Power Corrupts Another Young Man



So, Congressman Jim Banks now wants to replace Liz Cheney as House Republican Conference Chair. Oh, how power corrupts.

I—sort of—knew Jim Banks, once upon a time. We weren’t close friends. Barely passing acquaintances, despite the fact that our desks within Focus on the Family’s Public Policy division were no more than 50 feet apart—and separated by a few layers of Herman Miller cubicle walls. I suspect that now, some 16 years later, I could walk up, shake his hand, and re-introduce myself and he wouldn’t remember me. He’s now flying along at a much higher altitude than the one I inhabit.


But the Jim Banks I knew by reputation back in those days was a young man who, while resolutely on board with the entire far-right, conservative agenda, was also honest, honorable, fair-minded, and perhaps even empathetic—by conservative reckoning.


I wish that—back during the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign—I’d made and saved a screen capture of an article I read in which the still relatively new Congressman Banks voiced his grave concerns about the brash, mendacious, corrupt Donald Trump as the possible standard-bearer for the Republican Party. But I didn’t, so you’ll have to accept my word that I did read such an article.

That Jim Banks, like so many GOP politicians—folks who never really liked or admired Donald Trump—sold his soul for acceptance and power.

Oh, how things have changed since then. Like nearly all other Republicans—elected officials as well as voters—Congressman Jim Banks has given himself over, unreservedly, to Donald Trump and Trumpism. Does Banks believe that Trump is no longer that brash, mendacious, corrupt opportunist he was during the 2016 election cycle? If he does believe that, he does so despite, not because of, any evidence of any Trump transformation.


It seems plain to me that the Jim Banks I knew by reputation—if not by close association—no longer exists. That Jim Banks, like so many GOP politicians—folks who never really liked or admired Donald Trump—sold his soul for acceptance and power.


Liz Cheney almost certainly will lose her lofty post within Congress and the Republican Party, and she’ll lose it for choosing truth rather than succumbing to her GOP colleagues’ unvarnished quest for political dominance.


Whether Jim Banks manages to become her replacement likely will depend on how far he’s willing to go down the road that leads away from those admirable characteristics that once defined him and toward the black hole of unabashed Trumpism. So far it appears he’s already passed the point of no return.