The GOP Is Now The Party Of The Big Lie
The price of admission to being a Republican today is believing that the 2020 election is stolen. Nothing else matters.
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality of American politics. If someone sent you this email - or you are a free subscriber, and you’d like to become a paid subscriber - you can sign up here. Your support would be greatly appreciated!
It’s not often that I find myself in agreement with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but apparently, there’s a first for everything.
On Tuesday, McCarthy was caught on a hot mic telling Fox News’s Steve Doocy that he’s lost confidence in Rep. Liz Cheney, the number 3 ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. "I think she's got real problems," McCarthy told Doocy. "I've had it with ... I've had it with her. You know, I've lost confidence ... Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place."
McCarthy is right about this. Cheney’s problems are real, she is almost certainly going to be pushed out of her leadership position, and he’s rightfully lost confidence in her.
Cheney has for several months now repeated the fact that the 2020 election was legitimate and former President Trump is lying about it being stolen. On Monday, she told a meeting of conservative scholars and donors that the “notion the election is stolen … is poison in the bloodstream of our democracy.” According to Cheney, "We can't whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump's big lie. It is a threat to democracy.”
This position puts her out distinctly out of step with the Republican Party and the members of the GOP House caucus - a majority of whom voted against certifying the 2020 election. Indeed, Cheney’s spokesperson Jeremy Adler put the issue in stark relief, telling Axios, “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue."
He’s right, of course. To be a Republican in good standing in 2021 means endorsing Trump’s claims about 2020 election fraud. An unwillingness to do that makes it virtually impossible to be a Republican officeholder today.
For example, watch this interview with Paris Dennard, spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, as he refuses to say, after being asked NINE TIMES, if the 2020 election was legitimately decided.
Here’s a clip of milquetoast Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, also refusing to say that Joe Biden is the legitimately elected president.
Keep in mind that Barrasso voted in January to certify the 2020 election. Now he won’t publicly say that it was a free and fair vote.
To go back a bit further, here’s Steve Scalise, the number two Republican in the House, in February, refusing to say Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.
Again, I think Liz Cheney deserves enormous credit for speaking the truth, but McCarthy has every right to be annoyed with her. Along with the rest of the congressional Republican leadership, he has decided that they will embrace Donald Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. Even those who refuse to call the election stolen, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said they would still support Trump if he ran for president again in 2024 (Cheney has said that she doesn’t believe that the former president should be playing any role in the future of the party).
This is where the GOP is today. It’s the price of admission for being a Republican, and it’s one that Cheney is not willing to pay. Good for her. But it’s also time for her to step down and let a Republican member of Congress who is willing to tell the Big Lie to take her place. There are plenty such bootlickers to find.
Ted Cruz Is Pathetic
Remember when Donald Trump called Ted Cruz’s wife unattractive and suggested that his father played a role in the Kennedy assassination? Apparently, Ted Cruz does not.
Of course, I’m joking. Ted Cruz most certainly remembers this, but he’s obviously decided that enabling a narcissistic man-child who he almost certainly despises is more important than maintaining any shred of self-respect. So the GOP is not just a party that fully embraces the Big Lie. It is a party that has decided to fully enable the former president who instigated an insurrection on January 6 and is now continuing to undermine American democracy.
What I’m Watching
Along with Truth and Consequences contributor Ian Zimmerman I have embarked on a new film watching binge - 30 Days of Brian De Pal-MAY. Quite simply, we’re going to watch a whole bunch of Brian De Palma films this month.
So far, we’ve watched 1981’s “Blow Out,” which is a masterpiece of suspense film-making. Though it borrows heavily from Alfred Hitchcock's movies, it is a uniquely De Palma film with the repeated use of split screens, long tracking shots, and split diopter shots. Here’s a good explanation of what that last term means, and below is a video of the 15 split diopter shots in “Blow Out.”
Like many of DePalma’s films, the plot is convoluted, the acting is just ok, and there is a streak of nihilism, especially the ending, which even 40 years later is a gut punch. Still, this is a great movie, which combines the realism - and conspiracy theorizing - of 70s American film-making (even though it came out in 1981) with bravura film-making techniques.
Next, we watched the little-known but cult classic “Femme Fatale.” Again, De Palma combines mediocre acting (the stars are Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Antonio Banderas) and a convoluted plot but layers it with his patented film-making tics. And it works! Virtually every scene in the movie is an opportunity for De Palma to show off his directorial techniques and mastery of the medium. The opening tracking shot, which draws back from a television screen on which the classic “Double Indemnity” is playing, is brilliant. A later tracking shot that shows Banderas on a Paris street and then pulls back into an apartment as he arrives at the door moments later is extraordinary. The film may not make lots of sense - and the ending is confusing - but it’s a sumptuous visual feast.
Finally, last night we watched the 1987 classic “The Untouchables,” and it pains me to say this, but that’s an awful film. Before I fired it up, I asked on Twitter whether it’s possible for any film starring Kevin Costner to be good. The answer, based on this trainwreck, is no. Costner is simply awful. The man can’t act, and he drags down the entire film. But that’s only of the film’s problems. The score is maudlin and overwrought; the script (amazingly written by David Mamet) is hacky and uninspired. Except for the famous train station scene (which is excellent), there are none of the inspired filmmaking elements for which De Palma is so well-known. Sean Conney is perhaps the only saving grace for a film that has not aged well.
If you have any suggestions for what we should watch next, leave them in the comments below. We’re watching again tonight so follow on Twitter (@speechboy71) if you’d like to join.
These days, one of my favorite newsletters is Greg Mitchell’s “Between Rock and a Hard Place.” I highly recommend subscribing. From today’s newsletter, I came across this wonderful version of the Gram Parsons’ song “Juanita” performed by Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow.
I can’t post just one Gram Parsons song, so here’s Gillian Welch and David Rawlings performing “Hickory Wind.”
Here’s the man himself doing “In My Hour of Darkness.”
Finally, here’s a personal favorite of mine: Parsons with the Burrito Brothers performing a countrified version of the BeeGees “To Love Somebody.”
Thanks for the Parsons! One of my favorite albums is Emmy Lou's tribute (with lots of great contributions, of course) to him - "Return of the Grievous Angel"
Phantom of the Paradise is a bonkers DePalma film. I used to host a bad movie marathon in law school and this was one of our favorites (bad in an entertaining way).