House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has scheduled the public flogging of Liz Cheney for sometime tomorrow afternoon. Congresswoman Cheney (R-WY), is expected to be driven from her position as the third-ranking Republican in the House for the Great Apostasy of Truth: She won’t embrace the Big Lie that unites the Republican Party in these waning days of Donald Trump.
You all know the story, for sure: After having gutted most foundational conservative policy positions, the only remaining power center in the Republican Party is the Phantom of Mar-a-Lago. His entire focus, being an ex-President and all, is how unjustly the world has treated him — and he’s decided the way to rectify that injustice is by overturning the legitimate election of November 2020. To do so, he’s turned Right Wing media into an echo chamber of lies, and recruited, seemingly, about 85% of the party he heads to publicly embrace a potentially civilization-ending falsehood. You know, like he normally does.
Then there’s Liz Cheney, standing up like some Neocon Antigone to his Crazy-ass Creon, and the party just can’t have that. It seems that in the modern GOP, you don’t have to be a hardshell conservative, you just have to be a liar.
In a way, there’s not much to comment upon. It’s surely not worth the hours of coverage in the major media, and I struggle to see the point of digging too much further into it here. The GOP can’t abide the truth, full stop. That’s a very short story.
Yet, there is one hanging, metaphorical thread that has been calling out — and I can’t let it go. To wit, have any of you noticed just how much this whole thing looks like a gang initiation?
I’m no expert. I’ve never been in a gang. My connection with hood life is either tangential through friends, or even more distanced through movies and TV. Still, from what I understand, there are two basic means of entry into whatever might be your local iteration of Murder, Incorporated: First, you’ve got ritual supplication, wherein the new members are sexually assaulted, humiliated, or beaten by the made members of the gang. That proves the new recruits are supplicants.
The second means of initiation is “blooding” and enemy. Sometimes it’s an assault on a prison guard or rival gang member, sometimes it’s outright murder. That second form of entry shows supplication, but it also creates a bond that is dangerous to break for the new initiate. At first blush, it just looks like violence for the sake of violence, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a way to ensure that the initiate won’t rat on the organization, as they’ve made themselves vulnerable by publicly committing a major, and often a capital, felony.
In my mind, we’re seeing both of those processes play out in the political world this week with the GOP. Kevin McCarthy, acting on orders from the Don Trump, Capo di tutti Capi, has gathered all the mealy suckups into a room, and now they’re gonna make them all kick the political head off of a recalcitrant member.
Doing so will be deeeeeeeeeeeply unpleasant for many of them. Remember, Liz Cheney is far more than some upstart new member from a swing district. She is the utter embodiment of the old GOP in every single way. Her pedigree — through her dad — goes back to the Nixon and Ford Administration, runs through Reagan and Bush the Elder, and resolves with pops serving as the shadow-President to a weak-brained fail-son. Moreover, she is as conservative as it gets on every single issue, and culturally you can’t get more yee-haw, NASCAR, country music than a Wyoming pioneer woman.
THAT is who the GOP caucus is being ordered to stomp in order to please the boss and to become “made members” of the new Trumpist Republican Party. After they’ve carried out the hit, and all reports are that they will, they’ll be “blooded” into the new crew. They will have proven their supplication to the boss, and their fingerprints will be all over the crime.
The hope of McCarthy and Trump, of course, is that this will stem the bleeding. They will have cut the head from the rebellious faction inside the party, and they’ll mount it on a pike in the cloakroom to frighten anyone else from attempting the same.
But what are they really going to win? Liz Cheney will continue to call out their lies, and Trump will still be out of power. All they will have accomplished is temporarily freezing their internal strife, but soon they’ll learn that gangs can’t rule with terror just once. It’s an ongoing process that demands new demonstrations of power by the boss over the flock to keep everyone in line. My very strong sense is that what Liz Cheney faces tomorrow will almost assuredly be Kevin McCarthy’s fate within the year.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer group of thugs.