Monday, February 29, 2016


The Atlantic's Peter Beinart is urging liberals to cross party lines and vote for Marco Rubio, in order to save America from Donald Trump:
... if I lived in any of the nine Super Tuesday states that allow non-Republicans to vote in their GOP presidential primary, I would cross over -- forfeiting my chance to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders -- and vote for Rubio. Other liberals should do the same. Those who can should write him checks. Whatever it takes to stop the nomination of Donald Trump.
Here's Beinart's argument:
... Once Trump is nominated, America will have crossed a line.

A man who does not respect constitutional limits and who preys upon vulnerable minorities will lead one of the two major parties. The consequences, though hard to measure, could be profound. A few days ago in Iowa, fans at a high-school basketball game chanted, “Trump,” at the opposing team, which comprised Latino, African American, and Native American players. They wielded the name of the man who could become president as a racial slur. Protesters at Trump’s rallies have been beaten. Last year, in Boston, two men beat a Hispanic man with a metal pipe while yelling, “Trump was right.” Just imagine what might happen if were Trump nominated or, God forbid, elected. In myriad ways, America would become an uglier, scarier place.

If Rubio won, by contrast, the Republican Party might be stabilized. The terms of debate between the two parties would remain roughly the same.
But if Republican voters are about to nominate Donald Trump, and the only thing standing in the way of that is intervention on the part of non-Republicans, why would we want the terms of debate between the two parties to remain roughly the same? If I'm a woman married to a violent, reckless man, and just as I'm about to leave him he pulls a gun on me, but he's prevented from killing me only because a neighbor intervenes, should I stay because the worst-case scenario was averted? Like the abusive husband, hasn't the GOP conclusively demonstrated that it's crazy and dangerous? Will it really be "stabilized" if outsiders prevent Trump's nomination?

The Republican Party needs to live with the shame of nominating Donald Trump. The political establishment needs to live with the knowledge that it spent years in denial about how much extremism there is in the GOP until Trump emerged and made that extremism impossible for even the most obtuse observer to ignore.

I agree with Beinart that liberals need to enlist in the effort to stop Trump. But the time to stop him is in November, not now. Republicans are making their choice, and they should do that unimpeded. And then we all need to step back and assess the damage to America from what they've done, and place the blame where it belongs: with Republicans.


Beinart' says that a major difference between the two candidates is that "Rubio respects the Constitution, and in particular, the Bill of Rights. Trump does not." But is that true? Matt Yglesias tweets:

As usual, Rubio used a lot of weasel words, back in November, but here's what he said:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seems to be going further than even Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in advocating the crackdown of U.S. Muslims. He doesn’t just want to consider shutting down mosques, as Trump says, but wants to shut down “any place where radicals are being inspired.”

“It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired,” Rubio said on Fox News’ The Kelly File on Thursday night when asked if he agreed with Trump. “The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities.”

“So whatever facility is being used -- it’s not just a mosque -- any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States, should be a place that we look at,” he continued.
There's also Rubio's implicit support for torture, as expressed in a debate last month:
"I believe the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest power in the world, and I believe only with a strong America will we defeat this radical group, this apocalyptic group called ISIS," said Rubio.... "If we capture any of these ISIS killers alive, they are going to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we're going to find out everything they know, because when I'm president, unlike Barack Obama, we will keep this country safe."

Later in the debate, Rubio reaffirmed his pledge to keep Guantanamo's doors open.... "We must keep America safe from this threat," Rubio added. "And yes, when I am president of the United States, if there is some place in this country where radical jihadists are planning to attack the United States, we will go after them wherever they are, and if we capture them alive, they are going to Guantanamo."
Was Rubio really hinting at support for torture at Gitmo? Peter Beinart, please notw that a pundit you respect certainly thought so: Peter Beinart.

But now Beinart thinks Rubio understands constitutional restraint. Let's just say I have my doubts.

ALSO: Please see "Rubio Suggests Re-examination of Waterboarding," from 2011:
Saying that the U.S. government "can learn from a successful operation like you can learn from a mistake," Sen. Marco Rubio said it is time to revisit the issue of waterboarding....

Florida's Republican senator, speaking by telephone Thursday, wasn't endorsing the technique, but he did say the success of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden provides a good opportunity to question how the intelligence was derived that made it happen.

"We need to find out how this information was gathered," Rubio said. He was referring to whether waterboarding -- or simulated drowning -- and other "enhanced interrogation" techniques used during the Bush administration helped the CIA learn about the courier who led to bin Laden's hide-out in Pakistan.

"Again, this is not for the purposes of saying we were right and you were wrong; it's for understanding what works and what doesn't," he said.
Trust him? I don't.


mlbxxxxxx said...

Loki save us from earnest, good governance liberals.

Knight of Nothing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Taylor said...

No, we don't need another neocon in the White House.

Knight of Nothing said...

You've gotta be fucking kidding me. Yeah, let's all help Republicans nominate a candidate better suited to win in the general election. Great idea! What could go wrong for Democrats?

It's a full time job to compile all of the evidence of 40+ years of bad-faith rhetoric, positions, policies, and strategies that has led the Republican Party to Donald Trump; enough material to fill a book or two.

Frank Wilhoit said...

Here is one beneficial side effect of this whole mess (tho' it doesn't weigh much):

Various pundits, who have been able to skate by hitherto, sounding intellegent, are now revealed, by the crossing of the bound into uncharted teritory, not to actually know anything at all.

In this case, it is hardly even surprising that Beinart might imagine that "Rubio supports the Bill of Rights". What is shocking, and unacceptable, is Beinart's failure to grasp the essential point, which is that if Rubio did support the Bill of Rights, he would thereby forfeit any Republican support.

Another example: Reihan Salam has something on Slate today about how the Republican Party could resurrect itself by "putting the working class ahead of the donor class". Leave aside the names of the factions. What is necessary and sufficient for the working class is that business be held accountable under the law; and the Republican Party (as eventually reconstituted, or under any other name) will never be able to accept that. If Salam does not know that, then he needs to take in his shingle.

Example #3: Jonathan Chait, 21 Feb., "Will the Supreme Court Just Disappear?" Again, the superficial notion, bad though it is, is not the real problem. Chait seems not to know that any system must have exactly one unaccountable actor; zero doesn't work, more-than-one doesn't work. Did this child never step foot upon a playground?

Add your own examples.

Ten Bears said...

It's almost as if it were scripted.

JosephP said...

Waterboarding is not "simulated" drowning. It is actual drowning. Water enters the lungs and the victim begins suffocating. The only difference of waterboarding from drowning is that the victim is revived (usually) before death occurs.

Feud Turgidson said...

Another beknighted sot playing the same sort of twisted tune was the weekend WaMo 'warrior' DA Atkins, who's been riding some weirdo hellbeast about how THIS election isn't the Big One, it's the Next One in 2020. WTF Is That Even Supposed To Mean, You Fracking Moron? Like, I we TRY HARD this year, to the extent we COMMIT ALL WE GOT and FIGHT FIGHER FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, that's supposed to somehow draw from a resource bank of effort in 4 years time we'll find ourselves somehow REGRETTING we used up NOW, cuz it's magically not there when we really really REALLY need it in 2020?

Beinart, Atkins, the half of Slate that never gets to Vitamin D, the crackheads whose pieces somehow get sponsored onto Salon, the editorial board wars going on in the NYTimes and WaPo, dawn to dusk sell-out MSNBC, ffffffffffffffudge uuuuuuuuuusssss, there seems to be a virtually inexhaustible slag heap of platforms avaiable for these.

Victor said...

The old adage used to ba, "Athos who can't do, teach."

We need to have a newer on, 'Those whours can't think, pundit.'

What a boob.

CH said...

My state (Texas) has open primaries, but I didn't and don't care. I had a good reason to vote in the D primary; but even if I hadn't, pigs will fly in formation before I'd consider slumming into an R primary for any conceivable reason, much less to save them from themselves.

A pal of mine characterized Christie as an "asswipe opportunist" after he endorsed DT. I agreed, of course, but how does one distinguish? I got a headache trying to think of an R pol who doesn't fit that description.

Lit3Bolt said...

Since when did "Hot Takes" equal "FAP FAP FAP?"

This is not a good faith article. It's just More Trump: Click Here. And also, maybe, Beinart likes the sound of that no capital gains tax plan from Rubio...

Gerald Parks said...

Amazing ...I just read that the Rube did a "little hands ... little dick" joke about the GOP/Republican front runner!

Geese ... true ...their front runner IS a running joke ...but ..."little dick" jokes???

By the "establishment" prick errahh pick!

I can't wait for the evening comedians to sound off on this latest development!

Mona Williams said...

I live in Virginia, and I am not inclined to sacrifice my vote for Bernie to try to save the Republican Party from itself—because that is all this is about. A vote for the jejune Mr. Rubio would leave me feeling inauthentic and unclean, and would to nothing to change the actual situation we are faced with—which is that unprecedented numbers of American voters have already displayed a taste for the kind of ignorance, cruelty and megalomania that Mr. Trump proudly represents. This is our problem, and I don’t care to play any part in trying to paper it over.
My opinion of Mr. Beinart, who apparently has difficulty seeing the “scarier, uglier place” that America has already become, is permanently diminished.

sdhays said...

Absolutely. The time for Democrats to vote against Donald Drumpf is in November. A return to the previous "balance", where one party gets to stoke racist and bigoted resentment while the other party desperately tries to govern, even when it's in opposition, is no equilibrium and not worth saving.

Two thoughts:

1). If Marco Rubio wants my vote, he can damn well campaign for it. Thad Cochrane actually asked for Democrats' votes in his primary and they helped him win. No Democrat should even consider helping them out with this until a candidate indicates he wants to open up his coalition in order to take down Drumpf. And campaigning on his "little hands" is not the way to convince people that you're Presidential and would be a better act than Drumpf. Not that I'm "gettable" - they can all go f- themselves as far as I'm concerned -, but former Republicans might be; they should demand to be asked and expect concessions for their support.

2). I wonder if the still somewhat contested Democratic Primary will have any effect on the efficacy of these appeals. How many people will go to vote for Hillary or Bernie instead of voting against Drumpf because the Democratic Primary isn't quite settled? I don't think there's any way of knowing, but it will probably keep some from helping out Rubio. This is one reason why fretting about making sure the party coalesces early (and jiggering the rules to create that outcome) is stupid.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

I can't resist reposting my favorite answer ever to the question, Should the Dems help save the GOP from nominating Trump?

"No. The Republican Party is an abusive drunk and deserves to wake up in a pool of its own vomit. We don't have a responsibility to clean it up and make it presentable after what it's done to us, and given what it would like to do to us in the future if given a chance." --Steve M., last Tuesday

Fiddlin Bill said...

Trump is the Republican Party's petard. This Beinart piece is rank trolling. Sad what the Atlantic has become. Rubio would give the Republican Party better odds of winning. QED

Steve M. said...

I can't resist reposting my favorite answer ever to the question


Philo Vaihinger said...

For sure, a Trump nomination would scramble the Republicans and stick it to the movement conservatives who have run the party since Reagan.

I think it might also further diminish the party's base, making it more narrowly than ever the party of whites who feel that scared of their race enemies and whites who feel seriously economically hurt by free trade and low wage immigration, legal and not.

Pat Buchanan thinks that's a majority of the electorate, but he has been wrong in thinking that for several decades and I am thinking he's still wrong.

Those two groups taken together are not even a majority of whites.

So Amanda Marcotte might be right that Hillary would beat Trump, and PB wrong in thinking the opposite.


And I have no confidence in any guess how Bernie would do against The Donald.

petrilli said...

Among the many answers a Democratic primary voter could give to Beinart's request, including the laconic eye-roll with "jag-off" hand motion, is the obvious fact that Rubio would make a far worse president than Trump. Donald's the one-eyed king in a land of the blind right now, and he's all theirs. As Charles Pierce says, "This is your Democracy, cherish it."