Formerly prominent Republicanos ex-Congressman Charlie Dent, ex-cabinet secretary Mary Peters, ex-Congressman Denver Riggleman, ex-RNC chair Michael Steele and ex-Governor Christine Todd Whitman wrote an OpEd for the Washington Post threatening/boasting about stopping the Trumpists. Laughable... but sort of sad. I didn't see the makings of any Republican civil war, just some more editorial fodder for The Bulwark, maybe a few new guests for MSNBC.
The media may love it, but the NY Times' Giovanni Russonello dubbed the threat "hollow." He doesn't see this is a Whig moment... and he doesn't see an Abraham Lincoln on the anti-Trumpist horizon. Instead, mainstream conservatives refusing to bend the knee and embrace the cult of personality are being drummed out of the party. Imagine how frustrated mainstream conservative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is. Or, don't imagine: look!
Russonello emphasized that "conservative ideology matters less to the Republican base these days than does loyalty to Trump’s narrative. It’s possible to be a center-right legislator [like Stefanik] and still be welcomed into the party. The price of entry is fealty to Trump."
No one ever accused ex-Congresswoman Barbara Comstock of being moderate or mainstream. In her day, she was almost as crazy as Marjorie Taylor Greene is today. She was one of the signatories to the letter from the formerly prominent. "There’s a lot of Republicans out there who say, 'I don’t have a party anymore.' And we’re trying to let people know there’s a lot of us-- just rank-and-file people out there that don’t want to be Democrats, that want to support center-right policies, but they can’t go to Trump." A lot? It doesn't look that way to me. A lot would be the number of Republicans who have gulped down the kool aid.
Comstock and her allies see a ray of hope in a proposed bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, and lawmakers today took a major step toward getting it off the ground. Representative John Katko, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, agreed to drop his party’s demand that the commission look into left-wing violence at racial justice protests as part of its investigation, a move that Ms. Comstock hailed as a sign of progress.
By establishing clearly what role Mr. Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill played in enabling the attack, she said, the commission could make it harder for Republicans to continue supporting “the big lie” that Mr. Trump is the victim of a vote-stealing conspiracy.
“That will be very important, to get this very much out in the open,” Ms. Comstock said.
It won't be. The cult-worshippers won't care, not even a little, whatever the DC panel finds. One percent? Maybe, but I think everyone who is offended by Trump and his gang has already crossed over and what's left-- today's GOP-- does not care... not at all.
Russonello wrote that "conservative media-- the apparatus that has most consistently aided and abetted Mr. Trump’s distortions-- has shown less and less interest in condemning the rioters as Jan. 6 has receded in the rearview mirror. And at least for now, Republican voters remain mostly supportive of the former president. In a CNN poll from March, Republicans said by a 2-to-1 margin that they approved of how Mr. Trump had handled the events of Jan. 6. But does that really mean a disaffected minority of Republicans will start a third party? For now, Ms. Comstock acknowledged, that remains a threat more than a realistic possibility. 'I’m focused on finding good Republicans-- like John Katko, like Liz Cheney, like Adam Kinzinger-- who will run for next cycle,' she said. 'Reject that big lie and put together a coalition.'" It would probably be more productive looking for unicorns.
Russonello pointed out that Never-Trump Republican Sarah Chamberlain, the director of the pro-business Republican Main Street Partnership, who pointed out that "A third party isn’t going to happen," and who acknowledges that the House Republican Conference is now led entirely by a pro-Trump team, still makes the wishful thinking type claim that "many of the top GOP lawmakers on House committees have quietly resisted his takeover of the party. 'If we get back the majority, we have a lot of our members leading committees,' Chamberlain said, referring to House lawmakers who belong to the Republican Main Street Partnership and have no love lost for Mr. Trump. This, of course, could spell only more dissension and division ahead of the 2024 presidential election, when the party’s voters will have to decide whether to nominate a Trumpist candidate-- maybe even the former president himself-- or a more traditional Republican figure. For now, the house remains divided."
Divided? 90-10 maybe. Republicans-- if they still prefer to nostalgically categorize themselves that way-- like Comstock and Chamberlain may be hoping against hope that the good fairy comes down to rescue them from the evil Trumpists, but the good fairy knows that Republican Party doesn't deserve her beneficence. They haven't learned their lesson yet. As for the American people, they have no choice in 2022... it's either the wretched, lesser-evil Democrats or Trumpism.