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First, thank you for your newsletter. I look forward to it every day and read most of the linked posts. I rarely disagree with the opinions expressed in your posts and I do not believe I have ever commented on one. However, I felt compelled to do so when I read “Johnson Reveals Sykes Fixation.”
I agree with the post’s clear disappointment with Senator Ron Johnson. He has abandoned some of what I thought were his core principles to support a person even in cases where that person was unworthy of his support. He has also supported some positions that are extreme – especially since the 2020 election. Personally, I hope that he honors his past statements and limits himself to two terms.
Here is where I disagree. I am equally if not more disappointed in Charlie Sykes. I listened to Charlie Sykes for many years on Milwaukee radio. I have read several of his books and I respected Charlie and his opinions. I always felt that he was an intellectual step above most of the other local talk show hosts. I believed he was a conservative and admired how he could express conservative views in a thoughtful and intelligent way. I shared Charlie’s dislike of candidate Donald Trump. In the very crowded 2016 field, I would have supported almost any of the other Republican candidates over Trump.
However, at some point, I had to make a choice. I could either support an obnoxious messenger who was advocating for many policies I believed in, or I could support a slick and polished political opportunist with a 25-year track record of dishonesty and support for bad policies. At the time, there was no guaranty that he would follow through on those promises but, in the end, I felt that I had to vote for Donald Trump despite my dislike for him personally.
I cringe as I reread that last sentence. For years, I have ridiculed people on the other side who overlook the obvious faults of people like Hillary Clinton simply because they support the same agenda. I am not necessarily proud of taking that stance, but I had to weigh the pros and cons and decide what was best for myself, my family, and my country. When faced with two horrible people, yes, I am going to vote for the one who supports the same policies that I do.
That leads to my extreme disappointment with Charlie Sykes and several others. He disliked Donald Trump so much that he could not bring himself to support anything the man said or did even when Trump began to follow through on the conservative policies he pushed during the campaign. Just once over the last four years, I wish Charlie would have said, “I don’t like Donald Trump and I especially don’t like the way he just said what he did BUT this is the right policy.”
He never did that. Instead, his dislike of Trump led him to criticize everything the man said or did. His dislike spilled over to every other Republican or conservative who said anything positive about or in support of Donald Trump. Suddenly, supporting a conservative policy was wrong if Donald Trump advocated for it. Suddenly, conspiracy theories advanced by people like Adam Schiff were entirely valid because they sought to bring down Donald Trump.
The point where I realized that I had lost respect for Charlie was his cheerleading of the Russia collusion narrative. Personally, I was struck by how similar the Muller Investigation was to the John Doe probe into Scott Walker. Both had a desired conclusion that, if true, would destroy a political enemy. Both took that conclusion to a willing media who ran with the claims. Both insisted there was evidence to back it up. Finally, both justified using the power of government to destroy their enemy, even if that meant using unconstitutional actions in the process. The similarities were clear all along and it should not surprise anyone that neither found the evidence they were looking for. Those similarities should have been clear to Charlie, who stood for fairness and the rule of law during the Walker probe. Nevertheless, during the Muller probe, he eagerly grasped at every straw that he hoped would bring down a president that he did not like. He enthusiastically became the willing media he decried during the Walker probe.
Now, I question whether Charlie Sykes was ever a conservative. I had to make a hard decision and vote for someone I did not like. Ron Johnson had to make what I hope was a hard decision and express support an election narrative that he may have disagreed with. For Charlie, it was remarkably easy to abandon every conservative principle that he had advocated for 20 years on the radio. It was remarkably easy for him to walk away from the party that advocated those principles. Charlie has apparently decided that our country deserves to be turned over to a party that stands for the exact opposite of those principles. He seems all too willing to sacrifice my future and that of my children and grandchildren because he does not like Donald Trump. That is extremely disappointing to me.
I am sure that most writers for RightWisconsin also dislike Donald Trump. You have pointed out where you disagree with him and pointed out his flaws. I respect that.
On the other hand, that has not caused you to stop pointing out the many flaws of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, or Tony Evers. Your dislike of Donald Trump has not caused you to advocate the polar opposite of conservatism like it has with Charlie Sykes, Bill Kristol and Jennifer Rubin. Either they never believed in conservatism or they recognized an opportunity to advance their career by becoming a nationally recognized Trump hater. I am not sure which is worse.
Thank you for the work you do and for your newsletter which I enjoy very much.
(Name withheld by request)