South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem claims she’s a victim of “conservative cancel culture.” After vetoing a popular bill to defend women’s sports from the transgender lobby, Noem insists she did no such thing. She claims she only rejected the bill because legendary (but unnamed) conservative legal scholars told her she would lose a fight with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“If any number of conservative pundits are to be believed, that same governor who refused to cave is now caving to the NCAA and Amazon on the issue of fairness in women’s sports. What? Apparently, uninformed cancel culture is fine when the right is eating their own,” Noem spokesman Ian Fury said in a press statement. “Furthermore, the bill picked a fight with the NCAA—a fight that renowned conservative legal experts advise Governor Noem that she will lose, especially considering South Dakota’s unfriendly federal bench.”
Apparently, if the NCAA threatens a lawsuit, you get a pass to betray your constituents.
We just can’t expect our lawmakers to fight for our interests in court. Just sign Noem’s “Defend Title IX” petition so she can harvest your info when it comes time to raise money for her next campaign. That’s how you win! (It should be also noted Noem is staking her political future defending a liberal statute that’s gutted collegiate male sports.)
A Lame Defense
The governor’s damage control is not likely to work as conservatives continue to mock her for capitulating to corporate interests. Her first brush with criticism from conservative media doesn’t augur well for her presidential hopes. She demonstrated she will surrender rather than fight on the controversial issues. How can we expect her to stand up for Middle Americans in the Oval Office? Amazon and the NCAA matter more to her than her own voters do.
What really distinguishes her as suspect is her use of the “cancel culture” defense. It’s expected for politicians to face tough criticism for their decisions. It’s a part of the job. The worst Republicans have decided, however, the usual criticism from the Right is something unprecedented. In reality, it’s cancel culture to excoriate elected representatives when they vote the wrong way.
This asinine argument is used to deflect from blame and shame ordinary Americans for daring to criticize Republicans. The only way to avoid cancel culture is to say nothing when your elected representatives do something stupid.
Many prominent Republicans shrieked “cancel culture” back in the faces of people on the Right when defending those who voted to impeach Donald Trump. GOP House Caucus Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) allegedly was a victim of right-wing cancel culture for supporting impeachment and disparaging Trump and his voters. Her state party censured her and other GOP lawmakers, such as Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), strongly denounced her. She didn’t suffer job loss or lose her social media accounts. She didn’t even lose her role as House caucus chair. She simply faced criticism for a decision the vast majority of Republicans opposed.
But that, apparently, is now called cancel culture.
“If you look at Matt Gaetz going to Wyoming, because—what—a tough woman has an independent view and he doesn’t want to go out and explain why he didn’t vote for impeachment?” NeverTrumpRepresentative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said during an NBC interview. “That’s totally GOP cancel culture!”
“People could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture we can’t be doing that ourselves,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said in defense of his colleagues who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
“Some elements of the Republican Party are attempting to impose their own version of cancel culture, by attempting to read out of the party anyone who voted for former President Trump’s impeachment in the House or his conviction in the Senate. Driven by self-righteousness and zeal, they seemingly are unaware (or are uncaring) of how much their proposed purge emulates the misguided policies of the political left,” former New York Representative Peter King argued in a February op-ed.
Curiously, these voices were absent when Republican leaders decided to cancel former Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) over one odd quote to the New York Times in 2019. Cheney, in fact, led the push to punish King for inartfully defending Western civilization. King, unlike Cheney or Noem, suffered for his free speech. He lost his committee assignments and the party establishment ultimately unseated him. All Cheney and Noem face are bad headlines and angry constituents—the consequences politicians should expect when they make poor decisions.
The Ultimate Cancellation
Cancel culture is a real phenomenon. It threatens ordinary Americans with unemployment, deplatforming, severe harassment, and even physical attacks. It silences free speech and ensures only one point of view is heard. Most Americans who suffer from the boot of cancel culture lack the power and wealth of Kristi Noem and Liz Cheney. They lose their livelihoods with no congressmen rushing to their defense.
Consider the number of conservatives who were kicked out of school or their jobs for not bowing before Black Lives Matter. That’s the real cancel culture. Noem and Cheney’s tribulations are just a normal part of politics.
The people have the right to disfavor their representatives if they fail at their job. To many conservatives, Noem and Cheney have done a terrible job. If the two are bothered by this, maybe they should change their behavior.
It would be terrible, absolutely horrible, to see these two suffer the ultimate cancellation at the ballot box.