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Rantz: Former WA GOP chairman Chris Vance has frightening obsession with Trump

President Donald Trump gestures as he walks to the Marine One helicopter after speaking to the media, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, as he leaves the White House in Washington, en route to Texas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Former Washington State GOP chairman Chris Vance has a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Yes, it’s a phrase that can be laughably overused, but it appears Vance is why the term persists. And it’s his unhinged President Donald Trump obsession that’s led him to not just be viewed as a joke by the very community he tried to convince to support him, but it’s caused him to make some mind-bogglingly ludicrous and plainly false statements.

Vance left the Republican party after Trump was elected and he’s been attacking the president ever since. He started a Washington PAC supporting independents, but like his 2016 race for Senate, it failed.

Now, Vance serves as a token conservative used by KUOW to claim they have guests from a variety of ideological backgrounds (they don’t). But he also tweets and posts Trump-hating takes all day. In a recent tweet, he tagged me to get my attention.

Vance tweeted out a story about a weekend radio host from Denver who claimed he was fired mid-show for speaking out against Trump. His allegation was quickly countered by station management. They said he wasn’t fired, but was pulled mid-show after promoting a rival station when he was told not to. CNN, quick to promote anything anti-Trump, promoted the story, even though it was the unsubstantiated claims of a low-level, Saturday host.

Vance used this story to claim unconvincingly: “Now criticism of the Dear Leader ist verboten.”

I invited him on my show because his comment is baseless and I didn’t want people who don’t realize the mess Vance has become to pretend he has some insight into talk radio that they don’t. Also because I liked the irony of a radio interview with a guy who says talk radio doesn’t allow criticism of Trump.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out Vance has no insight into talk radio. Literally none.

While Vance acknowledged “there may be isolated incidents of criticism”, he said “anybody looking at this honestly… and anybody who has a history like I do, has to admit how much this has changed.” So, he’s already changing the point he made in his tweet.

Okay. I’ve been in talk radio, locally, for quite some time. How has it changed?

When I was chairman, I remember I used to go on, uh, the show’s back then on KVI and KTTH and defend President Bush on extending the prescription drug benefit to Medicare and on uh, no child left behind. Heck, when I was running for the U. S. Senate, I used to have to stand in front of crowds and pledge that I would never vote to raise the debt ceiling, which is what the Republicans had just done in Congress. Now Donald Trump can have $4 trillion the national debt. He can undermine our alliances and suck up to Russia and do all sorts of things that conservatives wouldn’t… launch phony trade wars that no conservative would ever have supported. And people don’t say anything. I mean, in my view, the Republican Party has become a cult of personality centered on one man.

Actually working in talk radio, I know the difference between the rantings of a man obsessed that Trump is in office and the way talk radio (conservative or otherwise) and our listeners have evolved.

So I asked Vance how much time he listens to KTTH, a station that routinely broadcasts criticism of Trump when the hosts deem it necessary. “Zero” he told me. Then I asked how much time he spends listening to talk radio in general. “None, now.”

So, in other words, he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

Here’s where his cluelessness comes from: uncontrollable anger. Vance is livid Trump was elected. Fair enough. Lots of people are. But his obsession is so legitimately unhealthy that he’s created stories in his head about what is and isn’t happening. He’s not offering analysis. He’s presenting delusions.

Conservative talk radio isn’t going overboard in bashing Trump because, generally speaking, it’s uncouth to bash the sitting president of your own party. You need a special reason to. Vance, no doubt, would suggest we have a special reason to. After all, Vance believes there’s “an authoritarian streak” in the party thanks to Trump. But it’s that very bad hot take that explains why so many Republicans won’t attack Trump.

Vance is the reason so many Republicans won’t incessantly trash Trump; actually, Vance is probably pushing people towards the president. We don’t want anything to do with Vance’s level of crazy. We don’t want to be put in the same box as the mentally unwell analysis and activists who pretend literally everything Trump does is an impeachable offense. So we’ll show some level of deference in attacking Trump for a mean tweet because we already know insane people are out there pretending we have the second coming of Hitler in office. Why did Vance’s independent PAC idea fail? If Trump so loathe and out of control, why wouldn’t this movement catch on? It’s because Vance is the worst possible messenger.

I didn’t vote for Trump for president. I wasn’t a fan. I also didn’t vote for Clinton because I have standards and am a Republican. I wrote in Paul Ryan. But Trump won. And I could have reacted like Vance and thrown a monumental fit, pretended the world is ending because I didn’t get my way, committed to a life of angry tweeting about “Orange Man Bad!!!!!!” with a lot of unnecessary emojis. But I did something significantly healthier and chose to give Trump a chance.

Moreover, Vance doesn’t understand why Trump won in the first place. His brash politically incorrect attitude was what a lot of people felt was necessary to push back against Progressive activists who feign offense at every turn. You unintentionally misgendered someone? You won’t use the pronoun ze? You must be shamed! You support cops? Well, then, you must not think black lives matter. You used a plastic bag? Stop murdering our planet! Trump support was a way to react to those unhinged voices. Vance decided to become one of them.

Is Trump perfect? Not even close. And I think it’s reasonable to say the Trump rhetoric to fight back against Progressive lunacy was a type of over-correction.

But you know what Trump has done that no Democrat would have? Given us two amazing Supreme Court justices, ensured the appointment of record numbers of federal judges, helped deliver record low unemployment, took less of my salary for taxes to be misspent, and treats Israel (and Jews) like the allies they (and we) are. Since I think this nation is strong enough to withstand some mean tweets and Progressive overreaction, I’m certainly okay dealing with an unpresidential president in exchange.

At the end of the day, I’d rather help shape the party by being a member of it. I’d rather contribute by offering reasonable criticism of the president (which I do frequently), while promoting decisions that help this country. Because even with Trump’s most uncouth tweets, he’s better than what the leading Democrats would do to this country.  I definitely don’t want to help Socialists like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren become president. That’s Vance’s new job.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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