Battle for the GOP

The Battle for the Soul of our Party

Chronicling a political party intent on destroying itself by shrinking the tent

Moving on from ‘quite a character’


“Progressives think that hating not only Mr. Trump but all conservatives settles their debts and cleanses them of sin. …


“Mr. Trump is to blame for much of this. Character is destiny, and Mr. Trump was quite a character. He gave his enemies the gift of Jan. 6. He played peek-a-boo with forbidden thoughts. He tossed cherry bombs at the Constitution to see if he could give it a scare. Whatever else one may say about Jan. 6, it was one of the stupidest afternoons in American history.


“Mr. Trump … is a burnt-out case, an exhausted volcano, in Disraeli’s phrase. Let Palm Beach have him.

“The Old Believers don’t need Mr. Trump. If they are smart — and lucky — they will find someone who is capable, as Mr. Trump was not, of defending the country’s civic sanity, decency, democracy, and freedom of speech and thought. That hero has yet to emerge.” — Lance Morrow, Ethics and Public Policy Center.

‘All that was necessary …

“. . . to avoid this multitude of Biden administration / Democrat / leftist fiascos was for Donald Trump to behave like a leader, gentleman, and statesman for about two months before and after the 2020 election. He couldn’t do it.” — John Welch of Huntsville AL, letter to Wall Street Journal.

Paul Ryan warns against cult of Trump

Paul Ryan to the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute 05-27-21:

“Once again, we conservatives find ourselves at a crossroads.  And here’s one reality we have to face.  If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere.  Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle. …

“We win majorities by directing our loyalty and respect to voters, and by staying faithful to the conservative principles that unite us.  This was true even when the person leading our movement was as impressive, polished, and agreeable as they come.” … [Ronald Reagan, anyone?]

“In 2020, the country wanted a nice guy who would move to the center and depolarize our politics. Instead, we got a nice guy pursuing an agenda more leftist than any president in my lifetime.  These policies might have the full approval of his progressive supporters, but they break faith with the middle-of-the-road folks who made the difference for him on Election Day.

“For conservatives, this painful existence as the opposition can actually be an opportunity.  Out of these years can come a healthy, growing, and united conservative movement, a movement that speaks again to the heart of a great nation.” 

(Courtesy of The Dispatch.)

Trump is helping Biden

Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review:

Liz Cheney is right: It is patently obvious that President Trump lost the election. 

His continuing prominence in GOP politics, and the fact that he could conceivably win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, could cost the party crucial, winnable elections, even beyond the damage he has already done by singlehandedly losing the two Georgia Senate seats for the Republicans, and hence their Senate majority — thus turbocharging the woke progressive agenda he says he opposes. …

Cheney is right that, for the GOP going forward, Trump is a no-win proposition. But former Trump supporters who already know that don’t need to be told. Trump diehards who haven’t yet figured it out are not ready to hear it — and they are not going to be hectored into acceptance by someone who has made herself into the anti-Trump. It plainly is not helping Cheney that Trump has conveyed to his fans that her contempt for him is really contempt for them — even if the reality is that Cheney is the one trying to protect those people from the Democrats’ agenda while the former president, however inadvertently, has enabled that agenda by his self-absorbed recklessness.

Saying the most unpopular and unwelcome thing

Posted on May 12, 2021 by David Blaska

‘I do not withdraw a single word’

“A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, but not the truth, as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.” — U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-WY 05-11-21.

We’re reading Andrew Roberts’ great bio Winston Churchill; Walking With Destiny. 

It is 30 September 1938. Neville Chamberlain has returned to London from Munich, waving a scrap of paper. He had just given away democratic Czechoslovakia, its mountain defenses and significant armaments industries, to Adolph Hitler — free of charge — and he was damned proud of it.

King George VI invited the P.M. to share his balcony and accept the adulation of the crowds. Chamberlain was being likened to Disraeli and Gladstone for appeasing the dictator and forestalling his wrath.

In the House of Commons, a back bencher bucking his own party leaders, Churchill marshaled the English language and sent it into battle (as was said of him many years later).

Book cover, Winston Churchill walking with destiny

“I begin by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing. I begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat. … The German dictator, instead of snatching his victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course.”

Not conservative or even Republican

Just Trump cultism

Elise Stefanik’s takes over from Liz Cheney the Number #3 post in the U.S. House of Representatives because she subscribes to the cult of personality, that being Donald Trump. Doesn’t matter the honorable member has one of the least conservative voting records in the caucus.

Her lifetime score from the conservative group Heritage Action is a mere 56%, compared with Cheney’s 91%.

Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time, while Stefanik voted with Trump just 77.7% of the time. Indeed, Stefanik steadfastly opposed key elements of the Trump agenda. She voted against Trump’s singular legislative achievement — his 2017 tax reform bill — and against making his tax cuts permanent. She voted to block Trump from withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. She voted to condemn Trump for calling on the courts to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. She voted to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration at the southern border so he could fund the border wall, and then voted to override Trump’s veto of a bill that reversed his emergency declaration. — the Dispatch

G.O.P.does not stand for Get Out and Purge.

the Werkes admires Liz Cheney as a profile in courage. If she has to go as Republican conference chair, so be it. Politics ain’t fair. Yes, we need the MAGA folk in our party. Blaska does not purge.Joe Stalin purged. Mao, Saddam, and Pol Pot purged. In contrast, real Republicans like Tommy Thompson preached: build the tent!

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.” — Liz Cheney, R-WY

Read it and weep.

Liz Cheney may be ousted — a sad reflection on the GOP

Liz Cheney doesn’t believe the election was stolen and sees Trump’s ongoing efforts to deny the legitimacy of the election as a bad thing for her party and for the country. And she is willing to say so. Not just once during a brief moment when it was popular for Republicans to say so. But repeatedly — when asked about it in press conferences, and in talks, and in tweets when not directly prompted by a reporter. This is inconvenient for her party.

“In a normal world, the party might actually reconsider fealty to Trump. After all, had Trump simply acknowledged defeat last November, Republicans would have had a good chance of maintaining at least one Georgia Senate seat. And they could have united in opposition to President Biden’s agenda.”

More at National Review.

Recrimination is not a winning message. More here.

Combatting stupidity

Republican Rep. Peter Meijer has a warning for his party: He fears baseless conspiracy theories like QAnon will destroy the GOP from within if Republicans don’t decisively and unequivocally condemn the false and dangerous beliefs and take action to stop their spread.

“The fact that a significant plurality, if not potentially a majority, of our voters have been deceived into this creation of an alternate reality could very well be an existential threat to the party.

QAnon is a sprawling far-right conspiracy theory that promotes the absurd and false claim that Trump has been locked in a battle against a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles made up of prominent Democratic politicians and liberal celebrities. Members of the violent pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol had ties to QAnon, and the conspiracy theory has made its way from online message boards into the political mainstream in recent years.

— from CNN.

Let the purge begin

Who will succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio? 

Morning Dispatch examines former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel. He has the name I.D.and cash. He ran for Senate twice already. But Mandel has gone all Lin Wood and Sidney Powell conspiratorial.

The presidential election? “Stolen.” 

Ohio GOP Chair Jane Timken? A “weathervane” and a “turncoat.” 

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez? “Traitor.” 

Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine? “Total squish establishment failure.” 

A campaign pitch is captioned “HUNTING RINOs IS FUN.”

His Twitter account was temporarily suspended after he asked his followers which type of “illegals” commit more crimes: “Muslim Terrorists” or “Mexican Gangbangers.”

Mandel’s recent turn is alienating some longtime allies, The Dispatch reports. “I was lined up to be a supporter of his campaign. I don’t know what I’m going to do now, just based on some of the crap that he’s done over the past couple of weeks. It’s really disheartening to see.”