COLORADO SPRINGS, May 6, 2016 – Former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney and longtime Republican strategist Mary Matalin dropped a bomb into the middle of an interview with Bloomberg Politics.
She’s changed her party affiliation to the Libertarian Party. “I’m a never Hillary and I’m a provisional Trump,” she explained.
Matalin’s former boss, Vice President Dick Cheney today announced that he will support Donald Trump’s candidacy.
When questioners tried to tag her displeasure directly to the presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump, she echoed many in the Republican Party, who’ve had it up to here with their party’s failures to deliver conservative values after having been the recipients of their electorate’s support at the voting booths.
Before liberal spinners inside and outside the mainstream media adopt Matalin’s defection to add to their less than transparent case against Trump, they might credit Matalin with more depth than holding an impetuous temper tantrum of “Never Trump.” Matalin’s long history of supporting conservatism means she’s not some fair-weather prognosticator.
She’s as serious as a train wreck.
And so is the recent state of conservatism in Washington. After several ground swell Republican votes sending elected representative back to Washington to shred Obama’s liberal agenda, there’s been instead timidity and go-along-to-get-along actions that culminated in Speaker-Elect Paul Ryan’s rubber stamping of a national budget that will explode the $18 trillion national debt by $1.1 trillion.
Through it all, Matalin’s been watching the trashing of voters’ wishes as she and her fellow Republicans have been treated as so many potted plants by the very representatives they sent to Washington to clean up the mess. So, forgive these much-maligned Republicans for skewing far right in reaction in a sort of last ditch stand against the unchecked creeping socialism that’s surrounding them.
In college, high school and NBA basketball, fans who attempt to influence the game by cheering and chanting for their team have been dubbed “the sixth man.” The fan section is referred to as the “sixth man” because they are considered the sixth “player” of their basketball team. So, too, has Mary Matalin been a one-woman cheering squad for conservative values.
For the Republican Party, a brand unto itself, to lose its chief cheer leader is nothing short of a coup de grace. Already splitting apart due to, as many believe, its own actions reaching back many years, they now must pay the piper. Matalin is nothing more than the latest example of that come-uppance.
Samuel Warde, in a February 5 article posted on Liberal Sunite, a liberal online news magazine, summarized “8 Stunning Failures of the New GOP Congress.””
The article provides a convenient jumping off point for understanding the depth of Matalin’s decision. Long before Donald Trump came along, the seeds of discontent based on Republican failures were sown.
Warde’s list includes:
- The failure to even take a vote on a proposed abortion ban. Several Republican congresswomen removed their support for the proposed 20-week abortion ban, causing GOP leaders to cancel the vote.
- The failure to vote against the “settled science” of climate change, as announced by the president. The U.S. Senate voted 98-1 that climate change ‘is not a hoax.’ The vote came coincident with Republican efforts to get the Keystone Pipeline bill passed.
- The failure to get the Keystone Pipeline signed into law and Obama’s State of the Union smack down. President Obama said: Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure – modern ports, and stronger trains and the fastest Internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come. (Applause.) Let’s do it. Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done. (Applause.)
- Republican failure to block Obama’s immigration actions. As reported by The Washington Post, Republicans tried to pass a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and repeal President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. Senate Democrats filibustered it, and in its current form it’s dead.
As the Washington Post reported,“There is also the pesky fact that Obama will never sign off on any bill undoing those actions, and better yet – the House Appropriations Committee actually told the Repubs (sic) in November that it would be absolutely ‘impossible’ to defund Obama’s executive order on immigration by using a government spending bill. They simply cannot cut off the money needed for Obama’s plan because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) which is the primary agency responsible for implementing the President’s executive order, is actually totally funded by user fees.”
The Post concluded,
“That means that no matter what sort of defunding bill that the GOP tries to pass, the CIS would still continue to collect money and carry out their business at hand. As a matter of fact, even if the Republicans decided to force another government shutdown over this issue, the CIS would be completely unaffected.”
- The ongoing failure to defund Obamacare and the $112 + million price tag for their failed votes. Quoting The Washington Post again, “The House took its 56th vote to repeal Obamacare, and as Dana Milbank reports, even Republicans themselves can’t get excited about that. ‘For much of the debate Tuesday afternoon, no more than a dozen seats were occupied on the pro-repeal side of the House. More than once, the GOP had nobody available to speak.”
- The deregulation of restaurants requiring hand-washing after restroom breaks. From the serious to the comedic! New GOP star Senator Thorn Tillis (R-NC) in an effort to try to lift regulatory burdens on businesses imposed by the Obama regime, actually proposed they no longer must mandate that their employees wash their hands after using the washroom!
- John Boehner’s invitation for Netanyahu to speak before Congress and Forbes Magazine’s subsequent criticism. Warde ends his list with this: “In a rare attack on this magnitude on the controversial Speaker of the House, Forbes author Rick Ungar wrote, in part, that ‘Considering that Speaker Boehner has failed to accomplish anything of note during his Speakership, I can only wonder how it must feel to have his legacy be his effort to disgrace the American President in the effort to bolster the political chances of a foreign leader.’
There is also the recent revelation that key high-ranking members of the DNC are considering skipping Netanyahu’s speech.”
- As NPR reported on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a real problem with Ted Cruz. On Tuesday a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security failed in the Senate due to its inclusion of language seeking to block the president’s executive actions on immigration. The department’s budget runs on on February 27, leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a corner.To further complicate matters, “potential presidential candidate Ted Cruz insists DHS not get any money unless Republicans get to undo the president’s immigration policies. That places McConnell in a dilemma — how does he placate Cruz and his allies while avoiding a shutdown of the agency?”
The emergence of the Trump rising star must be accompanied by the steady presence of a Grand Old Party on the ascendant.
Stop! Liberal and ultra-conservative commentators alike! Before you jump to your pre-ordained and packaged conclusions, note that Mary Matalin is no Johnny-come-lately critic of her former party. She’s a patriot and a woman with solid White House policy experience. She’s married to her counterpart, James Carville, noted Clinton War Room chief.
Therefore, she knows whereof she speaks. She’s been on all sides of the beast that is “official Washington.”
Give Matalin the consideration to clarify her thought processes vis-à-vis Donald Trump. She continued that “she likes Trump’s ‘attitude’ and ‘strategic chutzpah.’ I like that he had the gall to put macro messaging over micro targeting, and I like what I know about his economic policy.”
Any legitimate critic who is considering throwing her estimable support to the next president of the United States will give that candidate the consideration of helpful criticism. It was in that vein that Matalin continued her interview.
“I just don’t know enough. I think he could not only win, he would win in [a] landslide if he could stop his high school boy antics with women.
If Trump cannot overcome that, he’s going to force suburban women to Hillary. I think he can peel off some African-Americans, some nontraditional, millennial voters if he runs the jobs message. I think he would be great if he reins it in a little bit.”
In changing her affiliation to the Libertarian Party Thursday, Matalin insisted that does not mean she will not vote for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton. “I’m a never Hillary and I’m a provisional Trump,” Matalin cautiously concluded.
The currents and vicissitudes within the Republican ranks that have attended this past contentious and heated primary season are not signs of decay within the party. They represent instead a reformation and a coming to terms by party faithful. What Republicans, and now certain lapsed Republicans such as Matalin, are delivering is a report card to the established Republicans: “You have failed us. You have failed us time and again. “
The emergence of the Trump rising star must be accompanied by the steady presence of a Grand Old Party on the ascendant. The reformation must meet the upstart and his supporters. The GOP can no longer be Democrat-Light. They have been handed a new road on a silver platter.
In Trump, they have a man who is a nationalist, a loyal American, a lover of legal immigrants, and a man who has, as Matalin, seen the cracks and fissures in his party. As Matalin takes her hiatus from the Republican family, Trump aims to help it along from the inside.
Trump and Matalin are both serious Americans. We all would do well to listen to both of them.
Because they both have plenty to say.