Everyone should be a student of history so they can see that the similarity of what happened in the past often resembles current events and pooh-poohing the similarities are foolish.
The most recent example of the past resembling the present occurred on May 12, when the Republican members of the House of Representatives voted out Rep. Liz Chaney from her leadership position because she spoke the truth about the twice-impeached former president of the United States Donald Trump, saying that he is a danger to American democracy, which is evident because of the actions of the disgraced former resident of New York.
The nexus between what has happened in the years since Trump first marched down the stairway of his Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, to declare his candidacy and what is happening in our country today is frightening to everyone that believes in democracy.
Unfortunately, the GOP leadership is more concerned with being the dominant party, even if it means supporting an individual whose poisonous rants led to the storming of the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to prevent the duly elected Joe Biden from being declared the president.
In his May 11 Wall Street Journal “Capital Journal” column, Gerald F. Seib wrote that the ouster of Rep. Chaney was an attempt by GOP House minority leader Kevin McCarthy “not to expand Mr. Trump’s role in the party but to control it,” because by her continuing to criticize the former president for his undemocratic actions, Mr. Seib says, Rep. Chaney is keeping Trump in the news.
Mr. Seib is certainly entitled to his opinion, but so am I and I disagree with his. I believe that history shows that forthright criticism of an individual is necessary to counteract a movement. In fact, Mr. Seib led his column describing how GOP leaders wrongfully thought that they could control the Tea Party in 2009 by humoring its followers while keeping them under control.
If Mr. Seib is correct in his assumption that the ouster of Rep. Chaney from her leadership position was an attempt to control Trump, Rep. McCarthy and the other member of his caucus better take a refresher course in history.
On January 30, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as chancellor of Germany with the backing of conservative German politicians that agreed with many of his policies, even though they thought some were extreme. But they believed that once in power, Hitler would moderate his policies and that they could control him and eventually replace him. Sounds familiar? It should if you know history 101.
Stripping Rep. Chaney of her leadership position because of her criticism of an autocratic twice-impeached president is another form of appeasement, also a 1930s political tactic against Hitler that failed.
Students of history know that. So should Republican members of the House and Senate. If the majority of the GOP House caucus agrees with Mr. Seib’s belief that the ouster of Rep. Chaney from her leadership position was an attempt to diminish Mr. Trump’s popularity, a refresher course in history is necessary.
On May 12, Rep, Chaney was stripped of her leadership role because the majority of the GOP House caucus backed the wishes of a horrible, bitter, human being whose Big Lie campaign is destroying our democracy.
The vote against Rep. Chaney was itself proof that our democracy is waning. Instead of it being conducted in a manner so that people could see how their representatives voted, minority leader McCarthy limited it to a voice vote. So while Trump continues to spread the Big Lie, Rep. McCarthy has instituted the Big Secret.
From this day forward, the 2020 GOP House caucus should be known as the Big Lie Party. And former president Donald Trump will go down in history as the Biggest Liar.
The revenge by the GOP leadership against Rep. Chaney provides an important PR lesson that many people in our business know and those new to our business should know: Sadly, being a team player is much more often the path to advancement than being correct.
About the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.