Who’s doing more damage to the GOP -- Trump or the wishy-washy establishment?
It’s a conversation we needed to have.
We hear the term a lot, the proverbial “conversation” that somehow reveals hidden truth and gets all parties in agreement. Be it a parent sitting down with his tween or teen and awkwardly explaining the birds and the bees or a guidance counselor dishing tough love to a student on the verge of failing out, the “talk” is typically straight to the point, emotional, and employed as a last ditch effort to get things headed in the proper direction.
It certainly appears as though conservatives need to have a “conversation” with the Republican establishment, because the powers-that-be are touching a lot of nerves of late when it comes to defending President Donald Trump and his team’s efforts to prove voter fraud in this year’s election. Is it really so difficult to say, “We’re putting off judgment until the plaintiffs (the Trump lawyers) have concluded offering the evidence they’ve accumulated”? What’s the rush?
As would be expected, it goes deeper than this. The elites are complaining -- again -- that Trump’s statements and take-no-prisoners demeanor is harming the GOP and the party brand as the ultimate purveyor of fair politics and gentlemanly play. It’s getting a little old, isn’t it? W. James Antle III wrote at The Washington Examiner, “President Trump’s escalating attacks on Republican elected officials he perceives as insufficiently supportive of his efforts to contest the election results in several closely contested battleground states are raising concerns he will divide the party on his way out of the White House…
“’There’s unquestionably real risk that he’s going to depress turnout in Georgia,’ said Brendan Buck, who served as a top adviser to House Speaker Paul Ryan. ‘The question is how much, but these races are going to be close enough that it could potentially cost us the majority. You can only tell people elections don’t work for so long until they stop participating. It’s too early to say whether this will have any long-term consequences on GOP voter turnout, but it’s only one party’s voters who are being told not to trust the system. It’s completely self-defeating.’
“Early voting in Georgia begins on Dec. 14, the same day the Electoral College will vote for president. Yet Trump has given his party, elements of which he has had a contentious relationship with since announcing his candidacy in 2015, little indication he will go quietly. ‘What a mess,’ said a longtime Republican operative in Washington, D.C. ‘But so typical of Trump.’”
Mess? What mess? A while back I had an acquaintance who took a job as a trash collector while he looked for something more appealing -- and less aromatic -- as a long-term vocation. He acknowledged how people constantly looked down on him and disparaged “trash men,” but defended his action by detailing about how much the job paid, which was no small consideration. I asked him if, through the course of his work, he’d ever found anything of value in his company’s clients’ refuse. “Oh yeah, lots of great stuff. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
The booty included discarded cash, jewelry, artwork, an unused video game console and the ultimate prize, a $5000 Rolex watch. Not bad for a job that paid $18 an hour. A few more years as a trash man servicing a wealthy neighborhood and an enterprising young man could be able to retire. Just remember to take a long and hot shower after every day at the office.
Is politics really all that different?
Antle’s report on the situations in Arizona and Georgia isn’t surprising. President Trump’s been deeply critical and borderline insulting of the Republican governors (and specified other officials) in those states for failing to take his campaign’s side in the ongoing recounts and lawsuits. The fingerprints of the always-cautious political establishment are all over these efforts to try and force him to pull back and “be nice”, cautioning of voter discontent and anger if the outsider president persists with his blunt, unnuanced critiques of the process and his directly blaming specific GOPers for not employing a more aggressive approach to fraud.
Ho-hum. These same people have blubbered the same thing for years -- namely that the bombastic, spontaneous and uncontrollable Trump would damage the party, tarnish the GOP brand, leave women and children in tears, frighten fence-sitters, suppress enthusiasm, make the intelligentsia really ticked off and most of all, ruin any chance Democrats and Republicans might’ve had to work together in the years to come. Blah, blah, blah. It all sounds like white noise now. Conservatives have had five-plus years to get used to Trump’s personality, and the proverbial “final straw” has yet to be drawn. Not even close, in fact.
People stick like glue to Trump’s every move and word because it’s the one thing that’s patently reliable in American politics today. It’s not exactly as though regular people are being selfish for wanting to see how the process unfolds rather than blindly accepting the advice of the media and our political antagonists to be “good guys”, turn out the lights and award them the trophy before instant replay determines the final play/outcome of the game.
Admittedly, I don’t know every conservative voter in Georgia or across the entire United States, but the ones I do know are resolved to find out what happened a month ago. We sat in our homes on Election Night feeling pretty good about the world in the first few hours of the ballot counting only to grab a half night’s shuteye and awaken to the whole world gone nuts. The Trump team has brought forth a lot of witnesses who worked those hours and many of them tell a similar tale -- that batches of Joe Biden votes just suddenly appeared out of nowhere to give Grampa Joe a lead that wouldn’t be surrendered.
Funny how this seemed to fit a pattern in those six states under contention (Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and last but not least, Georgia). Trump had a good-sized lead in each and they all, at about the same moment, started tipping the other way. (Arizona was kind of the opposite, but only because the devils got to it early.) Lots of eyewitnesses have testified to large ballot dumps. All favored Biden. Fishy? It stinks worse than the Wuhan bat market!
What is it about Trump’s objections that gets these people so animated? Could it be that what they’re really worried about is Trump remaining in the forefront and assuming de facto control of the GOP’s issue positions and ideological direction? What, the Bush family and Mitt Romney aren’t going to just crawl back into power and start calling the shots again? Where’s Haley Barbour when you need him? Can we talk Paul Ryan out of “retirement” in Wisconsin so he can make a triumphant return to the swamp to save us Trump boosters from ourselves?
Talk about fair weathered friends. A lot of these people used Donald Trump’s backing and help to get into office in the first place. Is it asking too much to give his battle to save the integrity of the voting system a little more time? It’s not like Trump is digging rifle trenches in front of the White House while shouting, “They’ll never take me alive!” On the contrary, the president, in his own way, has said he will leave if the process plays out and he’ll find another means to stay involved.
Trump said to an audience last week that he “wants four more years” and it will either come starting next month or in 2025. Does this sound like someone who’s planning to take down the Republican Party from the inside? Isn’t it about time the establishment freak-out ended?
Establishmentarians are acting like children on a school playground
I’m not a psychologist, but every one of us has witnessed similar behaviors before. In your childhood, there may have been a kid on the playground who was a little different than all the rest, one who the bullies and popular leaders made fun of just because they could. As a decent person, you recognized that it wasn’t fair what they were doing to the kid, yet you didn’t step forward to defend him lest you get lumped in with the “out crowd” pariah lot.
Years later you realized that you should’ve stood up to the bullies and elitist jerks no matter what it cost you in status and position at the time. And the guilt you harbor will stay with you always. It’s called growing up and developing a conscience.
Today, that “unpopular” kid is Donald Trump, and the bullies and playground leaders are the political establishment. Trump is simply acting the way he’s always done, which won him a party nomination and the presidency of the United States. Still, the “leaders” accuse him of being different and take it upon themselves to warn that if he doesn’t shape up and start playing the game the way they want him to do it, that everyone will get in trouble with the yard teacher and destined for the principal’s office.
Where is the “evidence” that such a schism is occurring within the GOP grassroots? There are the usual #NeverTrump worrywarts and opportunists seizing on the chance to get in what they consider to be a few final digs at Trump before he leaves office. The (Governor of Maryland) Larry Hogans of the Republican Party are taunting and chastising Trump while the media and Democrats chime in and cite them as examples of “civility” and political system-sustaining bravery.
They desperately want the “unpopular” kid to give up the fight and simply relocate to another part of the playground so they can move in and claim it was them who were right all along. But if their wish ever came true, they would miss the pleasure of having the guy to kick around. They need clear air and victims to make them seem bigger and more powerful, so the “sheep” will follow them instead of Trump.
Thankfully, Trump won’t give them the satisfaction of getting what they desire. And his repeated statements of intention to stay in the fray regardless of the election outcome guarantees they’ll swear the former president is “damaging the party” and “dividing people” and “putting other Republican candidates at risk” and “giving a gift to the Democrats” for a long, long time.
In other words, all the things that strengthened the party since Trump rode down the Trump Tower escalator five and a half years ago. Now more than ever, conservatives need leaders like Trump who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is, not cowardly establishmentarians who depend on groupthink and paranoia to present false images of competence and gallantry. What really wins elections?
Maybe we should ask Presidents McCain (in his case, widow Cindy), Romney and Kasich to share their wisdom. Or Vice President Paul Ryan. Oh wait, they all lost! So much for the popular crowd. Kick ‘em off the playground or better yet -- make ‘em scrape gum off the bottom of the cafeteria benches until they apologize to President Trump.
Barack Obama compliments Trump’s style? Maybe not.
While the GOP establishment boo-birds and gutless wonders continue to attack Donald Trump for his personal style, none other than former President Barack Obama handed the current chief executive some backhanded praise last week. Seth McLaughlin reported at The Washington Times, “President Obama is attributing the success President Trump had winning over Black rappers and Black voters in the election in part to the allure of the Republican’s ‘tough’ guy image and ‘stereotypical macho style.’
“Mr. Obama said men of all races are susceptible to that sort of figure, and said pop culture has glorified the values of ‘wealth, power, frankly, greed and not thinking about other people because you’re so ruthless that you’re just looking out for yourself.’
“’If there are some in the hip-hop community who are constantly rapping about bling and depicting women in a certain way, and then they hear Donald Trump basically delivering the same version of it, they might say, ‘Yeah, that guy, that’s what I want. That’s what I want to be,’’ Mr. Obama said on Snapchat’s ‘Good Luck America.’ ‘All of which is to say the Black community, like every community, is complicated.’”
As Obama’s good buddy Grampa Joe Biden would say, what a load of malarkey! Of course, if these rappers and other black men chose Trump because they liked what the president’s policies did for themselves and their communities, to Democrats like Obama, they’d just be akin to those mindless “bitter clingers” followers in the rust belt who couldn’t stomach the thought of electing a black man president.
As far as I know, Obama’s not a psychologist either, but he certainly plays one on TV! And he’s not the sharpest stick in the stack, but he did manage to get elected twice to the same office as Trump -- all on a flimsy menu of federal giveaways with a side order of racism!
Why isn’t the media asking other Democrats why the big O “divided” the party and caused electoral disasters at virtually every level during and after his time in office? Why did Trump’s supporters vote for him, an untested outsider, in the first place? Could it be because Obama wrecked things for his own people?
Somebody better have a conversation about what works to get things done and just as importantly, what wins elections. The establishment will no doubt take the less challenging fork in the road, leaving the more difficult decisions to real leaders like Donald Trump. By now, we should trust Trump’s instincts.
Georgia runoff elections