This week, after most of the smoke had cleared regarding the mid-term elections I changed my registration in Arizona from Republican to Non-Affiliated. As you are probably tired of hearing I am a conservative, not a Republican. During that time I registered as a Republican solely because there are no real conservatives allowed in the Democrat Party. I have dallied with the idea of becoming a Libertarian but I am firmly opposed to their positions on abortion and drug use. (I understand the logic of their position and that it is consistent with their fundamental tenet regarding government interference in one’s personal life, but in both such instances there are innocent lives that are effected by their position.) The remaining political parties are largely irrelevant because they cannot reliably fill a room let alone a majority of voters.
I had thought by registering as a Republican I might find common ground with candidates in the Republican primaries. Reluctantly, over time, I have concluded that participating in the Republican primaries is a waste of my time and an interference with the Republican leadership’s intention to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on a regular basis. I know it is an aggravation to me and I’m sure that having their short comings revealed and discussed is an aggravation to them. But I’m going to do it anyway.
The great Red Wave of 2022, has turned out to be a smudge despite its hype by Republicans, the pollsters and the media – even many Democrats reluctantly concurred. I place the blame for such a monumental failure squarely on the failings of the Republican hierarchy in the following three areas which are not listed in any particular order:
- The failure to enunciated a clear, consistent statement of goals and objectives that would allow voters a real choice between the chaos generated by President Joe Biden (D) and the liberal/progressive leadership of the Democrat Party and a return to traditional family and civic values.
- The lingering effect of the hatred of former President Donald Trump (R) generated by the Democrats and carried by the mainstream media and ably assisted by Mr. Trump’s non-stop megalomania, big-mouth and derisive comments about his fellow Republicans. Including his insistence on primary candidates loyalty to him rather than to a set of conservative principles.
- The fear by many in the Republican leadership that someone – anyone – might get a step ahead of them and the resulting continuous backstabbing of anyone gaining traction – watch out Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL). (I refer to this as the (Sen.) John McCain syndrome since he was the most active backstabber in the party prior to his death.)
It would be difficult to point to anyone of these items as decisive in the mid-term elections but, like the straw that broke the camel’s back, the accumulation of them spelled disaster and were so obvious from the beginning that a competent leadership group would have recognized and addressed them.
So, let’s take these one at a time:
1. A clear and consistent message of goals and objectives. Here is the message of goals and objectives developed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) the Republican nominee to become Speaker of the House:
An economy that is strong
A nation that is safe
A future that is built on freedom
A government that is accountable
I have noted previously that these are such glittering generalities that no one could disagree and more importantly no one could determine whether progress was being made. In a snide aside I have previously noted that the only thing missing from Mr. McCarthy’s list was a pledge to “do good and avoid evil” and “brush your teeth before going to bed.”
And that is precisely the point. America is facing a number of huge and critical issues: raging inflation, a war in Ukraine, a continuing invasion of illegal aliens at our Southern border, and escalating criminal violence in our major cities. The American people wanted to know what the Republicans were going to do about all or any one of those items. And what they got was pablum better suited for a nursery school than for an anxious and fearful population. That failure lies squarely on the shoulders of Mr. McCarthy and is indicative of the kind of weak and rudderless leadership that he is likely to provide.
2. The Trump effect. President Donald Trump was a unique, energetic and compelling figure in a political landscape where the first lesson to be learned was “don’t rock the boat.” He was an existential threat to the status quo and more importantly to the criminal enterprises begun and largely managed by senior Democrat officials and leaders. In order to promote these criminal enterprise they co-opted the State Department, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They filtered federal monies through the public employee unions to finance their campaigns and they joined with the mainstream media to suppress evidence of criminal activities and the free speech rights of those who objected. It is the closest America has ever come to fascism under the guise of “social justice.”
Mr. Trump was not a product of that tight knit cabal and he talked incessantly about its corrosive effect and most particularly about the acquiescence of the mainstream press and most importantly he said that he was going to do something about it – drain the swamp, an apt description of the cesspool that federal politicians had allowed to gather and grow. He had to go. And so they mounted their combined resources:
Investigations by the FBI and Justice Department that knew from the beginning there was nothing there but continued them to maximize the damage as the 2020 elections drew near.
Planted phony evidence manufactured by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and coordinated with the Justice Department and the FBI for routine leaks and false accusations.
Congressional investigations engineered by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and managed by a triumvirate of liars (Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell
and Jerry Nadler) who regularly leaked unsubstantiated allegations about Mr. Trump to a voracious mainstream media.
The mainstream media who never once fact checked a leak from the Justice Department, the FBI, the Clinton campaign machine or the Democrat congressional members because they were so intent on destroying a President who routinely called them out on their corruption and lack of factual reporting.
Mr. Trump withstood the assault by the Democrats, by the congressional committees, by the mainstream media and the combined bureaucratic forces of the The Swamp and while doing so held them up to the distrust and ridicule they well deserved. Had he left it at that it he would still be president.
But it was Mr. Trump’s megalomania and big mouth that ultimately did him in. The demand for personal loyalty over constitutional duty. The ceaseless need to belittle all with whom he disagreed. (It’s not that they didn’t deserve it given the outrageous accusations and actions undertaken by them but at a point the responses became grinding and well beneath the Office of the President.) And the foghorn of “stolen election” without the requisite proof. All together they drove voters in 2022 to forget the good Mr. Trump accomplished and focused solely on the unseemly side of his personality. And there is no redemption to be found. Mr. Trump is so mired in his own delusion that he cannot back away from the very thing that is doing him in. It is like watching an alcoholic drink himself to death. And he is dragging down others with him.
3. The McCain effect. The Republican Party has often been described as a circular firing squad – firing away at each other and oblivious to the advances of their real opponents. First Mr. McCain and then Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) challenged former President Barack Obama for the presidency. They never laid a glove on him even though he was a deeply flawed snake-oil salesman. They never even tried. Instead they saved their best shots for their Republican opponents during the primaries or the Republicans that succeeded where they had failed. It was when Mr. McCain rose from his death bed to cast the deciding vote for going forward to debate the repeal of Obamacare so that he could then vote against the repeal and deny his fellow Republicans one of their primary goals. There is a malignancy in the heart of those who will sacrifice their own party not to gain something in which they believe but to ensure the defeat of something they could not accomplish themselves. And the Republicans are notorious for doing just that – so much so that it is difficult for voters to trust that they can ever accomplish a goal because of their own internal bickering and backstabbing.
All three of these flaws contributed to the debacle of the 2022 election and the crushing of a Red Wave that turned into a trickle of pink lemonade. To what degree each contributed is hard to tell but they were all there and they all bear ultimate responsibility to one of the most embarrassing defeats in recent times.
And it does not appear that a lesson has been learned from any of these. The Republicans have selected Mr. McCarthy as their leader despite his inability to put together a cogent plan to stem the corruption and ruin of Mr. Biden and the liberal/progressives. Mr. Trump has announced his is running again and immediately began to badmouth all of his would-be Republican challengers. And Mr. Romney, soon to be joined by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are sharpening their knives with which to stab someone – anyone but a Democrat – in the back.
When asked I have said that if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024 I will reluctantly vote for him because the alternative is far worse. However, I will not help him to become the nominee – meaning I won’t vote for him in a primary.
Neither should you.
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