Radical Republican Apostasy 2021-style

Here’s a dramatic illustration of why Joe Manchin’s present fetish for bipartisan consensus, highly desirable though such consensus is, is so misguided in the age of the cult of Trump that the GOP has become. By simply stating true facts about the 2020 election and Trump’s attempts to overturn it, arch conservative Liz Cheney has become a pariah in her party.

After the former president and his closest allies, in the two months after the election, spent $50,000,000 on ads falsely declaring the “rigged” 2020 Election had been stolen from America’s Greatest Sore Loser (he made the same claim in 2016, when he won), and at least $3,500,000 to organize and stage the January 6 rally at the Ellipse and the march-permitted march to the Capitol to “Stop the Steal,” and speaker after speaker (including newly elected Congressman Madison Fucking Cawthorn) urged the rally attendees to fight like hell or democracy would be stolen from them, there was little but silence from Trump’s party in Congress after the deadly riot of January 6th.

Only one top Republican member of Congress immediately spoke out, without equivocation, against the president’s attempt to overturn a US election by force. Liz Cheney (daughter of evil incarnate, the aptly named Dick Cheney), stated “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” She voted for his impeachment, along with nine other House Republicans. Cheney was almost immediately censured by her state’s Republican Committee (as were virtually all of the others who concluded Trump deserved to be impeached) for disloyalty to the former president and his party. Cheney is poised to become the leader of a post-Trump GOP, if there is such a thing, but for the moment, she’s a Republican villain to most Republicans.

To defend [Liz] Cheney is to invite the wrath of Trump and his base, while for those members who remain Trump loyalists, interaction of any sort with “fake news media” is increasingly to be avoided. But I [writing for the NY Times] was able to listen in on Cheney’s remarks at a virtual fund-raiser for her on Feb. 8, hosted by more than 50 veteran lobbyists who had each contributed to her political action committee.

At the event, Cheney lamented the party’s drift away from reality, the extent to which it had become wedded to conspiracy theories. The party’s core voters, she said, “were misled into believing the election was stolen and were betrayed.”

Alongside a legitimate concern over a Biden administration’s priorities was “the idea that the election somehow wasn’t over, and that somehow Jan. 6 would change things. People really believed it.”

When one lobbyist raised the specter of Trump re-emerging as the G.O.P.’s dominant force, Cheney responded that the party would have to resist this. Citing the Capitol riot, she said, “In my view, we can’t go down the path of embracing the person who did this or excuse what happened.”

She added: “We really can’t become the party of a cult of personality. It’s a really scary phenomenon we haven’t seen in this country before. Our oath and our loyalty is to the Constitution, not to an individual — particularly after what happened on Jan. 6.”

This month, she told Fox News that she would not endorse Trump if he ran again in 2024.

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Too bad she’s not in the Senate (though she holds mostly repellant views [1] and, for all of our sakes, is better off arguing them in the House) — because the plain speaking Joe Manchin might find common ground with the staunch Wyoming opponent of Obamacare, environmental regulation, gun control, gay marriage and apologizing for our use of overwhelming military force to protect American interests around the world.

Who knows, they might even reach a principled compromise on a national $10/hr minimum wage.

[1] Her position on the first Trump impeachment, for example:

“It’s a system and a process like we’ve never seen before, and it’s really disgraceful,” Cheney said during one TV appearance. Voting to impeach Trump under such circumstances “may permanently damage our republic,” she warned on the House floor.

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Even her principled positions are laced with partisan accusations against Democrats, as she wrote in the opening section of an otherwise praiseworthy long memo to her colleagues three days before Trump’s riot at the Capitol:

The following summary begins by addressing the Constitutional issues, then provides excerpts from and a description of the principal judicial decisions in each of the states. As you will see, there is substantial reason for concern about the precedent Congressional objections will set here. By objecting to electoral slates, members are unavoidably asserting that Congress has the authority to overturn elections and overrule state and federal courts.

Such objections set an exceptionally dangerous precedent, threatening to steal states’ explicit constitutional responsibility for choosing the President and bestowing it instead on Congress. This is directly at odds with the Constitution’s clear text and our core beliefs as Republicans.

Democrats have long attempted, unconstitutionally, to federalize every element of our nation—including elections. Republicans should not embrace Democrats’ unconstitutional position on these issues.

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States’ Rights, y’all, as sacred as the Second Amendment itself. Can’t be a good conservative without attacking the fucking unscrupulous, partisan Democrats, not in 2021.

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