“Victory has a thousand fathers. Defeat is an orphan,” observed the late Democratic President John F. Kennedy. But that’s certainly not the view in the GOP, where those responsible for the party’s malaise, far from suffering the ostracism of the unwanted orphan, remain the fathers of the party. Kevin McCarthy’s pre-election pitch, “Commitment to America,” proved a total flop. Yet his colleagues have nominated him to serve as speaker of the House. It is hard to imagine a more ineffectual Republican leader than McCarthy.
The party seems to exist not to stop destructive liberal policies but to ratify them.
Meanwhile, Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, whose idea of strengthening the party includes sending tweets out in praise of LGBTQ “Pride Month,” appears to enjoy enough support within the GOP to remain in her role.
The GOP has been dubbed the “stupid party” for good reason. It seems to exist not to stop destructive liberal policies but to ratify them. This is particularly true on social issues. Senate Democrats, for example, are set to codify gay marriage not in spite of the GOP but because of it: pro-LGBTQ Republicans have signaled that they will support the Democratic bill.
The stupid party is getting, if anything, stupider. Despite the party’s anemic performance in the fall elections, the figures most responsible for it will likely fail upward. McCarthy, McDaniel, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other feckless Republican leaders will not disappear but continue to exert influence over the party’s direction.
Many of them are now taking opportunistic cover in the anti-Trump juggernaut that is speeding up. The party’s know-it-alls, the same ones who wrote Trump’s political obituary in 2016, are once again claiming that Trump has no chance of winning in 2024 and moving into action to make sure that that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Never mind that this subversive campaign means helping the Democrats stay in the White House. Destroying Trump is more important to them than winning.
This, of course, is highly ironic, given that these “pragmatic” Republicans normally instruct the base of the party to lighten up about imperfect candidates. They don’t adopt that relaxed attitude toward Trump. They hate him with a passion and hope that he loses. But will he? Maybe, maybe not. He managed to beat Hillary Clinton despite widespread opposition within the GOP.
Say what you want about Trump, but he possesses a Napoleonic makeup that makes it impossible to dismiss him as a spent political force. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that most of the criticisms of Trump are true. Should that lead Republicans to blow up his campaign and hand victory to the Democrats? That makes no sense. For all of his flaws, Trump is still much better than Joe Biden. How is it that supposedly hardheaded GOP operatives don’t understand this?
Don’t they remember the folly of holding that idle and self-defeating attitude in 2016? Had the public followed their lead, Hillary Clinton would have won the presidency. Roe v. Wade would still exist and the courts would have been deprived of 300 or so conservative judges. The boldness of Trump spared Republicans that fate. He had the guts to stop Hillary Clinton. Could any of the Never Trumpers have accomplished any of this?
Now they are forming a circular firing squad around him — an exercise in self-righteousness that can only elate the Democrats. Notice that the Dems are never stupid enough to perform such immolations of their flawed candidates. They don’t shoot their wounded. They prop them up. That’s why the pitiful John Fetterman won. He was pulled across the finish line by fellow Democrats.
Given that Trump is determined to run and likely to win the GOP’s presidential nomination, why would “conservatives” devote their energies to savaging him? Moreover, why, given their own moral compromises, would they insist on such unrealistic dogmatism? Are they really taking the position that Trump is morally unacceptable even as they open up the GOP tent to “conservatives” in gay marriages and who are supportive of abortion? Their moral sanctimony is a little hollow and unconvincing in light of the numerous capitulations and compromises they have already made. (READ MORE: Maybe America Hasn’t Suffered Enough)
Yes, Trump is flawed and often disappointing. He is far from a perfect conservative. But is he less conservative and more unreliable than his GOP critics? No, his record of conservative policy accomplishments as president makes his critics look like pikers. Could any of them have toppled the Supreme Court’s liberal majority? Could they have revived the American economy and made America energy independent?
Some perspective within GOP circles is badly needed. The Democrats are rightly called the “evil party.” But they are not politically dumb. They practice the rudimentary discipline and maintain the sufficient party unity necessary to achieve victory at the ballot box. The stupid party should take a lesson from them.