It’s Not Nice To Criticize Former President Trump
Yeah, the Republicans say that they want to shake things up, but not that much.
The internecine war over the future of the Republican Party continues. In the last 24 hours, Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and one-time Trump supporter turned Trump antagonist, has been removed from her post as the chair of the House Republican Conference. Like you, I noticed Trump’s intense antipathy for people who voted to impeach him earlier this year. And like many others, I wondered what this spat was all about, and just what the House Republican Conference does. The ouster of Liz Cheney in favor of a Trump cheerleader shows that the heart of the GOP is still in play.
As I read the story from multiple sources, I see that the message is to “move on” and to “focus on policy”, not the past. Over at Politico, they tell us that Cheney was told to hush about Trump and to stay on message. In “‘Death by a thousand cuts’: How the House GOP took down Cheney”, Politco tells us that Cheney strayed too far from policy:
“The GOP is a big tent party. There is room for debate. But there is a difference between a big tent and having a disagreement at the leadership table, and the spokesperson overseeing messaging having a public disagreement with the leader of the party,” said Reschenthaler, who backed and began whipping for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) last week.
I had no idea that the GOP is a big tent party, and they still think that Trump is the leader of the GOP. When I think “GOP” I think rentier class. I think of that guy with the top hat in the game, Monopoly. If there is any “messaging” emanating from the Grand Old Party, it’s to prop up that guy. And Trump, as a real estate icon, is that guy, sans the monocle and the top hat. The combover will suffice. So what is the GOP message? Do I really need to search for this?
Oh, there it is. “The Republican Party is fighting for a freer and stronger America where everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.” So they’re still fighting. For now they’re fighting each other until they can figure out whether or not they want to cling to Trump. Judging by a small field of candidates running as Cheney’s replacement, it looks like they’re still clinging to Trump. Who are they set to pick? Elise Stefanik, a member of the House of Representatives since 2014, elected at the tender age of 30. What do we know about her? Wikipedia has this to say about Stefanik:
[She is] A strong supporter of President Donald Trump, she prominently defended him during his 2019 impeachment in the Trump–Ukraine scandal. After Trump lost the 2020 election, she supported a lawsuit that attempted to overturn his defeat, made disputed claims of fraud, and hours after the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, voted to object to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes.
So this is starting to sound a lot like Trump’s revenge because the oddsmakers are betting that she’ll replace Cheney as the Republican Conference Chair, making her the №3 Republican. Trump warned us over and over again that he’d exact revenge on anyone who voted to impeach him. Looks like he’s scored at least his first victory. I wonder who’s next. But what I really want to know is, will the party actually “move on”?
Probably not. I’m in agreement with Lucy M., that the House GOP tossed Liz Cheney overboard because they really just want access to Trump’s base of fanatical and loyal supporters. That’s the best reason I can think of. This has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with identity. Millions of voters identify with Trump despite having near zero chance of living as large on the American Dream as Trump has done. They’re buying into the lottery. Remember, they’re talking about opportunity, and that opportunity implies chance.
So I really don’t see the party moving on at all. In order to get access to that (data)base of Trump supporters, the top brass Republicans will still have to act as if what Trunp says about the election he lost, is true. They will have to “believe” that there is a kernel of truth to Trump’s Big Lie, that the election was stolen from him. Nevermind that the election was the most scrutinized in history. Nevermind that they were laughed out of court. Nevermind that Republicans made serious gains at the state and federal levels of government. Nevermind that if you question the votes for Biden, you’d also have to question all the downballot seats won by Republicans last November. Remember, they were on the same ballot, together.
It seems to me then, that if the Republican Party wants access to Trump voters they will be put in a position where they have to relitigate the 2020 election. There may be discussion of policy during the campaign for 2024, but it will be laced with an unspoken agreement with Trump that the 2020 election was stolen. That kind of discourse will split the party and a divided party will not be conducive to real change for the party. I guess the tent is not really that big if there isn’t room for Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
I’m not exactly happy or sad about seeing Liz Cheney ejected from party leadership. She is after all the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and I don’t have very fond memories of him, either. I see him as complicit in the election fraud of 2000 that got George W. Bush elected. I see him as someone who went along with the fraud of 9/11, and I’m not someone who denies 9/11 or suggests that the government was complicit in the attack. I’m talking about the fraud of the biggest expansion of government in history after 9/11, the War On Terror. I notice that Liz Cheney is silent about all that, but still talks about small government. If the GOP were really in favor of small government, it’s hard to tell.
As long as Trump seeks and gains control over the GOP, there is no moving on, and very little progress to be had. With Trump in the mix, you can forget about policy. In a way, that makes me an optimist. I see Trump as a liability to the party, and as such, a bonus to the Democratic Party.
I just hope that the Democrats seize on this opportunity not just to tie Republican candidates to the liabilities of Trump, but to really talk about what Democrats can do and have done to help the country. “Better than Trump” is not good enough for he has already set the bar too low. The Democrats can’t just sit and let Trump sink the GOP. The Democrats must be demonstrably better than the GOP for all of us in a much bigger tent. Democrats must be willing to change, too.