Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
In the annals of American history, the campaign and ensuing administration of Donald Trump stand out for the intensity of hatred The Donald aroused not just among Democrats, but Republicans as well. That progressives would despise a president whose slogan was “Make America Great Again” is no surprise. The Left’s hatred of the U.S. has been obvious for decades. The real surprise came from self-identified conservative Republicans whose irrational attacks on Trump’s brash, demotic persona made explicit what many of us always suspected: That they have more in common with their fellow cognitive elites than they do with their political base who do not belong with the bicoastal and university-town political grandees.
Despite the wages of functioning as a fifth column for the progressive “resistance”–– the most left-wing administration in American history–– the NeverTrump Republicans (NT) are still not giving up. Congressman Liz Cheney, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, is the current prime example, and the Republican caucus should repudiate her attacks on Trump by removing her as the third most powerful member of the House Republican caucus.
Given the stakes of letting this administration keep control of the House and Senate in 2022, Republicans must marginalize those in their caucus who continue to repeat Democrat talking-points and demonize Donald Trump, for whom 75 million people voted and still support in high numbers.
A sign that Cheney is carrying water for an administration that is not liberal or moderate, but outright Leftist, comes from the praise she is getting from Dem politicos and pundits. We need to follow the principle of Antisthenes, the Greek philosopher who after being told rascals were praising him, said he felt as if he’d done something horribly wrong. When a Democrat praises Republican politicians like John McCain, Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, or John Kasich, what they’re really saying is this chump can be rolled and serve the Dems’ partisan interests.
Liz Cheney, or “Lynne” as her new BFF Nancy Pelosi calls her, is in trouble with her caucus for taking to the progressive Pravda, The Washington Post, to attack Donald Trump and any Republican who doesn’t join in the NT damnatio memoriae of one of the most effective––and popular–– conservative presidents since Ronald Reagan. Along the way she recycled some of the partisan political folklore that has grown out of the January 6 attempted “coup” on the part of Trump supporters who supposedly had been riled up by the president’s reckless rhetoric.
Like most NTs, Cheney’s obsession with Trump leads her to unseemly virtue-signaling. In her Post op-ed, she calls for Trump’s ouster from the Republican fold with bombastic civic piety: “Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this.”
Really? Where was this pious concern when the Obama administration in its last days mobilized the FBI, DOJ, and CIA to abuse their powers by spying on the Trump campaign to benefit Hillary Clinton? And then continued to use Russian propaganda, perjury ambushes, and sketchy FISA warrants to get appointed a Special Counsel, who hamstrung Trump’s administration for two years? Where was the sacred “confidence in elections and the rule of law” in that sorry episode? And Hillary Clinton continues to squeal about how Trump, with Russia’s help, “stole the election” in 2016. Has Cheney ever called those repeated outbursts a “BIG LIE,” as she did Trump’s questioning, as was his right, the results of 2020?
Cheney’s next instance of repeating progressive propaganda is one indulged by numerous other Republicans and NeverTrump outfits like the National Review: That the January 6 Trump rally at the Ellipse in D.C., the subsequent march of some of the tens of thousands of attendees to the Capitol, and the entry into the Capitol by a few hundred of them constitute “Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election,” as Cheney writes in the Post. A NRO NT agrees: He too calls for “resistance to Trump’s post-election temper tantrum, to his fables about a stolen election, and to his role in provoking the Capitol riot.”
Talk about “fables.” This interpretation of the events of January 6 is a tissue of begged questions and hysterical exaggerations. First, questioning the integrity of an election is not un-American, it is a civic duty, particularly when the election with numerous anomalies. The most glaring last November is the doubling of mail-in voters in 2016, when 21% voted by mail, compared to 46% in 2020. In-person voting declined significantly as well: 28% in 2020, compared to 60% in 2016. Mail-in ballots are notoriously corruptible, given the weakness of the chain of possession from voter to vote-counter. That’s why only a quarter of nations that conduct open and free elections allow mail-in ballots.
Given how close the outcome was––just 42,000 votes in threes swing-states determined the electoral college outcome––along with numerous other red flags like last-minute election law changes, concern over the election’s integrity is not a conspiratorial neurosis of disappointed Trump fans. Nor can reliance on legal procedures and indifferent courts to settle the conflict establish the purity of the election as a fact, any more than an anomalous number of mail-in ballots makes the corruption of the election a fact. Thus calling Trump’s typical overwrought rhetoric about a “stolen” election a “lie” is itself a lie. Rather, it is an opinion that may have a high probability of being true to some, just as signs of fraud suggests to others the opinion that the election’s integrity was significantly compromised has a high probability of being true. Neither opinion can be called a fact.
The point is, this election needed an investigation by the feds armed with subpoena power in order to settle this difference in opinions and restore confidence in our elections. After all, nearly half of Americans don’t have confidence in the fairness of elections––not just because they are Trump fanatics, but because of the many suspicious anomalies, and the unseemly haste with which the courts, state attorneys general, and the DOJ, along with the Dems and too many Republicans, rushed to judgment and furiously asserted that the election was completely honest. Indeed, Biden’s DOJ is trying to keep Arizona from conducting just such an inquiry, suggesting a cover-up. The continuous claims that “no evidence has been found” to substantiate charges of fraud reflects the fact that no investigative agency has thoroughly looked for it.
So instead of calling, as Cheney does, for an investigation of the January 6 brief “occupation” of the Capitol––which was a lark compared to the five months of rioting, looting, and arson directed at businesses and federal buildings. Indeed, the most destructive outcome of January 6 was the murder of a protestor who was not threatening the police officer who shot her dead. The shoving of that veteran’s death down the memory hole is despicable.
So too are the NeverTrump Republicans who repeat the Democrat talking-point that Trump “provoked” or “instigated” the brief “occupation,” when many of the protestors hadn’t even attended the speech, and some came prepared in advance with bear-spray and other equipment typical at an antifa riot. Nor is there anything in Trump’s address at the Ellipse that called for violence. As I’ve said before, Republicans need to stop talking like progressives and validating their partisan spin.
Finally, Cheney is likely to lose her position not because she voted to impeach Trump a second time, or expressed her opinion about the purity of the election. So did Mitch McConnell, and only a few are calling for his scalp. Nor have the other nine Congressmen who voted to impeach been sanctioned. What pushed House Republicans over the edge was her sanctimonious virtue-signaling, Karen-like scolding, eagerly fist-bumping Joe Biden, a stale NT obsession with Trump’s manners and style, and several other reasons tweeted by the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway. All serve only Cheney’s inflated self-regard, while the Dems are happy to have a useful idiot who delights them by referring to Trump’s 75 million voters as belonging to an “anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.”
The five years of NT collusion with the progressives helped the Democrats to exploit the pandemic for electoral gain. The NT’s proclaimed fealty to “principle” and “democratic norms” and “presidential decorum”––values rarely, if ever, reciprocated by Democrats––in part also helped to saddle us with the most left-wing, anti-Constitution, collectivist administration in U.S. history. The Biden cabal, if successful, will accelerate the progressive program to dismantle the Constitution’s checks and balances, compromise the Bill of Rights, increase the government’s regulatory encroachment into civil society and private life, triple-down on economy-killing tax-and-spend polices, and damage our national interests and security abroad. Oh, and they will turbo-charge the approaching bankruptcy train.
Demoting Cheney tells the Republican base that Trump’s patriotic, Constitutionalist populism is still the party’s governing philosophy. Now is not the time to rehash, yet again, the stale question-begging list of Trump’s heinous crimes. It’s time to focus instead on just how dangerous and destructive are the current administration’s plans for transforming America.