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“NeverTrump’s White Knight Refuses The Call”: This Movement Has Suffered Its Last Gasp

Last week Bill Kristol tweeted that he had found a candidate to rescue the Republican establishment from Donald Trump. After a childish Twitter feud between Kristol and Trump, reports surfaced that Kristol’s knight in shining armor was none other than high-powered and well-connected but relatively unknown GOP lawyer David French.

After a some widespread and quiet derision, Mr. French has decided not to run after all–but before launching several jabs at Donald Trump:

Donald Trump also lies habitually (sometimes minute by minute), and changes position based on his moods. In one breath he claims to support working men and women, and then with the next breath he threatens to destroy our economy through trade wars or by playing games with the full faith and credit of the United States. He believes an American judge — a man born in Indiana who spent months hiding from drug cartels after they’d put a “hit” on him – can’t rule on a case involving Trump University because the judge’s parents emigrated from Mexico. His supporters believe it demonstrates “strength” when he mocks the disabled and bullies women. He has attracted an online racist following that viciously attacks his opponents and their families — including my wife and youngest daughter.

Given this reality, it would be tempting to say that when it comes to confronting this national moment, “somebody” stepping up is better than nobody. But somebody is not always better than nobody.

French and Kristol want to leave the door open for yet another independent candidate to run, but it’s difficult to see who would step up to heed the call at this date. Trump is consolidating GOP establishment support, and any independent conservative candidate would lose badly–only further demonstrating to the corporate Romney-Kristol-Rubio wing of the party how few loyal voters they actually have. Meanwhile, Trump’s rabid following would blame such a candidate for his general election defeat, putting themselves and their families in danger of their personal safety. I just don’t see it happening.

Try as it might to survive and stay relevant, it appears the Never Trump movement has suffered its last gasp.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 5, 2016

June 7, 2016 Posted by | Bill Kristol, Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Shall We Choose Poison?”: A Choice Between Being Shot Or Poisoned To Death

The National Review has just come out with an entire issue dedicated to convincing Republicans not to nominate Donald Trump to be their presidential candidate. It wasn’t a painless decision. It cost them the right to cohost (along with Salem Radio and Telemundo) a Republican debate with CNN.

The magazine is more conflicted about Ted Cruz. Writing for The Corner, for example, David French accuses the Republican establishment of being petulant in their refusal to contemplate serving under a Cruz presidency.

What’s remarkable about Mr. French’s position is that he places absolutely no weight on the idea that a person who belongs to a 100-person organization and manages to make about 98 of the members detest and despise them, probably is not the kind of person you want to make the leader of anything.

French was responding to a report at CNN in which Senator Dan Coats of Indiana said that the wounds Cruz has created with the Republican caucus are so deep that they’d find it nearly impossible to work with him. And Coats was hardly alone in expressing that opinion. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina likened a choice between Trump and Cruz to a choice between being shot and poisoned to death. Most strikingly, Texas’s other senator, John Cornyn, refused to defend his partner after Bob Dole said that a Cruz candidacy would be “cataclysmic” for the party.

But French dismisses this as letting petty personal differences get in the way of the good of the party.

…this is sheer crazy talk. Look, I get that senators are people — they have feelings and pride and don’t like to be called names. But talk through the hurt with your spouse or pastor, and then man up, get out there, and make it clear that you’re going to campaign your heart out for the GOP nominee. After years of tough election campaigns, food fights on cable television, and withering attacks on social media, Ted Cruz is the one who broke your spirits?

I don’t think Ted Cruz broke their spirits. They know him. They know him and they don’t like him. They don’t like him and they don’t trust him. They don’t trust him and they don’t want to serve under him. They don’t think he should be our president.

Maybe their collective wisdom should count for something.

The fact that it doesn’t seem to among a lot of fairly well-educated conservatives is another indicator of just how little credibility the GOP establishment has with anyone.

But another indicator of how much Cruz is hated is that folks outside of the Senate are beginning to make sounds about Trump being more acceptable.

“If it came down to Trump or Cruz, there is no question I’d vote for Trump,” said former New York mayor and 2008 presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has not endorsed a candidate. “As a party, we’d have a better chance of winning with him, and I think a lot of Republicans look at it that way.”

So, this is where we are. The conservatives at the National Review, Weekly Standard, Red State and other like publications are doing a full-court press to stop Trump because they think he’s a flim-flam artist and a confidence man, while the elected officials (current and former) are telling anyone who will listen that Cruz is completely unacceptable.

For once, I agree with a lot of conservatives. I think they’re all right.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, January 22, 2016

January 24, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Only ‘Marginal Behavior’ Is His”: Rush Limbaugh’s Finding Out He’s Not Normal, And It Scares Him

I am not normal.

This, I learned from a news story 35 years ago. The details have faded with the passage of time, but the gist of it remains clear. Some expert had crunched a bunch of numbers in search of the “average” human being, the planetary norm, and found that she was an 8-year-old Japanese girl, living in Tokyo. I don’t fit that profile; I’m willing to bet you don’t, either. So as a matter of statistical fact, I’m not “normal” and neither are you.

I’ve always found that story a useful corrective whenever I am tempted to declaim too haughtily on what is or isn’t normal. I offer it now to Rush Limbaugh in the vain hope it will help him rethink his assault last week on the woman who used to be Bruce Jenner. Granted, the story was about planetary norms and Limbaugh was ranting about American social norms, but the principle still applies.

As you doubtless know, Jenner’s transformation into a woman named Caitlyn has been quite controversial. She has been praised for her “courage” by President Obama and called “brave” by Ellen DeGeneres. At the other extreme, one David French, blogging for the National Review, dismissed her as a “surgically damaged man,” while a Matt Walsh on Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, called her a “mentally disordered man.”

And we have recently learned that, back in February, Mike Huckabee cracked about wishing he could have identified as female when he was in school so he could have showered with the girls. As inadvertently revealing as that “joke” feels, it is Limbaugh’s response that really helps us understand why those who are threatened by, and viscerally angry about, Jenner’s transformation, feel as they do.

As Caitlyn made her debut on the cover of Vanity Fair, the talk-show host fumed that Republicans should reject her, even though she identifies with the, ahem, big tent party. Liberals, he complained, are trying to “redefine normalcy.” He went on to say that nowadays, “conservatives and Republicans are the new weirdos, the new kooks, and that is part of the political objective here, in normalizing all of this really marginal behavior. I mean, if less than 1 percent of the population is engaging in it, it’s marginalized behavior; it isn’t normal.”

One might argue, citing Miles Davis, Steve Jobs, Rosa Parks, Stan Lee, Sally Ride, Muhammad Ali, Elvis Presley, and a thousand other rule breakers and innovators, that “normal” is overrated. But put that aside, take Limbaugh at his word, and the fear undergirding his complaint becomes plain. He and those like him look at Caitlyn Jenner and wonder: “If this is normal, what does that make me?”

It’s worth noting, in light of Limbaugh’s fears, that the country’s opinions on social issues like this are shifting, and not in his direction. Gallup recently reported that America is moving sharply left on the moral acceptability of everything from gay rights to stem cell research. I’m aware of no polling on Jenner’s transformation, but who would be surprised to find that there is widespread approval?

Not that freedom should be a popularity contest (most of us agree now that Jim Crow is wrong, but it was also wrong back when much of the country thought it was right), but it is better to have the wind behind you than against you. Ask Limbaugh, who now finds himself pushing against that wind and finding that the only “marginal behavior” here is his. That must be chilling to a man so obsessed with defining and defending “normalcy.” He should get used to it.

Because these days, what isn’t normal is the small minded need to stigmatize those who walk a different path through life. What isn’t normal is the bigot’s siren call to our basest and most baseless fears. What isn’t normal is hatred and terror of the new.

Poor Rush. It turns out that what isn’t “normal,” is him.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist, The Miami Herald; The National Memo, June 8, 2015

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Bigotry, Rush Limbaugh, Transgender | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Book Of Cons, 3:16”: God Wants You To Have An Assault Rifle

Legislation aimed at reducing gun violence is “a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society,” according to an article published in the leading conservative opinion journal National Review.

The author, David French, interprets the Christian Bible as granting everyone a right to self-defense. He suggests that this, if true, means that God’s will is that people have access to guns, as they are the means for self defense:

In fact, Jesus’s disciples carried swords, and Jesus even said in some contexts the unarmed should arm themselves…What does all this mean? Essentially that gun control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society. All rights — of course — are subject to some limits (the right of free speech is not unlimited, for example), and there is much room for debate on the extent of those limits, but state action against the right of self-defense is by default a violation of the natural rights of man, and the state’s political judgment about the limitations of that right should be viewed with extreme skepticism and must overcome a heavy burden of justification.

Even if French is right about the Christian view of self-defense (though Jesus did have choice words about “turning the other cheek“), it’s a logical fallacy to say this implies anything about restrictions on access to guns. Saying that people have a right to defend themselves if attacked isn’t the same thing as saying they should have a right to possess any conceivable means of defending themselves – presumably, French is fine with banning grenade launchers. The burden, instead, is on French to prove that universal background checks or limitations on assault weapon ownership somehow prevent people from defending themselves; to prove, in other words, that gun regulation is actually a restriction on the right of self-defense proper rather than a crime-prevention statute.

Moreover, French is wrong about the role of “self-defense” in a democracy. He cites John Locke, enlightenment philosopher and inspiration for the American Revolution, to suggest that gun rights are “fundamental rights of nature.” But as Ari Kohen, a professor of political theory at the University of Nebraska, points out, French radically misinterprets Locke:

But for people to establish a political community, Locke asserts that people must give up to the government their natural right to punish criminal behavior and agree to have the government settle grievances. This is why we have standing laws that are meant to be applied equally by independent officers of the law and by the courts.

Locke, as Kohen says, held that our right to use force was necessarily limited by the creation of legitimate government — that’s why we have police. This means that the government can limit access to certain weapons as means of discharging its responsibility to keep the peace. While the government may not be able to legitimately ban you from say, killing a home invader who’s brandishing a gun, it also can take reasonable steps to prevent criminals from being able to threaten you with arms in the first place without having to overcome a “heavy burden of justification.”

This isn’t the first questionable gun piece published in National Review. After the Newtown shooting, its editors suggested that mass school shootings were the price we pay for the Second Amendment. One of its writers, Charlotte Allen, infamously wrote that the Newtown massacre happened because there were too many female teachers.

 

By: Zack Beauchamp, Think Progress, January 28, 2013

January 29, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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