I had made a decision not to do a big thing about the resolution, put forth on Saturday by our own Mike Bayham at the LAGOP’s quarterly meeting of the State Central Committee meeting, overwhelmingly passed which censured Mitt Romney for a long train of abuses of the Republican Party’s principles and values, and for that matter Romney’s fellow Republicans.
Bayham did an excellent job in a column here last week of outlining that Romney’s decision to vote to convict President Trump on the Democrats’ pathetic, petty, nugatory impeachment charges are simply the latest in a career full of backstabbings and broken faith.
But the resolution itself, as it’s of a piece with actions in Romney’s purported home state of Utah, wasn’t really all that earthshaking. Under the circumstances of Romney’s impeachment vote, I expect a lot more blowback against Romney. He was disinvited to speak later this month at CPAC, for example, as the convention’s organizer Matt Schlapp said he expected a less-than-healthy reaction to the senator’s presence.
“This year, I’d actually be afraid for his physical safety, people are so mad at him,” Schlapp said. And then he said something which echoed what Bayham had said, and which underpinned the Louisiana GOP resolution which passed so overwhelmingly.
“The biggest problem we have with Mitt Romney is not that he’s just an individual following his political course. It’s the fact that he’s lied so continuously to conservatives. When he needed a conservative like Donald Trump to endorse him in his Senate primary last time, he wanted him in. But then, when he gets the Senate job, he wants to distance himself from Trump. He’s a use-’em-and-lose-’em kind of guy.”
But some people don’t mind being used and lost.
And I’m not talking about people like The Advocate’s Lanny Keller, who over the weekend lashed out at the Louisiana GOP, which at one point some time ago Keller purported to make common cause with (with friends like that…), for its “meaningless” effrontery and “witchhunt” against Romney, having zero respect or understanding of either Bayham’s or Schlapp’s point of view. Keller chortled that Romney doesn’t care what Louisiana’s Republicans think of him and chided the LAGOP for not having anything better to do.
Considering that Mitt Romney has twice campaigned in Louisiana’s Republican primary and it isn’t all that unforeseeable that he might again in 2024, it’s hard to understand why the overwhelming opinion of the state party’s elders has no bearing on his political career. Expressions of political opinion by the majority of the activists and leaders in the State Central Committee might not have the force of law, but they do send a signal as to the current temperature of a large swath of the state’s electorate.
Lanny Keller might consider that the leadership of the Republican Party of Louisiana cares far less about his opinions than Mitt Romney might care about the LAGOP.
That’s also true of Quin Hillyer, the formerly Louisiana-based columnist for the Washington Examiner who followed Keller in trashing the LAGOP for Bayham’s resolution. Perhaps more so, since Hillyer trotted out an asinine reference to ancient history in order to deliver a lame slam reminiscent of Lamar White…
The same Louisiana Republican Party that 30 years ago refused to censure former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke decided last Saturday to censure Sen. Mitt Romney.
The mind reels. The stomach sickens.
The Republican State Central Committee, the elected body that controls the internal governance of the state party, essentially said Romney for too long has been mean to poor, defenseless President Trump. The censure resolution blamed Romney for such transgressions as “allowing conservative spoiler candidate Evan McMullin to lease his 2012 campaign e-mail list,” writing an anti-Trump column for the Washington Post, and continuing “to deliver belligerent statements and comments about President Trump while largely ignoring far more egregious conduct and obnoxious rhetoric” by various Democrats.
The horror, the horror.
The resolution made no mention of Romney’s vote to convict Trump in the Senate trial that concluded last week, but resolution sponsor Mike Bayham admits it received “a lot more votes” at the RSCC because Romney broke ranks on impeachment. The resolution passed overwhelmingly by voice vote.
I’ve known Bayham for many years. He’s a good guy. I believe him when he told me he drafted his anti-Romney censure motion in May of 2019 and that the only reason he held it until now was that he was urged to wait, for party unity purposes, until after Louisiana’s race for governor ended in November. Bayham’s distaste for Romney runs deep. As a delegate to the 2012 national convention, Bayham insisted on voting for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum instead of Romney even though Santorum had already withdrawn.
Still, a censure in the political sense is a very formal action almost akin to the “shunning” practiced by various Christian denominations. It is a sanction often discussed but rarely effectuated.
Then Hillyer proceeds to tell a story about David Duke in 1989, and how despite a unanimous vote on the LAGOP executive committee to condemn the Klan leader who had appropriated the state party for a patina of respectability as a protest candidate there was not a censure of Duke passed by the State Central Committee.
Somehow, an entirely different cast of people 31 years later making the decision to censure Romney sets up the LAGOP as a racist entity?
Oh, but Hillyer doesn’t say that. He’s too cute for that. Instead, he says that others might.
Yet the picture now is painted. The Republican Party of Louisiana couldn’t rouse itself even to condemn (much less censure) former Klan leader Duke for pushing neo-Nazism from his state legislative office, but it now censures its own recent presidential standard-bearer right after he voted his conscience.
What a lack of perspective that shows. What an embarrassment.
Nobody else even remembers 1989, much less thinks it’s relevant. Only Quin Hillyer does. If the picture is now painted it’s because Quin Hillyer has painted it.
And why? Because, as his writings make nauseatingly clear, Quin Hillyer thinks Donald Trump is David Duke. Trump offends Hillyer’s delicate sensibilities. He’s been on the NeverTrump train since 2016, and like the Bill Kristols, Stephen Hayeses and Jonah Goldbergs of the world has never managed to get off it.
Because he’s undoubtedly done and said good things for most of his career and he’s certainly made efforts to advance the conservative movement, I’ve kept quiet about Hillyer’s antics in this regard, like for example when he took a massive dump on the LAGOP for highlighting the history of slavery and segregation in John Bel Edwards’ family’s past in response to Edwards’ camp equating Eddie Rispone with David Duke. Hillyer was quite put out over the fact someone would dredge up Edwards’ old family history, but now he’s perfectly happy to dredge up votes of the LAGOP’s State Central Committee 30 years ago about David Duke as though that’s current?
No. Sorry. This is crap. It isn’t the LAGOP’s problem if Republican voters and activists have moved on from Quin Hillyer’s brand of conservatism, which, I hate to tell him, had been losing ground with the American people for decades since Ronald Reagan had crafted it. It took someone like Trump to remake conservatism because the Quin Hillyers of the world had let it waste away by touting the Bushes, McCains and Romneys of the world as its avatars. They turned out massive votes for McCain and Romney in this state, despite the knowledge those were terrible candidates. And the thanks they get is for Romney to trash them along with Trump on the impeachment vote, and for Hillyer to trash them for finally having their say about it?
When Hillyer ran for Congress in Alabama in 2013 and received only a smattering of votes it should have been a wake-up call for him that the folks weren’t buying what he was selling. Instead, he’s stuck to the sanctimony and safety of being a “pet conservative” of the national media. For example, CNN gleefully ran this piece whining about Trump’s tone last year, and he certainly didn’t do it for free.
And two years ago here’s what Rush Limbaugh said about Hillyer, which is one hundred percent valid today…
“Trump has no character! He doesn’t reflect our values. We can’t possibly support this guy.” In fact, let me see… I might have this yesterday. Let me see if it’s still in the Stack. There’s a story by a guy named Quin Hillyer, who used to write at the American Spectator, and we’ve cited him often, and he has a piece — it’s either today or yesterday — citing four wonderful things Trump has done but that he thinks he ought to resign, because he’s an ogre. He’s a creep. He’s a horrible guy.
I guess it was in yesterday’s Stack, and I’m not gonna take the time to look for it here while we’re not in a commercial break. But it’s classic. These guys — these lifelong conservatives — who have maintained that they are very desirous, working very hard, very supportive of conservative ideas/conservative ideology being implemented from the level of the White House and Congress. And here they are! More conservatism is finding its way into our culture and our politics than at any time since Ronald Reagan, and these guys don’t like it.
It’s the one thing that’s amazed me about all of this. Their lifetimes have been spent advancing these ideas, these premises. Like tax cuts and like certain elements of the Trump foreign policy, certain elements of Trump’s trade policy. Not entirely. You’ve got some free traders that don’t like what Trump is doing. But there are any number of things, at least four things I could mention that Trump has done that no previous Republican president has even gotten close to succeeding at.
And these are things these guys supposedly have devoted their life’s work to making happen! And now they are, and they remain totally opposed. Now, that just sounds… Well, it’s worse than confusing. It sounds really curious to me, and Quin Hillyer has this piece going on and on and on about how Trump’s done these four great things, but that doesn’t mean anything! Trump still has to be. Hopefully, now Trump’s got this stuff and he’ll quit. Hopefully now Trump will resign!
Hopefully, now something will happen to Trump and he can’t continue being president. Something like this. And it’s all because Trump does not reflect their sophistication and supposedly their character and their values. And you’ll notice something in all of these people that share that viewpoint, folks. All of these conservative intellectuals who opposed Trump, the Never Trumpers…
Even though Trump is implementing many of the things they’ve devoted their life’s work to, these people are not among many of us who think the country is at a tipping point. They don’t see anything like a crisis. They just see the normal ebb and flow of who wins and who loses elections. So the Republicans win one and we got the White House. We got the committee chairmen; we got the cabinet-level secretaries, then the next four years the Democrats win, it goes back and forth.
And everything’s hunky-dory. Everything’s fine. Everything’s humming along, country goes up and down, this and that and the other. But we’re not, in their view, near anything like a crisis. The idea… For example, many of you think that we’re on the verge of losing the country because we’re on the verge of losing our culture. And we’re on the verge of losing our culture for two reasons: The American left is trying to rip it to sleds, and they’re using illegal immigration as one of their big weapons.
And these Never Trumper guys are actually in favor of amnesty and ongoing illegal immigration continuing and so forth, which they don’t see as posing any kind of a problem, much less a crisis. And I think that’s one of the elements of the great disconnect that exists between predominantly everybody that lives in Washington and those who don’t.
Hillyer doesn’t live in Washington, though he works there remotely. He also doesn’t live in Louisiana. Maybe it’s a good idea for him to let our people alone rather than spending his time attacking his supposed fellow conservatives for what he perceives as their shortcomings. Enough already.