Sen. Josh Hawley has become a leader in the Republican Party and is considered a strong conservative worthy of the presidency — he recently received the endorsement of Rush Limbaugh — but his 2024 aspirations are anything but conservative because he’s running a campaign tied to Trumpism and constitutional ignorance.
In a recent National Review piece by Isaac Schorr, we see how Hawley is depending on this strategy to win in 2024.
Are you a Republican voter? Do you plan to participate in the 2024 presidential primary? If your answer to these first two questions is “yes,” I have a third: Aren’t you angry?
Almost daily, Josh Hawley, the lean and hungry legislator who helped incite an attack on his own place of work, intimates that a majority of Republicans are stupid. Make no mistake: The senator from Missouri is guilty of far more than pandering or misleading to appeal to “the base” on occasion. Your presumed ignorance and gullibility are the driving forces behind his every move. (emphasis mine)
The latest insult came on Thursday, only a day after a conspiracy theory not only boosted by, but acted upon by Hawley — a Yale Law School graduate who didn’t believe for a moment that the election was stolen by Democrats, or that it could be stolen by Republicans in Congress during the certification process — resulted in an attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
But for Josh Hawley, the greatest tragedy of this past week is not that there was a failed insurrection egged on by the president of the United States. It’s that Simon & Schuster, the erstwhile publisher of Hawley’s forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech (Big Tech is another issue where Hawley assumes your ignorance), announced it would not move forward with the project. Here was Hawley’s response:
This could not be more Orwellian. Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition. Let me be clear, this is not just a contract dispute. It’s a direct assault on the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published. This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of. I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have. We’ll see you in court.
Clearly, there is no constitutional requirement for a publisher to publish a book they don’t approve of, nor has anyone’s First Amendment right been violated if a publisher chooses not to publish, but that’s not the point.
If you’re Josh Hawley or any other Trumpist/Nationalist in the Republican Party (i.e. Ted Cruz), pretending to protect the Constitution while systematically working to destroy it has become standard operating procedure. Schorr stated it this way:
The objective of Hawley’s statement is obvious: to take this personal event, which has occurred as a direct result of his own behavior, and to make Republicans feel as if this was a personal attack on them and their beliefs. It was not. But remember: Hawley’s political fortunes are tied to a bet that voters won’t think clearly. (emphasis mine)
Hawley, as you may recall, was a speaker at last year’s National Conservatism Conference (NCC) where he gave a speech that could have easily been given by Bernie Sanders. In the name of what is being called the “new conservatism,” Hawley attacked the “powerful upper class and their cosmopolitan priorities,” and called for “a new consensus” to address the “discontent of our time.”
Who are the “upper class?” What is this “new consensus?” What is the “discontent of our time?”
In Josh Hawley’s mind, the upper class is Big Tech, specifically companies like Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter — companies that Trumpists and nationalists claim are violating the right to free speech (the discontent of our time).
Hawley’s call for a new consensus was literally a call to redefine the First Amendment by giving government full control of internet speech.
When Donald Trump issued an executive order last summer to “reform” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — an order where the only free speech is government-approved speech — he included new ways for the government to control internet content and spy on internet users.
Right on cue, a group of Senate Republicans led by Josh Hawley introduced the Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, a bill that limited Section 230 immunity for social media platforms. The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio, Mike Braun, and Tom Cotton.
A few months prior (February 2020), Hawley proposed an overhaul of the FTC that could have come straight out of Elizabeth Warren’s anti-big business playbook. Hawley’s plan would strip the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of its independence and relocating it to the Department of Justice.
“The FTC isn’t working. It wastes time in turf wars with the DOJ, nobody is accountable for decisions, and it lacks the ‘teeth’ to get after Big Tech’s rampant abuses. Congress needs to do something about it. I’m proposing to overhaul the FTC to make it more accountable and efficient while strengthening its enforcement authority. This is about bringing the FTC into the 21st century.”
Hawley’s plan creates a single director within the Department of Justice, and give the DOJ “all authority” to go after the so-called “rampant abuses” of Big Tech. But don’t worry, his proposal stipulates that the director will “be accountable to Congress,” so any infringement of your right to free speech will be a bi-partisan effort between the White House and Congress.
It’s simply a fact that Trump and the Trumpist GOP have adopted the far-left’s anti-Constitution ideology to create a faux conservative agenda promoted under the Nationalist banner, and this rebranded conservatism is how Josh Hawley is using Trumpism and constitutional ignorance to launch his 2024 ambitions
Now that Trump is all but gone, the next logical step will be for the Trumpist Republican Party to run on a Trump 2.0 platform in 2024. — all of the liberty-killing nationalism without the baggage that comes from being Trump — and Josh Hawley is counting on the constitutional ignorance of a frightening number of voters to pull it off.
I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a defender of the Constitution because without it we will never be free to enjoy our God-given right to liberty.
This declaration means I reject Trumpism and nationalism: I adhere to the Constitution and the foundation laid out by the Founding Fathers. I believe in limited federal power, states rights, respect for the three separate but equal branches of government, and an unwavering commitment to our unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness endowed to us by our Creator.
While I don’t expect our representatives to be able to quote the Constitution verbatim; I do expect them to know the basics and to make laws based on it instead of looking for ways to work around or ignore it.
Unfortunately, Josh Hawley is counting on constitutional ignorance to destroy the Constitution . . . and perhaps win the presidency in 2024.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.