I never knew it could get this ugly.
Then again, I speculated it could -- and time and events played out -- and it did get pretty darn unsightly. Speaking of the eternal internal struggle in the Republican Party between the intangible but very real Republican establishment and, well, everyone else who identifies as conservative and a supporter of the party. The average person in the hinterlands used to see the two-party system as a necessary evil and most signed up either as Republicans, Democrats or Independents, but today, none of those labels neatly describes where that same regular Joe or Josephine truly stands.
These days, more than anything else, it’s a cultural conflict. You either believe in something or you don’t. There’s no such thing as a half-patriot or a half socialist. Political issues have become battlegrounds with both sides digging in and rhetorically reloading. Party politics isn’t for the meek any longer. You’re with us or against us is the credo. The establishment media chose sides long ago. It’s time for the GOP to throw-in or blow-up.
In a piece appropriately titled, “Why ‘Aw, Shucks Conservatism’ Utterly Disqualifies Any GOP Politician”, Joy Pullman wrote at The Federalist:
“The consensus politics era is over, at least for now. Consensus and good-faith negotiation require shared assumptions. The lack of shared assumptions is exactly what the culture war is about. And the culture war is not a sideshow, it is about the very definition of reality, the entire basis upon which we can have any discussions or make any political decisions whatsoever.
“If you say a man is a man and I say a man is a woman, we can’t get anywhere until that is sorted out. Likewise, the insistence that the United States is fundamentally good — not perfect, but good — is wholly incompatible with the new left’s insistence that it is fundamentally evil. You can’t live in a house with a person who wants to burn it down...
“Now is the time for champions to arise, to stop feeding the beasts, and start fighting them. Ask yourself, ‘What would it mean for me to do that where I am?’ And then start doing it. Because nobody else is going to do it for us. And the field is obviously wide open.”
Whoa. Pullman pulled no punches in her piece, and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety if you have time. As alluded to in the just revealed few paragraphs, she argues for an end to the belief that the leftist opposition can be worked with -- and those Republicans (she specifically cites former vice president Mike Pence and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem as examples of “cultural Neville Chamberlains”, or pols that sold out principles for political convenience) who bow to the left’s relentless pressure on cultural issues deserve no consideration whatsoever.
The Republican party was torn apart by Donald Trump. Sure, the media depicted the strife as a war between Trump’s populist tens of millions and the much smaller and still shrinking contingent of so-called “conservative” anti-Trumpers (now lumped together as #NeverTrump), but this wasn’t the whole story. The real conflict was between Trump’s fervent liberty-lovers and those who hoped to forge a consensus with the opposition and somehow meet in the mushy middle -- at least on issues like taxes, spending and the military… you know, perpetuate the status quo.
These days the latter folks, who pretty much camp under the GOP establishment moniker, argue that Trump’s name, likeness and agenda, can be severed from the party body like a cancerous lesion on the surface of the skin. But that’s where the ugly part comes in. Democrats didn’t want to work with Trump either, and even now that he’s now longer in power, continue to bludgeon him and his ideological supporters with accusations of disloyalty and potential treachery.
The stakes of the game have gotten higher, not lower. The ugliness has grown out of control. If you don’t believe it, simply re-watch President Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia last week. Barack Obama called conservatives “bitter clingers” and Hillary Clinton (maybe she was drunk at the time) named us “deplorables”, but ol’ senile Joe upped the ante again, saying we’re a threat to the democratic foundation of the country.
The Republican Party isn’t the same either. There’s no more room for the toothless RINOs and the “moderate” go-along-to-get-along crowd. We need brawlers and message carriers and boat-rockers and candidates with the ability and willingness to not only defend him or herself but deliver a brutal counterblow. The type who instinctively knows where we stand and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty over it.
The cultural fissures that emerged as cracks in the nineties during the post-Reagan-Cold War era have widened into full on faults where the pressure pushing on both sides is so great that eventually it will give way, violently shake the earth and knock down a lot of structures and institutions. The notion of political correctness -- that there are things you simply can’t say any longer -- displaced the widely held belief that you can utter whatever you want as long as you’re willing to own up to it.
Peaceful protest in Martin Luther King’s example slowly eroded to the point where leftist activists are now okay with open violence to achieve their ends. “Woke-ism” made it acceptable for brainless nimrods like Colin Kaepernick to kneel during the national anthem, and the NFL higher-ups were so afraid of an open revolt by a tiny minority of players that they rolled over like submissive canines and almost welcomed the division.
Now prepare yourself for the playing of the “Black National Anthem” before every major league function this season. Will the same jackasses who fostered and expanded the insults to the Star Spangled banner (starting in 2016) take a knee during the national song and then rise with fists in the air to the “black” honorary tune? Will NFL team front offices cave to leftist demands and give anti-American players an even bigger platform? Will the fans finally say enough is enough?
If that’s the case, how many Republicans will have the gumption to say something and stand up for traditional American values, and that the flag represents everyone regardless of skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, country of birth (if you’re a citizen, that is) and political philosophy?
Donald Trump didn’t shrink from the challenge and similarly didn’t give a hoot what the leftists said about him when he did so. And he still doesn’t. The Republican Party needs more candidates who know what they believe and why they believe it. Trump wasn’t perfect but he came as close to embodying the concept as any leader since Ronald Reagan.
And his voters understood it too. Limousine liberals hate the fact that Trump remains so well regarded. If you ask a clownish media personality like sportscaster Bob Costas what he thinks, he’ll say anyone who supports former president Donald Trump is “delusional”. That’s because, like Costas, the wishy-washy, jelly-spined liberals of the world see conditions the way they are and reflexively sermonize that pouring additional resources onto a problem will solve everything. If the poor lack decent housing or a means to get to work or a caretaker for their children while at the job, the federal government “helps” them by paying for everything.
Are there enough Republicans ready to go out on a limb and not only say it’s wrong but why it’s so? Will the conservative grassroots work overtime to identify the establishment candidates that need to be defeated and then do whatever it takes to replace them with real conservatives? The “Aw Shucks Conservatism” proponents have a pretty powerful lobby in Washington and won’t go quietly.
How many Republican candidates will embrace the emerging themes from ballot audits in Arizona, Georgia and other states? Who will come forward and tout the tangible evidence (like Tucker Carlson did last week) and weather the storm of negative vitriol from idiots like Bob Costas and the entire establishment media industry? Will all Republican party candidates go out of their way to champion freedom movements like the one taking place in Cuba right now?
GOP primary season may seem like a long way off but conservatives must pay attention to the emerging candidates now to be prepared to separate the fighters from the establishment flakes come next year. The best thing that could ever happen to the party is to nominate and then elect men and women with steel backbones who not only will battle the left, they’ll enjoy doing it.
Donald Trump will be there to lend his talent and opinions. The question is whether there are enough local folks who will answer the call of duty. The enemy is at the gates. Can the scrap be won?
Critical Race Theory
Arizona election audit
Georgia election audit