Katy Burns: Canceling Cheney — R.I.P., GOP

For the Monitor
Published: 5/16/2021 8:00:30 AM
Modified: 5/16/2021 8:00:19 AM

Dear Republican Party, what in the name of all that’s holy is wrong with you? Have you lost your penny-pinching heart and mercenary mind?

I am one of the legions of Americans who didn’t necessarily love you or even agree with you much, but we considered you a formidable foe, an opponent worthy of our respect.

Once you had presidents who, today, are admired, even venerated, as great Americans. Yeah, Abraham Lincoln is a given, but Dwight D. Eisenhower, who led Allied troops to victory in World War II was also no slouch. He enforced school desegregation, established the interstate highway system and, as an old soldier, brought the Korean War to an end.

Even the disgraced Richard Nixon, for all his paranoid craziness, had some pretty impressive achievements. Before Watergate brought him down, he ended the draft, started the Environmental Protection Agency, signed Title IX (providing unimaginable opportunities for women) and visited China, opening it up to the West.

And the history of your party is an honorable one.

Remember, the folks who brought you into existence in the first place were the good guys of their days, members of the old Whig Party who met in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854 and on March 20 voted to form a new alliance, now known as the Republican Party, to oppose slavery in what were then the western territories of the U.S.

Some might even say that’s a downright noble reason to birth a political movement.

And, given an at times downright illustrious history, you now, today, in this year of 2021, want to stake your future as a serious political party on the likes of Donald Trump, a two-bit chiseler who wouldn’t know (or tell) the truth about anything if it sprang up and bit him? To the extent that your congressional adherents happily denounce someone (Liz Cheney) who would in a sane world, be considered GOP loyalty?

Her unforgivable sin, in the eyes of those who inexplicably revere his majesty of Mar-a-Lago, was to doubt the sanctity of Donald Trump.

Her position, even after her banishment from the Republican hierarchy, is relatively straightforward. She says, unequivocally, that Donald Trump should stop lying. And the alleged leaders of the Republican Party should stop lying.

Cheney says aloud, repeatedly, that Donald Trump absolutely and positively, in more ways than one, did not win the 2020 presidential election. He lost it. By a big margin. Period. Full stop. She has made it clear she won’t stop saying it.

She is absolutely right, too. And for her heresy, she was erased from her party’s leadership. Her former compatriots couldn’t strip her of her actual congressional seat — it was clear they would have, were they able — but she has been banished to the most remote of the backbenches in what is likely a vain attempt to shut her up.

And it took only 18 minutes and a voice vote to turn the once Grand Old Party into Trump chumps. And no names were recorded, so later, just in case the tides turn against the Mar-a-Lago maestro, the cowards can deny their perfidy. Or, as I prefer, idiocy.

Because Donald Trump, in any sane world at least, is not worth sacrificing the honor of a political party for. He is an utterly self-absorbed megalomaniac who was born into vast riches, spent most of his “career” coming perilously close to losing his inherited fortune and was repeatedly bailed out by the bankruptcy courts.

The multi-married, self-proclaimed “billionaire” had a less than savory personal reputation, too. Since the 1970s, he has been accused of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least 25 women. Several of their lawsuits are still wending their way through civil courts.

He was elected president, despite losing the popular vote, only because of the vagaries of the electoral college.

As president, he was given to volcanic temper tantrums. He lacerated underlings who displeased him, disparaging them with epithets in front of others, seemingly enjoying dressing down and ridiculing people in front of others, their peers.

He presided over a presidency where anti-government zealots tried their best to dismantle generations of humane and progressive advancements designed to serve the American people, saving his most personal ire for his immediate predecessor whom he particularly loathed.

He berated and belittled our traditional democratic allies, instead cozying up to the world’s dictators and strongmen.

And when he ran for reelection, based on his record, he not only lost the presidency in what in this century amounts to a landslide, he lost both houses of Congress for his Republican Party. He denies that very real reality.

Yet, inexplicably, leaders of what is left of your party seem to want the Former Guy, Joe Biden’s brilliant dismissal of his predecessor, back to wreak more havoc, even if that means defying reality itself.

Cheney’s right. You’re sure no longer a Grand Old Party.

(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)

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