Trump’s GOP is a Party of Snowflakes and Beta Males
The party’s patient careerists believe that swallowing their pride and sublimating their anger, opinions and even familial loyalties is the way to win the long game. It’s pathetic.
There’s a preacher down in Texas, a televangelist of sorts, named Mike Murdock. He has created a list of maxims he calls “Wisdom Keys”—and they just might help you understand how Donald Trump took over the Republican Party. One of the keys is this: “What you can tolerate, you cannot change.” Like many of Murdock’s keys, this is a truism. We pretty much do get what we’re willing to put up with.
This is true in politics (he cites Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat) and in our personal lives (he cites someone who stays with an abusive spouse—or parents who permit their children to disrespect them). Murdock doesn’t say this outright, but I’d argue it’s also the reason Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party.
Republican politicians are willing to tolerate him. They’re willing to put up with him. That’s it. Period. And this says as much about them as it does about him. Today’s GOP is full of patient careerists who (amazingly) are too tolerant. They believe that swallowing their pride and sublimating their anger, opinions, and even familial loyalties is the way to win the long game.
Just this week, we saw a prime example when Rep. Greg Pence, the brother of Mike Pence, opposed the bipartisan commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection that might very well have killed his brother. In case you’ve forgotten, a violent mob chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” and “Where is Pence?” breached the Capitol, precisely to stop Trump’s vice president from doing his constitutionally mandated duty and certifying the 2020 election Trump had lost.
The mob had been summoned by Trump, who, moments earlier at a “Stop The Steal” rally, had said, “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing… Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” Later, while the mob was inside the building, Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution…” Luckily, Pence and his family were spirited away by the Secret Service, but that was not a foregone conclusion.
Not only did Rep. Pence oppose the bipartisan commission, but he also attacked “Hanging Judge Nancy Pelosi” for being “hellbent on pushing her version of partisan justice complete with a hand-picked jury that will carry out her pre-determined political execution of Donald Trump…” That’s right, Greg Pence was more outraged about the metaphorical attempted “hanging” and “execution” of Donald Trump than the literal attempted “hanging” and “execution” of his own brother.
What do you do with people like this? Recruit them for the Republican Party, where they will fit right in. After all, it’s a party full of loyal best friends—like John McCain’s best friend (Meghan McCain even called him “Uncle”), Lindsey Graham, who bows down to the man who said McCain wasn’t a hero because he got captured as a P.O.W. It’s the party of George P. Bush, the Texas Land Commissioner who just endorsed a Trump 2024 bid, despite Trump calling for his uncle’s impeachment, and branding his dad “low-energy Jeb” and calling his dad an “embarrassment to his family.” And it’s the party of Ted Cruz, who supports Trump despite Trump implying Cruz’s wife is ugly—and alleging that Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.
The big question is: Why do they tolerate Trump? Why doesn’t their primal desire for pride and honor and dignity ever kick in?
Life is full of pride-swallowing sacrifices. I’ve had to bite my tongue on occasion to stay gainfully employed (and married, for that matter). But here’s the thing: All bets are off the first time my boss publicly insults my wife—or tries to have my family member murdered by a violent mob. And here’s the other thing: If you’re an elected official, Donald Trump isn’t your boss.
I appreciate the evolved notion that we should not be captives of our anger and emotions: This is why Sonny Corleone died in that tollbooth. Ironically, though—as was the case in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot—the initial Republican response is usually the right one. That’s because it’s sort of hard to overreact to an insurrection. When it comes to Trump, the pattern is for Republicans to start out with the right response, only to eventually evolve toward a more reasonable, moderate, prudent, and pathetic position.
Call me romantic, but I miss the days when insulting someone’s honor, country, or (especially) kin would evoke a decidedly more visceral response than the muted tones these Republican eunuchs are showing Trump. “But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”
I’m old enough to remember when Zell Miller said to Chris Matthews, “I wish we lived in the days where you could challenge a person to a duel.” I’m not suggesting we settle our differences with physical violence, but today’s Republican response to Trump’s provocations reminds me more of Michael Dukakis’s bloodless, passionless, clinical, response to an outrageous debate question about whether he would support the death penalty if his wife was raped and murdered (the Saturday Night Live spoof featured Jon Lovitz as Dukakis, deadpanning, “I apologize for flying off the handle. I’m just sorry my kids had to see me like this”).
While sophisticated liberal elites might count to ten before raising their voice, cowboy conservatives with gun racks in their pickups used to be a bit more, shall we say, independent and proactive.
The Republican Party says it wants to be a working man’s party, but this feels more like wine than beer to me. The only John Wayne they have left is Donald Trump. He’s the alpha male, and the betas all cower before him. What we’re left with is a GOP full of neutered opportunists—snowflakes paying their dues, biting their tongues, and hoping to retire with a gold watch.