“If not us, who? If not now, when?”
This oft-heard line was attributed to a number of politicians over the years, from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. It takes a historian or an internet search to reveal the phrase’s true origin, so opportunistic borrowers seeking to look smart and/or to accomplish something might bank on no one making the connection. A parent could just as easily use the saying to inspire a lazy kid to take out the garbage. “If not you, who [is going to do it]? And if not now, when?”
At any rate, earlier this week disgraced establishment swamp dweller Liz Cheney said something that reminded me of the quote, when she had the audacity to suggest that former President Donald Trump is not the leader of today’s Republican Party. Well, if not Trump, then who? And if he’s not the guy determining the direction of the GOP, when did he stop playing the role?
“Former President Donald Trump is not the leader of the Republican Party, House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney told reporters Monday at a lawmaker retreat not far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
“Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump in January on a charge of inciting an insurrection in the form of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, said the party leaders are Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. ‘I think our elected leaders are the ones who are in charge of the Republican Party,’ the Wyoming Republican told reporters when she was asked about Trump’s role…
“Trump [did not appear] at the House GOP issues conference, which [ran from Sunday to Tuesday]. Republicans are huddling on messaging and policy issues they hope will help them recapture the House majority in 2022. While Trump is poised to play a role in the next election, Cheney dismissed his influence not just in the midterm elections but in the next presidential election. Trump has not ruled out making an attempt to regain the White House and could be a leading candidate.”
You have to chuckle at Cheney’s musings, not only from their blatantly obvious wishful thinking, but also from the standpoint of, “What else is she supposed to say?” It’s hard to believe that it’s only been three and a half months since the former vice president’s (Dick Cheney’s) daughter and Wyoming congresswoman led a small band of GOP House turncoats to join Nancy Pelosi’s entire caucus in voting to impeach Trump for “inciting an insurrection” on January 6th.
Talk about a knee-jerk reaction that any sane politician would later renounce; back then it looked as though Trump’s speech on the fateful day might’ve motivated hundreds or thousands of his earnest supporters to cross over the irrationality line and bust down the doors of the capitol building in order to terrorize the swamp’s worst and dumbest.
Only nothing (or very little) of what the fearmongers claimed turned out to be true. Sure, there was a fairly limited core of bad-actor vigilantes who pre-planned the violent capitol assault and a somewhat larger group of people caught up in the moment who joined with the ringleaders to break windows, tussle with police and provide excellent footage for the hysteria mob (a.k.a. Democrats) to latch onto. Those who are criminally culpable are being dealt with, along with a seemingly larger contingent of innocent folks who are being roundly strong-armed by government fascist-like stormtroopers for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That, and their affiliation with organizations that liberals declare as “dangerous”, such as the nebulous “Proud Boys” and “Oath Keepers.”
Meanwhile, the left has mercilessly exploited the tragic demise of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was ultimately deemed to have succumbed due to natural causes, not the butt end of a fire extinguisher like the alarmists swore was the cause of his death. Everyone now knows the only homicide on that day was veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by an unnamed government officer for a reason that hasn’t been publicly explained or justified -- and may never be unless congressional Republicans grow a backbone and demand it.
Even federal law enforcement concedes there were no firearms confiscated in the melee, which makes it extremely arduous for the haters to prove an “armed rebellion” was stirred up by Trump. It’s difficult if not impossible to take and hold a fortified building with baseball bats, clubs, riot gear and the buffalo horns one particularly snazzy dressing bare chested QAnon guy was sporting.
Therefore, pretty much everything Cheney and the other #NeverTrump losers cried over following the “mostly peaceful protest” was phony. They stomped on Trump’s reputation, accusing him of inciting a riot and swore that his name would forever be tarnished because of what a tiny fraction of his backers did on January 6th. Not true. If anything, Trump’s political fortunes have risen like a Phoenix from the ashes, emerging stronger than ever.
Needless to say, Cheney -- or the other Trump bashers -- hasn’t apologized for what she said and the actions she took in cashiering Trump before anything was proven. People have noticed, too. She apparently has a number of intra-party primary challengers for her seat, and Trump endorsed one of them, writing, “Frank Eathorne continues to fight for our America First Policies as GOP Chairman of the Great State of Wyoming… Frank has my Complete and Total Endorsement for his re-election. He will never let you down!”
Citizens of Wyoming will have the final word on whether Liz Cheney earned an ouster from the good graces of the GOP faithful. Liz can predict that Trump’s endorsement in the 2022 races won’t make a difference, and she can hope and pray that the former president doesn’t run in 2024 or settle for the role of kingmaker. Here’s thinking that Trump himself is still weighing his own viability for a run, and if/when he convinces himself that he can win, he’ll do it.
If not Trump, who? And if not in 2024, when? Maybe Ron DeSantis. We’ll see.
For Cheney to boast that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are the de facto leaders of the Republican Party is laughable. Both possess the titles that gets their names in establishment media reports and they serve as backdrops for the wishy-washy anti-Trump conservatives to pin their hopes to, but when it comes to influencers and electoral politics, Trump is still the top dog.
Don’t believe it? Try this exercise: Whose endorsement carries more weight? Is voter X in state Y more likely to have his or her opinion swayed by the say-so of Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell? Or Kevin McCarthy? If Trump is the clear winner here, is there another Republican’s voice who rises above Trump’s? If so, who?
What if Liz Cheney were to endorse in a key House primary contest? Is there a candidate in America who would even want Liz’s public backing? It’s often said that unpopular presidents should stay out of local races, but what about someone like Cheney who made a fool of herself before the nation and refuses to atone for it?
The media’s only paying attention to Cheney because they figure she’ll say something negative about Donald Trump, which is what they’re after in the first place. Trump and his supporters are associated with his winning MAGA agenda, not Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy or any other establishment GOP figure.
They can discount Trump all they like, but the voters know otherwise.
January 6 riot