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Liz Cheney’s martyrdom is catnip for a dwindling number of Republicans who, unable to recognize what time it is, prioritize performative virtue in politics. These people–nearly all suburban, moderate, establishment Republicans employed as conservative columnists–seek their reflection in the politicians they support, because their heroes’ supposedly superior virtue reflects back on them.
It has long been obvious to me that there is a difference in how invested we are in having a President who reflects our class, our aspirations, our style, and mostly our virtues. Or those that want certain things done or followed and are more forgiving of personal and social differences.
We’ve had the heroes, and they haven’t come through.
We’ve supported the nice guys, the Romney moral-pillars too.
They seem to hold a passionate belief that a President is our highest moral Avatar. It’s not altogether wrong that we should always want some perfect American ideal to represent us and make us proud. But it isn’t wise.
And they will forgive him from not doing anything real and will worship him, liken unto Reagan, as long as he makes fine inspirational speeches and has never cheated on his wife or spoken crudely.
Politics is something of a hobby to these people, it doesn’t affect their lives much in that circle.
Meanwhile, out here where politics affects us, we are ignored, or dismissed as unschooled rubes who don’t see what’s best for America….. the Western Alliance, world bank, WHO, CDC, Pizzer and something they read in the Wall St. Journal…..
This allows them to flatter their own egos without feelings of shame or self-aggrandizement. “Mitt Romey is a good man,” they’ve repeated, mantra-like since the Utah Senator’s spectacular loss in 2012—even as that assessment is based solely on a carefully-crafted media campaign that hardened, through much repetition, into conventional wisdom. (Of course, Romney is a stand-in for any number of political figures the media has assured us are “good, honorable men,” from Volodymyr Zelensky to John McCain. Just ask them.)
They were overly enamored of John McCain’s service and hero-status, and were blissfully unaware that McCain’s usefulness to the media would abruptly end as soon as he faced a Democrat.
They are naturally attracted to the hero/villain model of politics and reportage.
Creative Writing 101: How do we make our heroes look better? Create better villains.
Hence Donald Trump. He makes a great villain. And they are so good at framing him – an apt term – as such an oaf.
Every popular drama, all of these Netflix serials, and Marvel Comic movies are trying to create more despicable villains. It drives everything.
Trump is the ‘heel’ in wrestling. The guy everyone loves to hate. He certainly has played into this if not consciously.
They are what holds the audience’s attention and they drive the story.
But in our reality tv world, they needed another one, and Putin (previously the under-villain of Trump) now elevated to top world villain.
I remember discussions here about how to deal with the ‘biased press’ ( how quaint) where one faction advocated for Republicans to shrug it off and take it as a challenge. And just don’t give them ammunition. (!)
They couldn’t see the blatant animosity and partisan dedication of these entrenched media people, and they never understood how easy it is to craft a narrative against anyone. Just stupid.
.…write a rambling column at National Review like the sad Jay Nordlinger. These people—especially these people—require heroes on the political stage to reflect their heroic self-conceptions back at them. And for this gig, Liz Cheney is perfect; she is their square-jawed truth-teller, a paragon of “honor.” The jeers from low conservatives make it all the more potent and thrilling.
It comes in large part from the Clinton years, when Republicans (myself at the time) were appalled and many felt that this is cause for impeachment.
More than political positions, moral conduct became a focus.
Now, any errant misstep in youth can now scuttle a bid for office, and so we got the squeaky-clean, empty-suit Ken Doll as nominee in 2012. It’s amazing he got as many votes as he did. But that’s over.Published in