Monday, June 06, 2016


I want to believe that Rick Wilson is right, but I strongly suspect he isn't:
Veteran Republican strategist Rick Wilson warned this weekend that GOP leaders who have endorsed Trump "own his politics."

"You own his politics," Wilson wrote in a column for Heatstreet, adding later, "You own the racial animus that started out as a bug, became a feature and is now the defining characteristic of his campaign. You own every crazy, vile chunk of word vomit that spews from his mouth."
I'd also like to agree with The New Republic's Brian Beutler that Paul Ryan, in particular, will finally lose some of his Teflon now that he's backing Trump:
As House speaker [Ryan will] face regular, high-profile inquiries about Trump’s most recent offenses, whether to conservatism or to good conscience. Every week will be a referendum on his decision. Can you continue to support your party’s presidential nominee? ... this continual reassessment will serve as an ongoing reminder of how badly the endorsement cuts against the image he presents of himself. It will drag on for months. If you’ve built your public image on claims to ideological commitment and high-mindedness, a cyclical, structural corrective like this should shatter it.
But we've been told for nearly a year that Trump is at odds with the GOP Establishment. That's Trump's brand. Sure, the party Establishment fell in line as soon as Trump clinched the nomination (Ryan a bit more slowly than others), but the perception is still that this is a shotgun marriage, one that neither partner is particularly happy about. That will be the GOP's post-Trump alibi.

Also, the press continues to reinforce the notion that Trump is a heterodox Republican. He supposedly wants to preserve benefits for ordinary Americans when other Republicans don't. He supposedly wants to tax the rich in ways that other Republicans don't. He claims he opposed the most recent Republican war from the beginning. He says racist things that Republicans claim would never in a million years occur to them, even though, as Scott Lemieux notes, that's not the case:
You may remember, for example, the discourse surrounding the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. Her formal credentials were impeccable, essentially identical to Sam Alito’s. And, yet, Republicans routinely described her as “unqualified” because her background meant that she couldn’t be an impartial judge.

I’m also old enough to remember the National Review's chief legal affairs writer arguing that a judge should recuse himself from hearing a same-sex marriage case because he was gay.

In other words, Trump probably got the idea that only straight, conservative white men could be truly impartial judges from…listening to how Republicans talk about judges.
After all this is over, Republicans will say they had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they endorsed Trump. They'll say he assured them that he'd tone down his rhetoric and become more presidential. They'll say that every time he shot off his mouth after clinching the nomination, they were shocked, shocked. He swore to them he wouldn't!

The press will accept all these excuses, and will allow the post-Trump GOP to pretend Trump never happened.


Professor Fate said...

If Trump loses in November it will take all of 45 seconds for the press to forget and go back to inviting Ryan and the others onto the Sunday shows to discuss the 'failed Clinton Administration' a term they will use again and again even before Clinton takes office.

Ernest Lamonica said...

Ryan: Biggest. Fake. Ever. "Endorsed Trump" will be like a scarlet letter around GOP Candidates for this and for more elections to come.

Andrew Stevens said...

I don't know if Trump will see the light and walk back the tirades against Curiel. But if he does, even slightly, be prepared for quite a spectacle, be ready for full on public accolades of sterling nobility and possible public fellatio from all fellow GOPers and plenty of members of the press.

petrilli said...

Hillary Clinton said something about not baking cookies and "stand by your man, Tammy Wynette" 25 years ago and it was never forgotten or forgiven. The backlash has never stopped. Hard to appreciate now how subversive those statements were at the time. I don't think she did either.

Jim Snyder said...

One of my ex-colleagues liked to say that "people will be honest if you make it easy for them to be honest, because people want to be honest".

I've heard similar statements made about overt racism. (Lee Atwater made a similar observation from the opposite PoV.)

I'd bet that post-election it won't matter to the Replicant Establishment that they signed up for an overtly racist candidate ... the cost / benefit trade is different for the Replicant Establishment than it is for Replicant voters.

Nor will the LSM remember, you betcha!

But some fraction of the not-Tea-Bagger Replicant base might find themselves unhappy with being "forced" to support an overt racist, especially if that overt racist is overwhelmingly voted down in November.

CW says that the Replicants are in big trouble from demographic changes over the next few election cycles. The Replicants have won the popular vote in only one election (2004) of the last six, and in that election the Replicant edge was less than 3%.

The loss of even a small fraction of their base would be a disaster for their future presidential nominees.

OTOH, my ex-colleague has had second thoughts about his claim.

Contra Yogi, it's easy to predict, even the future. It's just difficult to predict the future correctly.

wrt "walking back", I see claims in the pop psych lit on narcissism that with narcissists, WYSIWYG: narcissism goes all the way down to the core. Narcissists aren't strategic, they're tactical. They're all about winning, even when winning is unreasonably costly.

Yeah, sure, if der Drumpfenführer were to display a hitherto unsuspected talent for humility and self-awareness, he might well have the LSM eating out of his hand.

But he won't, because he'd have to be a different person.

I am far more confident in the prediction that Trump won't, uh, turn the other cheek than I am confident that a non-trivial fraction of Replicant voters will dissociate from the GOP.

Jim Snyder said...

In other news, sun sets in west.

h/t Great Orange Satan here:

Ten Bears said...

I can't even remember the name of the bozo the Retards ran against Kitzhaber here in Oregon two cycles back and I made fun of him everyday for six months.

One of the reasons if not the primary reason I have a high degree of confidence Clinton will be the next "president".

But I could be mistaken. It's happened, once or twice.

Jim Snyder said...

@Ten Bears: I feel much less concerned about November now that Hitlery has shown that she can deal with der Drumpfenführer. And now that der Drumpfenführer has gone Third Reich racist.

sdhays said...

Part of it depends on the campaign, no? Harry Reid's off to a good start, but the Democrats need to use the next several months to completely destroy the concept of the Republican Party as a legitimate political party once they pull the trigger and nominate Donald Trump. They need to be utterly ruthless about it, which the Democrats are seldom known for, but I think some of them are "getting it". Hillary's bringing the right level of contempt and revulsion right now.

If the Democrats can create the necessary "facts on the ground", no amount of media do-overs will rescue the Republican Party without some serious changes.

Jim Snyder said...

@sdhays: Speaking only for myself: I don't get your point.

Wouldn't your argument apply to any election cycle?

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

Nah, it will be obvious in hindsight that Trump lost because he was not conservative enough.

Jim Snyder said...

@Chai T. Chu'uan: concur. [amused]

It's the "No True Conservative ..." logical fallacy.

"Conservatism cannot fail; conservatism can only be failed."

sdhays said...

@Jim Snyder: Not really. You need a really memorable and iconic event or narrative to form that kind of deep impression, and Donald Trump's imminent nomination provides that opportunity. If this campaign goes the way it should, a large majority of the public is going to conclude that Donald Trump is both disgustingly racist and bigoted and absurdly ignorant and incompetent. If the Democrats are successful, they can hammer the automatic feeling of revulsion and ridicule they will feel about Donald Trump to the Republican Party semi-permanently. Being on the wrong side of history has consequences.

I'm not predicting this will happen, but I see the opportunity. Booman has written about how voting Republican stopped being respectable in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. It seems to me that this kind of embarrassment at associating oneself with the Republican Party may spread during and after this election.

jeannegenie said...

Conservatives can always get forgiveness, even if they don't ask for it. The press will fix this problem for them sometime in October. Unfortunately.

Robert said...

The Democratic party will never kill and bury the Republican party.
They need the GOP as the bogeyman who wouldn't allow them to do what's needed for the citizenry of the nation. "We'd love to give you what you want and need, but the best we could do against the GOP is these few crumbs."
Bet on it.

Steve M. said...

Yeah, right -- the GOP is a powerless paper tiger that exists solely as a scapegoat for sellout neoliberal Democrats.

That makes sense to me, because I've been in a coma since January 20, 2009.

Robert said...

Steve M.,
Yes, the old "Obama hands were tied, and he never got to do what he really wanted" schtick.
Tell it to the whistle-blowers.

Robert said...

BTW, the Democratic Party had their opportunity to end the GOP once and for all in 2008-200, after the GOP lied us into war, spied on it's citizens without warrants, and crashed the world's economy---all obvious things the entire world could see.
Instead they babbled about how the federal government's finances are just like doing your bills at the kitchen table.
Either they're economic morons or they missed the opportunity on purpose.

Jim Snyder said...

@sdhays: Ah, you're saying that der Drumpfenfürher is uniquely iconic / memorable, and this election cycle provides the opportunity to etc.

I had thought that the 2008 election cycle provided the opportunity, and said so at one of the lists I am on ... and I had to eat my words, so I am reluctant to revisit the claim.

Tribal loyalties are really difficult to get past.

But yeah, when high-functioning Replicants say, "Yeah, Trump's a racist, but I'm supporting Trump because Hillary is worse", ya gotta be wondering where they checked their humanity, even if you're a Republican.

So perhaps you're right. I hope so.

Jim Snyder said...

@Robert: the claim that Obama's hands were tied has the virtue of being empirical reality. Not entirely true, but true enough for gummint work.

It is reality that the Dems had a de facto Senate majority for little more than a year ... and it is reality that Blue Dogs and Joe "Last Honest Man" Lieberman held the balance of power during that time. You might recall that the Last Honest Man endorsed John "the Maverick" McCain in 2008, which might suggest something to you about The Last Honest Man's loyalty to the Dem agenda.

"I'm not a member of an organized political party, I'm a Democrat."

A liberal / progressive might be disappointed in Obama's Administration - count me among those somewhat disappointed - but the claim that Democrats could have "end[ed] the GOP once and for all in 2008-200[9]" is complex ... with a large phase angle.

Expecting a coalition party like the Democrats to act as a cohesive parliamentary party would act ... is guaranteed to leave one disappointed.

If you want a parliamentary party, join the Replicants, or find a country that has a parliamentary democracy.

Otherwise, suck it up and stop whining, SVP.

Jim Snyder said...

I don't have time to look up the details, but Franken was sworn into office in July 2009; Teddy Kennedy died in August 2009; and Scott Brown was sworn into office in March 2010.

Obama didn't do a few things I wish he had done; he did a few things I wish he hadn't done ... but for lasting change you must pass legislation, and to pass legislation a president must have a functional majority in both houses of Congress.

Or appointments to the judicial branch: a president must have a functional majority in the Senate.

The Democrats haven't had a functional majority in the Senate since March 2010. (Remember than Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, not 2008.)

Robert said...

Jim Snyder,
Agreed that the GOP tied the hands of Democratic party, but i still think the Dems walked to the GOP with their wrists together and their palms up.
I'll put you in the "Democrats are economic morons" column.
Thanks for your responses.

Jim Snyder said...

@Robert: I'm even less of an economist than I am anything else, so I don't know. K'thuglu among others argued that the TARP bailout was woefully inadequate, but ... Congress. AFAIK CW today is that Obama got as large a bailout as was feasible given the political landscape. I have this vague memory that Nancy Smash balked at a larger bailout, but I might be wrong about that. Or it might be that she was saying "I can't get a larger bailout through the House."

The comparison that makes sense to me is US v-a-v EU: it's CW that the US recovered from the financial crisis much faster than the EC - if nothing else we have no Greek crisis (Puerto Rico is sui generis). This suggests two inferences: first, that the North Atlantic community as a whole - not just the US - was ill-equipped intellectually and politically to deal with the financial, uh, meltdown; and second, that orchestrating "better" economic policy (whatever "better" implies) in the US would have been difficult.

My disappointment with the Admin in this regard is the tender treatment they meted out to the banksters. If "moral hazard" applies to the poor, then moral hazard should apply to banksters as well. That almost none of the banksters paid for nearly collapsing the world's financial infrastructure is disgraceful.

Life isn't a morality tale, but I don't think you need to talk morality to be concerned that letting the banksters off the hook will come back to bite us.