In a brilliant op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on November 19, Peggy Noonan assesses the state of the Republican Party after two events of recent days—the poor performance of the GOP in the midterms and the announcement by former President Donald Trump that he is running again.
She starts by noting the speech given by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie at the Republican Governors Association that got a standing ovation. The voters “rejected crazy” Christie said and the GOP can no longer kowtow to Donald Trump who has yet to win a plurality in a national election and has now failed in three consecutive cycles to win for his base voters —2018, 2020, and 2022. Donald Trump has traumatized the United States. We can recover, but it will take time and some better, younger candidates for national office.
Christie goes on:
“We can’t lead and convince Trump folks if we’re unwilling to stick out our necks and say his name.”
“There needs to be a fight out loud, in public. The only way it becomes a winning argument is transparent and public.”
Noonan goes on to note that countries make mistakes in who they choose to lead. She notes that the GOP will have to decide if Trump was a mistake—three times—or Trump is who the GOP has become. And she goes on to note that people never like to admit that they made a mistake—especially one they made more than once. But she believes that the Republicans are ready to move beyond Trump. In essence, January 6 was the limit for most Republicans, even Mike Pence. It is time for the party to move on. The trauma needs to shift to recovery.
It’s also time for the Democrats to move on, but they have a bigger problem—a sitting President. Who’s going to challenge him? There is no shortage of candidates to stand up to Trump and I am quite sure that Ron DeSantis will, but will anyone challenge Biden? So, the onus is on the Republican and Democratic primary voter. Will the GOP move on or is the GOP the party of Trump? We’ll see. Is Biden the best the Dems can do? Again, we shall see.
This situation is analogous to the one at MD Anderson today. It is not the president who has failed three times, but the Board of Regents. They gave Dr. Mendelsohn a pass on Enron and ImClone as well as on his conflict-of-interest issues. They then selected a candidate who loved Donald Trump and tried to run MD Anderson like Trump ran the country—with him at the center of everything—nepotism, self-dealing and conflict-of-interest. Eventually the Chancellor and the Board of Regents had had enough of their second mistake. So now the Board of Regents is on to its third mistake. Rather than focus on science and patient care, Dr. Pisters is firing experienced professors for minor infractions and depleting the institution of top talent when it needs it most. He focuses on the opinion of outside rating agencies and not on that of his faculty and he surrounds himself with yes men and women and sycophants who will not speak truth to power. If the Board of Regents doesn’t do something soon about its third mistake, the mistakes will become who MD Anderson is. And MD Anderson is traumatized.
It’s time for the GOP to throw off the cult of Trump and move on before its brand is ruined for years. Similarly, it is time for the Board of Regents to own up to its third mistake and find a qualified leader for the UT cancer center. And it needs to do it before the mistake becomes who MD Anderson is.
The institution has been traumatized enough. Fix it!