Sprinkles from the Left

Commentators on the Left appears focused on Donald Trump’s continued influence over the Republican party.

  • They argue that by turning his false claims the 2020 election was stolen into a litmus test for leadership, the GOP is endangering the very foundation of American democracy, citing recent polling indicating half of Republicans still believe there is solid evidence Joe Biden did not legitimately win enough votes to become president.

“Cheney’s decision to challenge the party on democracy is remarkable for several reasons. First, she is putting the issue squarely. Rather than softening her line or couching her stance in the logic of messaging (i.e., Trump’s rhetoric will hurt Republicans with swing voters), she is straightforwardly instructing her fellow Republicans that their current path is a menace to the Constitution and the rule of law. Second, she has absolutely nothing to gain and a great deal to lose.

And third, the fact she is such a dogmatic right-winger on economic, social, and foreign policy gives her support for democracy more, not less, weight. The very point of her dissent is that support for democracy ought to be separated from policy outcomes. Republicans should not succumb to the temptation of siding with a would-be authoritarian merely because he promises to advance their policy goals. “He’ll undermine the Constitution, but give us low capital gains taxes and friendly judges” is not a morally defensible trade-off. Democracy is the one question not subject to horse-trading.”

Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“[Tell] me how America can ever again be a credible observer and upholder of democratic elections around the world — so vital to our national security and the hopes and dreams of democrats in all these countries who look to America as a beacon of democracy and the rule of law. The next time we want to question election results in Russia or Iran or Poland or Hungary, what do you suppose their elected autocrats will say?

They’ll say: ‘Listen to you? Your Republican Party turned a blind eye to a guy who told the biggest election lie in the history of the Milky Way Galaxy. And it wasn’t even in the service of some urgent, compelling policy. It was just so he could stay in power, salve his ego and deny he lost.’

So, thank you, Liz Cheney, for doing something vitally important and clarifying — something that only a conservative Republican like you could do: force the G.O.P. at every level to choose whether to stand with Trump and his Big Lie or with the Constitution and the most important conservative principle of all — reverence for the rule of law.”

Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times

“Virtually no one in the House Republican caucus privately says the election was stolen from Trump. Yet almost all refuse to say so publicly — and McCarthy, in a sorry abdication of leadership, is among them.

Cheney told the truth — and paid dearly. ‘Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar,’ she told the House Tuesday night. ‘I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.’ On the nearly empty House floor, her powerful words were met with silence.”

Dana Milbank, Washington Post

Sprinkles from the Right

Commentators on the Right have mixed views on the GOP vote to oust Cheney from a leadership position – however, they appear to near-unanimously agree with her statements that the 2020 election was not stolen.

  • Some commentators concur with the GOP’s decision to vote her out of a leadership position due to her very public clashes with other prominent Republicans, especially former President Trump.
  • Others view the vote as a political blunder, arguing the GOP’s support of 2020 election fraud claims is distracting energy and attention away from what Republican lawmakers and their base should be focused on – opposing President Biden’s proposed $6T agenda.

“I agree with Cheney on what she espouses: the 2020 elections were free and fair, President Joe Biden won, former President Donald Trump lost, the insurrection was an affront to our Constitution and Trump holds culpability for the confrontation.

I agree with her statement on Tuesday that, ‘Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar.’

And, I agree with the GOP vote to remove her as conference chair. Both views can be held at the same time.

There’s an old saying: ‘Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.’ Through her words and actions, Cheney demonstrated she did not care to serve in leadership as conference chair. She didn’t care to do the job she was chosen to do.

As a member of leadership, you have to sacrifice your autonomy for the good of the conference…

The conference chair serves at the pleasure of colleagues. There is an implicit requirement of the position to foster party unity and drive a cohesive message. In other words to unite the conference, not divide it.

The vote to remove Cheney should not be viewed as a way to curry favor with the former president, rather taking steps to appoint a leader to push back on the Biden policies…

As a Republican, I view Cheney’s long-term goal of accountability as courageous and the party’s short term goal of unity as critical.”

Alice Stewart, former Communications Director for Ted Cruz for President (published in CNN)

“Many Republicans privately agree with Liz Cheney on both points, but they don’t want to get into a public fight with Mr. Trump. They want House leaders to focus on resisting the Biden agenda, and they think Ms. Cheney’s insistence on publicly rebutting Mr. Trump’s falsehoods was a distraction. She can now say what she wants as a backbencher.

But the GOP problem is less that Ms. Cheney won’t let Mr. Trump go than that Mr. Trump won’t let 2020 go. He can’t accept that he lost, so he’s busy rewriting history to convince everyone he was cheated. He’s making that claim a litmus test for GOP leaders or for candidates who want his endorsement…

Mr. Trump’s claim that he was cheated in November is the main reason the GOP lost two Georgia Senate seats in the Jan. 5 runoff. Trump voters stayed home after Mr. Trump told them their votes didn’t count. The pre-election polling and voter turnout couldn’t be clearer about this. Joe Biden’s agenda would be stalled now if Mr. Trump had put the party first after his defeat…

Perhaps the shock of the Biden-Nancy Pelosi agenda will unite the GOP enough to pick up the handful of House seats it needs to win in 2022. But that task is harder with Mr. Trump plotting revenge and focused as ever on himself above all else. Such is the Republican purgatory of Trump’s ex-Presidency.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal