“So how does it help us to join the side that is slaughtered?” -- Robert the Leper, in the movie Braveheart.
The famous quote from the 1996 classic Mel Gibson thriller came to mind as I heard Republican senators reacting to the ousting of GOP pariah and now disgraced Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from her House leadership post last week. As everyone knows, the party’s lower chamber leaders had finally had it with the grandstanding former vice president’s daughter, whose hatred for Donald Trump finally boiled over into a public spat that the minority party could scarcely afford to let fester.
By and large, the Republican senators did their best to say nice and airy things about the deposed Cheney and in the process, avoid having journalists call them intolerant and rude and unaccepting of differing opinions in the caucus. But it only goes so far. The small contingent of Cheney hangers-on are doomed to be proverbially “slaughtered” in next year’s party primary contests. What good would it do to join them now?
Nevertheless, the political song-and-dance continued. Alexander Bolton reported at The Hill:
“Senate Republicans are expressing dismay, publicly and privately, over the House GOP’s vote to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership, which some GOP lawmakers see as a worrisome sign of former President Trump’s continued grip on the party.
“It’s not lost on them that their own leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has also dismissed Trump’s claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election as ‘repeated election lies’ and they themselves are under pressure from Trump to find a new leader.
“Many GOP senators, however, are keeping quiet about their concerns and would prefer to talk about other subjects, namely what they view as President Biden’s far-too-costly infrastructure agenda and plan to raise taxes on corporations.”
Since when is having Donald Trump staying involved in Republican politics considered “worrisome”? Most conservatives wouldn’t use that word to describe Trump’s influence. Bolton’s blather reeks of establishment knee-knocking, doesn’t it?
Bolton is one of the prominent The Hill voices on politics, but his liberal bias comes through loud and clear, especially when he champions wishy-washy establishment Republicans who, like Cheney, called out “Trump’s outlandish claims of widespread voter fraud.” (His words -- a direct quote from the piece.) Why doesn’t the media ever editorialize liberals and Democrats in a similar fashion, such as “Biden’s outlandish claims of systemic racism” or, “Obama’s baseless assertion that Trump didn’t take the pandemic seriously.”
But this is beside the point. It’s not surprising that certain senate Republicans would rather talk about Biden raising taxes than dish on Liz Cheney’s unfortunate (to the establishment, at least) fate. Whenever there was a matter where Trump took on the status quo when he was in the White House, the same alliance of stodgy elitist GOP senators sought the nearest rock to hide behind. The rhetorical war was largely one-sided until Trump entered the scene, and even then, too many Republicans refused to join him.
“So how does it help us to join the side that is slaughtered?” Are establishment Republicans like lepers too?
Bolton included the opinions of South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Maine Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney in his report. All expressed some degree of remorse that Cheney was given the boot simply because of her eagerness to openly speak her mind, probably fearing if Republicans ever grew a spine and elected a real leader in their chamber, that theirs could be next head on the chopping block.
Tell me that they weren’t all recalling the famous John Donne (frequently misattributed to Edgar Allen Poe) line, “never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” If Trump remains the public face of the GOP, that bell could very well be tolling for some of them come their next election. If you don’t believe it, just ask former senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. Wisely, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed the subject when he was asked to speak about Cheney. He’d better -- or someday it could be him, too.
While the Cheney matter certainly was important and worthy of prominent mentions in the news, it was the “public spat” nature of the GOP conflict that attracted the bloodthirsty, shiny object obsessed media’s focus. It’s not like there weren’t other issues to cover in those few days, namely the real “crisis” in the Middle East between the rocket-firing Palestinian Hamas terrorists and Israel.
And how about the big to-do about that pipeline shutting down? What, you mean energy is important?
Like practically everything else in America -- otherwise regarded as the land of plenty -- you don’t really think about, much less appreciate, something like gas until it’s gone. Residents of the Southeastern United States received an unwanted reminder of how dependent we are on available supplies of energy when the Colonial pipeline shutdown resulted in 1970’s-like shortages and lines at gas stations last week.
The reaction from the ruling establishment? Something akin to “Move along, nothing to see here, please disburse.”
It was almost humorous as the powers-that-be cautioned patience and restraint as ordinary citizens panicked and flocked to gas stations, whether they needed to or not in many instances, to fill their tanks in case the shortages lasted any intolerable length of time. The establishment media glorified in scenes of fistfights and other confrontations over the chance to purchase something that normally only requires a few minutes of bother to obtain. But man, we need that gasoline. In some ways it’s as crucial to modern survival as food and water.
I know people who canceled necessary errands because of not being assured that they could reach their destination and get back again. My son’s school decided not to play its final spring sports games because of the dilemma. How many work days were disrupted because there was no guarantee you could get to the place and drive away when complete? Did government vehicles have to go without too?
It wasn’t just about convenience. And as always, this lone event had political overtones.
How do folks feel about “climate change” now? Democrat politicians from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Bernie Sanders to Nancy Pelosi to Joe Biden himself regularly describe the climate “crisis” as “existential,” but neglect to explain exactly how it would impact the planet if permitted to go unfettered much longer. Assuming that the scientists aren’t fudging about the earth’s temperature rising slowly, how would it change your life? The “experts” suggest a warmed planet would melt glaciers and the polar ice caps (which is not really happening, by the way), but even if seas slightly rose, would it touch the daily routines of most people?
I doubt anyone gave much thought to “climate change” as they waited for the snail-like gas lines to inch forward so they could stick their credit cards in a gas pump and marvel as the life flowed back into their cars. “Gee, maybe I’d better buy an electric car.” NOT! How about the government concentrating on making sure that inexpensive and plentiful energy is available to purchase as it has been for years under responsible political leadership that turned America into a net energy exporter and made people’s lives better in the process?
Bumbling senile Joe should have it much harder the next time he’s asked about why it’s vital to reduce carbon emissions and sacrifice for the “climate” when Americans are enduring much higher prices for energy they need every day. The people who actually pay for commodities like gasoline are on the front line. When was the last time Joe Biden had to “gas up” his own vehicle? Does he even own a car?
What a hypocrite. How about Hunter? With his energy “experience”, maybe he could help?
As I wrote last week, the commotion over Liz Cheney will dissipate when it stops being worthwhile for the media to cover it, but the people won’t soon forget how it felt to not be able to put gas in their cars. Today’s political establishment is out of touch with the needs of common folks, and it would be fruitless to join them now. Maybe even suicidal.