Hatred as a political principle

In covering Liz Cheney’s entirely predictable defeat in Wyoming’s Republican primary, Berlingske offered a telling headline:

She became world famous for hating Trump. Now she has lost.
Sara Hodzic, Berlingske.dk, August 17

It’s an accurate headline: Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, did indeed become world famous for hating Trump, and she lost her bid for re-election—bigly.

We’re all so conditioned to the twisted logic of the GLOB that it’s easy to overlook the depravity implicit in that headline.

This woman hated Donald Trump so much and so well that she was celebrated around the world for the purity and intensity of her magnificent hatred, and yet she somehow lost her election anyway!

The premise is that she lost her election despite her world-class hatred for Donald Trump but she lost her election because of it.

As she should have.

“Ahab’s hatred for the white whale was all consuming but the Pequod met with misfortune anyway,” said no sophomore book report ever.

She knew what she had to do to win.

The way there was “clear,” says Liz Cheney. But she couldn’t walk it.

And now ex-president Donald Trump’s worst enemy has lost the primary election in the state of Wyoming, as several American media write.

“Two years ago I won this primary with 73% of the vote. I could easily have done the same again. (…) But that would have required me to agree to President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election,” says Liz Cheney, according to CNN on Tuesday evening American time.

Liz Cheney didn’t lose because she wouldn’t “agree” with Trump on the 2020 election.

She lost because it was a Wyoming Republican primary and she was no longer seen as Republican—or interested at all in Wyoming. On the contrary, she was viewed by the majority of her constituents as “just another rich, entitled member of the D.C. establishment.”

That’s from a Federalist headline, but it’s hard to say it more succinctly.

Berlingske notes:

The Republican had a bright political future , but she has made it her mission to bring Trump down after the storming of Congress.

Liz Cheney is deputy chairman of the congressional committee that is currently investigating the attack on Congress on January 6, 2021.

As Victoria Marshall notes in the Federalist article I referenced above:

Listening to the corporate media and the D.C. establishment, one would think Cheney is history’s greatest hero, a political martyr who put “principle over party,” and who courageously stood up against Republican voters and their strong support of the party’s most recent president, support which Beltway insiders find unseemly.

Such simplistic and error-ridden sound bites work well in D.C., but not in the rest of America. CNN went to Wyoming to defend Cheney as “Upholding the rule of law, defending the Constitution,” referring to her work on the Jan. 6 show trial. Wyoming voter Brett Kupec made short shrift of the talking point. “If that was the ‘rule of law,’ why doesn’t [Trump] have a defense team in that courtroom?” Kupec said. “That ain’t the rule of law. That’s a kangaroo court. That’s not the Wyoming way.”

In fact, there’s nothing heroic about denying political enemies due process, or helping your constituents’ political opponents with their Stalinist show trials. Seething hatred of Trump is not a principle, or at least certainly not one worth defending at the expense of the republic and its health.

The references there are (obviously) to the January 6th Committee hearings, the first in American Congressional history in which the minority party was not allowed to select its own representatives. I repeat: the first in American history. The hearings were conducted as a trial, but their subject was permitted no defense. Cross-examination of witnesses was not allowed. It was, as Marshall says, a “Stalinist show trial,” and there was nothing heroic about Cheney’s participation in it.

Were she the principled heroine she’s being made out to be, she might have told Nancy Pelosi, “I applaud your important work in putting together a committee to get to the bottom of the Dread Tyrant Trump’s heinous coup attempt, but I cannot accept a role on that committee unless it is assigned to me by the majority leader of my own party, as has been the standard in this Congress for its entire history. And as loathsome as I find Trump, for these hearings to have any sense of fairness I cannot participate unless Trump is permitted to defend himself, offer evidence, and cross-examine witnesses.”

That would have been be principled.

But Liz Cheney was so consumed by her “world-famous” hatred for Trump that she considered it an end that would justify any means necessary.

The only principle at play was raw hatred.

Odio ergo sum: I hate therefore I am.

She didn’t have to embrace Trump to be principled. One can in fact be principled and despise Donald Trump. Hatred of Donald Trump does not in and of itself confer a magic aura of “principle” around the hater, any more than adoring Mother Theresa means you can’t be an unprincipled jerkface.

I agree with Marshall in the broad strokes of her assessment but I disagree completely with the idea that “seething hatred of Trump is not a principle.”

Of course it’s a principle.

It’s the only principle that’s been animating Democrats since 2016.

But hatred of Trump is only the current manifestation of a larger principle animating the Democratic Party, which is hatred itself.

In fact, the American left is powered almost exclusively by the twin engines of utopianism and hatred.

Only a few days ago, for example, Nancy Pelosi spoke out forcefully against Republican opposition to Biden’s Make Inflation Great Again bill:

How could they vote against lowering prescription drug costs? How could they vote against helping families with their health care costs? How can they vote against the planet, Mother Earth? Mother Earth gets angry from time to time, and this legislation will help us address all of that.

There are plenty of reasons to vote against any benefits or entitlements. Republicans have made those arguments and Pelosi could have addressed them on the merits. For example, she could have challenged the belief that benefits and entitlements are costly and a period of high inflation is not the optimal time to expand government largesse. That’s a legitimate reason to oppose lowering prescription drug costs (which can also be read as “increasing government subsidies for prescription drugs”). How would Pelosi counter them?

I mean, if our family held a vote on whether we should take a two-week vacation in Thailand next week, Herself and I would vote strongly against it. How could we vote against our own children’s joy? Because we understand our household finances and our professional obligations.

Pelosi didn’t address arguments: she just threw out her smears and moved on.

That’s how the Democratic twin-engines work: if you don’t buy into their pie-in-the-sky utopianism, you become a target of their hatred. (And makes mother earth so very, very angry.)

That’s how they attack Republicans on virtually every issue: we want to give you free stuff and build a perfect world of peace and joy, but Republicans won’t let us because they’re white supremacist neo-Nazi fascist bastard people who want to keep women barefoot and pregnant and want to put black people in chains and want to send homosexuals to concentration camps—and make Mother Earth very angry!

Donald Trump’s hard-won popularity with conservatives like myself came in large part from his refusal to indulge those delusions. Previous Republican presidential candidates had wasted enormous amounts of time and energy and political capital trying to counter the Democratic slimings, as though they were real arguments that needed to be addressed rationally.

“The Republican candidate wants to kill your grandparents and rob your children of their futures and burn down your house,” the Democrats would say.

“Good grief,” the accused candidate would say, “I’m not such a bad guy, let me try to clarify things with a gentle and reassuring tone….”

Or: “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”

They never rose their voices. They never got angry. They tried to be reasonable.

But that never worked because nothing could work. The Democrats weren’t making arguments, they were carpet-bombing with odium and strafing with contempt. Because Democrats don’t run against Republicans, they run against enemies.

Defending himself against insinuations that his Mormon religion made him somehow misogynist, Mitt Romney (probably the most decent man to run for president in living memory) tried to make the case that he had always worked hard to promote women in politics, and he had made an extra effort to get women in his gubernatorial cabinet. He made an off-hand reference to whole binders overflowing with the CVs of highly-qualified women that he’d solicited from women’s business groups.

And the left glommed onto his phrasing, and for weeks all we heard was how Romney had “binders full of women.” Yuk, yuk!

Not once did he respond to that stupidity with the contempt it deserved. He tried to rise above it, which is to say he mostly ignored it, which is he to say he let the left beat his reputation black and blue with their hatred and their lies.

We also learned that he strapped the family dog to the roof his car and poisoned his employees, and we heard murmurs about his secret hopes of establishing a Mormon theocracy in America.

Neither he nor his campaign pushed back effectively against any of it.

Any surprise he lost?

So when Trump became the clear front-runner in the 2016 campaign, the Democrats got right to work. The engine of hatred growled to life and begin spewing its corrosive lies and rumors and phony dossiers compiled by Democratic partisans, and… and a funny thing happened.

Trump didn’t hold meek press conferences to address the lies, disprove the rumors, or justify himself in any way.

“Fuck that noise,” Trump said, “those people are insane, they’re crazy, they’re crooked liars. Who the hell are they to talk, those bitchy little hypocritical bastards?”

(I paraphrase.)

He emanated angry indignation instead of feckless conciliation. It wasn’t pretty but it was long overdue.

The Democrats weren’t prepared for that and that’s why they lost.

Hence the four year whirlwind that finally achieved enough cyclonic force to drive Trump out of office.

Liz Cheney had absolutely nothing to offer Wyoming Republicans other than her all-consuming hatred.

But if that was all they wanted they’d have registered as Democrats.