Give those Republicans in the mountains credit; they sure know how to pick ‘em. Madison Cawthorn is making a spectacle of himself as he wheels into Congress packing a gun and shooting off his mouth. He succeeds Mark Meadows who became Trump’s chief of staff. Meadows believes the world is only 6,000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs co-existed. To borrow an expression from a friend, “He’s so slow, you can look in his eyes and watch the wheels turn.” Cawthorn adds continuity.
Cawthorn is becoming the poster boy of the new Retrumplican Party. He’s not only the youngest Member of Congress, he’s the least qualified. He’s there because he won a primary in a special election in one of the most conservative districts in the state. He never graduated from college and has never held a job with a position of responsibility. He’s shown he can spew talking points designed to create outrage, but he has little grip on the role of Congress or the policies he promotes.
Cawthorn spent the weeks before the assault on the Capitol firing up the base and encouraging insurrection. At one rally, he told people they should call their Representatives and “lightly threaten” them to intimidate them into voting to overturn the election. He spoke at the rally before the riot, telling people, “This crowd has some fight in it. The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice. Make no mistake about it, they do not want you to be heard.” Of course, he doesn’t believe his words incited anyone to violence.
Cawthorn also has little understanding of the policies he claims to support. He spent much of the election railing against socialism. Then, when Twitter kicked Trump off the platform, he demanded the government force a private company to give voice to a man who violated the company’s terms of service. In other words, the government should interfere with the free market.
Cawthorn has also called for nationalization of elections. Instead of allowing the states to administer elections, he wants federal standards and oversight to provide consistency. Again, that’s a big government point of view. He might even get some liberals to sign on, as long as the federal government forces states to make voting easier instead of more difficult.
Cawthorn also admitted that he had a gun in the Capitol at the time of the assault. Firearms are not allowed in the House or Senate Chambers. His admission, along with other Republicans insisting they will be armed while Congress is in session, led to metal detectors for Members of Congress as they enter the Capitol. Much of his campaign imagery included Cawthorn with big guns.
Cawthorn is the poster boy of the new Retrumplican Party. He’s a media creation, not a political one. He has little experience, expertise, or knowledge but he does have a lot of guns and a telegenic smile. He’s proud to wear his ignorance on his sleeve in a party where knowing little is a badge of honor.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >