I see the GOP just did an amazingly shameful thing. Again.


This is a screenshot from video of Rep. Cheney speaking after the vote, which you can watch by clicking on the image.

That’s essentially what I said on Twitter this morning about the Liz Cheney thing, and started to move on to other topics.

But perhaps we should pause on that one for a moment, seeing how I may have been a trite too dismissive of the significance of this moment in American political history.

Perhaps we should contemplate what Tom Friedman had to say in his piece, “The Trump G.O.P.’s Plot Against Liz Cheney — and Our Democracy.” He wrote it before what happened this morning, but with full knowledge of what would happen. And as ominous as it sounds, he may have been on the money:

One of America’s two major parties is about to make embracing a huge lie about the integrity of our elections — the core engine of our democracy — a litmus test for leadership in that party, if not future candidacy at the local, state and national levels.

In effect, the Trump G.O.P. has declared that winning the next elections for the House, Senate and presidency is so crucial — and Trump’s ability to energize its base so irreplaceable — that it justifies both accepting his Big Lie about the 2020 election and leveraging that lie to impose new voter-suppression laws and changes in the rules of who can certify elections in order to lock in minority rule for Republicans if need be.

It is hard to accept that this is happening in today’s America, but it is.

If House Republicans follow through on their plan to replace Cheney, it will not constitute the end of American democracy as we’ve known it, but there is a real possibility we’ll look back on May 12, 2021, as the beginning of the end — unless enough principled Republicans can be persuaded to engineer an immediate, radical course correction in their party….

Indeed. Let’s focus on that bit about these twits saying that this action against the one prominent person among them willing to speak the obvious truth is crucial to “winning the next elections for the House, Senate and presidency.”

Not for long, though. I only have this to say about it: If that’s what they believe and assert — which they have done in the last few days, in a Orwellian effort to “justify” what they’re doing to Rep. Cheney — well then none of them should ever be elected to anything, ever again. As you know, I’m willing up to a point to accept certain behaviors by elected officials that are meant purely to get them elected or re-elected, if they are worthy people otherwise. Because if you don’t get elected, you can’t do any good for anyone.

But sometimes, the thing you’re willing to do proves that you are not a worthy candidate. For instance, Lindsey Graham struggled for years to keep the yahoos from tossing him out so that he could stay in office and push hard for sensible immigration policy, or for dialing back the partisan madness that was undermining our method of selecting federal judges. But when you just give up completely, and commit yourself with slavish devotion to the worst person ever to hold high office in the country, you completely abandon any argument that the nation is better off with you than without you. Obviously, you should no longer hold office.

And any Republicans who want Donald Trump to have anything to do with their party, and are willing to embrace his outrageously destructive Big Lie in order to achieve that, are people who should not only lose the next election, but the one after that, and every election to come.

Friedman’s column continues with the ways Republicans are, across the country, trying to undermine our electoral processes so that no one can ever trust them again. In our Identity Politics era, much of the attention has been on the GOP’s efforts to discourage voting by People of a Certain Color. As dastardly as that is, it’s hardly the whole story. Writes Friedman:

There are also the new laws to enable Republican legislatures to legally manipulate the administration and counting of the votes in their states….

We’re talking about new regulations like the Georgia law that removed the secretary of state from decision-making power on the State Election Board, clearly aimed to curb the powers of the current secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, after he rejected Trump’s request that he “find” 11,780 votes to undo Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia….

As Stanford University democracy expert Larry Diamond summed it all up to me, while we’re focusing on Liz Cheney and the 2020 elections, Trump’s minions at the state level “are focused on giving themselves the power to legally get away with in 2024 what the courts would not let them get away with in 2020.”…

I’m probably close to getting in trouble with the copyright attorneys at the NYT, but I assure you I’m not trying to steal anything; I’m trying to help Friedman spread the alarm. I strongly urge you to go read the whole thing (and everything else you can find from honest, knowledgeable sources), and if they want you to pay for it, by all means pay. As I do.

It’s important because Friedman predicts that once Republicans complete the task of rigging the electoral system in their lying, malodorous favor, “both Democrats and principled Republicans will take to the streets, and you can call it whatever you like, but it is going to feel like a new civil war.”

Because what else is there to do, when our civilization is no longer held together by the rule of law, reference for the truth and profound respect for, and confidence in, fair elections?

Friedman, who covered the collapse in Lebanon, doesn’t use the term “civil war” either “lightly or accidentally.” He saw a civilized country fall apart, which is “what happens when democratically elected politicians think that they can endlessly abuse their institutions, cross redlines, weaken their judiciary and buy reporters and television stations — so that there is no truth, only versions, of every story.”

Dismiss it as alarmism if you like. Bask in the warmth of having an honest, decent, qualified president who is doing his best to serve to the betterment of his country, and enjoys high approval ratings as a result.

But keep in mind that the people who ousted Liz Cheney today have something very different in mind. They are eager to pull us all into the darkness…

12 thoughts on “I see the GOP just did an amazingly shameful thing. Again.

    1. Randle

      Yes, the coup continues. It may have taken a breather while the GOP castrati determined how the wind was blowing. They quickly resumed singing from the Trump hymnal, once it became clear the former guy was still pulling the strings. They will bring down our democracy if we let them and have been laying the groundwork in plain sight for months. Nothing has changed, and Biden and the Democratic Party can’t win this fight alone.

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    It’s a very strange corner these folks have drawn themselves into.

    A normal person would think it very odd that these people believe adherence to Trump’s lies would HELP them get re-elected, seeing that Trump himself was just decisively rejected by the voters.

    But the thing is, these guys — particularly House members — could not care less about the electorate as a whole. They have been so spectacularly successful in drawing district lines in their favor over the last three decades — thereby increasing their numbers in Congress and in state legislatures (where the lines are drawn) well beyond what you’d expect based on the percentage of Republicans in the electorate — that they only care about voters who vote in Republican primaries.

    In fact, they only care about SOME of those voters. They only care about the extremists, the people who — if the lawmakers don’t spinelessly kowtow to what the extremists want — will see to it that they are replaced in the primary with yahoos more to their liking. And they act accordingly.

    You have the phenomenon of, say, a Nancy Mace, who thought for a moment that the wise thing to do was the RIGHT thing to do — in her case, the simple act of certifying the election. She went ahead and did the duty that pretty much no elected official at any time in our history before Trump would have questioned for a moment.

    Then, as the shock of Jan. 6 wore off, I suppose she started interacting with folks back home. And not the “folks back home” as a whole, but the yahoos who turn out and demand subservience to Trump.

    And since then, everything I’ve seen from her seems to have but one goal — to convince such people that she is one of THEM.

    We’ve seen this with many other Republicans as well — initial pride in rejecting the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, followed by months of doing all they can to show they are on the side of the mob.

    Even before the Rabbit Hole was in operation, Gerrymandering and the Republicans’ success in employing it to their advantage has been having this dual, destructive effect: Normal Republicans bowing down to the loonies of the moment (Newt Gingrich’s crowd in the 90s, then the hyperlibertarians, then the Tea Party, then the Trumpistas) for all they were worth. And when they didn’t, or even when they did, they found themselves replaced with people who were NOT normal Republicans, newcomers who bizarrely called the REAL Republicans RINOs.

    So now we talk about Republicans being cowardly for refusing to stand up, as Liz Cheney did, to the madness. And that does describe SOME of the GOP caucus. But the truth is, over the years since about 1990, their number has increasingly consisted of the loonies themselves. And the few left who are NOT nuts are terrified of the ones who are…

  2. bud

    The Cheney family has reaped what it sowed. For decades the elites in the Republican Party used social issues like abortion and gay marriage to fool evangelical voters into supporting their plutocratic agenda. This diabolical scheme was essentially nothing but an elaborate lie aimed at fooling voters who would never benefit from their enrichment-of- the-wealthy agenda. Now the chickens have come home to roost. I’m not concerned with plutocrats like Romney or neocons like the Cheneys. But we are all being dragged through the gutter. Frankly the false equivalency crowd is party to blame. So here we are in deep do do.

  3. Doug Ross

    Imagine being on the side of Liz Cheney because you are utterly obsessed with Donald Trump. Dick Cheney was by far a worse occupant of the White House (as shadow President to legacy lightweight George Bush) than Trump was on his worst days. Cheney was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. Whatever political games are played against Liz are perfectly acceptable.

    1. Barry

      I’m not on the side of Liz. Watching the fighting is amusing.

      I had someone tell me today that they “hated Liz Cheney because she was a Liberal.”

      Liz, a woman whose voting record perfectly matches Joe Wilson and Trump super fan Jeff Duncan, and is more conservative and consistent than many Trumpers in Congress is now supposedly “a Liberal” because she doesn’t believe Trump won an election he clearly lost.

      The Republican Party is a cult.

  4. Doug T

    The Cheneys are definitely the lesser of 2 evils, but evil nonetheless.

    OBTW, reruns of “Rise of the Nazis” are on PBS. 3 part series is on line also. It is relevant and scary.

    Also, leaving today’s White House meeting, McCarthy texted “I just met with Corrupt Joe Biden…” To heck with him and Moscow Mitch. Get Sinema and Manchin lined up and shove Infrastructure Plus and Voting Rights down the GOP’s darn throats. . The voting public is all the Dems should worry about, not the obstructionists in Congress.

    1. bud

      To his credit Brad pegged the situation correctly a few weeks ago. Manchin and other moderate Democrats are the de-facto opposition party right now. The Republicans may as well not exist.

  5. Ken

    Bruce Bartlett, former policy advisor to Reagan and G.H.W.Bush, contemplates his and Liz Cheney’s fates and recounts his departure from the GOP – which he describes as the “new Know-Nothing Party, divorced from reality and any intellectual grounding in facts or proper analysis” — and his conversion from a libertarian shrink-government-and-privatize ideologue to more left-wing views:

      1. Mark Stewart

        Not so. Where is nihilism going to get the GOP in its current psychosis? Eventually more and more voters will wake up from these delusions and will look for an alternative. Whether it seems viable now or not, it is necessary for the middle term to have a party voice in dissention. Long term, I still think the GOP has extinguished itself as an institutional party guarding America’s Constitutional bounty and future civic promise. But that’s just me; time will tell what becomes of the Republican party, its leadership and its moral foundation.

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