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Their View: GOP making wrong choice in the wake of Donald Trump’s takeover
Old, not grand:

Their View: GOP making wrong choice in the wake of Donald Trump’s takeover

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Then-U.S. President Donald Trump (left) introduces then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a “Make America Great Again” rally at the Eastern Kentucky University, in Richmond, Kentucky, on Oct. 13, 2018.

Nothing these days upsets the Donald Trump-corrupted Republican Party establishment like flickers of principle.

The central committee of North Carolina’s GOP chose Monday to censure Richard Burr for being one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. That followed a vote last Saturday by Louisiana Republicans formally rebuking Sen. Bill Cassidy for doing the same. In Pennsylvania, the state’s GOP is meeting soon to choose whether to similarly reprimand Sen. Pat Toomey. In Nebraska, Sen. Ben Sasse is also on the ropes.

The party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan is facing a reckoning, and many of its leaders are choosing to cling to the disgraced legacy of Trump and his legions rather than seeking a new path to levelheaded national leadership.

Shallow personality cults are not the foundation of durable, big-tent political parties. Ideas are. And while there may be some Trumpian ideas worth retaining on trade, taxation, foreign policy and even immigration, none can reasonably defend his dead-end rejection of last year’s election results, his spreading of fantastical conspiracy theories, and the fact that he is beyond any doubt “practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of” Jan. 6, as Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell put it after he voted to acquit.

On Tuesday, Trump, the head of the personality cult, sought to kneecap McConnell for daring to speak the truth. “Mitch is a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack,” said the ex-president, seeking to crush anyone who dares try to rebuild the party in anything other than his own image.

Even as apologists do agonizing acrobatics to excuse Trump’s worst behavior, more than 120 former Republican officials have been organizing. If the national GOP fails to find its way away from Trump, they aim to forge a new party that stands for the rule of law and grown-up governance. After Trump’s long train of abuses and usurpations, Republicans have a choice for history. Pray they make the right one.

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When Sen. Jesse Helms finally expired, Gail Collins of the New York Times wrote that when an old warhorse dies the temptation is to honor their longevity, or their commitment to a cause, however ignoble it might be. In case of Rush Limbaugh, let us avoid that temptation.

Rush Limbaugh, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday at age 70, spoke my values. He didn’t tell people what or how to think, as his detractors often charged, but reflected what many conservative Americans already believed.

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