One thing I don’t think I’ll ever understand is the need to pipe up with a chorus of complaints whenever someone on the right does the right thing. I’ve seen it happen for years now. McCain helps keep the ACA in place, which prompts a bunch of people to remind us why we never liked him. Liz Cheney goes after Trump, which means we need to remember that the Cheneys are bad people. Cassidy Hutchinson is just the latest. Sure, she helped us fight Trump but we have to consider how long she worked for the GOP and if she got groped, well she should have seen that coming too.
The thing is, most of us don’t have any illusions about who most of these Republicans are. This is website full of people hyper-focused on politics. We remember.
So what is it? I suspect it’s the feeling that it’s not fair that we were doing the right thing all along but they get credit for doing the right thing once. I personally couldn’t care less.
I also think we put too much value on “hero”. It’s just something you say when someone does a good thing, not a comment on the totality of every action they ever did. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, everyone we hold up as heroes did some indefensible things in their personal or professional lives. They’re still heroes.
(I’m already seeing some of you typing, “this is why I have no heroes!” Ok, cool. You’re special, Pat yourself on your back.)
Why praise these people?
I don’t think it’s controversial that rewarding people with praise incentivizes behavior that we want to see. It’s also free. “Hooray good job!” “You’re a hero!” — $.0 spent.
Furthermore it sets us up as the party that is welcoming to people who do the right thing. Isn’t that what we want? Sure, most of these people will stay Republicans and advocate for bad things. They (and their families) built careers on that. But everyday voters will observe how defectors are treated, and if we make it a more pleasant experience, some might actually change their voting patterns.
Are you worried we’ll help these people personally if we say nice things? Sure, Cassidy Hutchinson might sell more books. Does that matter? If you don’t want to you don’t have to buy it. I won’t. Cheney, Romney and Kinzinger have no political futures to speak of. McCain died not long after his famous No vote. Nothing we say about these people really matters much.
What’s wrong with saying they’re not heroes?
In the same way that we incentivize good behavior with praise we disincentivize good behavior by suggesting that people are still bad people even if they do the right thing. You cannot expect people to try to redeem themselves when you decide they’re irredeemable.
We talk a lot about how Republicans are in a cult. One of the many ways cults keep their members is by telling them that the outside world hates them. By jumping on them right when they’re doing something praiseworthy we are telling them the cult is right- we really do hate them. (Which isn’t to say we can’t hate them, only that it’s strategically stupid to say that out loud).
Get over it. Pride is how you lose and this isn’t about you. It helps to call people heroes so let people call other people heroes.