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Columnists
Trump only cares about loyalty to him

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are preparing to oust Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from the No. 3 Republican position in the House and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. Why? Is Stefanik more conservative than Cheney? No, Cheney has an 80% lifetime rating with Heritage Action for America compared with a 48% rating for Stefanik.

Well, did she vote more loyally with President Trump? No, Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time, while Stefanik voted with Trump just 77.7% of the time. Indeed, Stefanik steadfastly opposed key elements of the Trump agenda. She voted against Trump’s singular legislative achievement — his 2017 tax reform bill — and against making his tax cuts permanent. She voted to block Trump from withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. She voted to condemn Trump for calling on the courts to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. She voted to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration at the southern border so he could fund the border wall, and then voted to override Trump’s veto of a bill that reversed his emergency declaration. Trump calls Cheney a “warmongering fool” who wants to “fight ridiculous, endless wars,” but Stefanik voted with Cheney to oppose Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria.

That is not all. In his statement Wednesday supporting Cheney’s ouster, Trump once again slammed the congressional certification of the 2020 election results, declaring, “Had Mike Pence referred the information on six states (only need two) back to State Legislatures ... we would have had a far different Presidential result.” But Stefanik voted to certify the election results in Arizona (though not Pennsylvania).

Don’t get me wrong; I like Stefanik. We were colleagues in the George W. Bush administration, and I agree wholeheartedly with some (though not all) of her Trump-dissenting votes. But if this is a fight about loyalty to Trump — and it is — then Cheney has a far better record of supporting the Trump agenda than Stefanik does.

So why is Trump giving Stefanik his “COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement” to replace Cheney? Because none of these votes matter to the former president. This is not about ideology or public policy. It’s not even loyalty to Trumpism. It’s about loyalty to Trump. And even though Cheney supported Trump’s agenda in Congress, she must be purged because she supported impeachment and the certification of the election — and refuses to apologize for it.

One anonymous GOP House member told the Hill, “This isn’t about Liz Cheney wanting to impeach Donald Trump; this isn’t about Donald Trump at all. It’s about Liz Cheney being completely out of synch with the majority of our conference.” But it is Stefanik who is out of sync with the majority of the Republican conference on the issues. Cheney is being ousted by her Republican colleagues, and replaced by someone who opposed much of Trump’s agenda, for one reason and one reason only: because she is not sufficiently obeisant to the former president.

After the Jan. 6 riot, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) declared on the House floor that “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters” and demanded that Trump take “immediate action” to “accept his share of responsibility.” While McCarthy didn’t support impeachment, he supported what would have been a resolution to censure Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riots — which would have been a historic rebuke.

The real difference between Cheney and McCarthy? McCarthy has backtracked on his criticism of Trump, while Cheney refuses to do so. After the riots, McCarthy declared that Trump “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” but now he says the opposite, telling Fox News Sunday that Trump told him on the phone during the riot that he would “put something out to make sure to stop this. And that’s what he did, he put a video out later.” Yes, several hours later — and telling the rioters that he loved them and that they were “very special.” He did not condemn the riots until the next day. Cheney’s crime is that she won’t follow McCarthy’s lead and try to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6.

House Republicans say Cheney is a distraction from their efforts to win back the majority in 2022 and check the Biden administration’s worst excesses. Sorry, it is Trump who is attacking Cheney and insisting the election was stolen. She just refuses to go along with that lie. What is the bigger distraction? Cheney’s tweets responding to Trump? Or the House Republican leadership feeding the left-wing media with weeks of drama over GOP fratricide with this shameful effort to purge her?


Columnists
Can we all get vaccinated and get back to work?

The day before Friday’s disappointing jobs report, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster followed Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte in calling on their respective states to end their participation in covid-related unemployment programs.

In both cases, the two Republicans cited worker shortages in their states to explain their decisions. Contrary to the way things may appear, the United States isn’t suffering a jobs shortage so much as it is suffering a shortage of people willing to work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which comes out the first Friday of every month, apparently caught financial wizards by surprise with its unexpectedly low numbers. Employers created only about one-fourth of the 1 million jobs economists had been expecting. Reacting to the numbers, many commentators were careful not to say what was obvious to McMaster and Gianforte: Giving away money and other goods has a predictable and undesirable effect on human incentive.

Both governors plan to end their participation in the extra $300-a-week benefit that Congress and the Biden administration extended until Sept. 6. In Montana, where combined state and federal unemployment benefits came out to around $600 weekly — and the minimum wage is $8.65 an hour — well, you do the math.

Now, Montana workers will receive one-time, state-funded bonuses of between $600 and $1,200 for returning to work and staying in the workforce for a month.

Though I hesitate to use the word socialism, larded as it is with potential for hysteria (on both sides of the political arena), Americans are being schooled in what socialism looks like, how it operates and how easily some people can be lulled into complacency. The gentle caress of the benevolent hand of Big Government slowly becomes the grip of dependence.

I don’t want to overstate the case. One of Ronald Reagan’s favorite gags was that the scariest words in the English language were, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” It was a good line and conservatives loved it.

But COVID-19 forced even the strictest fiscal conservatives to admit that there are some things only government can do. Without government, there would have been no help for the sick and needy; there would have been no vaccine in record time; there would have been no essential stimulus aid to keep businesses afloat and the millions of unemployed Americans fed and housed in a time of desperate need. In March and April last year, the labor market lost an unprecedented 22 million jobs. Since then, more than 14 million jobs have been restored, or about 63% of what was lost.

Finding people to take jobs as they reappear, however, has become daunting if not impossible, particularly at the lower end of the pay scale. Ask almost any employer and you’ll hear the same: There are plenty of jobs but filling them is another matter. In South Carolina, where tourism matters and the hospitality industry has been hardest hit, 80,000 jobs are currently available, according to the governor’s office. Restaurants can’t stay open without servers and other staff who, thanks to the extra stimulus money, don’t see the point of working. The same goes for hotels and other establishments.

There is certainly no shame in taking government help when it is needed. But liberals may be hoping the new-wage expectations brought on by the stimulus aid will force lawmakers into raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour when the pandemic ends. But, alas, nothing is free; higher wages inevitably will result in higher prices; and no one seriously thinks this Congress is going to raise the minimum wage.

Some of the reasoning behind continuing stimulus and other supplemental funds, meanwhile, is pinned to people’s understanding of COVID-related health risks. While conservatives have tended to play down the risks of infection — often to the point of absurdity — liberals are slow to let go of the dangers despite the rise in vaccinations and scientific evidence that it’s safe to go and play outside. Today, roughly half of all American adults have received at least one shot of a vaccine. I suspect the same folks who blasted conservatives for being allergic to science remain the most afraid of infection.

Political scientist Marc Hetherington, who has studied public attitudes toward COVID-19, found last year that a third of “very liberal” people were “very concerned” about becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, compared with a quarter of both liberals and moderates. Today, even though public health advice has begun shifting — and the infection rate was reported Friday at its lowest in seven months — progressives I know remain concerned.

The governors know what the economists are only now just sensing. Economic incentive is what drives human beings. What began as a helping hand now looks like an incentive to take a nap. For the economy’s sake, let’s get vaccinated and back to work.


Columnists
Rediscovering America: A quiz for Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day, which celebrates the men and women serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy, is May 15.

The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of our nation’s armed forces.

1. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress which powers?

A. The power to provide and maintain a navy

B. The power to raise and support armies

C. The power to declare war

D. All of the above

2. The oldest infantry unit has been active since 1784. What is it called?

A. Old Iron Sides

B. Yellow Jackets

C. Old Guard

D. Devil Dogs

3. Who is the current U.S. Secretary of Defense and in what branch of the military did he serve?

A. James Mattis and Marines

B. Lloyd Austin and Army

C. Chuck Hagel and Army

D. Donald Rumsfeld and Navy

4. Approximately how many military bases does the United States have in how many countries?

A. 500 bases in 50 countries

B. 600 bases in 60 countries

C. 700 bases in 70 countries

D. 800 bases in 80 countries

5. Which U.S. military base is considered to be the largest in the world?

A. Fort Hood in Texas

B. Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

C. Fort Bragg in North Carolina

D. Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington

6. Who is the only U.S. president to have served as an enlisted military man, but who did not become an officer?

A. James Buchanan

B. Dwight D. Eisenhower

C. Franklin Pierce

D. Zachary Taylor

7. Fewer than 100 people have been bestowed the title “Honorary Marine,” as has one famous cartoon character. Which character was it?

A. Mighty Mouse

B. Popeye

C. Bugs Bunny

D. Elmer Fudd

8. What year did President Harry Truman issue Executive Order 9981 barring discrimination in the military “on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin” and beginning the process of de-segregation of the armed forces?

A. 1945

B. 1948

C. 1951

D. 1953

9. When did the first female cadets enter West Point?

A. 1976

B. 1982

C. 1987

D. 1991

10. Which of the following apply to World War II’s 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team?

A. Primarily composed of second-generation American citizens of Japanese dissent

B. Awarded Congressional Gold Medal in 2010

C. Unit motto was “Go for Broke”

D. All of the above

ANSWERS

1-D, 2-C, 3-B, 4-D, 5-C, 6-A, 7-C, 8-B, 9-A, 10-D

Jennifer D. Keene is a member of the Ashbrook Center faculty and curator of Ashbrook’s compilation “World War II: Core Documents”; she is also a professor of history and chair of the History Department at Chapman University. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.


In_our_past
Gillette histories

From the May 2, 1936 News Record:

Dale Andrews is the champion speller of Campbell county, having won first place yesterday at the high school. Clarence Cole was second, Doris Cook third, Leone Donner fourth and Elaine Stewart fifth. Prizes awarded to these pupils were $10.00, $7.00, $5.00, $2.00 and $1.00, respectively.

From the May 2, 1974 News Record:

Wyoming Recreation Director Paul Westedt was in Gillette last Thursday to present two grant checks totaling over $54,000 to the Campbell County Recreation Board and Campbell County School District. The funds were the first payment of a 50-50 matching grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. These grants are designated to assist legal entities with the cost of public outdoor recreation developments. The fund can provide one-half of the money involved in both recreational land acquisition and development. Under the terms of the Land and Water Conservation Act, the sponsoring governmental agency must provide one-half the cost and maintain the area for public use and enjoyment for 25 years following project completion.

From the May 4, 1997 News Record:

A senior at Campbell County High School did more than just help his varsity golf team to a second-place finish at the Casper Invite Saturday. Jamie Sharp, in his fourth of competition with the Camels, saved a teammate’s life by using the Heimlich maneuver Saturday. The golfers had stopped at the Hometown Buffet in Casper to eat before returning to Gillette after their 18-hole tournament. Assistant coach Kris Backhaus was sitting about four tables away from a group of students when one of the boys began choking. The boy — who Backhaus said didn’t want to be identified because he was embarrassed — apparently started choking and his friends at the table originally thought it was a joke until he began making the choking sign. That’s when Sharp pulled his teammate out of the booth and began the maneuver that saved his life.


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