(CNN)On one side of the country, legacy Republicans were agonizing about what their party should be. On the other, Donald Trump’s diehards were revealing what it already is.
At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California Thursday night, ex-House Speaker Paul Ryan wrestled — in the spiritual shadow of the commander-in-chief best known as a scourge of totalitarianism — with what the GOP should stand for.
But Senate Republicans are answering for him, gearing up to use their first successful legislative filibuster of the Biden administration to kill a bipartisan commission into ex-President Trump’s insurrection — the party’s latest rebuke to democracy. The vote, which could take place Friday after Republicans bogged down the floor schedule over a separate bill on enhancing US competitiveness with China, will again show that the GOP stands for Trump over truth.
In another sign of the authoritarian fever gripping the Gipper’s now unrecognizable party, two of Trump’s populist proteges, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, rolled their electoral lie-promoting “America First” tour into Georgia. Both took the stage clouded in controversy. Greene, a freshman from the Peach State, is defiant after comparing Capitol Hill mask rules to the Holocaust. Her Florida colleague is facing a probe into alleged sex trafficking that he denies. Both used their speeches to promote lies about the 2020 election.
Events on Thursday were yet another sign that while Trump may have left Washington in disgrace after an unprecedented attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power, his influence still dominates his party.
Even after vigorously condemning Trump’s incitement of the mob that invaded the Capitol on January 6, Senate GOP Minority leader Mitch McConnell put intense pressure on his colleagues to kill off the commission, CNN reported.
The Kentucky Republican argued that there was no indication that a neutral panel would uncover any more facts about the January 6 attack on the Capitol, as Trump beseeched his supporters to disrupt the vote certifying his election loss. McConnell described the plan as “a purely political exercise.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans were against the commission “because they fear it might upset Donald Trump and their midterm messaging.” The New York Democrat’s critique wasn’t far off. Some members of the Senate GOP leadership had candidly admitted that they feared that the commission, agreed to in a bipartisan deal in the House, would overshadow their 2022 campaign to seize back both chambers.
The use of the filibuster to prevent Schumer bringing up the bill for debate would show that the GOP doesn’t even want to talk about January 6 — let alone try to find out what happened.
The party leadership turned against the commission after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has anchored his conference to Trump, disowned the compromise after Trump demanded he and McConnell oppose it.
The dynamics in the Senate underscored the bargain that authentic Reaganite conservatives have made with Trump, a leader who flouts much of the Great Communicator’s ideology but has a stranglehold on the party’s base.
It was yet another sign that the omnipotent shadow of Trump looms large over the party and has effectively replaced the aura of Reagan, whose influence had magical allure long after he left office in 1989 and died in 2004.
‘What should the Republican Party stand for?’
Ryan, in the days before Trumpism, was once seen as the future of his party, an intellectual but avuncular conservative and policy standard bearer for Reagan’s principles of small government, low taxes and opposition to liberalism.
He was launching a speaker series at the Reagan library entitled a “Time for Choosing” — a reference to the 40th President’s seminal 1964 speech that laid the foundations for modern conservatism and his own tilts at the White House.
According to the Reaga
Go To The SourceRead More