Because the Republican Party is just gawdawful at this point, just absolutely child-punchingly gawdawful, it stands to reason that the pressure to recruit increasingly terrible people to fill the party ranks would rise accordingly. Non-insane House Republicans continue to retire rather than try to beat back frothing would-be replacements, sending the whole party ever-rightward and efficiently purging anyone with dignity, a conscience, or a basic grasp of reality.
It stands to reason, then, that disgraced White House physician Ronny Jackson would throw his hat in the ring to replace the retiring Rep. Mac Thornberry in Texas’s hard-right 13th District. Trump had been so impressed with Jackson’s bedside manner that he nominated him last year to head the Department of Veterans Affairs; that nomination turned into one of the White House’s many no-vetting train wrecks when it almost immediately came to light that Jackson had an alleged history of drunkenness on the job and a reputation for dispensing pills, shall we say, lavishly to White House staffers, allegedly earning him the nickname “Candyman.” Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson would soon withdraw his nomination and eventually leave his White House post in disgrace, amid an ongoing U.S. military probe of the allegations against him. That investigation, in fact, remains open.
So yes, that’s the person who thinks he has a good shot at wooing the Republican base, and there’s little evidence to suggest he’s wrong. Consider Ronny Jackson’s many, many qualifications for the role of House Republican:
• The man’s praise for Dear Leader was effusive from the get-go. Describing Trump’s annual checkup in a laudatory (and deeply weird, and slightly Aryan) press conference, Jackson said that Trump had “incredible genes,” with a proper diet “might live to be 200 years old,” and had somehow grown the one inch needed to avoid the clinical definition of obese. The prime duty of a House Republican is to forever blow smoke up Trump’s a–, and Ronny Jackson is one of the select Republicans in America to already own the equipment to do it.
• Like newest conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Jackson “likes” beer. He seems to “like” beer a lot, in fact: He is accused of drunkenly wrecking a government vehicle after a Secret Service going-away party. Jackson also was reported to have been discovered “passed out drunk” in a hotel room “on at least one occasion,” and during another overseas trip drunkenly “banged on the hotel room door of a female employee.” It’s a bit of a surprise that Jackson’s running for Congress rather than waiting by the phone for the next Trump Supreme Court appointment.
• Concerned about the opioid epidemic? Dr. Jackson has you covered. No, really: As White House physician, Jackson is alleged to have provided “a large supply” of the opioid Percocet to a White House military staffer, throwing his own staff into “a panic” when they were unable to account for the gone-missing drug.
Consider other disgraced Republicans who have been redeemed by a party with absolutely no interest in any of that morality nonsense they used to pepper the rest of us with. Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford simply vanished one day in 2009, leaving his own staff unable to account for him (was he “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” perhaps?) until his car turned up at an airport and it was revealed that the married governor had jetted to Argentina to have sexual relations with his Buenos Aires mistress. Disgraced? Yes! But Republican voters redeemed him a few years later, sending him to Congress, where he served until being primaried out for not being crazy enough in 2018.
What about Alabama’s contemptible-in-every-way Roy Moore? A former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Moore was removed from his post for violating the law, returned by voters, removed for violating U.S. law again, snagged the Republican nomination for Senate, and was revealed during that race to have been an alleged serial mall-stalking sexual-assaulting pedophile. State Republicans not only continued to stand behind him, but also piped up with Bible verses to suggest that, well, maybe attempting to rape children was Godly—and was certainly Republican!
And let’s not forget Rep. Jim Jordan. A former Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach, the forever coatless ethical wreck of a man continues to stand accused by former athletes of helping to cover up sexual abuse of athletes by the team doctor. The reports are detailed, credible, and have been backed by multiple witnesses. Jordan not only remains in Congress, but, with the help of Republican leadership, continues to elevate his own role and responsibilities in the caucus. Nobody, absolutely nobody, seems concerned about bringing the unrepentant accused molester-enabler to account.
So why wouldn’t a man called “Candyman” by his peers, a man described as “toxic,” “flat-out unethical,” “the worst officer I have ever served with,” “vindictive,” and a “kiss up, kick down” creep consider himself prime Republican material for a spot in Congress? He could skip out on his job for a week to visit a mistress, he could be revealed as an accused attempted rapist or a genuine pedophile (see: Hastert, Dennis), he could violate laws with abandon or be discovered to be having phone conversations with foreign mobsters, and he could still count on the steadfast support of his peers.
If anything, the “toxic” “vindictive” “kiss up” is overqualified.