Monday, June 05, 2017


Republicans control all three branches of government, but they don't seem to have any idea what to do with that power:
After being the “party of no” during the Obama years, Republicans are trying to figure out what they want to achieve in this unexpected Trump era — beyond just rolling back what Obama did.

“We are in an ugly era of people who do not understand what the legislative branch is even for,” said Andy Karsner, who served as assistant secretary of energy for efficiency and renewable energy in the George W. Bush administration....

The Trump administration and Republican leadership in Congress, Karsner said, “have no skill set, they have no craftsmanship. They have no connection to the time when people passed legislation.”

... even some Republicans have raised questions about what the party now stands for, as opposed to what it is against.

Asked during a recent interview for a Politico podcast what the Republican Party stands for now, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) responded: “I don’t know.”
But that might not matter in 2018 when they try to turn out the base, because their message is going to be: Vote for us -- we hate the media.
... interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.

The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the media as they are on President Trump. That means embracing conflict with local and national journalists, taking them on to show Republicans voters that they, just like the president, are battling a biased press corps out to destroy them....

“If you pick a fight with them, I think it kind of helps you, and I don’t think many people care,” [South Carolina Republican political consultant David] Woodard said....

“Hillary Clinton is not on the ballot so you have to have something else to run against,” said Charlie Sykes, a former conservative talk radio host from Wisconsin who has been openly critical of Trump. “And the media is perfect.”

It’s “going to be a major part of the strategy,” he predicted.
Some who attended President Trump's "Pittsburgh, Not Paris" rally over the weekend have already gotten the message:

Democrats always think an election will be about whatever seem to be the most important issues to voters, but Republicans are highly skilled at changing the subject to something else: John Kerry's activities in the Vietnam War, or the "Ground Zero mosque," or (with a big assist from the mainstream media) something something Hillary Clinton emails. And Republican voters always need an enemy -- when the Clintons were gone and Republicans needed to turn out the base in the Bush era, it wasn't just bin Laden and (later) Saddam, it was the Dixie Chicks and Dan Rather. So of course they're going to make the next election about the press -- never mind the amount of free airtime Trump got on the cable news in 2016 and never mind the many stories quoting pearls of wisdom from Trump supporters in the heartland.

Republican voters don't believe in government, so I guess it's no surprise when their vote has nothing to do with how the government is actually running. They think they're at war with the whole culture. The rest of us may vote based on what Trump and Ryan and McConnell are doing, but they're going to vote based on the latest trends in right-wing demonization.

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