Local Republican Boss Says the Quiet Part Out Loud
If you were looking for further confirmation of the intellectual and constitutional rot that’s taken hold at the heart of the Republican Party, then you don’t need to look much further than Dave Ball.
Ball is the chairman of the Republican Party in rural Washington County, Pa., southwest of Pittsburgh.
Ball made national headlines this week, saying the quiet part out loud as he weighed in on a growing movement among Keystone State Republicans to censure Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
“We did not send him there to vote his conscience,” Ball told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. “We did not send him to do the right thing, whatever he said was doing. We sent him there to represent us, and we feel very strongly that he did not represent us.”
There are so many things wrong with what Ball said that it’s hard to know where to begin.
Suffice to say, if there was ever a time to vote one’s conscience, it’s when you’re called to determine the guilt or innocence of an authoritarian chief executive who spent months laying the groundwork for January’s deadly riot by filling his supporters’ heads with outright lies about voter fraud. Trump incited them on social media, during television appearances, and pugilistic rallies, and then set them loose to march on the Capitol to hang the vice president of the United States and assassinate the Speaker of the House.
Toomey, who is retiring in 2022, and the Republicans who stepped up and did the right thing, deserve the mildest of praise after years of complicity with the former administration. Unfortunately, Mar-a-Lago syndrome is now afflicting the hollowed-out soul of the GOP, and has taken a particularly pernicious hold at the local level.
Take for instance a man named Joe Gale, who declared his GOP candidacy for Pennsylvania governor in 2022. A county commissioner from Montgomery County in the heavily Democratic Philadelphia suburbs, Gale is a hardcore Trumper who wants to roll back the state’s mail-in balloting law.
He made national headlines last year for using official letterhead to put out a statement saying the Black Lives Matter movement and its supporters are “radical left-wing hate groups,” who are responsible for “urban domestic terror.”
Gale has promised to be an ideological enforcer, saying in a statement that “in the final days of Donald Trump’s sabotaged presidency and the bogus impeachment that followed, we have witnessed the beginning of a concerted effort by entrenched politicians and party bosses to return the Republican Party to the failed policies and platforms of the Bush, McCain and Romney era.”