Hearing truth to power against one’s own party is refreshing

By: Thomas Mills - Contributing columnist

John Blust and Trey Gowdy almost make me want to reconsider my opposition to term limits. Unbound by the need to get re-elected, they’re speaking truth power and in both cases the power is their own party. We need voices of reason and less of the tribe.

John Blust called out his Republican colleagues in the North Carolina House for their efforts to rig the judicial system. A bill being discussed would transfer the responsibility for filling vacant judicial terms from the governor to the legislature. It’s another power grab by the GOP who fear losing control of at least one house of the legislature this November. Blust asked his colleagues, “Why are we competent to make these decisions?” His clear implications is that they are not.

The whole attempt to rig the judiciary for political gain is disturbing. I hope Blust’s criticism is echoed by other Republicans. Republicans aren’t interested in making the courts more efficient, effective, or fair. They want to make them more partisan. That’s bad for justice and bad for North Carolina.

Trey Gowdy, the retiring Congressman for South Carolina, has told a lot of truth. He’s leaving because the partisanship in Washington is so out of control and he’s clearly no fan of Donald Trump. He implied that Trump is acting like a guilty man when he told Trump’s lawyer, “If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.”

Gowdy also broke with his party on the Russia investigation. He believes Mueller should be allowed to carry out his task and believes that Russia intervened to harm the Clinton campaign. And this is the guy who ran the Benghazi investigation.

It’s refreshing to hear people criticize their own parties today. It used to be more common but tribalism has prevailed. It’s unfortunate that leaving office is what it takes for many politicians to speak truth to power. It’s also unfortunate that our parties’ bases are what drive the political conversation.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com, a website of commentary and analysis. Originally published at politicsnc.com.

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Thomas Mills

Contributing columnist