Tuesday, February 13, 2024

MAGA Warrior or Bootlicker?


In high-level drama at the GOP, Trump is pushing out national Chair Ronna McDaniel, who's abased herself for his sake, and wants North Carolina's GOP Chair Michael Whatley to take over for her. Whatley is the round-faced people-pleaser who's most aligned with the country club Republican "establishment" and who, according to The Daily Haymaker, plays at being a Trumpist lickspittle while really secretly harboring fear bordering on resistance. "[Whatley] loves to talk about Donald Trump and post pictures of himself with Trump’s plane. But much of what he does and says aligns much more with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger — the two former 'Republican' congressmen who colluded with Democrats on the farcical so-called 'January 6 committee'.”

(Brant Clifton actually wrote that. Without a single example of what he does and says.) 

But here's the deal: Whatley also presided over "prodigious success in most state elections. Since taking over in 2019 Whatley oversaw Trump’s win in 2020, two U.S. Senate victories in 2020 and 2022, recapturing a supermajority in the state Senate and flipping control of the N.C. Supreme Court from 6-1 Democrats to 5-2 Republicans."

Despite such a sparkling recent career in North Carolina (Wikipedia sez he's a native of Watauga County), and despite Whatley's signature affability, the most MAGA wing of the Party ran John Kane for party chair against him in 2023. John Kane was and is the number one son of an elder John Kane, a renown Raleigh mega-developer who was actually honored as Tar Heel of the Year in 2016. The elder Kane is also renown for raising big money for Republicans. The younger John Kane emphasized his MAGA bona fides, hitting especially "election integrity," because the election of 2020 was stolen from Trump. The conservatives who don't trust Whatley remember that he went weak after the "Stop the Steal" tourist romp at the Capitol, and condemned it all as a riot. Like a lot of other Republicans back on January 7th who later developed a twitch and then couldn't remember, Whatley never said another negative word in public about insurrection. Conservatives hate weakness, especially in their servants and allies.

Photo Robert Willett, News&Observer

Whatley easily won reelection to the chairmanship in 2023, with the endorsement of Trump, incidentally. "Mr. Trump likes Mr. Whatley for one overwhelming reason, according to people who have discussed him with the former president: He is a 'stop the steal guy,' as one of the people described him. He endorses Mr. Trump’s false claims about mass voter fraud and Mr. Trump believes he did a good job delivering North Carolina, a 2020 swing state, to him." [Zachary Roth]

Whatley walks the straight and narrow on Trump's story of election fraud and mouths the boss's beliefs and serves on all sorts of efforts to develop new voting laws to cut down on fraud while, according to Jim Womack, the ultra-conservative chair of the Lee County GOP and founder of the North Carolina Election Integrity Team (NCEIT) -- semi-professional (!) fraud sniffers who cause as much trouble every election cycle as they possibly can -- Womack said that Whatley kept NCEIT "at arm’s length from the state party." That's the down home knock against Whatley, that he's actually protective of the ancient establishment and therefore weak.

But he knows how to flatter Trump. And act the act that is necessary for prospering. (Warning: When you sup with the devil, use a long spoon.)

UH-OH -- Whatley, About To Get Steamrolled By Nepotism

Feb. 12, 2024: "In a statement, Trump backed Michael Whatley, the chair of the North Carolina GOP, as the new chairman of the party to replace Ronna McDaniel .... But Trump also said he would support Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law, as co-chair of the party and Chris LaCivita, a top aide, as the top operating officer." [WashPost]

Party rules mandate male/female co-chairs. Lara Trump will be the stronger with the capo.

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