Are Republicans unified, or in disarray?
It depends on what you read and/or who you listen to. With domestic and world events flying by faster than a C-130 transport out of Afghanistan, elected members of the Republican Party seem to have discovered a heretofore unknown rallying point in the person of president senile Joe Biden and his awful, life-threatening policies. Condemnation by Grand Old Party faithful was universal last week as every American watched in horror at the bumbling, out-of-touch chief executive’s refusal to extend his self-imposed deadline for allowing trapped people to escape the Taliban-controlled hell hole country.
Then there was Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat House voting to advance the $3.5 trillion budget resolution blueprint devised over on the Senate side by Chucky Schumer and Bernie Sanders. Every single lower chamber Democrat voted for the measure despite being depicted as divided within the caucus by the establishment media. Speaker Pelosi somehow conjured up a deal that enticed the holdouts on both sides of her party’s spectrum -- i.e. the token handful of mis-labeled “moderates” versus the huge glob of socialism loving leftists -- to join together to do her dirty work.
San Fran Nan doesn’t look outwardly imposing, but she’s the undisputed champion at arm-twisting when the going gets tough. Much has been written about how the Democrat House majority is tenuous and fragile, but the political family-spawned 81-year-old Speaker apparently doesn’t require a large margin to pass Joe’s agenda like a kidney stone through the urinary tract.
Republicans similarly came together -- to oppose the bloated budget resolution -- with every GOP representative and senator voting “no” on the proposal. It did little good, as Democrats narrowly control both chambers of Congress, but the votes were rare occasions where even the party RINOs got in line to put their opposition on the record.
Mitch McConnell said the Afghanistan withdrawal would’ve been handled much better by former President Trump. When the GOP establishment says something nice about Trump, there must be some degree of comity there.
Yet still there are Republican naysayers on the subject of unity. Former South Carolina governor and U.S. representative Mark Sanford thinks the party is failing internally. In a piece titled, "Two roads diverged for the Republican Party,” Sanford wrote at the Washington Examiner:
“While financial prudence marked our country's history, we have now lost our minds. Simple math dictates that there will be consequences. As Republicans looked the other way on debt and spending under former President Donald Trump, license was given to yet more spending under Democrats today. Seemingly, no one is watching our nation’s finances in Washington, and yet sustainable spending has always been foundational in supporting open political systems...
“While we were designed as a nation of laws and not men, it has been our embrace of traditions, political norms, and institutions that represented the glue that held the workings of our politics together. But when the media can be labeled by a sitting president as an enemy of the people, or when our tradition in the peaceful transfer of power is interrupted as it was in our last election, hang on to your hat. Traditions and institutions restrain political action in some ways more than the rule of law. It's not a law that presidential nominees, and in turn gubernatorial nominees across the country, release their tax returns — but it was a 50-year tradition that, like many things of late in Washington political circles, has been challenged or discarded...
“[O]ur civilization faces two paths forward, and which path we take will be determined by you and me. As Robert Frost noted many years ago, which path we choose will make all the difference.”
Yes indeed. Sanford is correct on that last point. Having attended Robert Frost Junior High School in my youth, I’m familiar with all sorts of Frost-ian sayings (or at least I was forty years ago). The path you choose does make a difference, and the one selected by former Donald Trump wasn’t necessarily the road to ruin. It’s clear that South Carolinian Sanford isn’t a big fan of Trump, which is fair, and there’s room for divergent opinion in a political party as long as everyone agrees on the ends they hope to achieve.
The above excerpt from Sanford represents only a couple of his themes. On the first one, Mark is right on the mark. The GOP definitely lost its way on spending and fiscal responsibility, but the lack of direction can hardly be blamed on Donald Trump alone. The New Yorker never promoted a balanced budget, but he did promise to make America great again. Congress’s big spending bad habits weren’t going to be solved in Trump’s term anyway. Republican establishment leaders such as Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Bill Frist and Mitch McConnell all had their opportunities to prioritize fiscal propriety. All failed miserably.
They can’t blame Trump for it -- and neither should Sanford. He probably shouldn’t be talking about the abandonment of principles in the first place, having fallen from conservatives’ good graces like SKYLAB plummeting from the heavens in July of 1979. Sanford’s notorious hyperactive libido disqualifies him from commenting on “unity” anyway, doesn’t it?
Sanford was once considered a rising star in the GOP until he let his animal urges get the best of him.
If there’s any “disunity” in the party today, it’s solely due to the #NeverTrump faction of former Republicans who refused to join Trump’s cause no matter how many policy victories the president achieved. Just last week, for example, The Bulwark publisher -- and former head of the once-respectable Weekly Standard -- Bill Kristol endorsed sleazebag Clinton-sycophant Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race.
Kristol’s reason for betraying the party he called home for decades? That Republican Glenn Youngkin is too much like Trump. Perhaps Kristol is still searching for an audience or someone -- anyone -- to purchase his magazine. His income certainly must have dried-up over the past few years and the only ones who give him the time of day these days are fellow embittered establishment Republicans and Democrat morons like Joe Biden and Terry McAuliffe.
At a time when Republicans are banding together to battle the disastrous Biden presidency and agenda, it shouldn’t be seen as a sellout that Donald Trump is viewed, once again, as the party leader. One reliably Democrat favoring poll showed senile Joe’s favorable ratings down in the low 40’s last week, which means a growing number of Democrats are jumping ship before they go down with it.
Heading into September, the traditional start of the fall campaign season, it means there’s a little more than a year left until Americans pass judgment on Joe Biden’s first half term. And even liberals are starting to express worry that it’ll go badly for the incumbent party next November. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that Democrats will do everything within their power to pass Biden’s wish-list now before his political support battery completely dies.
Pelosi may be personally unlikable, but she’s not stupid. She understands that one way or another she won’t be Speaker again in the next congress starting in 2023. So, this is her last hurrah. Biden himself could very easily lose his grip on power as well, either through the 25th Amendment or possibly impeachment if Afghanistan’s aftermath goes as badly as it appears it will.
Contrary to Sanford’s argument, Republicans are moving closer together, not farther apart. The nation’s current sorry fiscal situation and economic recovery from the COVID lockdowns provides an opening to reconnect with budget-minded conservatives. Whereas Richard Nixon once said, “We’re all Keynesians now”, the world after Joe Biden might very well declare, “We’re all skeptics of government spending now.”
GOPers are also uniting behind the notion of, what Trump himself declared, “No more stupid wars.” Conservatives will continue to advocate necessary defense spending for deterrence purposes, but one senses the ill-thought-through nation-building forays in foreign lands are a thing of the past.
Who will lead the newly united Republican Party? Time and events will tell, though it’s an inescapable conclusion that Joe Biden has served as a tried and true consolidation point. Democrats have mismanaged, lied and fouled things up far too many times. It’s not the GOP that is headed down divergent paths. Democrats are on the road to ruin.
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