Updated: Feb 5
The RNC is meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah-- not the most pro-Trump red state-- and the headline is that the party is "just" censuring-- rather than expelling-- Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Their crime: participating in the select committee investigating the coup attempt and insurrection. Corrupt neo-Nazi David Bossie is not happy. A Trump sycophant, he had demanded they be expelled outright. Politico's David Siders, last night: "Still, for the Republican National Committee to censure two of its own members is significant-- a pointed escalation in the GOP’s bid to purge itself of Republicans perceived as disloyal to Trump. Republicans meeting here fumed over Cheney and Kinzinger’s participation on the Jan. 6 committee, which Trump earlier Thursday called a 'corrupt Unselect Committee of political hacks and highly partisan sleazebags.' And even among RNC members who were hesitant to engage in intraparty warring, several said they would likely support the censure resolution on Friday." This is the resolution:
The Republican National Committee hereby formally censures Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and shall immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party for their behavior, which has been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic, and is inconsistent with the position of the conference.
Unbowed as always, Liz Cheney released a fiery statement of her own, ripping into the RNC members as servile pawns to a would-be dictator: "The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy. I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what."
And Kinzinger's official statement-- another rebuke to a worse than pathetic RNC:
This morning, NBC News noted that "a distinct chasm is emerging between Trump’s obsessions and the issues many GOP operatives consider crucial to winning the midterm elections in November. Republican candidates need to make voters' concerns a central focus, as opposed to Trump’s day-to-day attacks, RNC members suggested this week. Few will put it quite so bluntly; they are loath to antagonize Trump and possibly drive off his hard-core followers. Yet in interviews, party officials showed little appetite for organizing the GOP around Trump’s grievances. A winning message would emphasize inflation and parental rights, they said-- not the 2020 election, which Trump falsely insists he won. Strengthening the party would require opening it up to new voters-- not punishing Republicans who have disagreed with Trump, they added."
Since RNC members began arriving here this week, Trump has been pumping out statements that deviate from the forward-looking, issue-focused message a number of members have embraced. He has gloated over Jeff Zucker’s abrupt resignation as president of CNN, a network he belittled throughout his presidency, and he questioned why the Jan. 6 committee wasn't examining "Large-scale proof of fraud," even though none exists.
"The voters, for the most part, are aspirational and want to see candidates who are going to talk about tomorrow, not yesterday," said a state party chairman who requested anonymity to speak candidly. "I think the more you try to look backwards, the less likely you’re going to succeed in this business going forward."
None of which is to say the 2020 election was off-limits. Multiple RNC members were seen carrying conservative author Mollie Hemingway’s new book, "Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections," around the lobby of the Grand America Hotel, where she spoke at an unofficial event Wednesday. In her telling, the 2020 election wasn’t stolen; instead, it unfairly advantaged Democrats because of enhanced efforts to turn out Democratic voters and pandemic-inspired changes to election laws allowing for more mail-in balloting.
One way RNC members have sought to appease Trump loyalists is to call for changes in election laws and improvements in "ballot integrity" without embracing conspiracy theories that the election was stolen. Their goal is to keep the Trump vote intact without driving away constituencies Republicans need to win elections, like suburban women-- a balancing act GOP leaders everywhere are struggling to pull off.
"The focus is really what are the lessons you learn from 2020? And then how do you apply them to protect ’22? And ’24?" Whatley said of changes to election rules. "For us right now, the economy really, really matters. Inflation really, really matters. High gasoline prices really matter. What’s happening in Russia right now. Our withdrawal from Afghanistan. You look at all of these different issues that have arisen over the course of last year, that’s what people are talking about today."
While Trump isn’t going away, there are still unmistakable signs that his influence within the party is waning. An NBC News poll released last month found that only 36 percent of Republican-leaning voters said they were more supporters of the former president than of the GOP-- down by 18 points from the eve of the 2020 election.
"We have some very die-hard Trump supporters in the party on one extreme, and on the other extreme, we have some people that are strong Republicans except they don’t like Donald Trump," said Tracy, the Illinois state chairman. "I think most people are more in the middle."
Let, me think... What happened in January, 2021? Did Pence and McConnell do something really horrible to get Republican registered voters to turn on the two of them so violently? What could it have possibly been. Did they break some ironclad rule of the cult? Oh, yeah... that.
It could have been worse... like this hilarious explanation of Boris Johnson's current-- and likely fatal-- political problems. Cannibals? You gotta watch this Jonathan Pie best-of-Friday video for the New York Times. If this guy keeps working at it, he's going to sound like Lucas Kunce. Believe me, if it were embeddable, I would have embedded it. But cross your fingers and try the link. If you can't watch it... maybe you'll get the picture by watching this:
UPDATE: I didn't give up
And I have great news for you-- especially if you don't subscribe to the NY Times. The Times just released the Jonathan Pie video in embeddable form. So here is is. Watch it-- and enjoy: