- - Thursday, December 26, 2019

Hell hath no fury like a RINO Republican strategist scorned.

That, regrettably, is the takeaway from “We Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated,” a smug, sanctimonious op-ed column penned by a quartet of nominal Republicans published Dec. 17 in The New York Times.

That headline is too long for a campaign bumper sticker, so may we respectfully suggest a shorter version, in the interest of truth in advertising: “Damn the Consequences, Vote Democratic.”

That would be the net effect of what “Never Trumper” Republican operatives George Conway III, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson advocated in their column, in which they announced the formation of a super PAC, the Lincoln Project, dedicated to denying President Trump re-election in November.

Self-righteously wrapping themselves in the flag, the four write that defeating Mr. Trump “transcends partisanship” and is necessary to “stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character.”



Out of one side of their mouths, Messrs. Conway, Schmidt, Weaver and Wilson insist that “we [remain] broadly conservative in our politics and outlooks” and that “our many policy differences with national Democrats remain.” But out of the other side of their mouths they say their aim is to persuade “enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents” to defeat not only Mr. Trump, but also congressional Republicans, who they say have enabled and abetted the president’s supposed violations of the U.S. Constitution — “even if that means Democratic control of the Senate and an expanded Democratic majority in the House.”

To characterize that as political schizophrenia may well be the understatement of the year. It’s clear they hate Mr. Trump with the fire of 1,000 suns — so much so, apparently, that it doesn’t even matter to them who the Democrats nominate as his November opponent.

The prospect of a ruling triumvirate of President Elizabeth Warren (or President Bernie Sanders, or whoever), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — and what that would portend in the way of radical left-wing public policies — doesn’t enter their equation. Nor does it appear to give the backers of the Lincoln Project any pause.

As such, their New York Times op-ed left unspoken the likely consequences of full Democratic control of both the White House and Congress. The last time Democrats ran everything, in 2009 and 2010, they gave us Obamacare, a nearly $1 trillion economic-stimulus boondoggle, and a wasteful and counterproductive Cash for Clunkers program, among other things.

All of that seems almost centrist, however, compared with what the American people could expect from a newly empowered Democratic Party, which has lurched headlong to the left in the decade since: Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, uncontrolled open-borders immigration, taxpayer-funded abortion, the full LGBTQ agenda, the evisceration of the Second Amendment, an end to school choice, massive tax increases, and two or three more Ruth Bader Ginsburgs on the U.S. Supreme Court.

For these failed Republican operatives from the McCain-Romney wing of the party — who clearly resent being on the outside looking in — all of that is a wholly acceptable trade-off in exchange for getting rid of Mr. Trump, whose bombast, bluster and sometimes boorish behavior they view as an existential threat to the country as we know it.

In the process, they would also sacrifice a second term in which Mr. Trump could build on a remarkable record of a booming economy that has given us historically low unemployment rates and historic highs in the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500.

If “It’s the economy, Stupid,” the Lincoln Project has its work cut out for it when polls show Mr. Trump continues to enjoy 90-plus percent job approval among Republican voters.

Tim Murtaugh, communications director for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, correctly characterized those behind the Lincoln Project as a “pathetic little club of irrelevant and faux ‘Republicans’ who are upset that they’ve lost all of their power and influence inside the Republican Party.”

Kellyanne Conway — a top Trump adviser whose husband is nonetheless one of those “Never Trumpers” — concurred with Mr. Murtaugh’s assessment, dismissing them as a gaggle of failed campaign managers who never got a candidate elected to the White House. “I’m sure that hurts very much,” she said. “But they never really accommodated the growing Republican Party and understood how to beat Democrats, and we did.”

George Conway, in a fit of hyperbole, calls Mr. Trump “a cancer on the presidency,” but it’s the rule-or-ruin mentality of these RINOs that needs to be surgically excised from the body politic.

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