Schwab: ‘Canceling’ Cheney embraces ‘free thought and debate’?

The Wyoming Republican deserves admiration for clearing the low bar of speaking truth to the GOP.

By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist

Everyone needs a good laugh. So getaloada House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s note to his caucus, shortly before he orchestrated Rep. Liz Cheney’s beheading: “… [Y]ou should anticipate a vote on recalling the Conference Chair on Wednesday. … And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate.”

Sorry if that forced coffee out anyone’s nose. Especially those who remember when, the day after Trump’s insurrection and before he used his wind-blown finger to dig out his own spine and replace it with cotton candy, McCarthy rightly put blame directly on Trump. Now, his people refer to it as “a normal tourist visit” by “peaceful patriots.” Not kidding. (Daily Kos: tinyurl.com/morelies4u) By next year, it never even happened. (YouTube: tinyurl.com/4getitall)

Liz Cheney is a hero the way someone who hasn’t strangled anyone lately is. She’s nastily slandered her Democratic congressional colleagues, voted with Trump more often than her replacement. Since long before Trump, she’s been an active participant in her party’s departure from truth. But she did what she did knowing it’d end her leadership role and, perhaps, next year, her job. For that, she is to be admired. Still, it’s what any true conservative should have done. Placing preserving our constitutional democracy above political self-interest, she refused to acquiesce to Trump’s big lie. In today’s Trumpublican Party, integrity begets dismissal.

Before the blade fell, she said what we’ve been saying in this column as many ways as possible: no one who supports Trump can be considered conservative. With his lies and calculated divisiveness, his power-grabbing attempts to create distrust of every aspect of democracy, his ten-fold documented obstruction of justice, his love of dictators, he’s the antithesis. (CBS News: tinyurl.com/ten2block)

“Ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney said to her disinterested colleagues. “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. … Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution. … This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure. … Our election was not stolen, and America has not failed.”

After which her audience figuratively ho’d and hummed. Those who hadn’t already walked out.

As Liz’s head thudded into the basket, young Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., as despicable a being as haunts the halls of Congress (among Gaetz, Boebert, Greene, et. al., that’s something special), tweeted, “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye Liz Cheney.” Of such stuff are Republican representatives now made, and actual conservatives should admit it. One hopes for follow-through from those who’ve promised to form a sane conservative party; and that enough people might join to save conservatism — and America — from Trump. (Axios: tinyurl.com/4no2trump)

On the other hand, a self-described conservative emailed me last week. Among other things, he agreed President Biden won, the election wasn’t rigged, and that Trump has responsibility for the insurrection. Yet he’d voted for him. Yes, the insurrection happened post-election, but Trump was ginning it up long before. His rejection of congressional oversight, his dismissive pandemic response, his claims about mail-in voting that every Washingtonian knows are false, were well-known. One assumes, therefore, this saner-than-most conservative won’t be joining any new parties.

With faces straight, Republicans decry “cancel culture.” If you need more proof of their hypocrisy, if you’re ready for another laugh (put down your coffee), the trainer whose Derby-winning horse was full of illegal drugs, went on Fox “news,” where truth and the meaning of words go to die, and called it cancel culture. (Need a napkin?)

The effectiveness of such cynical rightwing propaganda makes it hard to be optimistic, even though recent polling has shown that, among swing-state Republicans, Trump is seen unfavorably. Unsurprisingly, in a retreat with Republican leaders boosting Trump, the RNC hid the numbers. Tell us again about “Free thought and debate,” Kevin. (MSNBC: tinyurl.com/nopoll4u)

Speaking of Trumpic damage to America, the Cleveland Clinic just published a paper showing that since January, over 99 percent of their patients requiring hospitalization had been only partially or not-at-all vaccinated. Another report stated that 82 percent of hospitalized patients suffered neurological symptoms, which conferred a six-fold increase in the risk of death.

Vaccines save lives. In addition to their unrequited loyalty, Republicans ought to rethink their majority refusal to be vaccinated. Trump doesn’t care if democracy or his cultists die, but we do and so should they.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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