I know some people here get tired of me picking on Republicans. The truth is that I’d love to pick on some of the stupid things that Democrats do, but lately, Republicans keep topping them. That’s the case again today with the GOP’s censure of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, which is scheduled for a vote today.
The document (linked here) goes further than just censuring the two rogue Republicans. In its closing paragraph, the Rules Committee of the Republican National Committee resolves to “immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party.” In other words, Cheney and Kinzinger are being excommunicated.
For what sins were the pair branded with a scarlet “RINO?” The censure document is quite specific although it reads like a campaign document. Here are a few highlights:
- “The Conference must design the strategy to stop the radical Biden agenda and retire Nancy Pelosi, tasks which require that all Republicans pull in the same direction”
- “The Conference must not be sabotaged by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger who have demonstrated, with actions and words, that they support Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022”
- “Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, and they are both utilizing their past professed political affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes”
The last point is the most galling and crosses the line into an Orwellian distortion of recent history. There was never an assault or the Capitol or an attempt to bully Congress and Vice President Pence into overturning the results of the election. There were only “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”
What the Republican National Committee is doing here is to normalize trying to overturn the results of a lawful election and stop a constitutional transfer of power. This is deeply dangerous to the Republic and strikes at the core of American democracy and constitutional rule.
We should all be able to agree as Americans, especially those of us who purport to be constitutionalists, that election results should be accepted. Likewise, law and order Republicans should not condone the violent and anti-constitutional behavior of what amounts to a small fringe of their party that assaulted the Capitol on January 6.
Unfortunately, people like the ones on the RNC Rules Committee are why we can’t have nice things. There should be room in the Republican Party for conservatives who want limited, constitutional government but who don’t want to follow Donald Trump blindly.
The real problem is that supporting limited, constitutional government and following Donald Trump are mutually exclusive. You can’t do both because Donald Trump is at heart someone who wants unlimited power.
The Former Guy said on many occasions that he believed that Article II of the Constitution gave him “the right to do whatever I want as president.” While this reading of the Constitution would make the Framers, who fought a war to throw off a king’s authoritarian rule, spin in their graves, knowing that this is what Trump and MAGA believe goes a long way toward helping one understand the new Trump Republican Party.
Under this reading of the Constitution, it’s okay for the president to declare a national emergency if Congress doesn’t do what he wants. It’s fine for the president to use the powers of his office to punish political opponents and stack the deck against the challenger in the next election. The vice president can throw out the electoral votes of states that didn’t go for the incumbent. It’s even okay to seize voting machines and declare electronic ballots invalid.
Oh, and by the way, these Article II powers apply only to Republicans named Trump. And Heaven protect the Democrat who tries to pull off any of this stuff because “Demonrats” obviously aren’t entitled to the unlimited executive power afforded to MAGA Republicans. It’s right there in the Constitution if you squint your eyes in just the right way.
The tell in the RNC censure is the accusation that Cheney and Kinzinger “support Democrat efforts to destroy President Trump more than they support winning back a Republican majority in 2022.” To the RNC, supporting Trump and supporting Republicans are the same thing.
The first rule of Republican Club is no one talks bad about Trump. No matter what Trump does (and he has now admitted to trying to overturn the election results), no one is allowed to acknowledge his abuses or criticize him because to do so would be bad for the party.
As Orwell said, “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
Thankfully, there are some Republicans with enough character and intestinal fortitude to speak out in support of Cheney and Kinzinger. Mitt Romney wrote, “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honour attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth even when doing so comes at great personal cost.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Tom Rice, a Republican congressman from South Carolina, also joined in the opposition to the measure. Rice signaled his opposition to the censure in this tweet.
Rice’s tweet hit the nail on the head. January 6 and the associated attempts to steal the election must be investigated and those who committed crimes should be punished for their actions. The RNC has come down on the other side, the side of the rioters and coup plotters, in its censure of two of the only Republicans who were willing to stand up and seek the truth about the post-election mess.
The RNC’s fealty to Trump shouldn’t be a surprise. There were numerous reports prior to the 2020 election about how the Trump campaign was infiltrating and coopting the RNC. By Election Day, for all intents and purposes, the RNC was an arm of the Trump campaign.
With Trump allies in firm control of the national party, Republicans who don’t display enough loyalty or deference to The Former Guy find that the spigot of RNC funds quickly dries up. Few, aside from Cheney and Kinzinger, are willing to risk that.
I sympathize with Republicans who aren’t excited by Trump but don’t like Democratic policies either. That’s basically where I am, except for the fact that I severed ties with the GOP when Trump was nominated in 2016 and haven’t looked back.
But the problem for Trump-critical Republicans is that the GOP is Trump and Trump is the GOP. He’s not going away and I draw my line in the sand at a party that calls insurrections and coups “legitimate political discourse.”
The Republican Party is dead as a conservative party and it isn’t coming back anytime soon.
Shifting gears, the new jobs report is out today and it’s a strong one. Despite the Omicron wave, nonfarm payrolls jumped by 467,000 in January, more than doubling expectations. The unemployment rate was “little changed” at four percent.
But the good numbers for January are only half the news. The jobs numbers for November and December were revised upward by 311,000 and 398,000 respectively. Altogether the report accounts for more than 1.1 million new jobs over three months.
The strong jobs numbers indicate that, with respect to hiring at least, the economy is much more robust than generally assumed. I’ll toot my own horn and point out that I predicted the post-COVID boom a year ago, it just took longer than I expected to get here.
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