Cartoonist Scott Stantis writes that …
“When I started working in Republican campaigns, the party I signed up for had allegiance to a set of principles and ideals. Lower taxes, fewer regulations and, mostly, adherence to the rule of law. Now we see a bizarro party where right is wrong, wrong is right and a strictly enforced allegiance, not to principles, but to a deeply flawed individual.”
He is, I believe, spot-on. The ‘GOP’ perhaps should be re-named the ‘DOP’ — Decayed Old Party. Frank Bruni’s newsletter today further cements Stantis’ view of today’s Republican Party …
Josh Hawley’s manhood, Mike Pompeo’s midriff and other 2024 teases
11 August 2022
Josh Hawley has a book about manhood coming out next year. Nikki Haley has a book about womanhood coming out in two months.
Mike Pompeo has lost so much weight that he’s barely recognizable. Mike Pence has grown so much spine that he’s almost a vertebrate.
Don’t tell them Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s inevitable 2024 presidential nominee. If that’s foreordained, then a whole lot of literary, cardiovascular and orthopedic effort has gone to waste.
The news media is lousy of late with articles about the various Democrats potentially waiting in the wings if President Biden decides against a second term, to the point where he’s sometimes treated as more of a 2024 question mark than Trump is.
Maybe that’s right. In a straw poll of Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend, Trump was the top choice to run for president, winning 69 percent of the vote. Second place went to Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, with just 24 percent, and third went to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, with a measly 2 percent.
But Trump is no spring chicken, and by the looks of things, he pays much less heed to his health than Biden does. A year from now he could be unfit for office in more ways than he already is.
He could be in handcuffs! OK, that’s probably just a happy fantasy. But maybe less of one since the F.B.I. raided Mar-a-Lago on Monday? He’s the subject of investigations civil and criminal, federal and state.
Or he could finally wear out his Republican welcome. “It is a sign of weakness, not strength, that Team Trump has been reduced to touting straw-poll results from events that most Americans, and indeed the vast majority of Republicans, know nothing about,” Isaac Schorr wrote in National Review early this week, adding that CPAC had in fact “been repurposed into an appeal to the former president’s vanity.”
The Republicans eager to take his place at the helm of the party know all that. And they don’t have to be quite as discreet and demure in their positioning as Democrats interested in standing in for Biden do. Trump’s not the incumbent president, at least not in the world beyond his and his supplicants’ delusions.
That positioning, once you recognize it, is a hoot. Everyone’s after a kind of branding that rivals won’t copy, a moment in the spotlight that competitors can’t match, an angle, an edge.
DeSantis’s action-figure approach to his role as governor of Florida is in part about the fact that Cruz, Hawley and others don’t have the executive authority that he does and can’t make things happen as unilaterally or as quickly. They’re would-be MAGA superheroes bereft of their red capes.
So a week ago, DeSantis didn’t merely suspend the top Tampa Bay area prosecutor, who said that he would never consider abortion a crime. DeSantis also peacocked to that part of the state and, surrounded by a flock of law enforcement officials, crowed about his decision during a news conference.
Cruz and Hawley were such hams during the confirmation hearings for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson because, as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, they had a stage that DeSantis, Pence, Pompeo and others didn’t. Might as well pig out on the opportunity.
Haley’s forthcoming book, “If You Want Something Done: Leadership Lessons From Bold Women,” is one that Cruz, Hawley, Pence and Pompeo would have an awkward time pulling off, and it beats voters over the head with the fact that she’s a trailblazer in ways that they can’t be.
But does she or any other Republican love the Lord with Pence’s ardor? That’s a question he obviously wants to put in voters’ minds with his memoir, “So Help Me God,” to be released about a month after “If You Want Something Done.”
Pompeo is doing a prep-for-the-presidency twofer. According to The New York Post, he shed 90 pounds in six months after his stint as Trump’s secretary of state was over. And he’s apparently putting the finishing touches on a memoir of his own, “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,” which Broadside Books is scheduled to publish in January.
Its crowded company includes not only Haley’s and Pence’s books but also one by Cruz, “Justice Corrupted: How the Left Weaponized Our Legal System,” which is due in late October, and, of course, Hawley’s testosterone treatise, “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs,” which has surely become a more risible sell in the wake of those images of him sprinting for the Capitol exit on Jan. 6, 2021.
Here, for your delectation, is a snippet of the promotional copy for Hawley’s book: “No republic has ever survived without men of character to defend what is just and true. Starting with the wisdom of the ancients, from the Greek and Roman philosophers to Jesus of Nazareth, and drawing on the lessons of American history, Hawley identifies the defining strengths of men, including responsibility, bravery, fidelity and leadership.” I have goose bumps.
Lest “Manhood” fail to persuade you of Hawley’s nonpareil virility, he summoned boundless courage last week to stand up to … Finland and Sweden. He was the only senator to vote against their admission to NATO.
David Von Drehle sized it up correctly in a column in The Washington Post: “In search of a position that would set him apart from his rivals among the Senate’s young conservatives, Hawley arrived at the cockeyed notion that adding two robust military powers with vibrant economies would somehow increase NATO’s burden on U.S. resources.”
Cockeyed? No! Cocksure — and undoubtedly weighing which fearsome and dastardly global actor he’ll unleash the full force of his manliness on next. The citizens of New Zealand tremble. The people of Andorra quiver.