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“GOP Gives Up On ‘Dump Trump'”: Republicans Have Started To Accept That Cleveland Will Be The Donald Show Debate

Republican grief over Donald Trump’s all but assured presence on the debate stage next month seems to be entering it’s final stage: acceptance.

Whether it’s the winery-owning mega donor, or the Koch-backed Hispanic outreach group or the former head of the American Conservative Union, there is a distaste for the abrasive reality television star and businessman.

But although there was preliminary chatter about finding a way to marginalize Trump or keep him off the debate stage in Cleveland, Ohio, the unhappiness with his recent insulting comments about Hispanics has yielded to mere condemnation and an unhappy acquiescence to his presence in the race.

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said recently.

John Jordan, the multi-millionaire winery owner and the third-largest donor to super PACs in the country in 2013, had originally contemplated gathering signatures to keep Trump off the debate stage.

“Someone in the party ought to start some sort of petition saying, ‘If Trump’s going to be on the stage, I’m not going to be on there with him,’” Jordan told the Associated Press last week. “I’m toying with the idea of it.”

But several days later, Jordan was thinking differently. He told The Daily Beast that he would not be putting together a petition effort.

“I’m content right to let the process play out, that is for the party and the candidates to figure out,” Jordan said. “I have one concern, and one concern only, and that is next November. I want to make sure that the nominee has the possible chance to win.”

Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the American Conservative Union and Florida’s first Hispanic GOP state chairman, said he hoped the primary process would naturally weed out Trump’s candidacy, rather than a top-down effort to push Trump out.

“[A]s distasteful as his comments have been to me, we should let the process play out. Hopefully, it’s the rejection by the voters, not a group of party leaders, that should determine his fate as a presidential candidate,” Cardenas said. “I respect the feelings of a number of our colleagues who feel differently—and strongly—about this and argue that his continuation in the race is detrimental to our party and to our brand. And they may be right, but the end does not justify the means in this case.”

“It’s a mild form of censorship to say that because we disagree with his tone or comments about the immigrant community, [he] should leave the race,” added Daniel Garza of the Koch-backed Libre Initiative, which seeks to appeal to Hispanic voters. “You allow him to mouth off… He has the right to speak, and we have the right to disagree with him… Calls to have him leave the race are ludicrous.”

Alfonso Aguilar, the head of the conservative American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership, views Trump’s “insulting and baseless” comments as creating pressure on other presidential candidates to step up their Hispanic outreach.

“Instead of seeing him as a problem, I see it as an opportunity—but one that requires strong leadership,” he told the Beast. “He’s a lunatic, but we’ve had other lunatics run for president. The problem is not that he’s on stage—it’s if you don’t respond and rebuke him.”

“He has shaken up the primary in a way that might not be welcome. But now that you have it, if you’re smart and astute, maybe you can use it in your favor,” agreed Garza. “Obviously you have to draw the contrast. If Donald Trump is showing how not to do Latino outreach, you show the way to do it effective.”

As for the Republican National Committee, it wants no part in any effort to sideline Trump. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had called Trump to preach civility after the businessman’s controversial comments—then got mired into a he-said, he-said with The Donald over the contents of the call.

Asked about whether Republicans or big-dollar donors were making an effort to keep Trump off the debate stage, an RNC official merely said that, per Federal Election Commission guidelines, the networks and debate sponsors were responsible for setting up the guidelines for the presidential debates.
Meanwhile, a small plurality of Republican voters are favoring Trump. In a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released this week, Trump leads the field with 17%. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is close behind him with 14%.

Two polls out last week showed him leading the field of Republican 2016 candidates, receiving 15 percent in an Economist/YouGov poll and 16 percent in a PPP poll.

Aguilar, who was in Arizona to counter-message an event Trump was having with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, said the key to convincing Republican primary voters to steer clear of Trump was to point out the businessman’s prior positions like Trump’s praise of Bill Clinton and his donation to the Clinton Foundation.

“Before he was friends with Hillary, now he’s friends with Joe Arpaio,” he said. “Are you really sure he’s conservative?”

 

By: Tim Mak, The Daily Beast, July 15, 2015

July 18, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Republicans | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Borderline Behavior”: GOP Demands Action, Blocks Solutions — And Always Complains

Listening to Republicans in Washington (and Texas and Arizona) scream about the “crisis” of migrant children arriving from Central America on our southern border, it is puzzling to realize that they don’t actually want to do anything to solve the problem. Nor do these hysterical politicians – led by that down-home diva Rick Perry, the governor of Texas – want to let President Obama do anything either.

Except that they insist the president absolutely must visit the border, in person, preferably with a thousand members of the National Guard (who could join the Border Patrol and local police in accepting the children as they surrender). Strangely enough these Republicans, along with a few Texas Democrats, seem to believe that is the most important action Obama could undertake.

Understandably, the president is skeptical. “This isn’t theater,” he responded tartly. “This is a problem. I’m not interested in photo ops. I’m interested in solving a problem.” As he knows, this episode is only the latest in a long sequence of similar clown shows, with Republicans citing ridiculous reasons to delay or prevent government action.  His irritation is fully justified.

But perhaps Obama should have gone down to the border anyway, stood in the blazing sunlight with the dim governor for as long as Perry wished – and allowed the television cameras to show that their presence had accomplished exactly nothing. Of course, if Obama showed up at the border, the Republicans assuredly would criticize him for wasting time on a photo op. They have become the party of perpetual whining.

When they aren’t bleating about Obama, they’re concocting weird theories about his secret plans to destroy America. Only last week, Perry coyly hinted – although he said he didn’t want to be “conspiratorial” — that the White House must be “in on” the border crossings, because migrant kids couldn’t have showed up en masse without “a highly coordinated effort.” Later, he tried to persuade CNN’s Kate Bolduan that he didn’t really mean what his idiotic words said – an explanation everyone has heard from him before.

While Perry has taken the lead, he isn’t the only elected official whose mouth spews absurdities on this subject. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) offered a policy approach that would please any simpleton, when he explained why the President’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding looks far too big to him. “I’ve gone online and have taken a look on Orbitz and taken a look at what does it cost to fly people to El Salvador and Guatemala and Honduras. You have fares as low as $207. There’s nonstop flights at $450. You take those numbers and it costs somewhere between $11 million and $30 million to return people in a very humane fashion,” he opined.

Evidently nobody informed the Wisconsin senator about the myriad other costs involved in rounding up and caring for these terrified children, who are entitled to a court hearing and other consideration under an anti-trafficking law signed by George W. Bush. Anyone who wants to expedite their removal – a disturbingly inhumane and unnecessary policy – must first provide more courts, judges, and lawyers. And anyone who wants a decent policy, which includes action against the drug warlords who are threatening and killing these innocents, must be prepared to spend more than the cost of an Orbitz ticket.

Some Republicans, notably Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), are urging the president to include their pet projects in his spending bill, such as electronic verification requirements for employers and at border crossings. And many GOP lawmakers, having demanded action on the border issue from Obama, are equally adamant that the funding must be “offset” by cuts in other programs.

None of these geniuses appears to realize that all their barking and carping and mooning are frustrating the president’s attempt to address the “crisis” that is agitating them so fiercely. Or more likely they know exactly what they’re doing — and the point, as usual, is to embarrass Obama.

But not every Republican talks total nonsense about the border and immigration. Alfonso Aguilar, who headed the Office of Citizenship under Bush, recently wrote: “Contrary to the narrative of some opportunistic politicians and pundits, this unfortunate situation is not the result of the Obama administration failing to enforce the law. In reality, most would-be-migrants believe that crossing the border has become much more difficult, and in the last decade, the U.S. government has greatly strengthened border security and interior enforcement.”

Meanwhile, the majority of Americans is increasingly repulsed by the primitive nativism and partisan opportunism of Republican leaders on immigration. Democrats, independents, and even many rank-and-file Republicans want a more decent and constructive policy. Ultimately voters must grasp that the GOP is the greatest single obstacle to every vital reform. That day cannot come too soon.

 

By: Joe Conason, The National Memo, July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Border Crisis, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Rick Perry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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