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September 1, 2023

New Guys Are Like the Old Guys

The Trump Establishment is no different from the pre-Trump Establishment. It’s all grifting off promises never meant to be fulfilled.

Back before former President Donald Trump’s wing of the party took over the establishment, one of the issues that provoked the anti-establishment conservatives to back Trump’s coup of the party was the nonstop promise-making of the establishment that the establishment never intended to keep.

They promised to repeal Obamacare. They did not. They blamed Sen. John McCain for being the sole obstacle, but how many of them knew they could vote for repeal and rely on McCain to scuttle it?

They promised to cut spending. They only did this when conservative Freedom Caucus members forced reconciliation. As soon as they could, they scrapped reconciliation and went back to a spending binge. Republicans even reintroduced earmarks.

They promised to fight and never did.

They’d fundraise on their plans to fight for life; then they would fund Planned Parenthood. They’d fundraise on their plans to repeal Obamacare, then make it more complicated. They’d fundraise on fighting the EPA, then claim their hands were tied and there was nothing they could do.

People had enough and decided they would rather burn down the party than hear more lies and promises prepared to be broken.

So, it is more than a little ironic that the present Trumpian establishment is now embracing the same strategy — make bold promises, fundraise, and blame everyone else when they cannot execute and break their promises.

In Georgia, state Sen. Colton Moore and the Georgia Freedom Caucus, an entity I generally support, are behaving just like the establishment — promising action without any plan. They will fire, then aim.

Moore is bullying his fellow legislative Republicans to sign a letter calling for a special session of the state legislature to find a way to oust Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis. That sounds good, except it is impossible. The Republicans would need a three-fifths majority, which they do not have.

Moore’s agitation, amplified by the Georgia Freedom Caucus, is getting members harassed by Trump supporters nationwide who do not realize he cannot pull off what he wants even if every Republican supports his plan.

The fallback has been to claim that signing the letter is just a show of support.

Except we have been down this road many times with the establishment in the past. If all the Republicans sign on to the plan, many voters will wonder why exactly the GOP is not doing anything. These voters do not understand or care about the fine print that reads, “The GOP majority lacks the votes to call a special session.”

The stunt will rile up and agitate a lot of people who do not understand the nuances of Georgia’s constitution. It is like the people demanding Gov. Brian Kemp do something when there is no provision in the Georgia constitution or laws that give him the power to just do something.

Even, of all people, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is mocking Moore and the Georgia Freedom Caucus’s effort. She points out that Republicans lack the votes to impeach Willis or even to call a special session to investigate her.

Nationally, however, voters do not know. They are being whipped into a frenzy. The only person who benefits is Colton Moore, who is fundraising off the whole endeavor that he knows is doomed to fail.

In the meantime, his constituents will suffer because he is burning so many bridges with his colleagues that he will be hard-pressed to take care of his district’s needs when any legislation he adds his name to will be dead on arrival.

The Trump Establishment is no different from the pre-Trump Establishment. It’s all grifting off promises never meant to be fulfilled, leaving many angry people who didn’t know not to send money. They can blame Brian Kemp. They can blame Republicans nationally who they say are Never Trump. But the reality is they had no plan to begin with and now seek fundraising while heaping blame. We saw the pre-Trump Republican establishment play this game repeatedly.

The grift needs to be purged. Those demanding actions they know will not actually happen need to be ignored. The Republicans need to do better.


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