Guest columnist Michael Dover: Normal or crazy?

By MICHAEL DOVER 

Published: 02-23-2023 5:35 PM

On Feb. 7, President Joe Biden delivered a memorable State of the Union address. But we should also take note of a strange line in Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ official Republican response. Calling on the country to elect “a new generation of Republican leadership,” she said, “The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy.” 

Remember that Ms. Sanders was Donald Trump’s press secretary for two years. Does she actually understand what she was saying?

I’d heard something similar previously, in testimony before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, referring to a “Team Normal” and a “Team Crazy” at the White House. 

For instance, a Newsweek article from last June notes: “Bill Stepien, who ran Trump’s reelection campaign, said … that he was among those who objected to the more outlandish conspiracies of election fraud. Stepien referred to himself as being a part of ‘Team Normal,’ while people like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — allegedly referred to as ‘Team Crazy’ — routinely pushed false claims of voter fraud.” 

While Stepien might be a hair closer to “less crazy” than Team Crazy (Powell even gave as her legal defense for her blatant lies that no one in their right mind would believe her in the first place), I’m not sure Stepien was a good representative of “normal.”           

Recall that 10 years ago, Stepien was involved in the crazy — and illegal — scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, for not endorsing Gov. Chris Christie for reelection. The Christie gang closed traffic lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge, causing backups and gridlock on local streets lasting for days. 

Stepien was fired by Christie, but his political career wasn’t over. He made it into the White House staff and later to Trump’s reelection campaign. He backed Trump, of course, as Trump lied and lied during his presidency and during the 2020 campaign.

Stepien was on “Team Normal?” Just think how extreme Team Crazy was if he was considered “normal!” Normal in comparison to Giuliani is not necessarily even close to what most of us would consider decent, honest, or acting in the interests of society.

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So Gov. Sanders was right: The choice is between normal and crazy. 

Normal is when President Biden presides over a government that actually governs — getting things done for the American people rather than lining his own pockets. 

Crazy is when a defeated president incites a violent insurrection to prevent his duly elected successor from taking office. 

Crazy is when people defended Donald Trump no matter what he said or did, just like Ms. Sanders did as his spokesperson. 

Crazy is MAGA extremists taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and trying to shut down the government. 

Crazy is thinking that turning the government over to Republicans will improve the lives of ordinary people.

No thanks, Ms. Sanders. I’m sticking with normal.

Michael Dover is a steering committee member of Indivisible Northampton — Swing Left Western Massachusetts.

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