Delusional, when asked by a reporter about why Liz Cheney nearly lost her seat for voting to impeach Trump, McCarthy-- who claims he just happened to be in Florida working when Trump asked him for an impromptu lunch-- said that the Republican Party "has always been about conservative ideas, promoting opportunity, and the uniqueness of this party today is we're the workers party, we’re the American workers’ party." Well, in truth, ever since McCarthy was chairman of the California Young Republicans (1995) and then California Assembly Minority Leader (2004) he's had little to do with conservatism and a lot to do with slappin'-on-the-back power accumulation, transactional politics and fundraising. That defines him to this day.
Adam Kinzinger is a very different kind of Republican. He's an actual real life conservative who, at age 20 and still in college, was elected to the McLean County Board, the youngest member ever. He resigned to join the Air Force, serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and eventually earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 2010 he defeated worthless conservative Democrat Debbie Halverson and was immediately looked at as a future GOP star, a hardcore conservative, but young and good-looking. Whether he's still a future anything within the GOP is very much up in the air right now.
Kinzinger is likely to run for statewide office next year, probably governor of Illinois. He has earned Trump's enmity by voting to impeach. Last night he rubbed salt into the Trump wounds by calling on Senate Republicans to vote to convict in a Washington Post OpEd. He began with a quote from Spanish philosopher George Santayana translated by Winston Churchill: "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it" and added a warning-- that "All Americans, but especially my fellow Republicans, should remember this wisdom during the Senate’s trial of former president Donald Trump."
Kinzinger-- one of only 10 Republicans in McCarthy's caucus to vote to impeach Trump-- wrote that most of his GOP House colleagues felt impeaching Trump was "a waste of time-- political theater that distracted from bigger issues. The overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans appear to feel the same way about conviction." Kinzinger couldn't disagree more. "It’s a matter of accountability. If the GOP doesn’t take a stand, the chaos of the past few months, and the past four years, could quickly return. The future of our party and our country depends on confronting what happened-- so it doesn’t happen again."
The immediate cause for Trump’s impeachment was Jan. 6. But the president’s rally and resulting riot on Capitol Hill didn’t come out of nowhere. They were the result of four-plus years of anger, outrage and outright lies. Perhaps the most dangerous lie-- or at least the most recent-- was that the election was stolen. Of course it wasn’t, but a huge number of Republican leaders encouraged the belief that it was. Every time that lie was repeated, the riots of Jan. 6 became more likely.
Even now, many Republicans refuse to admit what happened. They continue to feed anger and resentment among the people. On Jan. 6, that fury led to the murder of a Capitol Police officer and the deaths of four other Americans. If that rage is still building, where does it go from here?
Impeachment offers a chance to say enough is enough. It ought to force every American, regardless of party affiliation, to remember not only what happened on Jan. 6, but also the path that led there. After all, the situation could get much, much worse — with more violence and more division that cannot be overcome. The further down this road we go, the closer we come to the end of America as we know it.
The Republican Party I joined as a young man would never take that road. The GOP that inspired me to serve in uniform and then run for public office believed a brighter future was just around the bend. We stood for equal opportunity, firm in our conviction that a poor kid from the South Side of Chicago deserves the same shot as a privileged kid from Highland Park. We knew that if we brought everyone into America’s promise, we would unleash a new era of American progress and prosperity. Outrage and the fear of a darker future were nowhere to be found in that Republican Party.
When leaders such as Donald Trump changed that dynamic, many of my fellow Republicans went along without question. Many are still there because they believe the rank-and-file Republican voter is there, too. But I think that’s an illusion. The anger and outrage are drowning out the much larger group of people who reject that approach. Worse, many have gone silent because they assume the party’s leaders no longer represent them. They’re waiting for leaders who will say what they know is true.
Since my vote to impeach Trump, I’ve heard from tens of thousands of my constituents. Their reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive. Republicans of all backgrounds and outlooks have told me they appreciate my efforts to return the GOP to a foundation of principle, not personality. I’ve even heard from many Democrats. They don’t agree with me on a lot of issues, but they want the Republican Party to be healthy and competitive.
I firmly believe the majority of Americans-- Republican, Democrat, independent, you name it-- reject the madness of the past four years. But we’ll never move forward by ignoring what happened or refusing to hold accountable those responsible. That will embolden the few who led us here and dishearten the many who know America is better than this. It will make it more likely that we see more anger, violence and chaos in the years ahead.
The better path is to learn the lessons of the recent past. Convicting Donald Trump is necessary to save America from going further down a sad, dangerous road.
Another way to look at it is the way the Lincoln Project did this morning-- Republican Party marketing:
Or, perhaps the way, Bill Maher looked at it a few days eralier-- Republican Party anti-marketing:
But whatever the perspective or the spin or events outcome, this is what every single American should be seriously grappling with this week-- should be but won't be.