By Cameron Smith
How do Mo Brooks (RAL) and former President Donald Trump both get booed at a Trump rally? That’s like Joe Namath getting heckled at Bryant-Denny Stadium or Bo Jackson getting the cold shoulder at Jordan-Hare. It shouldn’t happen, but it did. The reason why should be a wakeup call for conservative Republicans.
“There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud and election theft in 2020,” said Brooks. “Folks, put that behind you.” The boos and cries erupted immediately. “No!” the crowd screamed. “Yes,” replied Brooks.
“Look forward. Look forward. Look forward. Beat them in 2022. Beat them in 2024.”
It was awkward. This is Mo “Taking Down Names and Kicking Ass” Brooks. He was at the front of the January 6th charge not to certify the 2020 election. He’s campaigning as the firebrand MAGA darling of Alabama.
He’s also smart. Brooks understands that January 6th was the last real opportunity to address the 2020 election. It is over no matter what the pillow guy says. Trump isn’t going to be “reinstated” as president unless he runs for re-election in 2024 and manages to win.
Even if he does, Trump’s god-like spell over the Republican Party seems to be broken. “You know what? I believe totally in your freedoms,” said Trump. “You got to do what you have to do, but I recommend: Take the vaccines. I did it – it’s good.”
I will push back on government mandates until the cows come home, but I’m blown away that a former president, at his own rally, can’t recommend a vaccine his administration launched without drawing the ire of the crowd.
Countless medical professionals, Trump, Gov. Kay Ivey, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, and pretty much every other Republican leader are begging folks to pursue a low-risk vaccine that might save their lives.
The problem is that Republicans have been coddling crazy for far too long. We’ve constructed a political fantasyland where our voters are one election away from getting everything they want. It isn’t real; it never was. Now it’s apparent that many people can’t distinguish political hyperbole from reality.
I’m tired of hearing about Bill Gates running the world as a shadowy puppet master. He’s an extraordinary rich individual spending his money in a manner consistent with his values. Remember when Republicans thought capitalism was cool?
Every time I hear ‘QAnon mentioned in a conversation, I cringe. Those conspiracy theories are so mindless as to be laughable. As it turns out, most Democrats aren’t particularly enthusiastic about supporting Satan-loving pedophiles either. No, there is not a grand media conspiracy against conservatives. Fox News has a massive audience. Conservative talk radio dominates the airwaves in Republican-dominated states. In a bit of tragic irony, Republicans constantly use social media to rail against the media bias.
Sadly, too many Republican leaders don’t want to offend voters by explaining how they’ve pursued empty conspiracies, imbibed false information, and become the emotional snowflakes they claim to despise.
None of them want to be up on a stage getting booed like Brooks and Trump. Instead, they sit quietly while wackadoodle theories run wild and erode confidence in the GOP’s ability to lead the nation.
The tendency for many Republicans when confronted about such behavior is to say, “What about Democrats?” We ought to fight that line of questioning with every fiber in our beings. Someone else’s insanity and poor decisions are not defenses; they’re distractions. Why complain about Democrats defunding the police, failing to enforce immigration laws, or spending like they’re drunk? Those practices only make them easier to beat at the polls.
Republicans should focus on better policies and the elected majorities needed to make them happen. Brooks is absolutely correct. We should look forward to beating the Democrats. We should earn the right to govern. Before we can do that, we need to address an uncomfortable reality. Brooks and Trump got booed at a Trump rally because they were honest with voters. Republicans won’t find success at the ballot box or anywhere else if we continue to let that be our reaction to the truth.