Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) was practically booed off the stage in Utah while Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) is seeing her House leadership role fall under dire threat. It must be a bitter pill for the red side of the Swamp Uniparty to swallow.
GOP establishment dinosaurs are learning that they won’t be able to pull off in their party what their Democratic establishment cohorts successfully orchestrated with Joe Biden: putting the old band back together. Whereas the Democrat Old Guard conjured the frightening specter of Donald Trump to shoehorn panicky Democrats into eventually backing an unpopular Biden for the 2020 party nomination, Republicans will not be able to use the “far-out liberal” Biden administration in a similar way. The GOP grassroots refuses to fall for that game anymore.
How About Those Kooky Liberals, Folks!
Romney gave it the old Harvard try nonetheless. “So, what do you think about President Biden’s first 100 days?” Romney chirped at the start of his address to the Utah Republican State Convention on May 1.
It did not go over well. A solid wave of boos rolled over his attempt to play the trusty old Those Darn Liberals card.
“You know me as a person who says what he thinks, and I don’t hide the fact that I wasn’t a fan of our last president’s character issues,” Romney continued.
Strike two. The jeers only increased, and the Conscience of the Party card quickly melted in Romney’s well-manicured hands.
Exiting state party chair Derek Brown had to briefly take the podium to rebuke the crowd for daring to hiss at the senator.
Romney attempted to pick up from there, but it was no use. Petulantly, he leaned on a past that means nothing to party members today. “You can boo all you like,” Romney said. “I’ve been a Republican all of my life. My dad was the governor of Michigan and I was the Republican nominee for president in 2012.”
Mitt’s dad was a governor in the 1960s and Liz Cheney’s father was George W. Bush’s vice president 20 years ago. Neither inheritance will help them assume positions of control in a party with Trumpian America First leanings at its core.
Fellow House GOP members who backed Cheney in January when she infuriated much of that base by voting to impeach Trump are now reportedly trying to oust her from her role as House Republican Conference Chair. “It’s at a boiling point. This isn’t about Liz Cheney wanting to impeach Donald Trump; this isn’t about Donald Trump at all. It’s about Liz Cheney being completely out of synch with the majority of our conference,” an unnamed GOP lawmaker told The Hill.
Numerous other media reports indicate Cheney’s standing is evaporating by the minute. With no genuine army of supporters to lean on to pressure Capitol Hill Republicans to stand by her, Cheney’s position is acutely vulnerable.
GOP Media Favorite Meets Real Life
And then there is Never-Trump big-box-media darling Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Perhaps deluded by the fawning attention he receives from establishment journalists who share his revulsion of Trump, Kinzinger attempted to throw around his political clout outside his congressional district.
Kinzinger zealously backed another Trump-bashing Republican, Michael Wood, in his efforts to win a House seat in Texas’ 6th congressional district. Kinzinger’s Country First PAC endorsed Wood, and the congressman made a personal trip to Texas to campaign on his behalf.
Kinzinger and Wood both parroted a Romney-esque “restoration” narrative for the GOP, touting their crusade to cleanse the party from Trumpism.
In an interview, Wood “compared Trump to a ‘less intelligent, lazy and disorganized’ autocrat like Roman emperor Julius Caesar,” the Associated Press reported before the May 3 special election. “He warned that freedom itself is at risk if Trump and what he stands for aren’t soundly rejected.”
“I don’t want to go to Congress if I have to lick Donald Trump’s boots to get there,” he said, AP reported.
Well, Wood doesn’t need worry about that. He finished a distant ninth, garnering a paltry 3% of the vote. And Kinzinger found out just how much impact he really has beyond the friendly confines of a CNN studio.
The GOP establishment cannot craft a Biden boondoggle due to one fundamental difference between the two situations. Biden was able to paint Trump Republicans as the bad guys to willing Democrats. Swamp GOPers are trying to paint Trump Republicans as the bad guys to Trump Republicans.
Uniparty Republicans certainly can undermine Trump’s Make America Great Again cause in various ways, but they lack the popular support to take over the GOP grassroots themselves. And so they will continue to play the role of antagonizing thorns in the sides of the people they claim to represent.
It’s an essential distinction from what Cheney’s father carried out in 2000 and 2004. Then, the Swampers posed as comrades in arms, wreathed in smiles. Now, they are the scolds, sourly appealing to party “consciences” of their own making and lamely “disqualifying” those who fail to live up to their thoroughly artificial standards. It is not the least bit convincing, and it is not going to work, as Romney, Cheney, and Kinzinger are now glumly learning.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.
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