Elise Stefanik is the ceasefire candidate in the republican civil war
If history is a guide, a New York host’s record will only have so much influence on how she conducts herself in power.
“We spent 7.5 years with an authoritarian president who ignored our constitution. We don’t need four more of that.” Mike Pompeosaid the then-Kansas Congressman in the final days of a fraternal Republican presidential primary.
Pompeo was not a candidate himself, but a replacement for Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, who at the time cornered the market for the intellectual wave of the future (then: a neoconsersative comeback). the Topeka-based Capital Journal: Donald Trump “is not a conservative true believer.”
These comments were originally unearthed by Susan Glasser in The New Yorkerin 2019 perhaps in the seminal profile of the man who would at least become Trump’s top diplomat and, if not one day, his successor. If something was in the water in 2016, Congressman Pompeo would certainly lose it. But by 2019, Pompeo was explaining what nationalism meant to him, perhaps in the typical think tank of Trump’s tenure, the Claremont Institute.
So it was not lost on Pompeo when the tide came in. After Trump’s victory in November 2016, Pompeo was in the lobby of Trump Tower almost as quickly as it was Shinzo Abe from Japan and phoned him as soon as Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, two die-hard pragmatists who have secured friendly relations for their countries with Trump’s vociferous White House. Sisi even met with Trump in the United States in September that year as most world leaders, including America, were preparing for President Hillary Clinton.
But if Realpolitik is understood on the international stage as it is Donald Trump and his oversized political career, it is just as often misinterpreted domestically.
That’s it. This republican defect will surely curtail Trump’s influence in the party, and the country will be capitalized. This has been the standard theme for the past half decade every time Trump suffers a defect. this is that true Trumpist – or that’s not a true Trumpist goes the mirror issue – every time Trump or his entourage brings in fresh blood.
The day could still come – sooner rather than later, measured by the Republicans’ appetite for the prevailing “awakened” corporate mentality, theology du jour – when Republicans are crammed with Neo-Buchanan workers and politicians. At least there are work on it.
But that day is not today. And demands for such ideological rigidity undermine the success of another Republican race during the Trump years: the conservative pragmatist. Ideological nationalists in high positions are so far rare – perhaps just one reason why Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon, Josh Hawley and others have gained such prominence in recent years: lack of competition for a product that is in high demand.
More often, if not as successful, were purer politicians: Pompeo, former attorney general William P. Barr and former National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien, among other. From a Republican standpoint, those who played Trump and foregone him completely – Utah Senator Mitt Romney, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former National Security Advisor John Bolton, all in a NeverTrump parade – have seen their clout consistently adhered to the Periphery, after considerable hype that the exact opposite would happen.
That dynamic has apparently been fueled in the past few days with the rise of Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and the dramatic fall of Rep. Liz Cheney. As exposed by intrepid musers, Stefanik once had similar doubts about Trump, Trumpism and the like, which are now emphasized by the woman who replaces her as Chair of the House Republican Conference.
And as highlighted most prominently by their conservative critics Ann CoulterStefan’s voting results are less in line with the 45th President’s priorities than Cheney’s. Why did Donald Trump support the New York Millennial so enthusiastically?
His administration’s staff carousel was supposed to prove that Donald Trump only cares enough that people approve of Donald Trump. Rapport, consistent style and the absolute avoidance of constant, blatant insults to the man himself are the order of the day. As noted by veteran Empire State chronicler Elizabeth Benjamin in the Times: “The reality is that Ms. Stefanik has always been a shapeshifter who was driven more by the political zeitgeist than by a deeply rooted ideology.”
And in the uncertain environment of 2021, Stefanik succeeded. The Republican leadership is eighteen years younger than Cheney and feels they have just received a better upgrade in the political C-suite. You’re right. And if history is a guide, there is only so much to worry about affected true Faith parishioners.
Case in point, perhaps: Joe Biden is the president. But no one, perhaps especially Joe Biden, believes this is the 1996 Joe Biden, as Wall Street and many swing voters no doubt had hoped. Political gravity has its own logic, especially in intra-party politics in the digital age. Aside from an obvious one-time promise (we’ll see), the 2021 Elise Stefanik is unlikely to resemble the 2016 Elise Stefanik, to the chagrin and surprise of allies and antagonists alike.