When your party encounters stormy times, tack hard to the right and put everything in the soft focus of an old Elizabeth Taylor perfume commercial. Such was the case with The Republican-themed Roanoke Conference, held virtually this past weekend rather than at Ocean Shores. The conference sought to rally the party faithful Friday and Saturday nights by blacking out controversy over Donald Trump’s future role and not whispering a word about newly elected GOP extremists, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.
“What happened on November 3rd was a rejection of socialism across the board,” declared Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, failing to note that her party lost both the White House and control of Congress. She extolled Congress’ newly elected Republican women as “rock stars . . . they are so passionate.” Well, that’s one word. Greene has talked about the Parkland and Sandy Hook massacres of children as being staged. Boebert has made common cause with the Three Percenters, described by federal prosecutors as a “radical militia group,” and has lately attacked Parkland survivor David Hogg on Twitter.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., was one of 10 GOP House members voting to impeach President Trump. He’s taking heat, but you’d never know it at Roanoke. He did get off a line, “The enemy is not us. It is them on the other side of the room, politically speaking.” He added, “We have to be unabashedly proud of being conservatives.” Softball questioning spared him any talk of that for which he was not proud.
It was an occasion for targeting new demons, one being big tech companies. National radio host Dennis Prager declared, “Everywhere the left has taken over, free speech has been destroyed. If they can do anything they want, we don’t have free speech.” Prager also decried “the confluence of the left and big business,” Exhibit A being the banishing of Trump from Twitter and exiling of toxic right posts from Facebook.
At least, somebody finally mentioned Donald Trump, who will go down as “a great president,” said Prager, quickly adding a caveat: “Great presidents have great flaws.” He added one wish for the exiled 45th president: “I wish, instead of a new party, Donald Trump will create a new Internet.”
The annual Roanoke get together ends with a 20-minute humor video, targeting Democrats but with digs at Republicans thrown in. The video included a stab at false equivalence, comparing last summer’s Capitol Hill occupation zone in Seattle with the D.C. Capitol insurrection. As for looking for a viable, outreaching “loyal opposition,” check back next year.