Friday, March 4, 2016

Destroying America, or just destroying the Republican Party?

Believe it or not, these people are running for President of the United States. You know, the most powerful nation on Earth?

"Little Marco"? Of course, that's just standard Trump these days, as they're behaving more like particularly low-class guests on the Jerry Springer Show than candidates for president. (I'm not exaggerating, either. They've actually been arguing about the size of Donald Trump's dick!)

Yeah, that's how juvenile and idiotic it's become. Now, there are real issues here. This is not, actually, a 'reality TV' show, much as that's what Donald Trump and his supporters are making of it. It's real. It's our country. It's America.

The faith-based seem to have lost touch with reality entirely. But then, the Republican Party has been pushing them in that direction - for political and economic reasons - for decades now, hasn't it? You reap what you sow.

And if they were only going to destroy the Republican Party, I wouldn't care. Sure, we need a conservative political party, but we need a rational conservative party. The GOP has become batshit crazy. Sorry, but that's the only way I can describe it. I don't know if sanity is even possible for the Republican Party anymore. And, unfortunately, there's a very real danger that they may destroy America, too.

As bad as Mitt Romney would have been as our president four years ago, that's nothing compared to what we're seeing now. Indeed, even Romney is speaking out against Trump in a truly remarkable way.

Keep in mind that Romney was the Republican candidate for president just four years ago, and this is what he's saying about the current front-runner - and very likely their eventual candidate - this year:
If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into prolonged recession. A few examples. His proposed 35 percent tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war and that would raise prices for consumers, kill our export jobs and lead entrepreneurs and businesses of all stripes to flee America.

His tax plan in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. So even though Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families.

But you say, wait, wait, wait, isn’t he a huge business success? Doesn’t he know what he’s talking about? No, he isn’t and no he doesn’t.

Look, his bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who work for them. He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. And whatever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage. A business genius he is not. ...

Now let me turn to national security and the safety of our homes and loved ones. Mr. Trump’s bombast is already alarming the allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS, and for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country.

And then what he said about on “60 Minutes”. Did you hear this? It was about Syria and ISIS, and it has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the entire campaign season. Let ISIS take out Assad, he said, and then we can pick up the remnants.

Now, think about that. Let the most dangerous terror organization the world has ever known take over an entire country? This recklessness is recklessness in the extreme. Now, Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.

Now, I’m far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament to be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity.

Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, at the same time he has called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good.

There is a dark irony in his boasts of his sexual exploits during the Vietnam War. While at the same time, John McCain, whom he has mocked, was imprisoned and tortured.

Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark. He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong. He spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong. He saw no such thing. He imagined it.

He’s not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as a leader. His imagination must not be married to real power. ...

Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired. ...

Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.

Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the members of the American public for suckers. He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat.

His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

Mitt Romney is right about that. Of course, he's also a hypocrite, given his own tax policies, the fact that he also inherited his money, his own reluctance to release tax forms (and absolute refusal to release more than the most recent, when he'd already started running for president), etc.

And much of that has been standard in the Republican Party for some years now (for example, the promotion of torture, scapegoating of immigrants, and religious bigotry towards Muslims). Mainstream Republicans have channeled hate, fear, anger, and bigotry for their own political advantage. Now, when it's come alive and they've lost control of the monster they created, they're worried.

Not worried enough, I'd say. Even Romney has refused to say that he won't support Trump, if Trump wins the Republican Party nomination (which he almost certainly will, don't you think?). Yeah, Trump might destroy America, but Republicans will remain loyal to their party anyway, huh?

Still, that speech is astonishing, don't you think? It's not just standard campaign talk. As Josh Marshall at TPM says:
Romney won't ever be able to walk that back. Yes, people dismiss a lot of campaign bluster as 'Well, things get said in the heat of a campaign. blah blah blah.' But you don't ever come back from the kind of things Romney said about Trump today.

And how did Trump respond? Well, he kept it classy, as always:
It was while Trump was reminding everyone that Romney went out of his way to ask for his endorsement four years ago that Trump did what Trump does best, delivering the type of line that’s tailor-made for Twitter and our outrage age. “I could have said, ‘Mitt drop to your knees,’ ” the former reality TV star said to cheers.

Now, it’s impossible to say for certain that the Donald was making a crass blow-job joke—and that’s the point. Like his “wherever” comment about Megyn Kelly last August, or his “schlonged” remark about Hillary Clinton back in December, Trump’s “drop to your knees” wording lends itself easily to a salacious reading while still offering Trump the chance to deny it was his intent.

Yeah, this is the guy who's leading in the Republican nomination for President of the United States (and, incidentally, getting the evangelical Christian vote, too). This is the clown who's turned our system of government into a circus - and a raunchy circus, at that.

None of that is stopping Trump, though. Again, this is the monster the Republican Party created, the monster they've been nurturing for years, the monster they've continually used to gain more political power. You know that's true (despite the best efforts by some Republicans to... wait for it... blame Obama).

So what's all this mean for our country? It's not good, I'll tell you that. Even if Donald Trump loses, it's not good.

I don't know what more I can say about it, I really don't. So I'll just end with this from Josh Marshall at TPM (referring to last night's Republican debate):
You may have noticed that during the debate audience members in the line of sight behind the moderators were giving thumbs ups, making faces or just aping for the cameras like you'd expect to see as a football game or a wrestling match. We've never seen anything like that. The pro-wrestling mania of the Trump rallies is seeping into debates, like a virus spreading through a host body. And I tend to doubt that those people were all Trump supporters. It doesn't matter. Creeping Trumpism is taking over his opponents from within.

The upshot of the last forty eight hours is that the GOP actually seems to be groping its way toward a strategy of doing anything possible to prevent Trump from getting to the convention with 50+% of the delegates. Just what that gets them isn't clear and I don't think they have any idea. They are on the one hand saying he could destroy the party and grievously damage America while still saying they'll probably support him if he's the nominee. (Note that Romney nowhere ruled out eventually supporting Trump.) Still that seems to be the emerging plan. You'll note that Romney wasn't asking anyone to drop out. Quite the contrary. He wants everyone to stay in and use strategic voting to keep Trump from amassing more than half the delegates. With that strategy this debate made perfect sense, a brutal war of attrition meant to grind down an opponent who cannot actually be beaten.

Right now it's Trump vs the stakeholders of the institutional GOP, represented by Rubio, Cruz and Romney in the wings, like two vast armies wheeling around for a decisive combat over a small town or village. Trump's army is clearly stronger, but not unbeatable. Whatever happens, there's no way the village doesn't get brutalized and probably destroyed in the process.

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