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Opinion:The Impotent Constitutionalist – Ben Sasse

U.S. Senator for Nebraska Ben Sasse is an interesting character in modern-day politics. He has the oft recognized credentials of a constitutionalist like Ted Cruz but the lackluster energy of Jeb Bush. Ben Sasse seems like a crossroads marking the meeting of opinionated conviction, weak resolve, a good heart, and a forgettable legacy. Sasse appears to have many good ideas, but when we start to ask two questions, his ideas begin to fade. First, what has Sasse accomplished for America? Second, when controversial or difficult topics cause political crosshairs to land on him, has Sasse held the line? Let's consider these questions by reviewing some of his noteworthy decisions over the years.

Senator Sasse recently made headlines as one of only seven Republicans to vote in the affirmative concerning the 2021 impeachment of President Trump. The unprecedented impeachment was historic for several reasons. The 2021 impeachment of former President Trump was the second impeachment in a single term after a failed initial effort only a year earlier – a situation that represents a historical first. Next, the 2021 impeachment relied on no evidence, witnesses, or argument being presented by the US House. To place this situation in context, the 2019 impeachment of President Trump and the impeachment of President Clinton both relied on extended professional inquiries, private investigations, presentation of evidence, testimonies, and debate. These elements were absent when the House drafted an article of impeachment against Trump in 2021. Next, the Senate impeachment process was almost not heard after a constitutional concern split the senate. 44 Senators and many citizens believed that, given no historical precedent, it was unconstitutional and dangerous to impeach a former officeholder. Though the pro-impeachment side won, the entire process started on shaky ground, with doubts being cast over the proceedings' legality. The now-established precedent of impeaching a former officeholder reveals a pandora's box of possibilities, including impeaching former Senator Kamala Harris for her support of violent rioters and impeaching former President Barack Obama for using the FBI to delegitimize an incoming administration and using the IRS to punish political opponents. Senator Sasse has been silent on the pandora's box, which he voted to open. Instead, his focus appears to be entirely on Donald Trump. The next problem is that the pro-impeachment side presented evidence that was proven to be photoshopped, selectively edited for out-of-context messaging, and intentionally dishonest. Senator Sasse had no apparent problem with voting for political prosecution. A court of law would have seen the manipulated evidence, thrown it out, and the presenters threatened with a minimum of 16 months in prison. Lastly, Sasse seems to have been entirely accepting of an impeachment case that relied on blatant political and social hypocrisy and selectively applied conduct standards.

Trump lawyer accuses Democrats of manipulating evidence at impeachment trial.

Impeachment: Trump Lawyer Shows Video of Democrats Objecting to 2016 Election

If you are under the impression that oddly biased, un-American, and arguably unconstitutional impeachment support is the only problem with Sasse; you're mistaken. In a recent interview, Sasse explains that it is not enough to be "anti" – we must explain what we are "for." While this is certainly a sentiment worth supporting, Sasse never seems to clarify what he is "for." The senator explains that he is against the culture Trump has created. He claims to be more in-line with presidents like Lincoln and Reagan. Oddly enough, both Lincoln and Reagan ruled during tumultuous times, played significant parts in political polarization, took unprecedented measures to preserve Americanism and democracy, and were established as political fighters who inspired undying loyalty. In truth, Lincoln and Reagan, who Sasse likes to name drop as claimed historical partners, seem to share more similarities with Donald Trump than they do Ben Sasse.

In another recent interview, Sasse asserts that Trump supporters are in a "personality cult" and discredits claims of election fraud. While Donald Trump, like most leaders, certainly has followers who could be accurately described as blindly loyal to his personality, such a broad claim is both insulting and inaccurate. Millions of citizens have supported Trump because he is an outsider who is constantly lied about by the media and governmental powers-that-be. Other voters have faithfully voted for Trump because he was the best choice available. Senator Sasse brags about his large victory margins in a deep red state while discrediting massive election irregularities, widespread allegations, and bipartisan election security concerns. None of these decisions seem to fit with the character of a Reagan-esque Constitutional Warrior.

Ben Sasse EVISCERATES Donald Trump and the Nebraska GOP State Central Committee

The same interview sees Sasse claim to be a supporter of "Rule of law, constitutionalism… and extending the American dream". He has written several books on constitutionalism, but beyond that, his efforts towards these end goals seem malnourished. Regarding the rule of law, Sasse was justifiably quick to speak out against the DC Riot – a unanimously disowned event. He was conspicuously quiet as a more controversial and prevalent topic threatened his home state of Nebraska. As violence in the name of BLM and racial justice claimed the streets of Lincoln and Omaha, Ben Sasse seemed tongue-tied with very little to contribute to the day's needs.

Regarding his ambiguous effort to "extend the American dream," Sasse seems rather selective in the dreams he protects and extends. To a citizen hurt in DC, Sasse appears to extend his deepest condolences. To thousands of citizens injured in left-wing riots and millions disenfranchised by unstable election processes, Sasses seems disinterested.

Lastly, let's briefly consider Sasse's pro-American, pro-rule of law, pro-constitution claims against his voting record. In an era of the rising national debt and economic war with China, Sasse has voted repeatedly to increase our budgetary spending and reduce accountability at a national level. He has also voted against sanctioning our greatest international military threats found in Russia, North Korea, and Iran. When we look to one of the bipartisan ideas that is justified – a call for criminal justice reform – we see that Sasse swung and missed with a vote opposing the movement.

As Nathaniel Fischer explains in his writing, The Life of Sasse, the Nebraskan Senator likes to scold our judicial and congressional system – but his list of actions and steps towards a better future is embarrassingly short. Fischer goes on to explain that while Sasse seems to enjoy complaining about American education, he was almost entirely inactive during conservative movements to modernize and improve academia. According to Fischer, Sasse was vocal about recognizing economic problems in his home state but was silent about providing solutions. This pattern seems to be a predictable cycle for our opinionated but impotent conservative warrior.

This article is not meant to paint Sasse as an anti-American leader or an enemy of the people. Instead, it is meant to ask, "Are we holding elected conservatives accountable, or are we simply seeing the title constitutionalist and signing on board?". Sasse has supported some good movements, specifically in the realm of pro-life policy. Sadly, though, Sasse seems all too often to be an uninspired and fair-weather warrior on the battlefield of ideas. Does Sasse hate America? No, I do not believe he does. But does Sasse love America enough to take on dangerous and difficult ideological battles consistently? Again, I think the answer is no.

The days we live in are trying, unstable, and dangerous.

We need leaders modeled after Washington, who was willing to reject the most powerful empire on earth for liberty's sake.

We need Lincoln, who was willing to become a reviled figure and take unprecedented action to preserve constitutionally promised human rights.

We need Theodore Roosevelt, an innovator of policy solutions who rejected political norms and led from the front.

What we have is Ben Sasse in Mom's jeans hugging his copy of the Constitution as America burns.

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About the Author:

Luke Negron, is an Air Force veteran, writer, speaker, and activist. He has over a decade of private sector experience - including working to pay his way through Grove City College, where he graduated with Political Science, National Security, and Communications studies in his professional experience. He is proud to say he relates to the American middle class - having worked in restaurants, construction, and technology. In 2020 he was the Republican Nominee to the U.S House for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. He has worked with a long list of charitable organizations including Samaritan's Purse, The Pittsburgh Project, and Cleanup 412. As a social and political leader, his goal is simple: to reclaim politics of, by, and for the people.

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