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“Leaving The Top Of The Ticket Blank”: More Conservatives Backing Away From Trump Nomination

As conservatives all over the country come to terms with Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party, a cohort of conservative political figures and media personalities are actively fighting against him. Here’s what they have said about the racist billionaire’s ascension to the party nomination:

Steve Deace, host of conservative talk show The Steve Deace Show, in USA Today.

“But it’s not Donald Trump’s fault any more than it’s the fault of your pet scorpion when it stings you. After all, it takes a special kind of stupid to allow an animal with a poisonous stinger close enough to do that to you in the first place. The scorpion is simply being a scorpion. You, on the other hand, are supposed to know better.”

David Limbaugh, brother of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, in Townhall:

“If Trump wants our support (and sometimes he implies he doesn’t), he should have to convince us that he will not move toward authoritarianism; that he will honor the Constitution; that he will not take steps to use the Republican Party (or any other party) to permanently undermine constitutional conservatism; and that he won’t cater to those in his movement who want to cast constitutional conservatism into the burning dumpster.”

“I am not ‘NeverTrump’ — I recognize how bad Clinton is — but I think conservatives should now use what leverage they have to hold Trump’s feet to the fire so that we don’t lose either way.”

Former Republican Dallas County party chairman Jonathan Neerman, quoted in TIME

“That would leave me with leaving the top of the ticket blank,” [he said.] “I will fill out the rest of my ballot for every other Republican candidate. I just won’t vote for Donald Trump, and I certainly won’t vote for Hillary Clinton.”

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, quoted in The Hill

“I also cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as commander in chief.”

Former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul, speaking on Fox Business:

“I don’t think he offers anything and hardly do I think Hillary offers anything,” said

Conservative commentator Linda Chavez, in Newsmax:

“I have said it often enough, but it bears repeating: I will not vote for Donald Trump for president. There are millions like me. We fully understand the consequences — another four years of a Democrat in the White House — even if we do not like them.”

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, at “a dinner in Washington,” according to The Washington Examiner

“I happen to think that the person who is leading the nation has an enormous and disproportionate impact on the course of the world, so I am dismayed at where we are now, I wish we had better choices, and I keep hoping that somehow things will get better, and I just don’t see an easy answer from where we are.”

Radio host and leading anti-Trump conservative Glenn Beck, speaking on his network, The Blaze:

“Because what’s going to happen is you are now going to have Hillary Clinton legalize as many voters as you can, the GOP is going to be completely racist – whether it’s true or not – because of Donald Trump. You will never have another Republican president ever again.”

Despite the widespread opposition to Trump, it’s uncertain whether so many conservative politicians and commentators will have any effect. Trump has picked up the endorsements of a growing number of Republican governors and congressmen who have insisted that the racist billionaire should be supported as a matter of duty to the party. Despite their exhortations, it will be hard to paper over the deep divisions that have emerged between the two sides of the Republican Party.

 

By: Saif Alnuweiri, The National Memo, May 6, 2016

May 8, 2016 Posted by | Conservatism, Conservatives, Donald Trump | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Ted Cruz Armageddon Is Coming”: For Now, He’s On Probation

Did you catch Ted Cruz’s numbers in that Pew poll that came out this week? You may not have, because there were a few other things going on. So take a guess as to his favorable ratings among Tea Party people. I can tell you that 18 percent expressed no opinion, so the numbers add up to 82. So, 65-17, 68-14? Could he possibly have topped 70?

He sure could have. It was 74-8. Eight! It used to be 47-10 in a prior poll. In other words, a lot of people who weren’t able to form an opinion of him now can, and it’s swooning. Among non-Tea Party Republicans, as you’d imagine, a rather different story: It’s 56-44 (everyone has an opinion!). That’s favorable, but it ain’t 74-8. And in these numbers, among dozens of other auguries, we see the Armageddon that’s coming in the GOP between now and 2016. What on earth are the establishment Republicans going to do about this man?

Examine with me a few more numbers, from an earlier Pew survey taken over the summer. That one found that while Tea Party people make up 40 percent of Republican voters, they make up 49 percent, or roughly half, of those who vote in every primary. Got that? OK.

So now put the two surveys together: Half of the most loyal Republican voters approve of Cruz at 90-percent levels (74 is nine-tenths of 82). Still think he couldn’t win the nomination?

You better believe he can. The chance that he could win a presidential election is as close to zero as any plausible candidate’s chance could be. I think he tops out at around 180 electoral votes. But the nomination? Not. Impossible. At. All.

So I ask again: What are the establishmentarians going to do? What, for example, can Mitch McConnell do? Not a whole lot. Individual senators are pretty autonomous. Remember when liberals were screaming during the health-care debate, “Why doesn’t Obama give Ben Nelson the Johnson Treatment?” Because the Johnson Treatment doesn’t work anymore, least of all on the serenely messianic, of which Cruz is definitely one.

Can a group of establishment senators break him, as a previous cohort, led by Margaret Chase Smith, broke Joe McCarthy? They can try, and that might make some difference. Their success will depend to a great extent on where the right-wing media decide to land. Will Roger Ailes and the rest of them do what’s right for the party and the country, or for the ratings and the bottom line? Why do I not want to know the answer to that question?

Much will hinge on what happens in 2014, in the coming crisis negotiations and then in the elections. If Cruz overreaches in January, they’ll polish him off. He is presumably smart enough to know that he’s on probation. So my guess is that as the January deadline approaches, Eddie Haskell will start bringing the teacher some apples. He’ll behave. Oh, he’ll mis-behave just enough to signal to the peanut gallery that he’s still Eddie Haskell; the world’s Eddie Haskells can’t help themselves. But he’ll keep it in line. And if he’s very smart, he’ll do those little, sugary things that senators value so much—the hand-written note when the wife’s checked into the hospital, that sort of thing.

He’ll spend the rest of 2014 guiding the Tea Party like Columbus on the Santa Maria. Rand Paul will be back there on the Niña, and farther back, Marco Rubio on the Pinta, straining to catch enough wind to keep up. But everyone will know who’s holding the compass.

The elections will be crucial. If the GOP loses control of the House because of perceived Tea Party looniness, Cruz will be blamed and held accountable. As for the Senate, it’ll be just slightly more nuanced. We’re seeing now that all these Tea Party people are going to challenge establishment Republicans. If some of them win their primaries but lose the general to a Democrat—if, say, Nancy Mace, the Citadel grad, beats Lindsey Graham but then loses in the general, giving South Carolina its first non-racist Democratic senator since Fritz Hollings, who’s probably the only non-racist Democratic senator the state has ever had—Cruz will, again, be blamed and held accountable. But say Mace wins, and a few others do too, even if the GOP doesn’t take control of the Senate. And say the Republicans hold the House. That’s a slightly ambiguous result. But any ambiguous result is easy for a demagogue to spin into a great victory. It’s precisely the kind of thing demagogues do best.

If the results a year from now don’t give the establishment the excuse it needs to bury him, Cruz will be off to the races. And then, Armageddon will come. To whom will the establishment hand the silver cross and vial of holy water? Chris Christie? Jeb Bush? South Dakota Senator John Thune, who offends no one (not yet, anyway) and who quietly voted for the deal to reopen the government and avoid default?

This will be a war. And it just might be a war the extremists will win. Establishments have power and money, and it is true that Republican voters have typically, after all the noise, gone in the establishment direction (McCain, Romney). But the insurgents have been advancing the beachhead, and unless they’re pushed back once and for all, it’s only a matter of time. But an epic battle looms. I cry for what these maniacs are doing to my country, but at the same time I plan on enjoying every minute of it.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, October 18, 2013

October 23, 2013 Posted by | Politics, Tea Party, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Looking Back On The Carnage”: How Republicans Won Nothing And Lost Everything In The Government Shutdown

Two and a half weeks into the government shutdown, and with a disastrous debt default mere hours away, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday finally reached for his one escape lever.

The House on Wednesday is expected to vote on a bipartisan Senate-brokered bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. “We fought the good fight, we just didn’t win,” Boehner said in announcing he would bring the bill for a vote, which should pass with support from Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Though Republicans originally demanded a steep ransom, the inexorable path to Wednesday’s deal wrought havoc on the party brand while delivering them absolutely none of the gleaming prizes they wanted. And plenty in the party told them this is exactly how it would end.

First, the terms of the deal are quite favorable to Democrats. The one concession Republicans won in the deal? The implementation of an income verification system in ObamaCare for people seeking federal subsidies.

Except it’s hardly a concession. The health care law originally had similar verification requirements, though the Obama administration in July delayed them to 2015. In short, the GOP will get a minor tweak to the law that was in there in the first place.

At the same time, the deal will force the House and Senate to convene a budget committee to hammer out a new spending agreement. Democrats have been repeatedly asking for just such a committee since at least April.

The GOP’s failure to win any concessions is all the more painful when you consider that a different strategy — to be blunt, a sane strategy — could have put real pressure on Democrats.

Before the shutdown, Republicans had a chance to vote for a clean continuing resolution to fund the government through November 15 at the reduced levels mandated by the 2011 debt-limit deal. Instead, the House balked, repeatedly sending the Senate untenable bills attacking ObamaCare.

Had Republicans approved the original “clean” offer, they would have had a second crack at addressing spending within two months, and an untarnished image as they tried to wield the debt ceiling as leverage. By putting all their chips in an utterly futile plan to defund ObamaCare, they squandered both.

While Republicans gained virtually nothing, they will be bleeding from this battle for a long time to come.

Republicans entered 2013 clamoring for a “rebrand” after losing the 2012 election. The shutdown has set that effort back so far that they might as well have rewound the clock to the eve of Mitt Romney’s defeat.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey midway through the shutdown found that only one-quarter of Americans had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, an all-time low. Other polls showed Democrats opening up wide leads in generic balloting, and suggested they could retake the House in 2014.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) told the Washington Post that the GOP’s huge slide in polls had allowed the party to recruit a handful of stronger candidates who otherwise would have stayed out.

“In a number of districts we had top-tier, all-star potential candidates who several months ago didn’t see a path to victory,” he said. “They reopened the doors.”

Though Democrats’ big polling advantage will likely fade to some degree come 2014, the party is, for now, in good standing heading into the midterm elections, particularly in the Senate, where candidates have to appeal to a wider ideological swathe of voters.

The shutdown fallout could also have an impact next month in Virginia. With the shutdown dragging on, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe pried open a wide lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe aired an ad directly linking his opponent to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the shutdown’s architect. And even Cuccinnelli conceded the shutdown was negatively impacting his campaign.

Meanwhile, Cruz has also exposed a deep rift in the congressional GOP between the establishment and the Tea Party. Though conservative members say they won’t oust Boehner from his leadership post for caving on the debt ceiling, the House caucus has been left more fractured than ever, with outside conservative groups blasting GOP members unwilling to tank the economy as the “surrender caucus.”

That’s not even taking into account the huge gulf opening up between House Republicans and Senate Republicans.

Such divisions could spawn fractious primary fights next year. Business groups, concerned with their waning influence with the GOP, have already said they may help finance primary campaigns against Tea Party lawmakers.

Even Republicans, looking back on the carnage that was the shutdown, have begun to admit it was a costly mistake.

“We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “This has been a very bad two weeks for the Republican Party.”

 

By: Jon Terbush, The Week, October 16, 2013

October 17, 2013 Posted by | Debt Ceiling, Government Shut Down, Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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