So, Mike Simpson signed on to the document of shame, the amicus brief to the Texas lawsuit to overturn the presidential election in four states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia. Make no mistake: This was not an effort to force a recount or to challenge mail-in or absentee ballots, this was an effort to nullify the votes of all the voters of those states, including Republican votes, and require the Republican legislatures to appoint a slate of electors for the candidate who lost.

Bob Goetsch

Bob Goetsch

This was a naked attempt to destroy democracy, and the fact that it was unsuccessful only adds it to the list of failed coups in history, along with the Beer Hall Putsch and Aaron Burr’s traitorous secession plan. (Just because a bank robber may walk out of the bank without the money doesn’t make him a law-abiding citizen.)

And what about Mike Simpson? Is he just a loyal follower of Trump, duped by Trump’s delusions and believing in a vast conspiracy to change votes all across the country? Unfortunately, Mike is a lot smarter than that. He is a long-time student of history, well-versed in the currents of American thought and culture, and a successful Idaho politician, meaning he knows exactly what he was doing. Mike was pandering to two audiences, one a single person currently president of our country, and the other a coterie of right wing fanatics who believe the fantasies of the first audience.

There has to be a limit to the cynicism we allow our politicians, and Mike Simpson has gone well past that limit, falling into sycophancy and lies for political gain. As an intelligent man and supposed patriot, he should long ago have accepted the possibility of losing an election in order to save his soul and his country. Instead, he cravenly supported a president who cares nothing for this country and everything for himself.

I guess we could ask what it would take for Mike to show some courage, to stand up and oppose some policy or act by Trump. Would Simpson oppose pardons for criminals and traitors who worked with foreign governments to undermine U.S. policy? OK, that didn’t work. What about tearing babies away from their mothers? Boy, that sure didn’t bring Mike out. How about a serious effort to subvert and destroy our democracy, to overturn elections across the country, to engage in baseless conspiracy theories to confuse and anger one group and set them against another group of Americans? Well, Mike is supporting those efforts right now, and that’s unforgivable.

Bob Goetsch is a writer and editor in Idaho Falls retired from a national research laboratory.