What is Bill Weld, et al’s End Game?
It would be tempting to say former Massachusetts governor and nominal Republican candidate for president, Bill Weld made a complete fool of himself on Monday morning’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, but Weld has been doing that since he announced to run back in April, so Monday was not out of the ordinary. What did the liberal Republican say this time? Weld, who is running as the “sensible Republican” alleged that President Trump has committed treason and then reminded viewers that the only prescribed penalty for treason is death. This latest idiocy from Weld and those like him raise the question of what exactly is the end game here?
It is natural that Weld made these comments on Morning Joe. The number of Republicans and conservatives who take Weld and his fellow anti-Trump primary challengers seriously is infinitesimally small. Nobody takes them, or their even more silly “principled conservatives who will vote for socialists” allies seriously. Nobody, that is except for the news media. If you were to watch MSNBC or CNN you would think that the likes of Joe Scarborough, Ana Navarro, Jen Rubin, Max Boot, and Tom Nichols actually speak for some sizable chunk of Conservative America or that Conservative America is just dying to vote the liberal Bill Weld, Trump-like Joe Walsh, or Mark Sanford.
This minute fraction of the population has a massively over-inflated presence in the news media and so they have forced right-leaning Americans to at the very least acknowledge their existence. They clearly don’t like Trump and want to rid the Republican Party of Trumpism, but not every conservative is a MAGA-hat wearing cheerleader who is going to vote for Trump in 2020, so what exactly the point of these vanity primary campaigns or the insistence that conservatives must vote for Democrats to preserve conservatism?
Weld accuses the president of destroying norms and institutions and then says the president committed treason and implies he should be executed. Weld and Morning Joe argue that the Constitution’s system of separation of powers and checks and balances was designed to frustrate a demagogue like Trump. They themselves are the demagogues the Founders feared, showing why treason was the one crime the Founders took the time to actually define: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Weld can’t explain how, even if Trump is impeached and removed from office for corruption and abuse of power when it comes to this Joe and Hunter Biden story, that amounts to giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Which enemy was he comforting? Not only was this not about Russia. Even if it was, the United States is not at war with Russia as so Russia is not a formal enemy. Also, considering the president conducts foreign policy, it’s pretty much impossible for the president to commit treason. There’s no holy writ that says that Russia is this country’s eternal enemy or that the president cannot pursue rapprochement with or that Ukraine is entitled to military aid. Trump may be wrong, he may be corrupt, but that is not treasonous conduct worthy of execution.
Meanwhile the same crowd of self-styled principled conservatives says Trump is so dangerous to the republic, that can’t call a win, on judges for example, a win and that they will vote for hard-left socialists and anybody who doesn’t is a sell out who is complicit in anything Trump does or says, a standard that they don’t apply to themselves when it comes to their preferred candidates.
It is that last point that is the problem. Let’s say that they get what they want and Trump loses in 2020. Then what? What happens when the sun comes up on November 4 and conservatives begin the post-mortem analysis of the Trump era? Nobody in conservative circles is going to want to listen to them or consider their rebuilding plans for they’ve burned every bridge in town. Good luck, getting actual conservatives to take you seriously when you compared them to white supremacists or sent liberals to CPAC to mock pro-lifers. Oh, and that “Strange New Respect” you enjoyed during the Trump years will be gone, so the left care for you either, you’ll be back to being just as racist and sexist as Trump. You will be left to screaming into the void with no seat at the rebuilding table.
Maybe they like it that way, they can comfort each other with the fact that they stood on their “principles.” Maybe, they argue, the Republican Party needs to be burned to the ground, metaphorically speaking. That’s odd; that’s just what MAGA said. Maybe Morning Joe, Bill Weld, et al. and MAGA aren’t that different after all.