Somebody better get canned. Someone has to pay. Somebody important. Our culture is a disaster in large part because we have failed to hold leaders accountable when they screw up, because we have given losers a free pass and accepted excuses and therefore, accepted sub-par performance. Look at the wars since 2001 – what generals got relieved for the failure to win them promptly? And look at our military now. It’s a disaster. This goes for the GOP in the wake of last week’s fiasco.
We were supposed to win big on Election Day. The fundamentals were there – history, the bad economy, general malaise. The president is a doddering pervert and at least one of the opposing candidates was a brain-addled ogre. We were told we were going to see a red wave, maybe a red tsunami, and the red we ended up seeing was our blood on the floor. So, who in a very top position of power in the GOP – not some second-tier functionary – is getting fired because of it?
Now, I understand there are a lot of people with a piece of last week’s debacle. But this is a situation that us lawyers call “joint and several liability.” That means a lot of people are to blame and all of them own the results jointly. So when we talk about the GOP leadership, the guys and gals who accepted the job of getting it done, there’s no “What about so-and-so!” There’s no “But I was a victim of circumstances beyond my control!” There’s no excuse.
Trump? Trump owns part of the blame to be sure – I have ticked off enough diehards and Democrat bots by saying so – but he’s not a GOP official. And he was part of the battlefield. We hired these people to solve problems, and the problem in Mar-a-Lago was no surprise.
Cheating? Let’s assume there was some. Again, not a get-out-of-termination-free card. Cheating was another thing that we hired these folks to overcome. Yeah, it was a challenge. And they took the job with the understanding that they would meet the challenge.
New voting rules? Again, not an act of God that was unforeseeable.
Bad candidates? No one ever promised these guys perfect ones. Their job was to win with who we voters picked, not sit back and bitch about our choices.
The GOP voters didn’t show up? You don’t get to blame your customer. We hired the leaders to get it done. They did not get it done.
Any other excuses? Tommy Lee Jones put it best to Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive.”
“But they tried, Kurt!” Well, Yoda put it best.
Do or do not. There is no try.
The leadership had one job – win. It failed to win. Now it must pay.
It’s tough but fair. If things had gone differently, the same leaders wielding the blamethrower would be at the head of a triumph marching up Pennsylvania Avenue with a staffer whispering in their ears “You are mortal, oh and the head lobbyist for MegaCorp is calling.”
It’s less important who gets fired than that someone does. There are plenty of people in leadership positions. Not all have to go – we need to be strategic. But somebody must get fired. Somebody must pay. Somebody big. And there are only three people of sufficient stature in the GOP to demonstrate, through their defenestration, that the GOP is serious about accountability and winning in 2024.
Of course, there is Mitch McConnell, the past and future Senate Minority Leader. He’s already loathed by the base, and he’s lost a lot of steps over the last year. His strategic choices for spending money were bitterly resented, and his problem is that he feels no need to go tell people why he spent money in Alaska and not Arizona (I think I know what he would say if he thought he had to explain himself to peasants, but I didn’t make the call so I don’t have to explain it for him). Right now, he is despised by the base, and telling folks that Trump must go but Minus One Mitch gets to stay seems like a hard sell. But firing him presents a problem beyond the fact that the Senate Republicans will not push him out – he’ll likely stay leader until he’s carried out. Before you fire him, you need to identify the senator who can keep a coalition from Susan Collins to the incoming J.D. Vance on the same sheet of music. Until you can answer that question, you are wishcasting.
“But Kurt, Mitch did a lot of good things in the past and he was dealt a bad hand – you can’t blame him!” Did we get a 51st Senator? No? He did not get it done.
Then there is the Squeaker Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who was measuring the drapes in the Speaker’s office and nearly did not get to put them up. No, the House Republican leader is not the guy who runs the campaigns, but he is the leader. A commander is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do. That means the buck stops with him.
As with McConnell, the problem is who would replace McCarthy. Until you ID a replacement who is willing to do it and can get the votes, it’s just more wishcasting. Moreover, there are a bunch of factions that need to be assuaged. The fact is the House is likely to retain him because it’s the least worst option.
“But Kevin was dealt a bad hand because of reasons, Kurt!” Save it. Did we win? Sort of? So maybe he sort of slides through.
That leaves Ronna McDaniel. She heads the RNC. She’s now lost at three election cycles in a row. Failure requires accountability. Seems pretty obvious she needs to try her hand at a gig where she can actually perform adequately. How often do you have to not cut it before even the GOPe says “Ya know, perhaps your unique skill set could be better applied in another career field, like lettuce mining or interpretive dance.”
Mitch and Kevin are not going anywhere – that’s just how it is. So that pretty much leaves Ronna McDaniel as the lucky fall gal. And there absolutely has to be a fall guy/gal/non-binary.
Again, somebody has to pay.
Here’s an idea for her replacement – Matt or Mercedes Schlapp, which is really a two-for-one deal. They are both perfect for it. They know everybody. They have been in the trenches (I worked with Matt after the 2020 election in Las Vegas, so he gets the voting issues; Mercy was in the White House with Trump). They are both media savvy and donor savvy too. Also, they are not related to Mitt Romney and they don’t have a track record of failure.
If one of them won’t do it, try Lee Zeldin, a smart Army officer who ran an unexpectedly good campaign in New York. And yes, he lost – but no one expected him to win, and he not only came closer than anyone thought he could but if we won the House, it was by Zeldin dragging several congressional seats along with him.
“But Kurt…when I offer some excuse for Ronna, you’re just going to blow it off, aren’t you?” Yes, Grasshopper, you are learning.
At least one head must roll, and it must be a big one that will serve as a warning designed to encourage the others. We need accountability not because it represents some sort of cosmic justice but because the base needs to see consequences for the bigwigs and because the party needs new blood. We have to win in 2024. We have to. We need fresh thinking, new ideas, and new faces. Do you know why a lot of people did not support Republicans even though Biden is a disaster and the Democrats are pinkos? Because they hate our leaders. That’s a problem.
So, who is getting fired?
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