by Conrad Black
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) committed a mortal political error on Saturday when, after voting to acquit President Trump on constitutional grounds, he accused the former president of the crime of being “practically and morally” responsible for the invasion and vandalization of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and the deaths of five people.
McConnell not only signed on to the ultimate NeverTrump loyalty oath of submission to the totalitarian big lie there was no possible doubt about the legitimacy of the election verdict; he also declared Trump had no choice but to accept the result and quietly leave Washington with his tail between his legs.
McConnell took it upon himself to declare the end of the Trump era in the Republican Party, nailing his flag to the mast of return to the McCRomBush swamp of alternating Democrats with Dem look-alikes in the White House, and leaving the overwhelmingly Democratic political establishment serenely undisturbed.
The good old days were fine for McConnell, enjoying the six-year terms in the rotten borough of Kentucky to maneuver with impartial cynicism in the Senate lobbies and stirring himself to vehemence only on the issue of confirming constitutionalist federal judges.
He is so distant from the profound issues that agitate and divide the American electorate, which has grown by 70 percent since McConnell was first elected to the Senate in 1984, that he seems to have lost sight of the gap that exists between the Republican voters in the country (upwards of 75 percent of whom remain Trump supporters) and his own electorate of 50 Republican senators. Sixteen of them are up for reelection next year, all in states Trump carried in November.
McConnell’s Beltway Myopia
The former president’s unambiguous rejoinder to McConnell’s gratuitous assault upon him last Saturday expressed his intention to intervene in primaries to ensure that the movement he founded and led retains control of the Republican Party in Congress.
Perhaps McConnell, who is nothing if not a sophisticated Capitol maneuverer, was so horrified by the affront to what he imagines as the Senate’s dignity on January 6 that he lost sight of the nation and supposes Trump is no more popular with the public than Trump is with McConnell and his cronies. Or perhaps McConnell was seized by a suicidal ambition to end his long career as a man of great and discreetly exercised influence at the center of American government with a beau geste of someone who can only regain the leadership of the Senate by what he considers to be unconscionable appeasement of a man he dismissed five years ago as a mad interloper who should be dropped “like a hot rock.”
Apart from cavernous differences in personality, background, and positions on a number of policy issues, the fundamental schism between former President Trump as the official Republican leader and McConnell as the Republican Senate leader is that McConnell was pleased to see Trump defeated. Insofar as he considers such things as he embarks on his seventh term as a U.S. senator from Kentucky, McConnell is so comfortable and successful in the tranquil bipartisanship of pre-Trump politics that he is convinced Trump’s support will melt, leaving everything as it was before.
With that outlook, McConnell was able to put out of mind the disagreeable fact that while Joe Biden (contrary to Trump’s claims) clearly won the popular ballot by over 5 million votes, there is substantial evidence that the questionable legal changes to voting rules in professed accommodation of COVID-19 conditions were responsible for Biden’s Electoral College victory. Given that that question, despite the febrile and near-totalitarian efforts of the Big Media-Big Tech cartel to suppress such thoughts, is entirely plausible, the irritation of the former president and his followers is comprehensible. This is particularly the case because of the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the lawsuit from the Texas attorney general, supported by many other states, alleging that several of the swing states failed in their constitutional obligation to conduct honest and fair elections, inflicting an unjust result upon the entire country.
McConnell’s verbal assault on Saturday was so gratuitously vituperative, Trump had no choice but to respond forcefully—as he has.
Democrats Can’t Quit Trump
This eruption of a bare-knuckled struggle for control of the Republican Party occurs as the Democrats succumb to a lunacy of their own. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) inflammatory repetition of charges of crimes and insurrectionism against the former president have been accompanied by a demand for a 9/11-like commission of investigation into the January 6 events at the Capitol. This demonstrates once again her pathological addiction to Trump-hate and the Democrats’ inability to breathe normally and function sensibly without being at war with the Great Evil Orange Ogre.
In their stupidity and their sickness, Pelosi and her allies want to maintain Trump as the center of attention. They were barely able to do this throughout his term because he was the president and responded constantly and often with tactically mistaken vehemence to their endless provocations. Now that he is an ex-president, they will only give him occasion to continue to dispute the fairness of the election result and to steal the limelight from his successor. And it will be another complete failure like the Mueller investigation of the fictitious collusion between Trump and the Russian government in the 2016 election.
We now know that Pelosi herself ignored the request on January 4 of the chief of the Capitol Police (whom she has since fired), for reinforcements out of concern for what might happen on January 6, a concern which the president himself revealed that he shared. Such an inquiry as she demands will, like Robert Mueller’s fatuous investigation into “Russian collusion,” effectively vindicate the ex-president. Pelosi appears to have been bitten by the same bug as McConnell, and they’re both fulminating and withering from a mysterious political bilharzia—a self-destructive obsession with their chief opponent. It is not requited.
It is starting to look like the beginning of the fall of a row of Democratic dominoes: Pelosi loses her political mind, the media-confected canonization of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo explodes, the vain and incompetent Gavin Newsom of California is on the verge of being recalled, and the ludicrous imposture of the Lincoln Project disintegrates amid charges of sexual perversion and gross pecuniary corruption.
It must be said that President Biden has maintained comparative equanimity and generally kept his distance from the nonsense of Trump’s second impeachment. All those months in his basement fully masked may have insulated him from more dangerous political contagions than the coronavirus. The notion that Donald Trump is about to be abandoned by the force that he created is poor and wishful thinking.
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Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world as owner of the British telegraph newspapers, the Fairfax newspapers in Australia, the Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and scores of smaller newspapers in the U.S., and most of the daily newspapers in Canada. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, one-volume histories of the United States and Canada, and most recently of Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. He is a member of the British House of Lords as Lord Black of Crossharbour.
Photo “Chuck Schumer” by Chuck Schumer.