McConnell's Bitter Turtle Soup
Just how much does Mitch McConnell despise President Trump and his MAGA movement? While playing coy for weeks about his intentions before finally voting to acquit the president in an impeachment trial more preposterous than last year's farce, he immediately took to the Senate floor to lay the blame for the events of January 6 entirely at the president's feet. McConnell not only accused President Trump of being personally liable for any potential crimes committed that day by others (in effect, teeing up civil lawsuits for monetary damages directly against the president), but also suggested that private citizen Trump could be criminally prosecuted in the future for setting those events in motion by daring to question the results of the 2020 election. It was one more biting betrayal from the Republican machine against a man who has shown the Republican Party much more loyalty than it has ever offered him in return.
Republicans failed to stand for anything:
Senate Republicans' refusal to unanimously stand up for the free speech of a sitting president is inexcusable — especially during a time when Big Tech is engaging in an unprecedented campaign of censorship against ordinary Americans and Democrats are openly advocating for the criminalization of viewpoints with which they disagree. Republicans had a chance to take a united stand for the First Amendment while it remains under sustained attack by those who wish it to be weakened; instead, out of hatred for President Trump or foolish naïveté as to the real threats against free speech in the United States, they failed miserably.
In a kangaroo court so overtly political that even Chief Justice "Obamacare is just a tax" Roberts refused to participate, Patrick Leahy, the Senate's longest serving Democrat, presided over the "trial" as "judge." That was the least of its problems. Evidence against the president was doctored willy-nilly in an attempt to secure his conviction. Neither body of Congress examined witnesses publicly under oath. And nobody seemed to comprehend what elements of "criminal insurrection" or "incitement" actually needed to be proved to establish a case. The lack of any due process for the president was comical, and the absence of any impartiality from the preening cast of prima donnas pretending to conduct a serious trial made the chaos look like a scene straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. If the Senate couldn't pull off a conviction with such legal buffoonery slamming the scales of justice down in its favor, then no prosecutor before a real court of law could, either. McConnell should have mocked the whole affair as obscene.
Instead, his decision to browbeat the president right after finding him "not guilty" reeked of cowardice. He gave every appearance of having raised a wet index finger in the air before determining how to proceed, and when it was clear from recent polling that Republican voters had not abandoned President Trump en masse, as McConnell no doubt had hoped, the minority leader decided to turn King Solomon's wisdom on its head by cutting the impeachment baby squarely in half — acquitting the president on procedural grounds while verbally excoriating him nonetheless. It was a striking reminder that, with President Trump now sidelined from power, two-faced, stand-for-nothing Republican leadership is back on top. O glory days!
And McConnell would rather destroy the MAGA movement than ever win again:
It was also the most direct proof yet that McConnell and Establishment Republicans would rather remain in the minority forever than allow Trump's pro-American, middle-class, colorblind, cross-party coalition of voters to fortify itself into a permanent governing powerhouse.
President Trump threw Republican orthodoxy out the window by pursuing policies that (1) strengthened American manufacturing and Main Street business at the expense of Wall Street, (2) protected citizens from the social and economic harms of unmitigated, illegal immigration, (3) kept American troops from endless military engagements, and (4) unabashedly promoted the vast accomplishments of Western Civilization. In doing so, he expanded the Republican Party more than any politician since President Reagan.
And how have D.C. Republicans responded to this unexpected gift from an unexpected yet dynamic leader? They've done everything they can to squander it. Better to remain the little sister of the Uniparty in control of the national government than to recognize a once sleeping dragon across America is now wide awake. Standing from a bird's eye perch in D.C., Mitch McConnell has chosen to destroy the new party Donald Trump has grown and invigorated and to ignore the MAGA coalition that he created. He would rather pursue a Romney-Cheney permanent micro-minority for the Republican Party's future than buttress a new governing coalition that he cannot control.
Let that sink in.
With parts of the country on lockdown, schools closed, and a volatile market making Americans justifiably nervous, Democrats and their Republican enablers decided that damaging President Trump (and pre-emptively torpedoing his return in '24) was still their most pressing concern. That's a pretty sobering admission of just how popular President Trump's policies really are. Congress is more afraid of him and the transformational change he represents than it is of a hostile China, a worldwide pandemic, a Cold Civil War here in the U.S., or the potential for a complete global economic collapse. We are so far "through the looking-glass" now that Alice's Wonderland seems more believable.
President Reagan's "Eleventh Commandment" always echoes in the back of my head, but what McConnell and Establishment Republicans have perpetrated against President Trump by first giving the Russia collusion hoax bipartisan credibility for years and then sitting meekly back as Democrats pushed not one, but two overtly political impeachments is so slimy and reptilian that I find it difficult to believe that commandments weigh on their consciences much at all.
If the Republican Party does, indeed, wither and die in the near future, it is this kind of underhanded duplicity that will finally do it in.
The Lincoln Project grifters and the small but vociferous collection of NeverTrump voices celebrated by the Democrat-allied press have been screaming for five years that Donald Trump would doom Republican electoral prospects. Seventy-five million voters in 2020 proved those soothsayers as nothing more than charlatans.
What is destroying the Republican Party before our eyes is its abject refusal to listen to the wishes of its voters and its natural predilection to stab those voters from behind whenever possible. That's not exactly the kind of "chicken soup for the soul" that's likely to endear the Republican Party to its base. McConnell's bitter turtle soup, in fact, may just turn off voters permanently.