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By J.B. Shurk, March 2, 2021

It was just so surreal watching a humbled Donald Trump take the stage at CPAC, visibly shaken by his election loss, bend the knee to Romney-Cheney Republicanism, and express his hope that the attack dogs in the press would leave him alone during his twilight years away from the public eye.

Er...nope. That doesn't even sound believable. The only place where that establishment fantasy played out was the online fan fiction board of the Hillary Clinton–John Kasich–Ben Sasse mutual support and suffering group. Most presidents leave office looking worse for wear; six weeks after being deplatformed by the swamp, Donald Trump looks more like a wrestler getting ready to rumble.

If Washington thought it could weaken President Trump's appeal by making him an "enemy of the state" and trashing his supporters as seditionists, it miscalculated. If anything, the D.C. mafia cemented his status as the quintessential outsider against whom all future outsiders will be compared, and it has only made the president's in-your-face, take-no-prisoners style of political pugilism more cutting.

In his first public speech since being "Myanmared," Trump used his opportunity at CPAC to batter Biden's incompetence, rally conservatives to his banner, and dispose of those members in his party who still prefer electing Democrats. As he read through the list of Republicans who helped instigate a second fake impeachment with a personal promise to destroy them one by one, that unique Trump swagger was in overdrive. He sounded like a mix of Johnny Cash's "man goin' 'round takin' names," putting together a list nobody should ever want on, and Mark Wahlberg's menacingly polite choir boy telling whiny RINOs unwelcome at CPAC to "say 'hi' to your mother for me" as he smiled for the cameras. If swiping his election through mail-in balloting and painting him as the leader of a terrorist group was meant to make him disappear, then there's no doubt that removing him from office was a government-run operation. Only the government could screw up this badly. At CPAC, the Boss was back, and he didn't look to be going anywhere.

While President Trump wove in and out of scripted points he wanted to hammer home (Ol' Touchy-Smelly's administration is endangering Americans by encouraging endless illegal immigration, failing to get kids back into school, appeasing China and Iran, and senselessly destroying American energy independence.) and delighted his base with the impromptu comedic flourishes that make him compelling, his ninety-minute speech at CPAC was also a conspicuous reminder that Joe Biden is nowhere to be seen, hidden away from the public, kept on ice. How is it that the former president has managed to deliver a detailed State of the Union Address — spoiler alert: the Union's gone a little gamy since President Popsicle arrived — before the new sitting president? Does anyone enjoying the perks and privileges of power in D.C. find this strange? Because to normal folks, Trump sure looks like a president not yet finished, while Biden looks so finished that he's not sure he's president.

Free advice, Deep State: If you're going to take down a sitting president who has more energy than Tom Cruise dancing on Oprah Winfrey's sofa, then at least install a body in the Oval Office more lively than a medical cadaver. Otherwise, people start wondering how the naptime president could possibly have scored more votes than anyone else in American history, while his predecessor is still doing two hours of cardio live and onstage in Orlando before sold-out crowds.

That's something else Washington's bloated bureaucracy never understood about Donald Trump's appeal to his voters: he actually enjoys having fun with ordinary people. He can tell a joke, and he can take a joke, and most of D.C.'s ruling class can't do either. While Washington has become a militarized zone complete with barbed wire fencing and shock troops to scare the masses, there's former president Trump laughing it up in Orlando with his friends and giving generous shout-outs to everyone in attendance. (Jim Jordan, where are you? Great wrestler, that guy!) Pelosi's capital is a prison; DeSantis's and Trump's Florida is a party. Those are optics that even overpriced political operatives from the swamp can understand.

What they cannot understand is how Donald Trump is still standing and politically viable after everything D.C. has done to crush him. Framing him as a Russian asset didn't work. Using the criminal justice system as a form of political persecution against his supporters had no effect. Not one, but two farce impeachments turned into nothing more than badges of honor. And tarring the sitting president as an insurrectionist intent on toppling Congress seems to have only made him more popular. (Go figure!) The more D.C. demonizes Trump, the more it turns him into just the kind of folk hero who is going to rattle establishment cages for generations.

CPAC made that clear. Donald Trump, the man, still looms over everything just as before, but more importantly, Donald Trump's issues loom over everything, too. Establishment Republicans might not care about border security, but Republican voters most certainly do. Establishment Republicans might still prefer Wall Street bankers in wingtips, but there's no doubt that the Republican Party's future belongs to working-class voters in Red Wings. And while too many Establishment Republicans would still rather send American troops abroad than bring American manufacturing back home, it is certain that Trump's new Republican Party has become a home for Main Street patriots with Main Street concerns.

How is it that D.C. can't succeed in destroying Donald Trump's influence? Partially, it's because the president actually listened to the concerns of ordinary Americans and made their problems his problems. Before government officials became nothing more than paid beneficiaries of lobbyists and foreign interests, this was considered normal politicking. Because the ruling class has abandoned and betrayed ordinary Americans for so many decades, though, Donald Trump made it look revolutionary. And now the next wave of Republicans, including Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem, is following in his footsteps. Listening to the people — what a concept!

Establishment Republicans refused to understand why ordinary voters overwhelmingly chose "outsider" candidates such as Trump. They refused to understand President Trump's popularity as anything other than a "cult of personality" that would wither away with his presidency. If the president put one thing to bed at CPAC, though, it was this: Old Guard Republicans can either become part of the change that is transforming the Republican Party or get steamrolled on their way to irrelevancy. Either way, it's Trump's party from here on out.

Hat tip to Seneca the Elder.

Reprinted with permission from the American Thinker:

By Rich Danker, 2/26/2021

In a trail of observations that began with Trump's campaign in 2015 and peaked during the last year of his life, the late Rush Limbaugh, as he was in and out of the studio battling cancer, was on a path to the previously unthinkable.  He was ready to let go of the ideology he'd spent three decades promoting — Reaganite conservatism — and replace it with right-wing populism. Specifically, the right-wing populism of the just-defeated Republican president. Why?

Limbaugh, the self-proclaimed "mayor of Realville," was constantly trying to see around corners.  What he saw was a political movement that offered more staying power and strength against the left than the ideological one he'd been associated with since 1988.  That calculus wasn't based on election outcomes.  It was informed by the first Republican voter realignment to occur since Reagan's election.  Here is how Limbaugh described it in the days after Trump's Republican convention speech on the White House South Lawn last year:

Now, what emerged was the new Trump Republican Party.  And it's a fascinating change.  It's the party of the little guy.  It's the party of working America, not politicians, not elitist think-tank denizens.  It is literally the party of working Americans.

Limbaugh never missed the chance to rib what might be called Cruise Ship Conservatism.  As an entertainer with a massive following, he found it ridiculous that other media personalities would cultivate the small-time celebrity role.  But "elitist think-tank denizens" was a stand-in for the country club set, too.  With a small-town upbringing and blue-collar audience, Limbaugh relished the idea of his being "the party of the little guy."

Limbaugh realized that right-wing populism was more appealing than conservatism to the little guy.  This was a counterintuitive conclusion for a movement conservative like him to reach.  The Reagan coalition was heavy on union members and other disillusioned Democrats.  But for all its success through the 1980s, it didn't survive the end of the Cold War, something Limbaugh would rue for the rest of his life.  He even took it personally.  This was his response just six weeks ago to one of the many listeners who called in to credit him with the listener's political conversion:

You know, I'm not gonna sit here and deny that.  But, folks, I gotta tell you, there's a large part of me that feels like I have failed in such a major way, in a political sense.  I've had 30 years here to try to convince people, to try to persuade people, to try to encourage people to think — critically think — on their own, to realize the difference between conservatism and liberalism, the difference between the Republican Party and the Democrat party as it relates to conservative versus liberal.

This was a lament not that conservatism has lost to liberalism, but that most people weren't voting by ideology in the first place.  He recognized over the Obama and Trump years that voters are situationally rather than ideologically oriented.  Along the way, in a conversation with me in April 2016 for his Limbaugh Letter, he recounted a lunch with Ted Cruz ahead of that year's Republican presidential race.  Limbaugh warned the conservative hopeful that most of his own 25-million-member audience didn't even identify with the conservative movement. 

My message in conversation with Limbaugh was that conservatives could use Trump's success to achieve big ideas, a thought that was considered unconventional at a moment when many Republican leaders dreamed of sabotaging Trump's nomination.  But even that prediction proved shortsighted.  Trump would remake the GOP.  By 2020, it had changed from a conservative party to a right-wing populist party.

Is the difference between conservatism and right-wing populism really more than just nuance, or the presence of Trump?  After all, conservatism won with a populist coalition under Reagan.  And much of Trump's agenda from tax cuts to deregulation to judicial nominations came straight from the conservative playbook.

A look under the surface of these outcomes shows fundamental differences.  Using my mentor the late Jeff Bell's definition of populism as "optimism about people's ability to make decisions about their lives" (from his 1992 book Populism and Elitism), it's clear that a reckoning was coming once the foundations of postwar American politics collapsed.

Conservatism demands an allegiance to institutions rather than to a public.  For powerful conservatives, it could be whatever institution they called home, whether that was the U.S. Senate or a magazine that took subscribers on cruises.  Limbaugh, like Trump, was never part of an institution that needed to be conserved.  Each owed his platform to massive consumer followings that presaged the rise of digital media.  Eventually, those and all the other followings that formed the public superseded institutions in politics. 

Until that happened, elitism, which Bell defined as essentially the opposite of populism — "optimism about the decision-making ability of one or more elites, acting on behalf of other people" — had not yet outlived its usefulness.  Cold War presidents were on average several years older and better credentialed than their predecessors.  Public trust in the media was strong.  White-collar bosses often lacked college degrees like their employees.  The economic power of any one set of elites was limited in pre-internet times by regional geography.  Elites and ordinary people related relatively well with one another.

Limbaugh came of age politically under the three-legged stool conservatism that Reagan had cultivated out of post–World War II America.  It was a challenge to the liberal-moderate consensus on economics, social issues, and foreign policy of the earlier Cold War years that was itself the reaction of both parties to the four presidential elections won by FDR.  Postwar conservatism called for an ideological change of American positions on various issues, not class-based change. 

Conservatism won the Cold War but struggled to find traction in peacetime.  The 1990s conservatism that Limbaugh is closely associated with is now most remembered as an effective check on Bill Clinton.  George W. Bush was re-elected during wartime in 2004 as a legacy conservative, but Reagan revivalism was finished off by the 2008 financial crisis.  So was the political momentum of elitism.

Bell lamented two decades after the publication of Populism and Elitism that the book had mainstreamed the concept of elitism in American politics but not populism.  He only had to wait a few more years for vindication in 2016.
What changed?  Was it when management jobs finally ran out for the uneducated?  Was it when the technology revolution consolidated corporate power after manufacturing jobs has been offshored?  Or was it when broadband internet allowed voters to instantly scrutinize politicians, and smartphones enabled them to become informed by one another rather than just by media elites?  Former CIA analyst Martin Gurri in his book's title calls this technologically-driven redistribution of elite and populist power The Revolt of the Public.

Suddenly, a Republican frontrunner was winning primaries in rich and poor ZIP codes alike by trampling on the reputation of every party leader who had come in Reagan's path.  A party that had a tradition of giving its presidential nomination to the previous runner-up and been respected for its conservative institutional pedigree was now up for grabs. 

What would Limbaugh do?

Contrary to popular framing, Limbaugh and Trump were not friends before 2016.  Limbaugh's decision to back Trump's hostile takeover was the result of methodical analysis.  His radio program in the Trump years became a search for the political movement that respected conservatism while acknowledging that it was essentially over as we knew it.  As Limbaugh said on that show after Trump's 2020 convention speech:

You know the old concept of conservatism might have gone into the chasm, too, 'cause it's time to maybe rethink how conservatism's existence is going to evolve and how conservatives mature into whatever this new party is.

Limbaugh had forever demanded, especially after Republicans lost presidential elections, that the party accommodate conservatives, not the other way around.  Yet there he was, saying conservatives had to "mature" into their party.  But it wasn't the party establishment he was referring to this time; it was a "new party" of the same name but changing voters — blue-collar but also multiracial, nationalist, and consumerist.

Unlike the white professional class that underpinned the post-Reagan Republican coalitions, these voters weren't deluged by left-wing programming in offices or college classrooms.  Their detachment from the four institutions most captured by the left — corporate America, academia, mainstream media, and mainline Protestantism — made them valuable holdouts to the critical theory version of liberalism sweeping the culture in 2020.  They were more likely to be anchored on the right wing of populist appeals than the left wing.

If this was true, it had the makings of a durable Republican realignment that could outlast even its standard-bearer president.

Limbaugh claimed that he knew the left better than anybody.  It seems likely he concluded that liberalism with its ambition to politicize everything could not be contained by conservatism.  It was not a fair fight.  Conservative critics have said Limbaugh became darker in the Obama and Trump years.  In the moments when that was actually true, it was a recognition of this reality that they didn't have.  

Limbaugh also knew there are many more conservative voters than liberal voters, even though conservatives sometimes voted for liberal candidates because they voted situationally rather than ideologically.  Right-wing populism held the potential to turn latent conservatism into reliable Republican voting.

The only way Limbaugh complained about his terminal illness during the last year was that it threatened doing what he loved every day — demystifying politics for his audience.  That role must fall to others now.  But Limbaugh left behind enough clarity to see beyond the horizon —  to see how far a realignment from conservatism to right-wing populism could take this new Republican Party.

Rich Danker is a former conservative operative.  Reprinted with permission from the American Thinker:

By Don Surber, March 03, 2021

Josh Kraushaar of National Journal gave an insight into RINO thinking about Donald John Trump in the coming 2022 midterm elections. They fear he will win.

Kraushaar wrote, "As president, he played the role of kingmaker in Republican primaries, tallying a near-undefeated record (109-2) while elevating underdog candidates like Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp into office."


Only the Harlem Globetrotters have a better record.

With his 98% winning record, the fear in Washington is our president emeritus will succeed in nominating people the Washington Establishment does not like.

My fear is he won't.

Kraushaar wrote, "Republicans are worried that he’ll anoint weak candidates in winnable races, hurting the party’s ability to mount a political comeback."

We heard this before. In 2010, the Tea Party gave Republicans their best midterm in 64 years. The Tea Party gave Republicans a net gain of 63 seats in the House and 7 in the Senate.

The spin was the Tea Party "cost" Republicans the Senate by nominating Christine O'Donnell for the Senate in Delaware.

No. Republicans cost her that seat by abandoning her Senate campaign because the media dragged up something she said 12 years earlier. It abandoned her just like it would Todd Akin in the Missouri Senate race 2 years later, and Donald Trump in 2016. In all 3 cases, the party's abandonment came because of what they said, and nothing they actually did.

Democrats would back Hannibal Lector.

But Republicans in Washington care more about what the media thinks than they care about the country.

Kraushaar is the RINO messenger.

He wrote, "Trump already issued his first endorsements of the 2022 cycle, supporting his former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in her bid for Arkansas governor and endorsing former aide Max Miller’s primary campaign against impeachment-supporting Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio. In both of these contests, Trump’s involvement is unlikely to impact the GOP’s chances to retain those seats. Both races are on conservative turf, where winning the primary is typically tantamount to general-election victory."

Why would Sanders be a bad candidate? Her father was governor and she has made a name for herself to the point where most people just call her Sarah Sanders.

Her crime, of course, was working in the Trump administration. Democrats continue to refuse defeat in 2016, and Republicans continue to refuse to accept that victory.

Kraushaar wrote, "But in two elections taking place this year, Trump’s engagement would be a lot more damaging. He is encouraging Ric Grenell, his former director of national intelligence, to run in the anticipated California gubernatorial recall election."

The other election is a special congressional race in Texas. Rumors had Katrina Pierson running. She declined.

How in the heck is the California governorship winnable?

Newsom got 62% of the vote in 2018. I get that Schwarzenegger won the 2003 recall but that was nearly 20 years ago. Since then, millions of Republicans have either died or moved away.

And what makes Grenell unfit for office? Is it because he is light in the loafers? You know, a friend of Dorothy. A confirmed bachelor.

RINOs do not fear defeat. They are used to that. They fear victory by those people. You know, people who wear boots. A friend of Donald. A confirmed American.

The last thing Dick Cheney's daughter wants in Congress is another Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert.

RINOs love to complain about what Democrats do but they hate to do anything that displeases Democrats. I offer Obamacare as my best example.

When he was president, Donald Trump was loyal to the party and endorsed the likes of Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney.

We won't be fooled again. Primary them all if we must. Send the people we need to Washington, not the people RINOs like.


The Sunrise Side Republican Women's Club holds monthly meetings on the 4th Monday of the month.  The location and speaker will be announced for each meeting.  Unless otherwise stated, the lunch will be at 11:30 a.m.

The officers are: Linda Glomski, President, 739-7170, Jane Hayward, Vice President, Sonia Glass, Secretary, 739-9731, and Rachel McCready Treasurer, 362-2337.

 You can send dues and correspondence to SSRWC P.O. Box 234 Tawas City, MI 48764.

Our next SSRWC will be in April 2021. 

MEETING -- Tuesday, April 13, 2021 7:00 p.m.
Maureen Rudel's House, 910 E. Bay St., East Tawas

Call to Order

Pledge of Allegiance

Roll Call

Approval of Agenda

Approval of Minutes

Treasurer's Report

Chairman's Report

Vice-Chair's Report


Committee Reports

A. Membership Committee Report
B. County Commissioners Report

Old Business

A. Sunrise Side Republican Women's Club
B. Lincoln/Reagan Dinner
C. Conventions

New Business

A. State Party Update
B. 5th District Update
C. E-mail and Correspondence


All Republicans are welcome to attend and contribute their thoughts to our discussions.


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