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FILE – In this Dec. 1, 2010 file photo, former Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with President Barack Obama, in the Oval Office at the White in Washington. Powell is declining to renew the endorsement he gave Barack Obama four years ago, when he called Obama “a transformational figure.” Pressed in a network interview to say whether he’s backing Obama, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff demurred Tuesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the kind when you wake up in the morning, roll out of bed and the first thought that came to your mind is “I wonder what Mitt Romney and Colin Powell would want me to do today?” I didn’t think so. But, because the New York Times doesn’t believe in individuals, it believes in groups, and groups must have leaders (every time I read ‘black leaders’ and ‘Evangelical leaders’ I want to throw up, the black folks and the Evangelicals in my circle of acquaintances and friends and family don’t have leaders, they make up their own minds), it seems to think that it has stumbled upon a key weakness for President Trump in 2020.

It was one thing in 2016 for top Republicans to take a stand against Donald J. Trump for president: He wasn’t likely to win anyway, the thinking went, and there was no ongoing conservative governing agenda that would be endangered.

The 2020 campaign is different: Opposing the sitting president of your own party means putting policy priorities at risk, in this case appointing conservative judges, sustaining business-friendly regulations and cutting taxes — as well as incurring the volcanic wrath of Mr. Trump.

But, far sooner than they expected, growing numbers of prominent Republicans are debating how far to go in revealing that they won’t back his re-election — or might even vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee. They’re feeling a fresh urgency because of Mr. Trump’s incendiary response to the protests of police brutality, atop his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private discussions.

Former President George W. Bush won’t support the re-election of Mr. Trump, and Jeb Bush isn’t sure how he’ll vote, say people familiar with their thinking. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah won’t back Mr. Trump and is deliberating whether to again write in his wife, Ann, or cast another ballot this November. Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, is almost certain to support Mr. Biden but is unsure how public to be about it because one of her sons is eying a run for office.

And former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced on Sunday that he will vote for Mr. Biden, telling CNN that Mr. Trump “lies about things” and Republicans in Congress won’t hold him accountable. Mr. Powell, who voted for former President Barack Obama as well as Hillary Clinton, said he was close to Mr. Biden politically and socially and had worked with him for more than 35 years. “I’ll be voting for him,” he said.

This is all shocking and stunning to me. That the Vichy wing of the Republican party would vote for a Democrat is quite possibly the most shocking thing I’ve heard since some tried to convince me that Pope Francis was supposed to be Catholic.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think it is clear that the populist impulse birthed in the Tea Party movement of 2010 that ultimately elected Trump in 2016 is a direct result of the actions of men like Powell, and both Bushes, and McCain, and Romney. These were people who never really cared about working men and women and who owed their primary allegiance to the moneyed and the powerful. I never expected any of these people, who, at least on the national political stage, epitomize the happy losers who’ve allowed the left to utterly corrupt this country; people who, to paraphrase someone famous, love the  “salutations in the marketplace,” and care much, much more about the invitations to the right parties and the praise of the New York Times editorial page for being reasonable than they do for the direction of the nation, to vote for President Trump. They look at Trump’s personality and they look at his supporters, many of whom shop at ::gasp ::shudder WalMart, and can’t imagine making common cause.

There is a lot about Trump’s persona that I don’t like. I wouldn’t want my son to grow up to be like him, apart from being wealthy and marrying a supermodel who seems to be a class act as a person…though I’d want him to limit the whole marriage thing to once. But President Trump has done more to restore credibility to the GOP and to move conservatism forward in less than four years that George Bush, a man I generally admire, did in eight. Bush could’ve defunded Planned Parenthood. Bush could’ve controlled illegal immigration. Bush could’ve reined in the EPA. Bush could’ve acted to remove the regulatory burden from the US economy. Trump will never deliberately throw an election the way that John McCain and Mitt Romney did for fear of being called bad names. He may not always win but he doesn’t go away quietly and winning is important to him. On the cocktail circuit he doesn’t lick the as… I mean boots of people who liken him to Hitler and hobnob with them. I don’t know the state of Trump’s soul but I can tell you that we’ve never had a more forceful advocate for protecting religious liberty from the threat of the Godless Left than this president. In fact, had Mitt Romney or Colin Powell or George Bush endorsed President Trump, I’d be seriously reconsidering my support.

A digression. Back in 1969, Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch seemed to make a promise to use Irish military forces to intervene in Northern Ireland. Needless to say it didn’t happen but the Provisional IRA composed a nice little ditty in his honor (I have this song on an LP titled “No Go” which was recorded in “Free Derry” to raise money for the Provos…this was back in the day when you could find a tip jar for NORAID in basically any Irish bar and, yes, I plead guilty to sending money to what rapidly became a very brutal terrorist organization with a romantic legend and great music). I have it cued up to the pertinent part.

That is exactly the way I feel. I don’t care what Cindy McCain or George Bush or Colin Powell or Mitt Romney do because I don’t give a good damn for their advice or opinions because I know they don’t give a damn for me and my family and they really don’t care what America looks like so long as they get the accolades of the ‘right’ people. They don’t see me as a free-born citizen who votes for people to represent my values. They see me as some kind of a serf voting for someone better than me to lead and instruct me. That isn’t how it works. It isn’t how it has ever worked with Americans.

What we’re seeing under Trump, especially if he is reelected, is the last gasp of the old order. The end of the time when the powerful partied and vacationed together and their political battles were little more that choreographed WWE matches for the rubes in the backcountry. The fact that these people are refusing to vote for Trump says in the way that no Trump campaign video ever can that Trump has delivered on his promises and the powers of the status quo are terrified of what a second Trump administration will do to their cozy little deal.

streiff
Managing Editor at RedState
Former infantry officer, CGSC grad and Army Operations Center alumnus.
RedState member since 2004.
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