Apologies for the break from the newsletter. I moved and life has been very hectic the last few weeks.
The GOP’s Getting Crazier
After Donald Trump lost the Presidential election, enough Republicans stood willing to resist his attempts to subvert the election to make his efforts fail Republican election officials generally stood by true and accurate results and refused to embrace conspiracy theories. While 2/3 of House Republicans embraced the crazy nonsense in challenging the election results from Arizona and Pennsylvania, the vast majority Senate Republicans held firm. Even though President Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial, a record ten House Republicans voted for Impeachment and seven senators voted for conviction.
Yet, the news since January 6th has been grim.Rather than growing less Trumpist and keeping Trump and his wackos at arm’s length, the GOP has embraced trumpism and preaches it in everything it does. Messages from Republican Committees outlets envoke the name of Trump more than Christian ministries invoke the name of Christ.
Minimization of the events of January 6th has become the order of the day. Ashli Babbit, a woman killed when unlawfully trying to breach a barricade at the Captiol, has been held by the likes of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and former President Trump as a matrty.
At the same time, those who stood up to Trump are leaving the political stage. Pro-impeachment Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) is retiring from Congress at two terms at the age of thirty-seven. Those who stood up and refused to go along with Trump’s nonsense have been censured by start parties across the country. It’s become crystal clear that the Republican Party is the party of Gosar, Matt Gaetz (R-Fl), Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and not that of Liz Cheney (R-WY)
Michigan Republicans have begun replacing reliable election officials who did their duty and certified the results of the last elections with conspiracy cranks who will likely go along with future efforts to steal elections.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused Trumps’s request to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s election is being challenged by Trump-endorsed puppet Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) who can expected be more obedient to any future illegitimate demands from Trump.
Since the last election, the Republican Party has become even more estranged from reality and those few old line Republicans who remained have seen their position further eroded and it’s only a matter of time before they are swept away.
The Democrats will acknowledge all of this and offer themselves as the solution. They’ll trumpet themselves as the protectors of democracy. And they’ll be joined by a chorus of “Republicans” such as Bill Kristol, who will insist that saving democracy is a priority and that voting Democrat for every single race (except perhaps if a pro-Impeachment House Republican is on the ballot) is the only way to do that. There’s only one problem with this.
Democrats Have Failed at Governing
Biden and the Democrats have been bad, historically bad. They’ve failed the American people in every imaginable way when it comes to the practical basics of running the country.
Much of the blame for the administration’s problematic COVID response can be laid at the feet of President Biden’s CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has offered muddled politicized and inconsistent messaging on masking and vaccinations that’s undermined America’s waning trust in public health organization.
The Biden Administration response has been defined by deadly slowness. The U.S. has been slow to update travel guidance, continuing to ban travel from countries that have got the pandemic under control while allowing travel from those who haven’t. It’s been slow to ship out excess vaccine dosage to nations that need them, leading to an unnecessary loss of lives while doses sent to US pharmacies and medical facilities go to waste.
Given the slug-like speed of the Democratic government, it’s become clear that if Biden were President last year, America wouldn’t have had Operation Warp Speed. We’d have been lucky to have, “Operation One EIghth Impulse Power.”
Perhaps, the most idiotic aspect of the COVID response is that we’re nine months into the Biden Adminstration and we still have a shortage of rapid tests, even while such tests are readily available across Europe.
In addition, we’ve got a never-ending crisis at the country’s border and more than six hundred Americans still stranded in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan and God only knows how many of our Afghan allies are stranded there.
At the same time, we’re dealing with runaway inflation which is attacking the accumulated wealth of the middle class and wreaking havoc on the lives of the nation’s poor and working class However, we shouldn’t worry about that according to Republican political consultant-turned Democratic Candidate for Lieutenant Governof of Texas Matthew Dowd:
In short, “Shut up about how inflation is harming your family. Don’t you know we’re saving democracy? I will take a moment to bask in your gratitude, peasants!”
This is the best message the Democrats have and this is why they’re going to lose as will anyone on the right who aligns with them.
When Democratic Governments Fail
The preservation of democratic societies depends on their being responsive to the needs of their citizens. If they fail at these tasks, they’re creating an opportunity for strongmen and demogogues to swoop into power.
The classic example of this is how the failure of the Weimar Republic led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, but history is replete with examples of this happening as well as near misses. In the 1780s when the Articles of Confederation were failing, many Americans entertained a lot of options other than representative government to right the ship including a new monarchy.
The reason that we’ve lived under the U.S. Constitution these last two hundred years is that people who believed in representative government came up with a plan to make it work and solve problems rather than insisting people be happy we weren’t living under King George III.
The American people are not looking for government to fix every problem and meet every need. But they do have a few standards. They’d want government to give reliable information and take timely action when dealing with a disease that’s wiped out nearly 1 in 400 Americans. They expect government to secure the borders and ensure the streets and safe. And they need government not to destroy their retirement and education savings by letting inflation rage out of contorl. They don’t want to see their country disgraced overseas. And they’d also like their kids to be educated competently in basic skills without teachers trying to push kids to identify as either an oppressor or a victim.
If these sort of basic needs are met, people will stand by democratic representative government. When these needs aren’t met and continue to not be met, people begin to consider other options.
Democrats are not defending democracy. Their incompetence and ruinious governance is undermining people’s faith that free government can work at all.
Two Types of #NeverTrumpers
There is perhaps no political term that is more useless than “#NeverTrumper.” It’s used in several useless ways. For our purposes, it conflates the professional pundit class of publications like the Bulwark with grassroots conservatives who reject Trumpism.
I’d argue the former is relatively unimportant as it caters to and confirms the views of a small number of people. The others do matter and matter quite a bit. In a candid video moment, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) admitted that Trump lost Wisconsin because Trump didn’t get the votes of 51,000 people who voted Republican.
There are many in the #NeverTrumper pundit class who will defend and embrace Democrats to save democracy in perpetuity. However, that’s not true of most grassroots #NeverTrumpers. Many voted for Biden or withheld their vote as a one-time measure to remove a political cancer from the White House.
Unlike professional pundits, they don’t make their livings writing on websites that appeal to wealthy anti-Trump donors and investors. They work in the real economy and raise their families in the real world. They can’t continue to accept the long-term costs of Biden and the Democrats’ incompetence and extremism.
This is why the opinions of the likes of Bill Kristol and Mona Charen aren’t going to mean much in the Virginia Governor’s race.* Nor will the pleas of Miles Taylor and Christie Todd Whitman stop Republicans from retaking the next year year.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is morally bankrupt, possessed with the spine of jellyfish, and a heart that is consumed with treachery and cowardice. He’s also going to be the next Speaker of the House thanks to Joe Biden and the Democrats. The Bulwark can (and will) pontificate every day between now and Election Day 2022 and it won’t make a difference.
Time for Change
This has been a pretty grim newsletter. The situation we face as a country is that the Democrats have failed to fulfill the basic responsibilities of government. On the other hand, the Republicans have shown they can’t be trusted with power as their principle leaders are corrupt, crazy, or cowardly.
We desperately need leadership and new direction. I’ve called repeatedly for the formation of a new party. As time goes on, the evidence mounts that this is not the only right course of action to take, it’s the only course of action to take if we want to preserve a free country. We need a party that effectively and competently addresses the real issues our country faces and rejects the nonsense that’s been coming out of both parties the last few years.
Geroge Washington once defined the task of his generation, “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair.” There’s very little wisdom or honesty in either of the corrupt two parties running our country.
*While I don’t think #NeverTrump columnists are going to make a difference in Virginia, I’d stop short of predicting a GOP victory in the gubenatorial election. The state has been trending Democrat for years. Whether Biden’s incompetent governance and McAuliffe’s out of touch campaign can undo that remains to be seen.