The Carolina Journal yesterday published a cartoon slamming Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the two Republicans on the Congressional Commission to investigate January 6. The artist portrays Kinzinger and Cheney as ventriloquist dolls sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s lap. All three are wearing “Impeach 45” buttons. Cheney says, “Some things should be above politics.” To which Pelosi replies, “Democrats need more Republicans like Cheney and Kinzinger.” 

The political cartoon says far more about the John Locke Foundation and the Republican Party than it does about either Cheney or Kinzinger. The once venerable conservative think-tank has sunk into Trumpism. There’s no clearer evidence that the conservative movement of Ronald Reagan is dead and has been replaced by the authoritarian populism of Donald Trump. As the cartoon clearly tells us, for modern Republicans and the once-thoughtful think tankers of JLF, nothing is above politics.   

Cheney and Kinzinger are strong traditional conservatives whose records speak for themselves. While liberals and progressives may be hailing them as patriots now, they would be castigating them if the two were leading the country. For the Locke Foundation, Cheney’s and Kinzinger’s sin is standing up for their principles instead of Donald Trump and his populist horde. 

The January 6 Commission is more damning even than most thought. Donald Trump clearly hoped to overturn a legitimate election. He believed that he could use his power to intimidate or force Republican election officials to do his bidding to invalidate elections in key states. He hoped that muddled results would put the result in the hands of Congressional delegations which are dominated by Republicans. The people at the John Locke Foundation apparently wish he could have gotten away with it or, at the very least, don’t want anyone held accountable. 

Their cartoon reveals more also. What Liz Cheney believes is above politics is the Rule of Law. That the Locke Foundation and other Republicans would oppose holding people accountable for illegally attempting to overturn the election and ransack the Capitol, shows that their whole law-and-order schtick is just political bullshit. When they cry “LAW AND ORDER,” it’s still little more than the racial dog whistle of the 1960s. They don’t want justice or accountability. They want control. 

It’s disappointing to see the Locke Foundation embrace Trumpism and the Big Lie. I’ve never agreed with them politically, but I’ve generally thought that they were an organization committed to conservative principles. Yesterday, they sided with Trump and insurrectionists over rock-ribbed conservative Republicans. Trump’s defeat of the conservative movement has been swift, devastating, and complete.

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