WHAT IS CORKER UP TO?
Senator Bob Corker is fed up. Last week, he began standing up again and again in public against a moronic, scary, and accidentally elected President. He has announced that he will not run again for his Senate seat. Clearly, he will be a thorn in the side of Trump and McConnell for the next one and one half years. He will likely become an ally of John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins in being the Senate’s Republican conscience.
Corker came to office with a somewhat tarnished record in his initial run for the Senate, but has ended up an articulate, sensible, and outspoken leader in his party. It comes as something of a surprise that he would choose this moment to cash in his political chips and retire back home.
In the meanwhile, Trump keeps on escalating his spasms of rhetoric about North Korea which is leading many serious people—including Corker— to worry about a mistaken step which could lead to calamity.
We all know there is only one thing on Trump’s mind: himself. He seems incapable of seeing things from different perspectives. In addition, his real estate experience has taught him to think in terms of dollar signs. For Trump, negotiation is synonymous with haggling. It appears that he is simply unable to grasp the realities of the geopolitical world in which people kill and die over a patch of dirt or the name of an island. It is far too easy to make mistakes in that game. But do not try to teach him that. His key cabinet officers have been trying!
So back to Corker.
I think he has plans beyond needling Trump and his sycophants for a couple months.
Corker likely knows that someone from the Republican Party is going to have to challenge Trump in 2019. To fail to do so would be a moral abomination. And by having stood against his party’s leadership and Trump, he is effectively branding himself as a sensible, credible alternative.
I would also allow for the possibility that he will “review” his retirement announcement if he is “drafted” by his Senate colleagues and by the public. If so, I imagine he might make a concerted push for Mitch McConnell’s job. (He could also run for Governor in his home state of Tennessee, but now that he has been in the Big Show, I doubt he would want to go back to Podunk—with due apologies to Tennessee—politics.)
I would not tune him out. In fact I would tune in on him all the more closely.