Sunday, October 25, 2020

You Read it First in the Spy (and Lots of Other Places tbh)

Of all the things President Trump has destroyed, the Republican Party is among the most dismaying. 

“Destroyed” is perhaps too simplistic, though. It would be more precise to say that Mr. Trump accelerated his party’s demise, exposing the rot that has been eating at its core for decades and leaving it a hollowed-out shell devoid of ideas, values or integrity, committed solely to preserving its own power even at the expense of democratic norms, institutions and ideals.

. . . the Republican Party’s dissolution under Mr. Trump is bad for American democracy.

. . . Today’s G.O.P.  . . . has instead allowed itself to be co-opted and radicalized by Trumpism. Its ideology has been reduced to a slurry of paranoia, white grievance and authoritarian populism. Its governing vision is reactionary, a cross between obstructionism and owning the libs. Its policy agenda, as defined by the party platform, is whatever President Trump wants . . . .

With his dark gospel, the president has enthralled the Republican base, rendering other party leaders too afraid to stand up to him. But to stand with Mr. Trump requires a constant betrayal of one’s own integrity and values. This goes beyond the usual policy flip-flops — what happened to fiscal hawks anyway? — and political hypocrisy, though there have been plenty of both. . . .

His presidency has been an extended exercise in defining deviancy down — and dragging the rest of his party down with him.

Having long preached “character” and “family values,” Republicans have given a pass to Mr. Trump’s personal degeneracy. . . .  

For all their talk about revering the Constitution, Republicans have stood by, slack-jawed, in the face of the president’s assault on checks and balances. Mr. Trump has spurned the concept of congressional oversight of his office. . . .

 Despite fetishizing “law and order,” Republicans have shrugged as Mr. Trump has maligned and politicized federal law enforcement, occasionally lending a hand. . . .

Not that congressional toadies are the only offenders. A parade of administration officials — some of whom were well respected before their Trumpian tour — have stood by, or pitched in, as the president has denigrated the F.B.I., federal prosecutors, intelligence agencies and the courts. 

. . . They have pushed the limits of the law and human decency to advance Mr. Trump’s draconian immigration agenda.

Most horrifically, Republican leaders have stood by as the president has lied to the public about a pandemic that has already killed more than 220,000 Americans. . . .

Whether out of fear, fealty or willful ignorance, these so-called leaders are complicit in this national tragedy

As Republican lawmakers grow increasingly panicked that Mr. Trump will lose re-election — possibly damaging their fortunes as well — some are scrambling to salvage their reputations by pretending they haven’t spent the past four years letting him run amok. In an Oct. 14 call with constituents, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska gave a blistering assessment of the president’s failures and “deficient” values, from his misogyny to his calamitous handling of the pandemic to “the way he kisses dictators’ butts.” Mr. Sasse was less clear about why, the occasional targeted criticism notwithstanding, he has enabled these deficiencies for so long. 

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, locked in his own tight re-election race, recently told the local media that he, too, has disagreed with Mr. Trump on numerous issues, including deficit spending, trade policy and his raiding of the defense budget. Mr. Cornyn said he opted to keep his opposition private rather than get into a public tiff with Mr. Trump “because, as I’ve observed, those usually don’t end too well.” 

Profiles in courage these are not. 

Mr. Trump’s corrosive influence on his party would fill a book. It has, in fact, filled several, as well as a slew of articles, social media posts and op-eds, written by conservatives both heartbroken and incensed over what has become of their party.

But many of these disillusioned Republicans also acknowledge that their team has been descending into white grievance, revanchism and know-nothing populism for decades. Mr. Trump just greased the slide. “He is the logical conclusion of what the Republican Party has become in the last 50 or so years,” the longtime party strategist Stuart Stevens asserts in his new book, “It Was All a Lie.”

–  The New York Times, October 25, 2020



Republican strategists blame their poor showing on President Bush's record-shattering unpopularity and the financial meltdown that threatens to plunge the world into a new Depression. Therefore, top GOP'sters . . . insist that the Republicans should concentrate on the core principles for which their party is famous.

According to these insiders, Republican success rests on a three-legged stool: Stupid Crap, Dumb Shit, and Utter Rot. Each has a vital role to play in any Republican resurgence, they argue.

Stupid Crap. "Stupid Crap is at the core of what it means to be a Republican," said highly leveraged animal abuser Wilfred M. Romney of Massachusetts Michigan Utah  New Hampshire.

In the category of Stupid Crap Romney . . .  places the economic and fiscal policies that have brought this country to the edge of ruin. "Budget busting tax cuts for the rich, deregulating large corporation so they are free to destroy the global economy and pollute the environment – this is the kind of Stupid Crap that we need to emphasize if we are to return to our rightful status as America's permanent majority party," Romney said.

Dumb Shit.  The popularity of Gov. Sarah Palin demonstrates to influential Republicans that a Dumb Shit [Surely, Dumb Shit? – Ed.] can excite the electorate. In an exclusive interview with the Spy's Ann Colt .45, Gov. Palin expounded: . . . "When you think of Dumb Shit, you think of preventing high schools from teaching contraception while celebrating illicit unprotected sex that leads to bastards being raised by 17-year-old mothers. Dumb Shit? You betcha."

"And let's not forget that abortion thing because it's so important that women should control their own bodies and I'm a woman and I ought to be able to control your body."

Gov. Palin also cited anti-immigrant hysteria, injection of fundamentalist Christian doctrines into public schools, and protecting the rights of mental patients, degenerates, criminals, and wife-beaters to purchase guns no questions asked at "gun shows" as other vital aspects of Republican Dumb Shit.

Utter Rot. Creepy adulterer Rudy Giuliani . . . insists that any Republican revival must be based on Utter Rot.

This category, according to the beloved father and former NYC mayor, includes invading countries we don't like to prove that we can push people around and when that tactic blows up in our faces blaming those who counseled against such military adventures in the first place. "It's important to peddle the Utter Rot that we are this close to victory in Iraq and therefore anything bad that happens after January 20 is the sole fault of radical redistributionist Barack Obama and his adviser Rev. Wright," Giuliani insisted.

Giuliani also urged Republicans to campaign on violating international law and standards of decency by torturing any poor bastard turned over to U.S. forces by anyone claiming that the person had aided an insurgent group and then using specious claims of national security to prevent the American people from learning about U.S.-committed war crimes. . . .

Finally, he stressed the urgent need to violate the constitutional rights of Americans and assert, contrary to the text of the Constitution and 200-plus years of tradition and jurisprudence, that the Executive has an untrammeled right to do whatever the hell it wants as long as it claims that it is acting in the interest of national security. "That's the absolute core of Utter Rot," Giuliani concluded before leaving to join his former consigliere Bernie Kerik for an "important client meeting" at Scores.

How does the Republican Party choose among Stupid Crap, Dumb Shit, and Utter Rot in planning its comeback? The answer, according to influential Republicans: it doesn't. Although the current outlook is bleak, master political strategist Karl Rove radiates arteriosclerosis [Surely, optimism? – Ed.]: "The Republican Party, if remains true to its core principles of Stupid Crap, Dumb Shit, and Utter Rot, will come back bigger and better than ever. Have I ever steered them wrong?"

The Massachusetts Spy, December 1, 2008.

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