I’m calling for a new phrase to enter the lexicon of political snark: “Erickson’s Congressman.” It’s based the recent blog post by conservative wannabe-firebrand Erick “Erick” Erickson where he described wandering around a DC Safeway with an unnamed GOP member of Congress who fairly ejaculated a stream of invective and profanity about how much he despises President Donald Trump and how much Trump has wrecked the Republican Party. “If we’re going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherfucker,” the congressman said, according to Erickson, and much, much more.
Now all over the media, people are trying to figure out who it is. Others wonder if the conversation happened at all. In other words, this congressman is in a state between existence and non-existence until he (assuming Erickson is being truthful about the sex) is revealed, either by Erickson, who has sworn he will not say, or the guy himself.
We’ve heard from these sources before, all these anonymous legislators and aides who tell reporters or others their true feelings about Trump, how they hate him to their core, beyond the niceties they are forced to spew, beyond their actual defense or support of him when they go on CNN or Fox. But, unless they are retiring or so senior they don’t care, they remain anonymous, and thus they are objects of faith, living in the nether zone between hero and scoundrel. Oh, how we on the left love hearing that Trump can’t hold a thought in his head or is in one of his idiot rages. Oh, how we love thinking about one of these anonymous voices finally saying, “Yeah, it’s me. Congressman X” and bringing down this affliction of a government.
Hell, I have very few real contacts in the actual political world, to people with power or within proximity of power. But even I’ve heard from them that “every single Republican” (and, yes, that is a quote) knows that Trump is a dangerous dolt. Yet not a single one will go on the record.
And that’s where the idea of Erickson’s Congressman comes in: we don’t know if he exists, but we desperately want him to exist, yet he can’t exist – he doesn’t exist- without giving up his anonymity. Until then, he both exists and doesn’t exist, a wish and a curse at the same time. He is an absurdity, a figment of our fevered, hungry desires imaginations who might very well be real.
One thing is for sure, though. Erickson’s Congressman is always a coward who cares more about his own hide than the country and the Constitution he’s sworn to uphold. And Erickson, hell, all the Ericksons who remain silent about who is telling them their truth will be as complicit as their sources should this all blow up. When this all blows up.
And if it doesn’t, well, Erickson’s Congressman will just go on, back to being the savage conservative he always was, free of his duality, free of the conscience he pretends to have.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on April 12, 2018, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.