn, who found it suspicious that Capitol Police couldn’t “stop a bunch of middle-aged individuals from walking onto the floor,” argued that “not a single one” of the defendants was charged with and convicted of insurrection. (That’s because the charge is “seditious conspiracy.”) Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, a nominee from Ohio, was precocious in her false claims of election fraud: She claimed in 2018 that a voting machine had switched her vote in the Ohio Senate race from Republican to Democrat.

GOP candidate Monica De La Cruz, left, is seeking to represent Texas’s 15th Congressional District, while Bo Hines, right, is running as a Republican in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District. (AP; Getty Images)

Overlapping with the Insurrection Caucus are those with qualifications that might, at best, be called unconventional. Monica De La Cruz, a Texas nominee and top GOP recruit, was accused in a court filing a year ago of “cruel and aggressive conduct” toward her then-husband’s 14-year-old daughter, including pinching the teen to stop her from crying; she denies the claim. In Colorado, nominee Barbara Kirkmeyer once led an attempt by 11 counties there to secede and become their own state. In North Carolina, nominee Bo Hines (who wants a 10-year moratorium on immigration) spoke of a “banana republic” as though the common term for flailing democracies was actually referring to the clothing store of the same name.

Of course, the People’s House has always attracted the eccentric, and even the shady, from both parties. But the would-be Republican Class of ’22 is extraordinary in the number of oddballs and extremists in its ranks. This is no accident: The trend in Republican primaries, accelerated by Trump, has favored those with the most eye-popping tapestry of conspiracy theories and unyielding positions. GOP primaries are dominated by a sliver of the electorate on the far right.

That’s why they produce figures such as Erik Aadland, a Colorado nominee who claims that the 2020 election was “absolutely rigged” and that the country is “on the brink of being taken over by a communist government” and who has followed various extremist groups, including the Proud Boys, on social media. In New Jersey, Frank Pallotta is again a Republican nominee, after declaring during his 2020 run for the same seat that he stands by the Oath Keepers, a group whose leaders are now on trial over Jan. 6.

Republican Karoline Leavitt, left, is seeking to represent New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, while Yesli Vega, right, is running as a Republican in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. (AP; The Washington Post)

Starting in January, a likely narrow Republican majority might have to find consensus among a freshman class that can’t agree on basic facts. Karoline Leavitt, a nominee in New Hampshire, claims that “the alleged ‘existential threat of climate change’ is a manufactured crisis by the Democrat Party.” In Virginia, nominee Yesli Vega argued that it was less likely for a rape victim to become pregnant because “it’s not something that’s happening organically.” Also in Virginia, nominee Hung Cao asserted that more “people get bludgeoned to death and stabbed to death than they get shot,” which is wrong by an order of magnitude.

Republican Robert Burns is running for Congress in New Hampshire. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

But these nominees have offered unique policy ideas! Robert Burns of New Hampshire said in 2018 that he would allow abortion only to protect the “life of the mother” — but “we would need a panel in this sort of situation” to decide whether the ailing woman can get the lifesaving procedure.

A real-life death panel! Challenged recently on this position, Burns replied last month: “In response to the death panels, I believe women of color and low economic status deserve second and third opinions before being forced into abortions.” Put another way, a woman would need a second and third opinion before she’s allowed to save her own life.

The House Republican Class of ’22 will be many things, but “boring” is not one of them.