Friday, July 14, 2023

Thom Tillis, Statesman


I did not know until recently that NC Sen. Thom Tillis attended the NATO summit in Vilnius, and I did not know his views on transatlantic allies actually matters, until I came across this paragraph:

…He’s the co-chair of the NATO Observer Group, a caucus he reestablished with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in 2018 to inform senators outside defense committees about the spending practices and military plans of allies. That makes him, in a sense, among the most important lawmakers that NATO members must keep happy.

Sen. Tillis, at the Table, 4th on left

As an official observer, he attended meetings both public and private, reassuring NATO officials, but making demands and later defending both NATO and Ukraine in public statements:

"...This summit is another one of several summits that I’ve been to that will be successful, and I’m very optimistic about the future and I’m absolutely optimistic about bipartisan support and Congress for supporting the Ukraine effort for as long as it takes.”

 --Tillis, giving a press briefing three days ago in Vilnius 

This position seems far afield from NC conservative orthodoxy in the trumpian age -- which became bizarrely deferential to Russia, hostile to Ukraine, and invested in smashing NATO and being pugnaciously obnoxious to Europe. So I wonder about the party that birthed Tillis, and which so recently censured him at their state convention for undoctrinal opinions about LGBTQ rights, immigration, and the gun-culture.

Looks like that Party got its answer. Tillis is carving out a role for himself that defies the Jesse Helms DNA. Internationalist Tillis. Transatlantican Tillis. I'm impressed.

(What? I'm impressionable.)


Anonymous said...

Tillis can read polls and tea leaves. He's probably looking ahead to when his term ends in 2026, knowing that he'll have to win a state-wide race with a very divided electorate and that MAGA/Trumpism might have just lost steam by then.

Red Hornet said...

Could he go all Tricia Cotham and switch parties?
Could happen once the Maggots hurt his feelings enough.
Then he'd be like Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.