Tuesday, February 23, 2016


If you can't beat him, join him:
Ted Cruz said tonight that he would use federal immigration officers to round up and deport all 12 million people in the country illegally -- a markedly tougher stance that he has struck in the past.

“Yes, we should deport them,” Cruz told Fox host Bill O’Reilly. “That’s what ICE exists for. We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them.”

The toughening stance comes after a disappointing, if narrow, third place finish in South Carolina on Saturday, with immigration hardliner Donald Trump strengthening his grip on the race.
The Cruz campaign claims that this is nothing new:
“There’s no change here,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said late Monday by email.
But that's not true:
Just five weeks ago, he explicitly rejected the idea of a “deportation force” of the sort proposed by Trump, who has unabashedly called for the federal government to actively round up people in the country illegally.

“I don’t intend to send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America. That’s not how we enforce the law for any crime,” Cruz told CNN’s Jake Tapper in Iowa.
I guess you can't blame Cruz and other Republican candidates for trying to imitate the most successful candidate in the race. But I've noticed that Trump's competitors imitate him only when he's being a right-wing hard-liner. They imitate him on immigration. And hard-heartedness toward Syrian refugees. And support for waterboarding. And indiscriminate bombing of ISIS strongholds.

They don't imitate him on promising to avoid Social Security and Medicare cuts. Or taxing hedge fund managers. Or questioning the Iraq War. Or disrespecting the George W. Bush presidency.

A lot of pundits believe that by combining heavy-metal conservatism with moderate or even seemingly liberal positions on some issues, Trump has created the secret sauce that makes him such an effective candidate. These pundits think Trump has exposed a widespread dissatisfaction with GOP orthodoxy among Republican voters -- if Trump can attack hedge funders or the Iraq War (or John McCain or Megyn Kelly), then maybe the GOP has been out of step with its voters all along. Maybe the party can never be the same after Trump's exposure of this inconvenient truth.

I disagree. I think Trump's rage and hatemongering are just so satisfying to GOP voters that they give him a pass on deviations from right-wing orthodoxy and attacks on sacred cows. Also, they may have mixed feelings about a few of issues (George W. Bush, the Iraq War), but they're not angry about the orthodox GOP positions on these issues.

In any case, I suspect Trump's rivals are right to shun his moderate stances. Trump can get away with heresy, but I doubt the rest of them can, Look at what happened to Jeb Bush and Rand Paul, or Jon Huntsman four years ago. You need to be willing to stir up the mobs as irresponsibly as Trump does to get away with this, and the rest of them won't quite go there.

So here's an irony: Every four years, Republican presidential candidates compete to out-wingnut one another, a competition that locks the eventual nominee into positions that are too right-wing for a general election. This year it's happening again -- but the candidate pushing the field to the right is the one who isn't really a dyed-in-the-wool conservative.

Trump ought to be pushing the field to the left on a few issues, but he isn't. That just doesn't happen in the GOP.


Victor said...

Stalin, at one point when the German's were advancing far into Russia, ordered his commanders, "Not one step back!"

The GOP politicians follow the command of their rabid base, which has ordered, "Not one step to the left!"

Trump can get away with his little more liberal nuggets, because those are sorrounded with mounds and mounds of delicious hate, fear, and bigotry.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Trump has yet to demonstrate, imo, that he doesn't have a pretty hard ceiling at around 30-35% of the vote. Consequently, I don't think you can say much about how or why the GOP electorate is accepting his heterodoxical "conservatism" since only a minority of the GOP has accepted him. If the non-Trump field collapsed to one candidate, I think Trump would be toast.

The problem is how they reward delegates and that exaggerates Trump's strength. As I understand it, the GOP intentionally encouraged winner-take-all primaries in order to shorten the primary process and reach a consensus candidate sooner. Then along came Trump. Heh. My guess is that the GOP will go back to the drawing board to rejigger the primary process once again. The GOP seems so inept at the fundamental mechanics of electoral democracy, it should be a matter of shame for Democrats that they seem to forever have the upper hand.

Feud Turgidson said...

"My guess is that the GOP will go back to the drawing board to rejigger the primary process once again"

mlbx..., The way things have been going this 2016 Republican Brand Restoration Cycle, and in particular on this very Sumter of a Tuesday, it may not be sound to assume there'll even be a Republican party in the next presidential cycle sufficiently recognizable as such to poke into rejigging its primary process.

Today in particular we're seeing with Kristolnacht clarity a yellish Rising Gorge effect, backlit by fauxtons unleashed by the Nino Effect coinciding with the Clown Cars' weekend broad brush tour thru South Cackalacky.

This is really bad: they've tossed out all the pretenders at civility on filling the SCOTUS vacany, they're using Obama's plan to close Gitmo to play trashbasketall, sawing off national from security leaving both parts to bleed out beyond a gerrymandered wall of broken infrastructure rebuilding, shattered pieces of financial sector reform, the Voting Rights Act, the return of kitchen hack abortions, magical chicken economics, a fast food revival of the field crop model, what's looking more like a Cuban reverse invasion dedicated to some fond made-up remembrances of Back to Batista, carpet bombing the Middle East, no limits torture, full-on police state domestic security hell, premium-priced lead-and-mercury infused beverages, a Bible-based truthiness ritual bonfire of all sciences, race war, full loogy-launches at Obama in hopes of insta-rusting out his presidency, and so much more ...

This is really, really bad.

Feud Turgidson said...

Today I'm more convinced than ever, this time the gloves are off: they're going to do what it takes to get Back To The Donald''s past-that-never-was Neverlandish Future. They're going full Last Stand for Full Frontal Apartheid.

They're going to steal this thing, for their tribe, and they're not going to be in the least subtle about it. This brings to my mind how Rome went about destroying Carthage, in the bargain ending up destroying their own Republic and dooming themselves to 20 centuries of fascism, theocracy, oppression of the masses and vainglorious hoohaw.

sdhays said...

"I disagree. I think Trump's rage and hatemongering are just so satisfying to GOP voters that they give him a pass on deviations from right-wing orthodoxy and attacks on sacred cows. Also, they may have mixed feelings about a few of issues (George W. Bush, the Iraq War), but they're not angry about the orthodox GOP positions on these issues."

I think that it's possible that a lot of Trump's supporters aren't angry about his breaks from right-wing orthodoxy because to them the orthodoxy is just a shibboleth - they don't really care about low taxes on the rich in the abstract (and may, in the abstract, think that might be a bad idea), but they see it as a divider between us and them. Trump's immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric satisfies their use of right-wing orthodoxy - recognizing him as one of their own. The rest of it, they either don't care too much or actually agree with him.

His opponents, with the exception of Carson, are all movement conservatives. Right-wing orthodoxy is their conceptual framework; they have climbed to where they are today on the bloodied backs of people who occasionally bucked the movement and can't imagine a situation where they could shove part of the movement aside and not be banished like they did their previous opponents.

I think Trump's aftermath could rejigger the Republican Party if people notice that they agreed with a bunch of things that they've been told not to for a long time. I don't think it will send them into the arms of the Democrats, but it might finally trigger the internal chaos they so richly deserve.

JC said...

Has anyone mentioned to Trump or Cruz or any of the other clowns who want to deport all of the illegal aliens in this country and close to half of them are white (or, at least, not Hispanic)? That deporting all illegals from this country means deporting white people as well as not so white people?