Saturday, February 13, 2021

A Brief GOP Status Check

Shipwreckedcrew has some tweets and an article out that discuss what could be called "impeachment and beyond". In other words, what meaning can we draw from the breakdown of the impeachment vote and what can we reasonably predict about where the GOP is headed during the next four years.

For now I think we can take it as given the Trump is not going to go away. He isn't going to concede, he'll find some forum for communicating directly to America over the heads of the lilliputians in DC. As for the Imperial City, it will remain under military occupation and much of the country will be under effective hostile occupation in the form of lockdowns to one degree or another--heightening the differences between Red and Blue America. As for any legislative agenda on the part of the Zhou Baiden regime, I'll be very surprised if anything at all gets done. And then there will be the inevitable problems that will arise--foreign and domestic. The border crisis is already raising its head. Crime will remain endemic in Blue cities. I expect a mess--at best.

As for the impeachment vote, SWC is totally cynical. Here's his short version from his article:

The GOP Sorts Itself Out -- Putting Defense of Pres. Trump Behind Them Is Different Than Putting Pres. Trump Behind Them

Donald Trump is not in the [rear] view mirror of the Senate Republicans.  Forty-three of [them] recognized the silhouette of him on the highway up ahead, and acted accordingly.

In other words, surprise! They voted their political interests.

That should go without saying, in the general run of politics, but it may not be quite that simple. SWC runs through the seven RINO votes. Here's how I break them down:

3 were reelected in 2020, and so may feel safe from MAGA voters - Collins, Sasse, Cassidy;

2 are retiring at the end of their current terms - Toomey, Burr;

2 could be electorally vulnerable - Romney, Murkowski.


Not much in the way of surprises there. As for the remaining 43, here's how SWC sorts them out--basically in three camps, all reflecting the presence of an elephant in the GOP room--an elephant named Trump: 

1) they are up for election in 2022, and want to avoid a MAGA challenge in the next 8-12 months which will put them in a difficult primary fight; 

2) they are up for election in 2024, and without the certainty of barring Pres. Trump from the ballot, they didn’t want to stand for re-election in a contest where Pres. Trump might be on the ballot and pointing out the fact that the GOP Senator in the state voted to prevent him from running again, and 

3) if Pres. Trump does not run again in 2024, they want to be in a position to have Pres. Trump back them for the nomination with the MAGA base.

I haven't attempted to run down the roster of GOP senators, but one name that doesn't fit in those groupings is Lindsey Graham, who was reelected in 2020. Graham, as usual, is hard to figure. Obviously he likes to stand in front of microphones, to be interviewed, to see his name mentioned. Nevertheless, it remains that, in the absence of leadership from McConnell and even in opposition to McConnell, Graham provided some much needed leadership when he didn't have to. Perhaps he sees himself as some sort of bridge between NeverTrumps and ... Trump himself? It's worth keeping an eye on. Especially given the dearth of leadership at the head of the Senate GOP. SWC really popped balloons with this observation:

Another question going forward is the future of Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader. The Senate leadership process is a hidebound process trapped in tradition. McConnell’s greatest strength right now is the lack of a sure-fire replacement from within the leadership ranks. He was just re-elected to another six-year term. The GOP Whip is John Thune of SD, another Senator without strong support from the MAGA constituency.  After Thune is Conference Chair John Barrasso from Wyoming.

Yikes! Nothing like keeping your young talent down. Never say never, but it's very hard to see any open challenges to McConnell's leadership. Still, I think his days of strong leadership have gone down the drain. The other senators know that he acted without regard to their political interests. A disloyal leader can't expect support.

As for the possibility of a GOP senator running for president in the event that Trump doesn't do so, I think Emerald Robinson's idea that the establishment is hoping for a sure fire losing ticket of Pence/Haley has a lot going for it. Among senatorial prospects, Ted Cruz is undoubtedly ambitious and would run, given half a chance. With that in mind, I offer these two SWC tweets:

I agree that Cruz is very bright. He's also abrasive and has some baggage, policy-wise. I would not underestimate the attractiveness to voters of a highly successful governor who has shown leadership in a big state in difficult circumstances. That said, I know little about DeSantis--just sayin'. Past a certain point, brains are not everything.

This reminds me of something that I said the other day--and which SWC points to in his first tweet: I think Cruz has watched and listened and learned from Trump over the last four years. I've always been cautious with regard to Cruz, but the willingness of a guy who is obviously very smart to swallow his pride and learn from the guy who whupped him is always impressive. I believe a Cruz 2024 campaign would look very different from the 2016 version. Beyond the policies, perhaps Cruz would give more free rein to his rather wicked sense of humor--a human touch he sorely needs as a candidate.

So there we are. Expect the unexpected--more so, perhaps, than usual. The big question remains: Where will Trump be in all this?


  1. "Where will Trump be in all this?" Fighting various DAs that want him in jail so they can have a seat at the big table. Starting with NYC and DC. Their turn now. And so it goes.

  2. Before any R looks for a ticket in 2024, they better have a real sound plan for big blue cities and big blue swing states. They have been empowered with a huge “what can anyone do” free pass.

  3. Graham was McCain's bitch, and now, with his statement "If it's about revenge and going after people you don't like, we're going to have a problem" Graham appears to simply be a message boy for the remaining GOP quislings - McConnell being the #1 quisling.

  4. Something that just hit me like a baseball bat. Which is, the bigger question, will any of our votes actually count by then?

    The first step to fixing a problem is admitting to having one... We seem to be pretty hell bent on ignoring that, especially at the state levels where it really counts.

    Even if Powell, Wood's or Kelly are successful (I've no faith in the USSC) they would only offer limited relief. No states seem to be willing to address this (that in aware of) in any meaningful levels. You would think that voter ID and "in person" voting bills would be FLYING everywhere right now and I've seen very few.

    How do we even talk about who's running in 2024 without first dealing with these issues? Are we that apathetic already that were already talking about what lesser evil to vote for or loose to?

    1. Ditto! Until vote problem is solved, there can be nothing else to discuss.

    2. Legislatures are still addressing cases. Election results are still being investigated. The failure of the contempt bill in Arizona shows that the issue is still open. It's a year and a half to the '22 primaries and 3 1/2 years to the '24 primaries. There's a lot of pissed people. At this point I don't expect to see quick legislation. That was the problem with the election cases is it required the legislatures to act WAY quicker than they're used to. At this point with the election behind, I would rather see good legislation than quick legislation. Stay on your state houses. Don't let them drop it until after the NEXT election.

  5. A really clever guy like Cruz is open to learning from everyone, especially those he sees whose agendas, strategies and tactics work.

    I don’t see loyalty in his character. Nor any particularly strong ethic. I do see ambition and shrewdness in determining what might help it along.

  6. The main thing I believe Cruz might have learned from the 2016 election was that running an underhanded campaign and trying to steal delegates at the Convention was a bad idea. Trump hired Manafort for the express purpose of “managing” the Convention, which essentially amounted to heading Cruz off, thwarting his plan.

    1. "Cruz knows those policies will not get him to the WH. He will run on the same basic policies that Trump ran on."

      Trump could run on those policies because he didn't have a track record. Pols who think they can run away from their past may be "shrewd" in one sense, but does anybody think that the MAGA hordes are going to accept a wooden nickel? Even if the election fraud issues are resolved (they won't be), Haley and Pence have zero chance in 2024. ZERO.

  7. For any GOP candidate to be succesful should they win the Presidency, they will need to do what Biden (and obama) are doing and roundfile every single US attorney, FBI director, AG, etc, etc and surround themselves with loyal worker bees. This was Trump's biggest failure which could and should have been his greatest strength. To this very day, I do not understand why he didn't get rid of the people who were nothing more than a concrete weight in a deep (state) tank of poo. Again, EVERYBODY IS FIRED ON DAY 1. And do it with extreme prejudice.

  8. The next thing we need to do is reinforce the fact that we won't go away. Scare the Hell out of every smug politician. MAGA rallies all Spring, and 20,000+ everywhere. They can't fence in every public square.

  9. The next two years and the outcome of the mid-term elections will set the table as to whether Trump runs again. If he does, and I happen to think he will as nothing good will come from the current * administration, Noem from South Dakota would make an excellent VP choice given her outspoken leadership and outside the Swamp credentials.


  10. In the 2016 election, I was a single-issue voter -- immigration. During the Republican primary elections, I studied each candidate's immigration policy carefully.

    I found that by the middle of the primary-election race, Cruz had become quite hard-line on the immigration issue. His immigration policy satisfied me, and so I voted for him in my New Jersey primary.

    To say that Cruz is for "open borders" is just absurd.

    1. I remember news clips of Cruz handing out bottles of water to migrants coming across the border into TX. So, despite the fact that "Cruz had become quite hard-line on the immigration issue" once he saw that Trump was wiping the floor with him on that issue, I don't think it's "just absurd" to look at Cruz's record and to think that his new position was one of convenience, not of conviction.

    2. I could not find Cruz's 2016 position paper on immigration, but I did find a Christian Science Monitor article titled Ted Cruz on immigration: How his views have shifted, an article published in February 2016 (during the middle of the primary race).


      .... The change of heart on immigration reflects Cruz's small but important shift to the right on one of the presidential race's hottest-button issues, as a candidate who is already a tea party darling looks to further solidify his conservative credentials.

      Cruz also has abandoned his past support for encouraging legal immigration, now opposing legal newcomers as long as national unemployment remains high. And he's called for a moratorium on visas for highly skilled foreigners — when three years ago he supported a five-fold annual increase in such visas.

      .... Cruz said he opposed amnesty — and he still does.

      He also answered that he supports ending birthright citizenship ....

      [Cruz says] the U.S. should suspend legal immigration "so long as workforce participation rates remain below historical averages." Cruz also proposed a six-month freeze on high-skilled visas to investigate possible abuses.

      Cruz now says his amendments were meant to sink the ultimately unsuccessful immigration bill, which he voted against. ...

      [end quote]

      Yes, Cruz moved to a much more hard-line position in 2016, but he did move. That is why I -- a one-issue voter on immigration -- decided to vote for him.

      To say that Cruz is for "open borders" is just absurd.


      How much did Donald Trump himself stick to his own hard-line position on immigration?

    3. Mike, some might say that Cruz's "shift to the right on one of the presidential race's hottest-button issues" was motivated less by principle than by realization of what it would take to get elected to higher office. That view is not "just absurd". As for he spectacle of an earlier version of Ted Cruz welcoming illegals with bottles of water at the TX border, it's not "just absurd" to construe this as support for open borders.

      "How much did Donald Trump himself stick to his own hard-line position on immigration?"

      I'm not aware of Trump changing his position in principle. Feel free to educate me in that regard. But don't cite compromises with his policy necessitated by the hurly burly of politics and governance.

    4. Some suspect that Cruz, once elected, would have backtracked to his earlier positions--positions that were likely favored by past employers of both Cruz as well as his wife. I understand the attractions of Cruz for many conservatives, but it's not fair to dismiss honest, fact based reservations as "just absurd."

    5. I suspect that, Mark! Cruz is very smart, very capable as a lawyer and maybe a strategist, but is a terrible "leader" and fundamentally not in touch with those he seeks to lead. This is his downfall as a politician- people in general don't trust him to represent them as there's no alignment of his personal values with theirs. He's very useful for what he is, but his problem is he wants to be more.

  11. I was wondering about Graham`s tactics, where he threatened weeks of hearing witnesses if the Dems wanted witnesses.

    Why broadcast your strategy? Why not say nothing, agree to witnesses, and then slowly surprise them by stretching things out forever?

    Then let them try to wriggle out. I remember Trump saying, never let the enemy know what you`re going to do in advance.


    1. Graham initially voted against the witnesses, then changed his vote and that's when he said, fine, you want witnesses you'll get witnesses--and so will we. Then as soon as it was over he flew down to FL to talk to Trump. I hafta assume there was coordination going on.

    2. @Mark W
      More 4D chess!

      @AnonymousFebruary 15, 2021 at 3:02 PM

      As for undoing the Biden election, I have opined here that the only way to do that is by impeachment. The good news is that the Dems have greatly undermined the old high crimes and misdemeanors standard and "I don't like you anymore" may be sufficient. But impeachment requires a majority in the House (and we're close) and a 2/3ds majority in the Senate. There we're not so close, but if Republicans can connect Biden to actual crimes (election or otherwise) the job gets easier. Something like the Nixon coverup.

      In the meantime, continuing Dems and Biden F-ups may paralyze them more than we currently can see.

      If anybody has a better idea how to undo Biden than impeachment, I'd be glad to hear it.

      Cass- (The Glass Is Half Full) -ander

    3. "continuing Dems and Biden F-ups may paralyze them more than we currently can see"

      To me that's could be the key. So much could go wrong, and the Dems are positioning themselves way out on a limb with Covid and Energy--for starters. The PC moves too. Combine a few of those and all of a sudden political certainties look less certain.

    4. Yes, there's Energy, Covid, and PC BS for starters. Plenty of opportunity for Biden to screw up there.

      Plus there may well be Hunter Revelations coming. Maybe the Big Guy will be caught with his fingers in the cookie jar. And maybe some juicier Swalwell Revelations.

      And Trump may well win a couple Election Cases...there are still quite a few undecided cases on various dockets, including the Supreme Court docket.

      And, who knows what John Durham has up his sleeves? I know...But its hard to imagine that there isn't some more terrible stuff lurking behind all of the Hoaxes we lived through the last four years. Were a few blue checks the only doctoring the Dems have been doing since Trump was elected? Van Der Veer won't be the last to speak out.

      And let's not forget that Biden is deep into progressive dementia...I'm just waiting for his first major gaffe.

      And then there's Biden trying to reverse Trump in China, Iran, Russia and Nork. What could go wrong there?

      Has Biden spoken to Netanyahou yet?

      How about the bubblicious Stock Market?

      And wait until we get to know Ms Harris a little bit better.

      And we're still in starters.

    5. I forgot to mention Biden's insane and sure to backfire open borders and unlawful immigration policy.

    6. I don't want to rain on anyone's parade - especially since I think we need that cleansing water - but the compliant and compromised media will not allow the voices that are needed to come forth in all this confusion. There are so many individuals - many linked to and highlighted on this blog - who are making sense but are having very little impact. The media will simply not bring them on to talk about the real issues. Tucker can have someone on every night blowing a hole in some D talking point and the next day - crickets. Bobolinski is a great example of that. Matt Braynard seems incredibly competent and believable to me, but again - crickets when he opines on the election fraud. Fires can't start without oxygen and for what you are all talking about here, we need more of the media to provide that oxygen. I brought up the failure of the media to pursue the real story from 11/3 through 1/6. Who, what, when, where and how have not been answered at all about these days - especially 1/6.. Where is the media on this? There is no story if it isn't covered. Trees can fall all day in the forest, but if nobody hears them fall then it hasn't actually happened. I love this blog - some of the smartest people I have the pleasure of following have led me to other people and ideas from here, that I didn't even know existed. I appreciate that. I can't offer any greater praise than that. I believe in the 6 degrees of separation principle. Smart people, who can be trusted, need to support our current ex-president with salient and concise talking points as we all hope to move forward in literally saving our country. He should be managed as well as Creepy Joe has been, because failure isn't an option. The last 2 weeks have proved one thing - the media will do almost ANYTHING to keep Trump in the picture. We need to figure out a way to make that happen and also work for us. Hope is not a strategy. Who knows somebody, who knows somebody who knows Trump? Could it be that easy?

  12. The only viable solution is for DJT to pull a rabbit out of a hat and legally undo the Biden election. There is no other solution, and it would have to be in the next month or two. Other than that we have to accept the fact that not only has the election been stolen, but all the powers that be are on the side of the robbers. When you know the game is rigged you have no choice but to walk away. In this case the majority of productive Americans will work around the government, and should that prove impossible they won't work at all. In my youth I knew people who made fortunes during the Great Depression while the masses were out of work and even starving and the crony capitalists and politicians had no clue how to remedy the situation.

  13. I don't think McConnell expected Trump's Statement...

    The establishment still doesn't get Trump. They expect the attacked to just roll over and take it, and not hit back.

    Trumpian Word Smithing!
    McConnell's Beltway First Policy

    1. Right. I saw what McConnell did and asked myself, what was he thinking? Did he really think he'd win something like that with Trump? If you challenge Trump in that way he's always gonna get very personal and you're never gonna come out of it looking good. Not that McConnell is looking good now, anyway. His KY ratings are in the dumper. And then, this goofy idea that McConnell says he's gonna campaign for Senate candidates? Does anyone seriously give a sh*t?

    2. Elaine Lan Chao...McConnell.

      Count on it.