Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Paul Ryan seemed positively...

...shocked -- shocked! -- the other day at Donald Trump's comments about a federal judge's Mexican heritage. They were "out of left field," gasped the Republican Speaker of the House.

From an article in the Times this morning, "Democrats Jump on Allies of Donald Trump in Judge Dispute" (my emphasis):

No prominent elected Republican came to Mr. Trump’s defense unreservedly. And others found themselves wondering aloud what it would take — what Mr. Trump would have to say or do — for Republicans who have endorsed him to start jumping ship.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, another former primary rival of Mr. Trump’s, urged Republicans who have backed Mr. Trump to rescind their endorsements, citing the remarks about Judge Curiel and Mr. Trump’s expression of doubt on Sunday that a Muslim judge could remain neutral in the same lawsuit, given Mr. Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim noncitizens entering the country.

“This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Mr. Graham said. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it,” he added. “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

And yet:

It remains very unlikely that ambitious Republicans and those on the ballot this year will publicly break with Mr. Trump until it becomes politically advantageous for them. At the moment, Mr. Trump enjoys wide support from the sort of rank-and-file Republican voters whom elected officials are loath to antagonize.

In a speech on the Senate floor as Congress returned from a break, the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, sought to yoke Mr. Trump to his counterpart, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — and to every Republican running this fall. Mr. Reid pointed out that Mr. McConnell, interviewed on NBC on Sunday, had “repeatedly refused to say Donald Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel’s ethnicity are racist.”

“This is precisely the type of failure that gave rise to Donald Trump in the first place,” Mr. Reid said. “That’s because the hate emanating from Trump’s mouth reflects the Republican Party’s agenda here in the United States Senate for the past seven and a half years.”

And Sen. Reid is right; although I would say it's been much more than the last seven and a half years. I think you could trace today's Republican Party meltdown all the way back to the early 1990s and its treatment of Bill Clinton, the "accidental president."

Do I have to remind anyone that Clinton was impeached over an extra-marital affair with another consenting adult (who came on to him)? Or do you still think it was because the president "lied under oath"?

Both are wrong. Clinton was closer to the truth when he said his impeachment was a "coup d'etat." In other words, since Republicans couldn't beat Clinton at the ballot box they tried to defeat him by other means.

(I think that's when I first soured on the GOP. If you can't win in the marketplace of ideas maybe you should rethink your ideas.)

Republicans, through their media arm, Fox News, and from talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, have been dumbing down and thus creating Donald Trump's voters for over twenty years now. The chickens, as they say, have finally come home to roost.

And the establishment, for its part, has been mostly silent.

(By the way, that clip above isn't evidence of John McCain's courage -- his response should be considered baseline behavior. If someone tells you the earth is flat, you don't get points for telling him it's round.)

Let's see: Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and now Paul Ryan. Nope -- not one of them has stood up to what used to be called the "lunatic fringe." It's now just known as the "Republican Party base."

It's true: you reap what you sow.

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