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“A Trump-Led Party Is Unsupportable”: First Republican For Hillary Clinton Over Donald Trump Emerges

By this point, the vast majority of conservative intellectuals have publicly denounced Donald Trump. Most of them depict Trump as an ideologically alien force, more liberal than conservative, whose very affiliation with the GOP is to be dismissed as an inexplicable mistake. But Robert Kagan’s anti-Trump column today differs from those others in two important respects. First, he connects the rise of Trump to the Republican Party’s generalized anti-Obama hysteria. He calls Trump “the party’s creation, its Frankenstein monster,” attributing his rise to “the party’s wild obstructionism,” its “accommodation to and exploitation of the bigotry in its ranks,” and — most daringly — its “Obama hatred, a racially tinged derangement syndrome that made any charge plausible and any opposition justified.” Republicans have challenged the party’s failure to develop legislative alternatives, but none of them have attacked its strategy of massive uncompromising opposition to the entire Obama agenda. (Except David Frum, who was quickly fired from his think-tank post.)

More daringly, Kagan does not merely denounce Trump, or even swear he will never support him (as other conservatives have done). He states plainly he would vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump. And that, of course, is the only real statement that has force in this context. It is one thing to staunchly oppose a candidate in the primary, but however fierce your opposition, there is always room to come home to the party if you lose the primary. Kagan is connecting Trump to the GOP’s extremism and saying that a Trump-led party is unsupportable. That is the sort of opposition that could turn a Trump defeat into an opportunity for internal reform.

Now, Kagan is a bit atypical. A prominent neoconservative intellectual, he has moved closer to the center and defended aspects of the Obama record. It is also interesting that Kagan, like Frum, hails from the neoconservative tradition. The neoconservatives were originally moderate liberal critics of the Democratic Party, who objected to its leftward turn in the 1960s and 1970s and began their exodus from the broader Democratic Party around the McGovern campaign. Most of them are deeply enmeshed in the conservative movement now and have views about the role of government indistinguishable from those of other conservatives. But, eventually, some faction will break loose from the GOP and form the basis for a sane party that is capable of governing. Who knows? Maybe that faction will be the one that moved into the party a half-century ago.

 

By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, February 25, 2016

February 26, 2016 Posted by | Conservatives, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Walker Latest To Fall Into London Quicksand”: The British Just Don’t Know What To Make Of GOP Extremism In The 21st century

Eventually, Republicans are really going to have to stop going to London.

When Mitt Romney went to the British capital, it was a disaster. When Bobby Jindal went to London, he became a laughingstock. When Chris Christie crossed the pond, he managed to stumble on vaccinations, of all things.

And so, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) arrived in London yesterday, there was a lingering fear: how exactly would he manage to screw this up? Now we know.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Wednesday dodged a question about whether he believes in evolution. Speaking at the Chatham House foreign policy think tank London, Walker was asked: “Are you comfortable with the idea of evolution? Do you believe in it?”

“For me, I am going to punt on that one as well,” he said. “That’s a question politicians shouldn’t be involved in one way or another. I am going to leave that up to you.

If you watch the video of the exchange, note that the interviewer prefaces the question by saying the issue is of particular interest when posed to “senior Republicans when they come to London.” The subtle – or perhaps not so subtle – implication is that the British just don’t know what to make of GOP extremism in the 21st century.

Indeed, after Walker refused to answer the question about whether he’s comfortable with modern biology, the interviewer, clearly taken aback by the governor’s reticence, responded with genuine incredulity. “Really?” he said when Walker “punted” on the issue. The interviewer quickly added, “Any British politician, right- or left-wing, would laugh [at the question] and say, ‘Of course evolution’s true.’”

As well they should.

And while I can appreciate the British curiosity about American Republicans, it’s worth emphasizing that the UK simply doesn’t have a major political party as far to the right as today’s Republican Party. It’s no wonder they marvel at the oddity of the GOP’s extremism.

Closer to home, let’s not overlook the fact that the recent Republican track record on scientific issues has been quite woeful of late. Just over the last few months, we’ve seen prominent GOP officials balk at climate science, contraception, vaccinations, post-bathroom hand-washing, and now evolutionary biology.

I shudder to think what the party will come up with next, though if gravity becomes a partisan political issue, all bets are off.

Postscript: I’d just add that Walker’s response to today’s question is obviously unsustainable. If he and his staff aren’t working on a real answer for American journalists who’ll soon press the governor for a batter response, they should be.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February 11, 2015

February 12, 2015 Posted by | Evolution, Science, Scott Walker | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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