Sunday, February 25, 2018


Here's a Politico headline that David Brooks should find deeply troubling:
Trump urges national unity, investigation of 'the other side' amid Russia probe
The president is calling for national unity even as he's attacking "the other side"? Yes:
Saying there were "no phone calls, no meetings, no collusion," President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed for an investigation of "the other side" amid the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, while claiming "we need intelligence that brings our country together."

"A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but on the other side. And somebody should look into it, because what they did is really fraudulent and somebody should be looking into that ...," Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro....

Trump added that the blame for not stopping "Russian meddling, if you want to call it that" in the 2016 presidential election rests with President Barack Obama, since he was in office when Russian interference occurred. But he added: "We should all be on the same team. We should all come together as a nation."
So he attacked Democrats and expects those rebukes to lead to a unified nation? Surely that will inspire a rebuke from the man who wrote this:
So if you want to stop school shootings it’s not enough just to vent and march. It’s necessary to let people from Red America lead the way, and to show respect to gun owners at all points. There has to be trust and respect first. Then we can strike a compromise on guns....
On Jeanine Pirro's show last night, Trump insisted that Americans need to come together four times over the course of three and a half minutes:

In between these calls for unity, Trump attacked Democratic congressman Adam Schiff repeatedly, and also attacked Democratic senator Mark Warner former Democratic president Barack Obama. Where's the respect for Democrats on all points, David Brooks? Shouldn't you write a finger-wagging column about this?

Brooks probably believes that Trump should respect the process. He's not a big Trump fan, and I'm sure he'd concede that Congress and the special prosecutor should be allowed to investigate irregularities in Trump's campaign unimpeded. But would he chide a Republican for routinely attacking Democrats? Doesn't that count as incivility?

David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network has an op-ed in The New York Times today that attempts to explain why evangelicals admire a president who's a libertine (and, he neglects to add, probably a sex criminal, a crook, and a traitor). Brody's rationalizations aren't particularly enlightening, but I'd like to take a shot at the question.

Other Republican presidents have given evangelicals a great deal of what they want, but none seemed quite as willing to give them everything on their wish list as Trump appears to be. The other Republicans either didn't support all of the religious right's agenda or felt that its full implementation would conflict with their goal of maintaining widespread public support.

Even more than previous Republican presidents, Trump is untroubled if liberals and moderates oppose him. In the case of the evangelical agenda, it's not that he viscerally supports it -- it's that he knows evangelicals are valuable allies and, after years and years of getting nearly all of his information and political notions from Fox News, he knows that whatever liberal hate, he supports enthusiastically.

But he also believes that everyone should unite around this agenda that has very narrow support. This belief is based on two ideas: first, that Trump should be able to make everyone defer to him (that's his personality -- he's been a bully all his life) and second (an idea Trump got from Fox), that anyone who won't get with the narrowly partisan conservative agenda simply isn't an American. To Trump, "We should all come together as a nation" means "Everyone should come around to my opinion, and if you won't, you're hostile to this country."

Isn't that what politicized right-wing evangelicals believe? That America is a Christian nation (or perhaps a Judeo-Christian nation) and that anyone who won't acknowledge that and defer to the religious right's worldview is a bad American?

So of course evangelicals like Trump. My way or the highway -- it's a shared belief system.

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