'Destroying' the GOP is the only way to 'save it' from the 'dystopian hellscape of White supremacy': columnist

'Destroying' the GOP is the only way to 'save it' from the 'dystopian hellscape of White supremacy': columnist

Back in November 2012 — after President Barack Obama was reelected — liberal Washington Post opinion columnist Eugene Robinson argued that extremism in the Republican Party was bad for Democrats because liberals and progressives need sane, rational, intellectual conservatives they can debate with. Robinson still feels that way in 2021, only now, extremists have even more influence in the GOP. And in a February 1 column, Robinson laments that "today's dangerously unhinged GOP" is so far to the right that the United States "is going to have to destroy the Republican Party to save it."

"Parties reform and rebuild themselves after suffering massive, scorched-earth defeats," Robinson explains. "Since Republicans decided to follow Donald Trump and Fox News into the dystopian hellscape of White supremacy, paranoid conspiracy theory and know-nothing rejection of science, they have lost control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. Yet it has become obvious that those defeats are not nearly enough."

Although Robinson is a liberal, his arguments about the state of the GOP in 2021 are quite similar to what the Never Trump conservatives of the Lincoln Project have been saying — although he has different motivations. Robinson is trying to help the liberal cause, stressing that liberalism is healthier when liberals have can vigorous but polite debates with conservatives; The Lincoln Project believe that Trumpism has been disastrous for conservatism and the Republican Party.

But one thing Robinson and Never Trumpers certainly agree on is that when so many Republicans don't consider violent insurrection an impeachable offense, there is a major problem within the GOP.

"You might think the violent and deadly January 6 insurrection at the Capitol — an unprecedented attack on our democracy, incited by (former President Donald) Trump's election-fraud big lie — would snap the GOP back into reality," Robinson laments. "Unbelievably, though, you would be wrong. If anything, the Party is heading deeper into the wilderness."

Robinson continues, "Look at how the two most powerful Republicans left in Washington behaved last week. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to bend the knee to Trump. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) voted to question whether Trump's coming impeachment trial is even constitutional."

Recently, far-right Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has been lambasted by Democrats as well as Never Trumpers for everything from advocating the murder of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory to claiming that on 9/11, al-Qaeda terrorists didn't really fly a hijacked airplane into the Pentagon. And yet, despite her well-documented record of extremism, House Republicans assigned Greene to the House Education Committee.

"No one should have any doubt: the GOP bears no resemblance to the party of Abraham Lincoln," Robinson argues. "It is now the party of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who believes in the hallucinatory QAnon conspiracy theory, who has suggested that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a child murderer and who thinks 2018's California wildfires may have been ignited by a giant space-based laser somehow controlled by Jews. Also, high-speed rail is involved somehow."

Robinson continues, "Do mainstream Republicans such as McCarthy and McConnell believe such nonsense? No, but down by only 10 votes in the House and with a tied Senate, they do believe they are within striking range of regaining control of both the House and the Senate in next year's midterm election, and they are choosing power — or its prospect — over principle. For the sake of their Party and the nation, those hopes must be utterly dashed."

On November 15, 2012, Robinson wrote, "Democratic candidates shouldn't win by default, and neither should progressive ideas. A smart, creative, reality-based conservative movement is ultimately good for the liberal cause — and good for the country." But instead of becoming more reasonable as Robinson hoped, the GOP became thoroughly Trumpified. And even Rep. Liz Cheney, the arch-conservative daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is now too liberal for her party.

Rep. Cheney is being slammed as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) by far-right wingnuts for voting to impeach Trump. And all that animosity for Rep. Cheney, as Robinson sees it, is a classic example of how divorced from reality so many Republicans are in 2021.

"GOP House members who had the integrity to vote for impeachment, such as Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Tom Rice of South Carolina, are under withering attack from their fellow Republicans," Robinson writes. "The warning to Republican senators is explicit: vote to convict Trump — and, effectively, purge him from the Party — at your own peril. The GOP won't or can't reform itself. So, we must help the Party by crushing it."

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