Outgoing Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte is my Congressman. I even know him, having had civil almost friendly relations. He has been in office for 26 years. But his career exemplifies the degeneration of the Republican Party from a Lincoln-derived progressive force in US politics to the racist and reactionary disaster that it has become with Donald Trump as president. The quick story on this is that he was once an aide to a predecessor, M. Caldwell Butler, a “Mountain Valley Republican” who voted to impeach Richard Nixon as a member of the House Judiciary Committee back in 1974, the committee that Goodlatte has come to chair. In contrast to his former boss, Goodlatte, who entered office as a supposed “moderate,” if not a full-blown Lincoln-derived Mountain Valley Republican, he has suppressed investigations of Trump and done much worse.
While he has supported a long list of corporate special interests, probably the ultimate sign of how low he and his party have fallen is his final act as Judiciary Committee Chair, reported in today’s Washington Post. He single handedly blocked a bill that was unanimously passed by the Senate to protect Native American women from violent attacks. His reason for this was totally obscure and ridiculous, a trivial concern that the bill favored certain agencies over others in making complaints about such violence. The bill was originated by outgoing Dem Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of ND, but apparently it will be reintroduced by Lisa Murkowski of AK next year, and hopefully it will pass. Indeed, I really do not know why Goodlatte is going out on this. What makes this all the more appalling is that our Congressional district contains the largest Native Indian tribe in Virginia, the Monocans, who have had a long history of being ignored and discriminated against.