Impromptus

Perfect Republicans, &c.

Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, arrives at the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on January 27, 2020. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters)
On the GOP, the Democrats, Texas slogans, and more

At the end of 2019, Johnny Isakson, the Georgia Republican, resigned from the Senate. The reason was poor health. Therefore, it fell to the state’s governor, Brian Kemp, also a Republican, to appoint a successor.

President Trump and TrumpWorld wanted Doug Collins, a House member. Collins is one of the Trumpiest members of the House (which is saying something). Kemp, however, chose Kelly Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman.

This was thought to be daring. For one thing, it showed independence of mind. It was almost defiant. For another, TrumpWorld was skeptical of Loeffler’s reliability. Among her failings was that she had donated to Mitt Romney.

They need not have worried.

Barely into her Senate term, Loeffler tweeted, “After 2 weeks, it’s clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame.”

When I saw this, my first thought was, “Good girl.” My second thought was, “She’s gonna be jes’ fine. She’ll go a long way in the GOP.”

After his acquittal, Trump singled her out for praise: “downright nasty and mean,” he said. That is a very high accolade from President Trump, and in today’s Republican party.

Loeffler has to run in a special election this year, and Doug Collins is challenging her for the GOP nomination. But I doubt Loeffler will allow herself to be out-Trumped.

She is a perfect Republican.

• Early in his career, George C. Wallace lost a Democratic-primary race for governor. At the time, believe it or not, he was known as something of a liberal. After this loss, Wallace said, famously — or infamously — “I’ll never be out-segged again.” (There is another version of this quotation, more vile. It is likely that Wallace said both.)

In the last few years, I have seen former Reagan Republicans take a similar vow: They will never, ever be out-Trumped. And they won’t, you can trust it.

• Like Kelly Loeffler, Senator Martha McSally was appointed by a governor. Like Loeffler, she is a Republican. She holds the seat to which John McCain was elected in 2016. (He died in 2018.)

A fundraising e-mail is being sent around for McSally. Its heading begins, “She stood up to Mitt Romney.” She did indeed. So did the 51 other Republicans who voted to acquit President Trump. Romney was the only dissenter.

I would like to congratulate the 52 united Republicans on their bravery in standing up to the lone dissenter. Profiles in courage, all of them.

• In recent days, it has become clear that Romney is the GOP’s new Emmanuel Goldstein. I suppose this means that Viktor Orbán has George Soros all to himself.

• The Fox host, Lou Dobbs, said Romney “is going to be associated with Judas, Brutus, Benedict Arnold forever.” I don’t know. Forever is a long time. I suspect Romney will have his admirers in the future, as he does now.

• Many Republicans have called for the heretical senator to be expelled from their party. Donald Trump Jr. is one of them. He did more than call for Romney’s expulsion. I’ll let an article explain:

Donald Trump Jr. posted a picture on Instagram calling Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) a “pussy” after the former GOP presidential candidate announced that he would be voting to convict President Trump on one of two impeachment charges. The picture featured Romney wearing high-waisted jeans, and was captioned: “Mom Jeans, Because you’re a pussy.”

Every day, I see Mitt Romney described this way by the Trump Right: “pussy,” “wimp,” “wuss,” etc. But it seemed to me that Romney demonstrated real manhood when he stood apart as he did. I thought of an expression I learned in Indiana: “balls the size of church bells.”

Matt Gaetz, the Republican congressman from Florida, said, “If I were Mitch McConnell, I would expel Mitt Romney from the Republican caucus.” He added, “Frankly, I don’t know what the difference is between Mitt Romney and a Democrat at this point.”

If being a Republican means being loyal to Trump, and subscribing to Trumpism, Romney is no Republican, it’s true.

I noticed a tweet from Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, and the co-founder, with Jerry Falwell Jr., of the Falkirk Center (named for the two of them). Kirk has been hailed by Nikki Haley, among others, as the future of the Republican party.

That is certainly true, but he is also, I would say, the present of the GOP. He is an important Republican leader.

He tweeted,

Did you know:

Mitt Romney will be the only Senator in US history to vote to convict a president in his own party

He should be ashamed of himself

RT if the GOP should move to expel him from the Republican Party

In 2012, the Obama-Biden campaign ran an ad against Romney (who was the GOP presidential nominee): “Mitt Romney. Not one of us.” As I commented last week, Democrats and Republicans can now unite in saying, “Mitt Romney. Not one of us.”

I’m afraid I agree with the Republican luminaries: Mitt Romney does not belong in their party. Oil and water. A mismatch.

• In the article I linked to a minute ago, I also said this: “I can hear people saying that Romney simply wants invitations to cocktail parties. Let me tell you, with confidence: Romney doesn’t want cocktails (and neither do I, for what it’s worth).”

Brad Parscale is President Trump’s campaign manager this year. He tweeted,

Mitt Romney is an irrelevant relic.

The entire Republican Party is united behind @realDonaldTrump and knows he did nothing wrong.

Let’s call it what it is. You’re sour about Trump’s success and you want to keep your elitist dinner invites.

It seems to me that Mitt Romney is not really looking for invitations out — to soirées at Trump International Hotel or anywhere else. He likes to spend time with his wife, sons, and zillion grandchildren.

Republicans used to speak of “family values,” back in the old days.

Speaking of old days: I wrote an article in 2017 called “Dinos, Unite!” People like me were being called “dinosaurs.” Brad Parscale calls Romney “an irrelevant relic.” I’m not really sure what “irrelevant” means. I think it’s pretty much the great nonsense word of our time. Most people use it to mean “I don’t like you,” I think. But Romney certainly is a relic.

As a conservative, I appreciate relics.

• Last Thursday, the Fox & Friends show had a guest who made the following pronouncement on Trump’s presidency so far: “I would argue that it’s probably three of the greatest years since maybe Jesus walked the earth with his ministry.”

I thought the “probably” and the “maybe” showed humility. That isn’t disqualifying, is it?

• After Trump’s State of the Union address, Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech. Republicans then made earnest statements about decorum, and norms, and civility.

Really, Republicans did.

Listen, either you believe in “disruption” or you don’t. Either you believe in “Burn it down” or you don’t. Pick a stance, baby. You can’t have decorum for one party and not for yours.

Did you like Trump’s performance at the National Prayer Breakfast? And at the State of the Union, for that matter? Then you don’t have even a toe to stand on when it comes to Nancy the Ripper.

• In past times, the conservative movement influenced the Republican party. These days, it’s more like vice versa. Is there a difference between the GOP and the conservative movement (to the extent there is such a movement)? If so, very little. Next to no daylight.

• Last week, the writer Andy Smarick tweeted, “I don’t expect to change many minds at this point, but it’s worth repeating: My brand of American conservatism includes decentralization, civil society, markets, natural rights, tradition, prudence, and moral virtue. Our Republic needs leaders who believe in and model such things.”

Dinosaur? If anything, that’s pre-dinosaur. (What came before them?) (I need to go back to school.)

• I will glance in on the Democrats, briefly. (Impromptus today is mainly a Republican column, so to speak.) For me, looking at the Democrats is almost as dispiriting as looking at the Republicans. I say “almost” because I never had any expectations for the Democrats at all. (I was a Republican for some 35 years, and an ardent one.) They cannot disappoint me.

Did you see their presidential debate on Friday night? The candidates gave the impression that they were running for the presidency of, oh, the Oberlin student council — not the presidency of the United States.

It was a woke-off. A nutty, screwy woke-off. If the Democrats can offer the public no better an alternative to Trump and Trumpism, they will lose, and deserve to.

• In another forum, Bernie Sanders was asked whether a person could be pro-life, or anti-abortion, and a Democrat, too. He said, in effect, no. (1) Is he even a Democrat? (2) Would it have killed him to nod to freedom of conscience? To have paid a little lip service? I think it would have. I think such nodding, such lip service, would be the kiss of death in a Democratic presidential contest.

• Four years ago, in the GOP primaries, candidates competed to be the “not Trump.” To be the guy at the end who, pretty much alone, could square off against Trump. So, Cruz, Rubio, and others chewed one another up (while barely laying a glove on Trump). Are Biden, Pete, and Klobuchar competing to be the “not Sanders”? And therefore chewing one another up? Could be.

• If Pete is the nominee — a big if — I think Barack Obama will campaign alongside him so often, Obama will almost look like the running-mate.

• Obama will, of course, give a big speech at the Democratic convention. Rally the troops. George W. Bush, needless to say, will not be at the Republican convention. He would be as welcome as Obama. It’s a shame, though, because, way back, I always thought it was pretty neat to listen to, and see, the ex-presidents at the conventions. Even Jimmy C.!

• I’ve got a lot more, but have gone way long. A little language? I heard a guy on the street say, “Ain’t got no money. I’m broke as a joke.”

• A little music? For a review of Sally Matthews, the British soprano, in recital, go here. (She was accompanied by Simon Lepper, a British pianist.)

• Have I thrown at you my “New York Chronicle” for February? Here it is.

• If your allegiance is to the University of Texas, you say “Hook ’em.” If your allegiance is to Texas A&M, you say “Gig ’em.” I spent an evening last week with some Baylor Bears — who say “Sic ’em.” Also, they form a hand into a bear claw.

These traditions are pretty cool.

• While in Washington — did I say I was in Washington, D.C., last week? — I ran up to the Lincoln Memorial, as is my custom. Took a picture. Tweeted it. Said I was spending a little time with my favorite Republican, and favorite American.

A man from elsewhere — from outside our shores — responded, “For many years I did not understand why Lincoln was so revered by the Americans. And then I read many books about the Civil War and many biographies of Lincoln; and then I understood.”

I thought that was pretty neat.

Thank you for joining me, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll see you soon.

If you’d like to receive Impromptus by e-mail — links to new columns — write to jnordlinger@nationalreview.com.

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