Regular readers are well aware that I haven't made much of an effort to disguise my admiration for Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a newly-elected conservative, millennial Congressman from Texas. Not only has he sacrificed greatly for our country, he's parlayed his national platform -- including a high-profile response to some unseemly barbs directed at him -- to becoming a one-man wrecking ball against outrage culture and unthinking partisan tribalism. In his latest viral social media salvo, Crenshaw took aim at a Democratic colleague who recently delivered a speech at an NAACP event that repeatedly compared President Trump to Hitler and denigrated Trump voters as a horde of under-educated, aging, desperate addicts:
Crenshaw took justifiable exception to the insultingly hyperbolic Hitler parallels, but reserved his deeper dismay for the Georgia Congressman's sneering, lazy caricature of the tens of millions of Americans who voted for Trump in 2016:
Stop insulting Americans just because they vote for someone you don’t like. pic.twitter.com/8wrP3ybtPe— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 6, 2019
"This is a cowardly form of politics. No matter how much I will disagree with you in Congress, I will never, ever insult the good Americans who voted for you. I will never paint an entire half of the country as deplorables, or fools, or the dregs of society. I'll never do it. And if I ever do, you'd better call me out on it because I can't imagine a worse form of leadership."
The conspicuous reference to Hillary Clinton was quite obviously intentional, and I'd argue it was also useful to broadening the point. Taking on Hank Johnson, the guy who publicly worried that an island might physically capsize (true story), isn't exactly heavy intellectual lifting. But Johnson's over-the-top anti-Trump venom and oozing antipathy for people who voted against his party aren't exactly outlier views on the Left these days. President Trump doesn't always deserve full-throated defenses (and Crenshaw certainly hasn't always offered them), but the reflexive demonization of millions of voters is inexcusable. The Texas freshman was right, and smart, to home in on -- and push back against -- that component of Johnson and Clinton's broad-brush demagoguery. Crenshaw has also exhibited a willingness to skewer bad ideas without descending into Stupidville. Given all of the attention being paid to a fellow young first-termer, it's worth highlighting how Crenshaw is engaging on this front:
Laughing to myself as socialism’s defenders exclaim “but its MARGINAL tax rates!”, as if that makes the 70% proposal any more ethical or intelligent.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 5, 2019
We know the rates are marginal. Doesn’t change the argument.
Finally, I'll leave you with a shout out to another millennial Republican member of Congress, who has rightly identified the need for the GOP to recruit far more female and people of color to run for office. Astoundingly, she's met with some resistance to this, including one party elder who basically told her to stay in her lane (she pointedly declined), and a recent column decrying her model of center-right moderation. The notion that, following a 40-seat loss, the Republican Party doesn't need to re-expand its appeal is beyond foolish. It's actively destructive. Rep. Stefanik is exactly right:
I believe we need a big tent & should accept ideological diversity within the @gop. Why? It reflect our voters who are diverse & independent thinkers. Engaging in discourse on various ideas makes the Republican Party & ultimately our policies stronger. https://t.co/Yf5nl6OdB9— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) January 7, 2019