Last week the New York Times published a quote that stuck with me. It came from the young chairman of a Republican committee in Pennsylvania who twice voted for Trump, first enthusiastically and later reluctantly. After the election he spoke up against other local GOP leaders who’d gotten too chummy with “rigged election” cranks and anti-vaxxers. He lost his chairmanship, of course.
“I just realized how much of a sham the whole movement was,” he told the Times of his experience. “The moment the veil is pulled from your face, you realize how ugly the face is that you are looking at.”
I know that feeling. If you subscribe to The Dispatch, you know it too. The veil of partisanship is thick, so when it’s suddenly torn away you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of blemishes that mar the face of your former party. You might reproach yourself for not having seen them sooner and resolve to atone by counting every blemish, as loudly and defiantly as possible, in hopes that they’ll be addressed.
My colleague Kevin Williamson put it characteristically well in his piece today about the George Santos debacle: “In the Trump years the GOP showed itself to be not a party infected by the occasional scoundrel and prevaricator but a party with a corporate commitment to the worst and most obvious kind of dishonesty, a party in which embracing lies and furthering lies became, perversely, a test of virtue.” There are many, many blemishes to count.