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Republican Party has ‘flat out lost its mind’

AnBr's Photo AnBr 09 July 2017 - 07:54 AM



Dear Colleagues:

We’re doing it again.

Remember last year’s campaign? Remember how dogged and relentless we were in covering Hillary Clinton’s sloppy handling of her emails? Remember the comparatively free ride we gave Donald Trump despite his repeated demonstrations that he was unserious, unsound and unfit? Remember all the hand wringing afterward about how we had embraced a false equivalence?

Apparently, we learned no lesson from that.

I keep reading and seeing all these stories on America’s political polarization, the great divide between left and right. Ted Koppel did a couple such reports for “CBS News Sunday Morning,” Robert Samuelson wrote a column on it for The Washington Post, Andrew Soergel pondered the question in U.S. News and World Report.

We have explored the role of social media, the loss of the Fairness Doctrine and the city/country divide in creating this break. But no one — at least, no one I’ve seen — has explored what seems to me the most glaringly obvious factor. We are not, after all, divided because Americans pulled back from the center and retreated into extremism.

No, we are divided because one party did. And it wasn’t the Democrats.

andydp's Photo andydp 09 July 2017 - 02:53 PM

To quote Dilbert: A blinding flash of the obvious.

indy's Photo indy 09 July 2017 - 07:58 PM

The party is a bunch of nutless cowards. You might say the voters lost their mind, but you can't lose what you never had.

LFC's Photo LFC 07 August 2017 - 11:23 AM

Jeff Flake gives a tepid acknowledgement of the obvious. Not that it will do any good. The Republicans are committed to their strategy, much more than they are committed to governing.


In his latest string of criticism against his political party, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he wishes Republicans had done more to stop the repeatedly debunked “birtherism” conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen when it first emerged.

While he thinks he personally did enough to stand up against the bogus claims, Republicans as a whole should have done more.

“I wish we had, as a party would’ve stood up for example when the birtherism thing was going along,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A lot of people did stand up, but not enough. That was particularly ugly.”


But the fake “birtherism” claim is not the only conspiracy Flake thinks Republicans should stand up against, saying he thinks his party shouldn’t let their political rallies turn into calls to jail political opponents, which was a common outcry at Trump campaign rallies against his then-opponent Hillary Clinton.

“During rallies, when the chants, ‘Lock her up,’ we shouldn’t be the party for jailing your political opponents. And anybody at that rally, anybody at those rallies ought to stand up and say ‘That’s inappropriate, we shouldn’t be doing that,’” Flake said. “I wish we as a party and as elected officials would do more of that and when particularly ugly conspiracy theories come out or simply fake news stuff that is demonstrably false, we ought to stand up and say ‘Hey, that’s just not right.’”

Progressive whisperer's Photo Progressive whisperer 07 August 2017 - 02:25 PM

But -as long As he signs our bills, I'm good!


LFC's Photo LFC 08 August 2017 - 10:41 AM

The first challenge appears against a Congressional Republican who is not a mindless Trumpsucker. Apparently not voting for a secret healthcare bill lanced from the boil that is Mitch McConnell's head and that doesn't accomplish much of anything Republicans for 7 years said it would (other than Obamacare repeal) means you're a Democrat.


After facing backlash from President Donald Trump and a Pro-Trump group over his sometimes-critical stance on the Senate Republican’s Obamacare repeal and replace bill, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) now has a GOP challenger for his seat in 2018.

Jerry Tarkanian announced on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning that he is running for Heller’s seat. The Nevada Republican said he plans to campaign on the promise of supporting Trump’s agenda, which he claims Heller hasn’t done.

Heller is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican in 2018 after a pro-Trump group called America First Policies aired a critical television advertisement in Heller’s home state in June. The group attacked Heller for his opposition to Senate Republicans’ health bill. Heller eventually voted to begin debate on Obamacare repeal, as well as a “skinny” repeal bill that failed in the Senate.

“I have so many people that are contacting me over the past couple months saying ‘You gotta run against Dean Heller.’ They understand, as I do, that we’re never going to make America great again unless we have senators in office that fully support President Trump and his America first agenda,” Tarkanian said Tuesday.

Bact PhD's Photo Bact PhD 08 August 2017 - 02:14 PM

View PostLFC, on 08 August 2017 - 10:41 AM, said:

The first challenge appears against a Congressional Republican who is not a mindless Trumpsucker. Apparently not voting for a secret healthcare bill lanced from the boil that is Mitch McConnell's head and that doesn't accomplish much of anything Republicans for 7 years said it would (other than Obamacare repeal) means you're a Democrat.

I had to look, as I thought Jerry, a.k.a. "Tark the Shark", a crooked basketball coach extraordinaire, had passed some time back. He had, about 2 1/2 years ago.

The article has since been corrected to state that Danny, not Jerry, Tarkanian, is the one seeking office. I've heard about the dead voting in elections...

LFC's Photo LFC 08 August 2017 - 02:35 PM

View PostBact PhD, on 08 August 2017 - 02:14 PM, said:

I've heard about the dead voting in elections...

Former Missouri Senator and Attorney General John Ashcroft lost to a dead person when he was the incumbent! How's that for not wanted! Apparently other dead people have won as well.

Probabilistic's Photo Probabilistic 08 August 2017 - 02:58 PM

View PostBact PhD, on 08 August 2017 - 02:14 PM, said:

I've heard about the dead voting in elections...

They go to heaven and then they find out self-governance is much better.

LFC's Photo LFC 18 August 2017 - 12:55 PM

Some of the more establishment GOP tried to shut Pandora's box when Trump started crushing it in the primaries. They pathetically mouthed some words before voting for disastrous health care bills while hiding from public town halls. They're currently flopping around like beached fish over Charlottesville. And now they're desperate to hold off former Christianist oath breaking judge Roy Moore who is running for Jeff Sessions's Senate sea in Alabama. This IS the Republican Party and many, many, MANY establishment Republicans made it that way through support of (or at least ignoring of) the crazies when it benefited them.


The groups backing appointed Sen. Luther Strange successfully carpet-bombed Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) into third place in the primary with millions of dollars of ads highlighting the congressman’s previous criticism of President Trump. But they face a much more daunting challenge in figuring out how to handle Moore, a well-known figure who’s beloved on the hard right for his virulently social conservative views and who is unlikely to see his base abandon him.

Moore took first place in Tuesday’s GOP primary for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate with 39 percent of the vote, with Strange getting the second runoff spot with 33 percent after receiving huge financial support from groups aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

And while Moore has plenty of detractors in-state who see him as a fringe rabble-rouser, even Strange’s allies admit the race is an uphill battle — one where heavy attacks from Washington-based outside groups risk backfiring on their candidate in a state where voters detest being told what to do.

“Luther’s liabilities are how he got there and that the McConnell Washington crowd have been so heavy-handed in supporting him,” said one Alabama Republican strategist who supports Strange in the race.

“We’re a state full of folks who like to fight, who are defiant, we don’t like following rules, and that’s why Roy Moore is popular,” said David Azbell, a longtime Alabama GOP strategist. “A lot of folks think he can shoot off a lot of fireworks in D.C. while not doing a lot of harm.”

Sounds to me like establishment Republicans are getting "Trumped".


“I really don’t want Mitch McConnell and Robert Bentley telling me who my senator is going to be,” he said.

Moore is already looking to jiu jitsu McConnell’s backing, blasting the “silk-stockinged Washington elitists” supporting Strange.


“Roy Moore has the intensity,” said GOP strategist Jon Coley, a Strange supporter. “Roy will turn his people out. Luther’s got to turn his people out and find a bunch more.”

Alabama, where voting for one unstable idiot as President just isn't enough.

cmk's Photo cmk 18 August 2017 - 01:18 PM

Moore may be a lot of things, but "idiot" is not among them.

Progressive whisperer's Photo Progressive whisperer 18 August 2017 - 01:23 PM

"Fanatic" is the term.

If the evengelical Christianists were not such a "thing" in Alabama he'd have sunk after the first removal from the bench.

LFC's Photo LFC 18 August 2017 - 02:09 PM

A conservative writer for TDB is telling Trump voters, "I told you so."

Dear Trump Voters: You’re a Bunch of Idiots
Face it. It’s a train wreck top to bottom. For America, and for conservatism. The sooner we pull the plug on this charlatan, the better.

Posted Image

Progressive whisperer's Photo Progressive whisperer 18 August 2017 - 02:28 PM

A face searching for a fist...

LFC's Photo LFC 21 September 2017 - 02:27 PM

Another right-wing lament on the state of the Republican Party that also states "the right lost its mind."


This is a painful story for me to write.

For a quarter of a century, I was a major part of the conservative movement. But like many on the right, in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory I had to ask some uncomfortable questions. The 2016 presidential campaign was a brutal, disillusioning slog, and there came a moment when I realized that conservatives had created an alternate reality bubble—one that I had helped shape.

All I can say is that if it took Donald Trump's victory to make this guy "ask some uncomfortable questions" then he was never really much of a small "c" conservative. There are several of us here at TRS that walked about from the extremism of the Republican Party and the political right-wing a long, long time ago.

LFC's Photo LFC 28 September 2017 - 09:52 AM

And the Republicans continue their descent into pure tribal madness. Nothing is a disqualifier anymore for anybody who is part of their tribe. Spitting on the Constitution doesn't matter. All morals have been cast aside except the quest for power. Well, cast aside for themselves anyway. They're all about "morals" when they want to create yet more fake outrage.


Five years ago, when a Republican Senate nominee said things about rape and pregnancy that were beyond the pale, party leaders from the presidential nominee on down threw him under the bus. Now they’re handing an even more marginal figure the keys.

Then-Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) Senate campaign imploded when he declared that women couldn’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” and GOP leaders including then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and presidential nominee Mitt Romney demanded that he drop out of the race and apologize for his remarks. But former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s ® Tuesday primary win elicited a very different result from many of the same people in spite of his long history of homophobic, Islamophobic and racially charged remarks: A full-out embrace.

“I called him this morning and told him I’m certainly supporting him and want to help him,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters Wednesday, the latest member of GOP leadership to fall in line and welcome Moore into the fold.

When asked by TPM how this was different than Akin’s campaign five years ago, Cornyn conceded Moore’s win was “similar in many ways.”

But Cornyn’s reaction hasn’t been the same — and he’s not the only one. The Texan chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee when Akin made his comments, and responded by demanding the Missouri Republican drop out and pulling $5 million in funds that had been earmarked for his race (though the NRSC ended up spending a bit in the race’s closing days to help him out).

It’s not like Cornyn — or any of the rest of the GOP establishment — are fans of Moore. But things have changed dramatically in how scandal politics play, and how much GOP leaders have become willing to stomach candidates who would have been spit up in earlier years.

Progressive whisperer's Photo Progressive whisperer 28 September 2017 - 04:06 PM

Meanwhile, no crisis is too bad to use for political advantage if it happens in a Democratic-run area. Anybody thinking Ted Cruz will suffer for his Sandy position, in Texas, think again:


LFC's Photo LFC 29 September 2017 - 10:49 AM

Josh Marshall says it's about to get even worse.


In a new story at NBC News, Steve Kornacki says there is a new GOP uprising underway leading into the 2018 election. It is a replay or the next stage of similar eruptions in 2010 and 2012 and to a lesser extent in 2014. We know the pattern: establishment Republicans get picked off by increasingly radical or simply crazy ‘grassroots’ conservatives. Many end up losing races to Democrats which a more conventional Republican could have won. But some or most get through.

That pattern allowed Democrats to hold on to the Senate through the first six years of President Obama’s presidency. And it was the GOP’s relative success at preventing primary-driven self-immolations in 2014 and again in 2016 that finally allowed them to claim the majority and hold it. Everyone who has observed US national politics in the last decade knows this pattern.

As Kornacki explains, establishment Republicans have struggled over the Obama years both to tame Tea Partyism and remake the GOP in its image in order to create a party that can gain from rightist energy while not being torn apart by it. Now everything seems to be coming home to roost after the GOP took control of both houses of Congress and elected a President who embodies far-right tea party crazy and yet have proven unable to – at least in formal legislation – do anything with it. As Kornacki writes, “It could be a moment of reckoning for the leaders of Washington’s Republican establishment. For nearly a decade, they have strained to channel the base’s energy into a unifying platform. But it may be that all the base has ever really wanted was for them to be gone — all of them.”

This is all true. But there’s a deeper dynamic here that goes beyond ‘establishment’ and ‘tea party’. Indeed, when the President is Donald Trump and people elected in the Tea Party wave election of 2010 (and successive elections) dominate the congressional GOP, it is a bit hard to say what the GOP ‘establishment’ even is at this point other than the current occupants of the top of the GOP hill trying to fend off radicals calling them sell-outs who can’t deliver for the base.

This is the crux of the issue. Last spring I said the Trump phenomenon was a product of what I termed ‘nonsense debt‘. Republicans had spent years pumping their voters up on increasingly extreme and nonsensical claims and promises. This worked very well for winning elections. But it had also built up a debt that eventually had to be repaid. Concretely, they were making claims and promises that were either factually ridiculous, politically unviable or unacceptable to a broad swath of the voting public. Eventually, you get elected and need to produce. By definition that’s never really possible: both because the claims and promises are nonsensical and unviable but also because a politics based on reclamation, revenge, and impulse is almost impossible to satisfy through normal legislative politics.

The scary thing is that with their current built-in advantages and the advantages of gerrymandering (not to mention voter suppression) this won't necessarily result in an electoral defeat, continuing the tyranny of the minority over the majority. And the GOP is likely to continue devolving.


When I wrote about this last year, I thought that demographics made it quite unlikely that Trump would win. That was wrong. But the overall dynamic is the same. Trump was able to win by super-charging his ‘base’, corralling most other Republicans through existing partisan polarization and benefitting from divisions and lower motivation among Democrats. Even with that he lost the popular vote and won by pulling off three razor-thin swing state wins that gave him a decent sized electoral majority. But the same pattern remains: an inflamed core of voters who feel they are on the losing side of change and, in Bill Buckley’s phrase, standing athwart history and yelling STOP. A mix of partisan polarization, the built-in electoral advantages enjoyed by rural America, hyper-efficient gerrymandering and the concentration of Democratic voters in urban enclaves all give Republicans and the Trump base power significantly greater than its numbers. In the House and the Senate, Democrats can easily get more votes and remain in the minority. A GOP nominee can lose the popular vote and become President. It’s happened twice in the last five elections. So while I expect 2018 and 2020 will go quite badly for Trump and the Republicans, it is not at all impossible that they will get a minority of votes and retain all power.

That is disastrous for Democrats and the country. But it doesn’t change the essential dynamic of early 21st century conservatism, an infinite loop of inflammatory and engaging promises, claims and demands which are mostly entirely unrealizable, creating a permanent cycle of establishmentism and grassroots’ betrayal which continues spinning forward even as the players in each category change.

Read the whole thing for an interesting take on Trump ridiculously claiming to be a "strong Christian" during the primary and being able to get away with it due to what the Republican establishment wrought. They were helpless at their own hands.

golden_valley's Photo golden_valley 29 September 2017 - 02:54 PM

Thanks for the article. That concept of a "nonsense debt" that the GOP is now being forced to confront makes sense to me in a way that no other explanation ever has.

This also makes a lot of sense to me:


A mix of partisan polarization, the built-in electoral advantages enjoyed by rural America, hyper-efficient gerrymandering and the concentration of Democratic voters in urban enclaves all give Republicans and the Trump base power significantly greater than its numbers.

pnwguy's Photo pnwguy 29 September 2017 - 04:14 PM

As most pundits anticipated this week since his travel scandal broke, Sec. Price got the Apprentice Treatment today. Of course, Dumpster can have all the scandals he wants. But the underlings get thrown under the bus, since it can't possibly the Boss's fault.