At a recent town hall in Livingston, where Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) did not show, someone saluted the memory of a moderate Republican during the height of McCarthyism.
"By remaining silent," Rep. Peter Frelinghuysen said in 1954, "we permit the public to believe that most Republicans condone the senator's tactics. By remaining silent, we lend credence to the view that we prefer to risk losing our freedom than to offend a questionable asset to our party."
That was the Rodney Frelinghuysen's father, of course.
The speaker who invoked his memory, Matt Walters of Montclair, concluded by asking the absent congressman this question on Thursday night: "How much damage does President Trump need to do before you find your own Peter Frelinghuysen moment?"
It's a valid question. We have doubts that the congressman and other members of his party can provide an answer, or summon the will to break a voting pattern that is conspicuously Draconian.
Pro-Trump congressman hides from his constituents | Editorial
Groups such as the NJ 11th For Change wonder whether Frelinghuysen even has the courage to defend his record - he hasn't met with constituents in a town hall in years - and the same waiting game is now being played in most red districts throughout New Jersey and the U.S.
The congressman says he "applaud(s) the effort" of NJ 11th For Change to hold town halls, but he will continue to boycott them because he believes they are incapable of "civil discourse."
Meanwhile, he is batting 1.000: Fourteen times he has cast a vote this term, and every one supports the position held by Donald Trump. He lacks the mettle to buck Trump, and maybe Frelinghuysen can live with that. But he also lacks the mettle to uphold the legacy of a father who was a true profile in courage.Hundreds of New Jersey voters seek answers from absent Congressman
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