It was bad enough when Bill Cassidy decided to shove a middle finger in the face of the majority of Louisiana’s voters and vote twice to sanction the Democrats’ kangaroo-court impeachment of Donald Trump. That Cassidy has now made himself a pet-on-a-leash Republican for the Beltway elite crowd is worse. It’s time for him to shut up for a while.
If you’ve been ignoring Cassidy for the past week, which is a totally understandable thing to do given that what comes out of his mouth isn’t all that compelling, what you missed was Louisiana’s senior senator making a tour of Democrat media to pontificate about his impeachment vote and the political future of the Republican Party.
In other words, you didn’t miss much.
There was the Stephanie Grace column in the Advocate on Sunday in which Cassidy pronounced himself “at peace” with that impeachment vote, and he opined that it was only a “small number of people” who are upset that he sanctioned the Democrats’ kangaroo parade last month.
Then there was his CNN appearance yesterday.
All you needed to see was the lead-in and you’d know Cassidy shouldn’t have had anything whatsoever to do with that show. Instead he said three things which make him one of the dimmer lights in the party – if not an outright embarrassment.
First of all, he repeatedly accused GOP voters of “idolizing one man.” That’s so tone-deaf it’s unreal. Talk to just about any Trump voter and you’ll realize their support for him is anything but idolatry. They recognize Trump has lots of flaws. They support him in spite of them because unlike Republican establishment types like Cassidy who have brazenly lied to them for decades and have betrayed them in favor of corporate donors, Trump actually staked out positions that benefited ordinary Americans and then fought for them.
Nobody thinks Bill Cassidy is fighting for them. He’s in bed with Democrats trying to pass bipartisan bills all the time, and there is usually some special interest in DC with big-money lobbyists out there pushing for those bills to pass. In this, Cassidy is hardly alone, but that doesn’t save him – he’s just another politician up in Washington who’s going with the flow. And the flow is exactly what Trump voters wanted to put a stop to.
That Trump represents their wishes and that they appreciate him for it is not “idolatry.” It’s loyalty.
And by the way, Bill Cassidy had no reservations about riding the Trump train to re-election last year. He was on the radio proudly proclaiming his support for Trump and tying himself to the MAGA movement for all it was worth back in November. Nobody really bought Cassidy as a Trump loyalist, but seeing as though no Republican wanted to chance an intraparty challenge to Cassidy amid Louisiana’s jungle primary system and the prospect of national Democrat money flowing to their ultimately-hapless challenger Adrian Perkins, Cassidy’s thin act was good enough for government work.
Calling the people who expressed outrage at his betrayal “idolaters” at this point is horrendous form. He’s picking at a scab and making those people even more outraged. It’s a level of political stupidity that must be seen to be believed.
Second, Cassidy makes the point that CPAC isn’t the whole Republican Party. Really?
Cassidy, or these clowns who advise him, needs to look at some polls. Despite this ginned-up narrative of a Republican civil war, there is a shocking lack of dissension within the party right now. The GOP is absolutely unified behind the MAGA/America First agenda. More than 90 percent of Republican voters take Trump’s side against the old Beltway GOP establishment that Cassidy has aligned himself with. It’s such a lopsided contest between the two that Mitt Romney, the anti-Trumper and Cassidy impeachment-supporting Senate colleague who was the Republican presidential nominee before Trump (and who squandered a real opportunity to knock off Barack Obama in 2012 through a combination of stupid messaging and contemptuous timidity), confessed last week that he represents only a tiny fraction of the GOP.
CPAC has become the very heart of Republican politics now. What happens at CPAC, and the people who attend that conference, drives the party at every level. CPAC is the energy of the conservative movement, and the things coming out of that conference very much represent the active ingredient in the GOP.
And CPAC is covered in MAGA red right now. But while Cassidy and the idiot CNN anchor Dana Bash wasted time commenting on the statue of Trump on display at the Hyatt Hotel in Orlando where CPAC was taking place (something CNN couldn’t stop talking about) when that statue was clearly intended to be a troll-job of the corporate legacy media for their endless screeching about Trump, the actual attendees at the conference were a lot less a cult of personality than they were a movement looking for a standard bearer.
There was a straw poll taken at CPAC as there always is. Trump was put forth as a potential 2024 nominee. Some 55 percent of the respondents gave approval to that. While Trump, in his speech, gave every indication he would run in 2024, there’s an awful lot of room out there for somebody to serve as a 2.0 version of Trump. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, was the favorite among the new breed, with South Dakota governor Kristi Noem coming in next.
Whether the GOP should move on from Trump as its nominee is a subject which will be debated. But if Cassidy thinks Trump won’t at least be the kingmaker within the party in 2022 and 2024, he’s so out of touch as to be unqualified to serve. Even Mitch McConnell, the establishment figure whose recent statements touched off a war of words with Trump, said last week that he’d have no trouble backing Trump as the party’s 2024 nominee were that to happen. McConnell dislikes Trump just as much as Cassidy now does, but he’s not stupid – he knows that the GOP had better keep Trump voters happy and on board with the party or else it’s the end.
And the third thing Cassidy came off like an idiot in saying was his insistence that the Republican Party’s policies are fine, but that it needs to talk to the folks who didn’t vote for Trump if it wants to win elections. He blamed Trump for losing the House, the Senate and the presidency over the last three years.
Well, where does Cassidy think those policies came from? Does he not recognize that Trump’s fingerprints are all over the economic success of the three years preceding COVID? Does he think any old establishment Republican would have managed to change our trade relationship with China? Does he think removing America from the pattern of endless, stupid military engagements in places where no American national interest can be found would have been the policy of a President Jeb Bush or Lindsey Graham?
Crediting Trump’s policies without crediting Trump isn’t something you’re going to be able to do without it being noticeable to Trump’s voters. And if that gambit can be carried off without enraging more people than it assuages, it would require somebody a lot more articulate than Bill Cassidy to do.
Cassidy used to be quieter. He was a guy you didn’t hear from all that often. When he did surface to say something it was awkward and often self-destructive, like for example when he got a public black eye for having attempted to engage Jimmy Kimmel on health care policy. Now he seems to think he’s going to emerge as a thought leader in the GOP, and his first foray into that was to ensconce himself on the side of Romney, Lisa Murkowski and Liz Cheney, all of whom are absolutely hated by their constituents.
What accounts for the change? Maybe it’s that he isn’t a freshman senator anymore. Or maybe it’s that he’s getting some really horrid advice from people around him. We’ve heard that Cassidy has been intimating in a few private conversations with donors and politicos that he’s interested in running for governor of Louisiana in 2023. It’s hard to understand how voting for a kangaroo-court impeachment of a president 58 percent of Louisiana voters supported last November would put Cassidy in a strong position to do that.
Cassidy might still think that vote was the right thing to do, though it would do him some good to reflect on why, if that’s the case, so many people are so furious with him. But regardless of that, what’s obvious is that his constituents want to hear less from Bill Cassidy right now, not more. Doing interviews with the left-wing activist idiot Dana Bash and trashing Trump in the name of establishment Republicanism is precisely the opposite prescription from what’s needed.
People who get really bad advice do things like this. Cassidy’s clearly getting bad advice – either out of his own brain or from those around him. He’s made himself a lame-duck politician whether he realizes it or not.