I suspect that at some point, Thom Tillis had a modicum of self-respect. I also suspect that those days are long forgotten. Today, he debases himself regularly trying to stay in the good graces of the con man in the White House.
This weekend, he tweeted, “Eric Trump’s birthday is coming up. We’re putting together a birthday card for him—will you add your name?” Conservative columnist Matt Lewis commented sarcastically, “This seems like a perfectly dignified thing for a U.S. Senator to be doing.” Another Republican political consultant wrote, “Straight up embarrassing.”
Tillis, though, has lost any sense of dignity so he’s also lost the capacity to be embarrassed. In his narrow little mind, he’s convinced himself that his tweet will draw favor from the president. What a pathetic view of oneself.
Tillis can be summed up by the lyrics of a cheesy country song. “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. You’ve got to be your own man, not a puppet on a string.”
Tillis, of course, stands for nothing. Last March, he began a transformation from a centrist Senator who bragged about working across the aisle to a Trump toady matched only by Lindsay Graham. The pivotal event was an op-ed Tillis wrote gently criticizing Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall. When the president expressed his dissatisfaction, Tillis flip-flopped and voted for a senate resolution supporting the measure. Since then, he’s done all he can to curry favor with Trump, debasing himself regularly and showing no independence.
For some people, politics is really damaging vocation. The adulation and sense of power feeds narcissistic tendencies that otherwise might be kept in check. For some, it leads to affairs or other unsavory relationships. For others, like Tillis, they fear losing their sense of entitlement and influence. They’ll do almost anything to keep it.
Tillis has so wrapped himself up in his political identity, he’s forgotten who he was. He got involved in politics to get more bike paths in Cornelius. Just fifteen years later, he’s the US Senator from North Carolina who will do or say essentially anything to curry favor with Donald Trump. His rapid rise in power is proportional to the rapid demise of his self-respect. What a pathetic trade off and what a sad little man.