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“This GOP Civil War Is So Much Fun!”: Donald Trump Has Ripped The Conservative Coalition Asunder

Whom to root for when the Dallas Cowboys play the New England Patriots? The most obnoxious franchise in all of American professional sports versus the most rancidly cheatingest (and I mean really—read this; if this is all true, they should have their franchise license revoked and Belichick should be thrown out of the game). As the old joke has it, you root for a plane crash (relax, it’s a joke).

This is kind of where I am as I watch this blood feud erupt between the National Review Online and the Trump loyalists who started the #NRORevolt hashtag over the weekend. If you missed it, here’s the sitch. Last Friday, subscribers to Jonah Goldberg’s NR newsletter, the G-file, found his latest in their in-boxes, a protracted jeremiad that ran under the title “No Movement That Embraces Trump Can Call Itself Conservative.”

“If this is the conservative movement now,” he wrote, “I guess you’re going to have to count me out.”

So Trump partisans started doing exactly that, and in droves. Commenters on the article were venomous: Go ahead, you RINO-quisling-sellout (or, occasionally, you dastardly Jew), who needs you anyway? This comment was representative, and even a little quasi-poetic: “So Blow and Rage, Jonah, Blow into the winter night, strut and fret your rabid slobber onto the stage, idiot-like until you are flattened by the Trump steamroller—of course we will be forced to hear more of your shout and flabberting, but it won’t mean a thing. I hope the Republican Party collapses so we can get on with partnering with something that is not so diseased that its internal organs are melting into a pus-fulled [sic] syrup that is oozing out of every…whatever.”

In short order, the now-famous hashtag arose as a venue for kindred sentiments. It seems safe to say that not many National Review subscribers are probably involved in this effort. As near as these things can be determined, it may have been launched by a guy named Ricky Vaughn, who describes himself on Twitter as a “right-wing nativist.” You see the word “cuckservative” tossed around a lot in these tweets, a word that the Southern Poverty Law Center says has roots in white nationalist and anti-Semitic circles. And of course the word sounds the way it sounds for a reason, evoking both “cock” and “suck” in a way that is definitely not intended as a compliment.

Well, for people like me, this is definitely pass-the-popcorn time. What better entertainment could there possibly be than watching American conservatism being wrecked by a bunch of white nationalists?

American conservatism has spent decades winking at these kinds of groups and voters—denouncing them very occasionally when caught red-handed playing in the same sandbox, as when a white Southern Republican is forced to explain that gosh, he didn’t know the local citizens’ council was a white supremacist group; but for the most part courting these voters and stoking their anxieties through means sometimes subtle, sometimes not. So, let them tear each other apart.

The amusing thing is, Goldberg actually makes some good points in his newsletter piece, mainly that Trump isn’t much of a conservative on a number of issues. About that, he is correct.

But if he can’t instantly grasp how modern conservatism made Trump—and not only Trump, but even more important, the people who are now his rabid supporters—then I doubt it can be explained at a level of remediation that will sink in. But it’s pretty simple. When Steve King jokes about people crossing the border with their cantaloupe-sized calves full of bags of weed, he’s creating Trump and Trump’s backers. And multiply that times 300 for every crazy-borderline racist comment in recent years by Michele Bachmann and Rush Limbaugh and all the rest of them, and you get a party and a movement whose nudges at that kind of thing have done far more to create Trump and his supporters than the occasional faux-solemn and perfunctory denunciations have done to thwart them. So this problem of white nationalism bubbling uncomfortably close to the surface is one the Republican Party and the conservative movement have deserved to have for a long time now.

Mind you I don’t think liberals should be gloating too much about this yet. It’s way too hard to predict what all this will mean for the election. In all likelihood, Trump won’t have the votes to win the nomination, John Kasich or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush will, and the Trump voters will mostly start getting themselves worked up about the looming menace of President Hillary and come out and vote for the sellout RINOs they’re now repudiating at #NRORevolt.

But let’s say that at some point, we do see a real civil war in the Republican Party over all this, and the time comes when GOP leaders need to own up to a Joe McCarthy kind of moment—that is, a moment when they are finally forced to step forward and say, Donald, we don’t want you or your more extreme supporters. The National Review itself did a version of this, of course, back in the old days under Bill Buckley, when it said much the same to John Birch Society types.

But the Review was just a magazine. It lost some subscribers, I’m sure, but not the White House. For a political party the stakes are a little higher, and I don’t think today’s GOP would have the stones to do it. The party is stuck with Trump and his backers. It created them.

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, September 9, 2015

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Conservatism, Donald Trump, GOP | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Trump Proves GOP Proclamations Of Mortal Affront Untrue”: He’s Only Repeating What His Party’s Has Been Saying All Along

In 2006, then-Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce advocated the return of a 1954 program for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. It was called “Operation Wetback.”

In 2010, Sen. David Vitter, Republican from Louisiana, released a campaign ad that depicted a bunch of seedy-looking Mexicans, some with gang bandannas, slipping through a hole in a border fence to invade America.

In 2011, Rep. Mo Brooks, Republican from Alabama, said of undocumented immigrants: “I will do anything short of shooting them” to make them stop “taking jobs from American citizens.”

That same year, Republican presidential contender Herman Cain vowed to build an electrified border fence that would shock Mexicans who sought to slip into the country.

In 2013, Rep. Steve King, Republican from Iowa, said that for every illegal immigrant who becomes a valedictorian, there are another hundred with “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they are drug mules.

Yet the party is shocked and offended by what Donald Trump said? Jeb Bush calls his recent comments on undocumented Mexican immigrants “extraordinarily ugly”? Sen. Marco Rubio finds them “not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive”? A major donor tells the Associated Press Trump should be excluded from the debates?

Beg pardon, but there is something rather precious in all this ostentatious umbrage. If you didn’t know better, you might forget that the GOP has sought votes for years by stoking fear and anger toward Mexicans who enter this country illegally. If you weren’t paying attention, you might not know that various Republican officials and pundits routinely characterize those people — most of them just dirt poor and trying to put bread on the table — as a disease-ridden invasion force of drug smugglers and gang members, not to mention pregnant women splashing across the Rio Grande in order to drop so-called “anchor babies” on U.S. soil.

This is not to say Trump’s words were not ugly. They were. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “…They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems [to] us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

But ugly as it was, Trump’s xenophobia broke no new ground. So you have to wonder at the pious denunciations it is generating. You’re tempted to say people are reacting like this because Trump was blunter than we are used to. On the other hand, there is nothing particularly subtle or ambiguous about threatening to shock Mexicans. Maybe folks weren’t paying attention before.

It’s worth noting that Trump’s comments came as he announced his intention to run for President of the United States, a nation whose last census found about 32 million of us identifying as Mexican-American (some, presumably, good people). Indeed, Mexican-Americans are far and away the largest group under the umbrella rubric “Hispanic.” All the Cuban-, Puerto Rican-, Argentinean-, and Spanish-Americans combined don’t equal the number of Mexican-Americans in this country. So when the GOP talks about “Hispanic” outreach, it is, in a very real sense, talking Mexican-American outreach. Yet this “outreach” seems always to be overshadowed by insult.

The party seems not to realize that you can’t have it both ways, can’t insult people, then ask them to vote for you. How telling is it that, even as party elders assure us his remarks don’t represent the GOP, Trump vaults to second place in the polling of Republican contenders? It’s a truth that gives the lie to these proclamations of mortal affront.

It’s hypocritical and unfair to put all this on Trump. He only repeated what his party’s been saying all along.

 

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

July 9, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, Hispanics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Supreme Court’s Ruling Be Damned”: Ted Cruz Isn’t Taking The Marriage Ruling Well

At an event over the weekend, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was asked about last week’s Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality. The right-wing Iowan, not surprisingly, wasn’t pleased, calling the court decisions “the heaviest one-two punch delivered against the Constitution and the American people that we’ve ever seen in the history of this country.”

Of course, Steve King is expected to say things like this. When presidential candidates go over the top in the same way, it’s a little more alarming. MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin reported:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) went so far as to call for a constitutional convention to overturn the court’s decision while campaigning in Iowa, according to CNN. In an interview with Sean Hannity he called the back-to-back rulings on health care and gay marriage “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”

Hannity, incidentally, found Cruz’s rhetoric quite compelling, responding, “I couldn’t say it more eloquently.”

For what it’s worth, it’s not hard to think of some genuinely tragic 24-hour periods in American history. The Lincoln assassination comes to mind. So does the time British troops burned the White House. There were days during the Civil War in which tens of thousands of Americans died on the battlefield. Just in the last century, we witnessed the JFK assassination, Pearl Harbor, and a corrupt president resign in disgrace.

For the Republican presidential hopeful, learning that Americans will have health benefits and loving couples will get married belongs on the same list.

To be sure, while much of the country will probably find that odd, it’s equally important to appreciate what Cruz intends to do with his outrage.

On the Affordable Care Act, the Texas senator will, naturally, continue to push a pointless repeal crusade. On marriage rights, Cruz intends to “focus on defending religious liberty by protecting those who act on their conscience and appointing judges who understand the limits placed on them by the Constitution.”

But it’s the Republican’s plans for the high court itself that stand out. The Huffington Post reported:

To challenge that “judicial activism,” Cruz said he is proposing a constitutional amendment to require Supreme Court justices to face retention elections every eight years. […]

Under Cruz’s proposed amendment, justices would have to be approved by a majority of American voters as well as by the majority of voters in least half of the states. If they failed to reach the required approval rating, they would be removed from office and barred from serving on the Supreme Court in the future.

Soon after, the senator said he “absolutely” believes county clerks in Texas should freely refuse marriage licenses to couples who wish to marry, the Supreme Court’s ruling be damned.

As ridiculous as Cruz’s posturing seems, it’s important to remember the broader context: national GOP candidates have a built-in incentive to be as hysterical as possible right now, in the hopes of currying favor with the party’s base. Mild, reasoned disappointment with the court doesn’t impress far-right activists; unrestrained, hair-on-fire apoplexy does.

Ted Cruz appears to understand this dynamic all too well.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, June 29, 2015

June 30, 2015 Posted by | Marriage Equality, SCOTUS, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“The GOP Gay Marriage Freakout”: The Modern Republican Party Is Operating More And More Like An Underground Crime Network

Marriage equality has won at the Supreme Court, but the fight over gay marriage is far from over. Now we enter the Republican temper tantrum phase.

Even before the Supreme Court’s ruling, several prominent Republicans had pledged to disobey any high court ruling in favor of marriage equality—and had called on their fellow Republican leaders to do the same.

For instance, Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have both signed a pledge that reads, “We will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.”

Huckabee also challenged the authority of our nation’s highest court when he said, “The Supreme Court can’t overrule God.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Steve King also called for Congress and any future Republican president to flagrantly ignore such a Supreme Court ruling.

Let’s be clear: These are current and former officeholders, who have taken an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, literally pledging to violate those laws as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

In any reasonable political environment, this should be a disqualifier for elected office. Certainly, measures should be considered to charge those of them who hold office with violating their oath.

Republicans in Congress recently filed suit against President Obama for using his lawful executive authority to de-prioritize certain deportations of immigrants. Said Republicans were outraged! Now here we have Republicans treading far beyond the legal gray area, actually pledging to violate their duties and break the law.

I’d love to say such behavior is unimaginable. But unfortunately, it’s becoming predictable within the GOP.

“If the court tries to do this it will be rampant judicial activism,” Cruz said before the ruling. “It will be lawlessness.”

No, actually, saying that as a senator or as president you will disobey the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States of America—that is the very definition of lawlessness.

Of course this attitude comes from the same party that after 60 failed votes to repeal Obamacare and two now failed legal challenges rising all the way up to the very same Supreme Court, still pledges to keep trying to undo the law. The modern Republican Party is operating less like a responsible partner in governance and more and more like an underground crime network—continually abusing and threatening the otherwise democratic process if it doesn’t get its way.

So far, in the aftermath of the decision, Republican candidates have offered statements affirming their opposition to the ruling and leaning on the new, more modest GOP chestnut that “religious freedom” must be protected.

Governor Huckabee took to Twitter after the ruling, saying that the Supreme Court could no more overrule “God’s nature” than overrule gravity. But alas, just as it has in fights for justice and equality throughout history, the Supreme Court has done its job—interpreting the Constitution of our nation and applying it equally to all Americans.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued one of the more curious formulations. “I call on the president and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs,” he said in a press release. “No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience.”

Apparently, Walker is afraid people will be forced to get gay married. Don’t worry, America, that’s Phase 143 of the gay agenda. It’s still early. Right now, we’re preoccupied trying to uphold the basic values and laws of America—which elected officials of both parties should be doing, too. But frankly, when it comes to some Republicans, it’s indeed more likely that gravity will be overruled and pigs will fly.

 

By: Sally Kohn, The Daily Beast, June 26, 2015

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Marriage Equality, Republicans, SCOTUS | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“GOP Lawmakers Take Aim At Constitutional Principle”: Ending Birthright Citizenship Has Been Added To The Far-Right’s To-Do List

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t leave much in the way of wiggle room: the rights of American citizenship are given to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” It’s a principle generally known as “birthright citizenship,” and after its enactment following the Civil War, the Supreme Court has protected the tenet many times.

But as Republican politics moved sharply to the right, and anti-immigration sentiments within the GOP became more extreme, the party’s “constitutional conservatives” decided the principle, championed by Republicans nearly 150 years ago, needs to go. Shortly after the “Tea Party” gains in 2010, ending birthright citizenship was added to the far-right’s to-do list.

And yesterday, as Dana Milbank explained, a congressional panel actually considered a plan to scrap the existing constitutional provision.

A House Judiciary subcommittee took up the question Wednesday afternoon, prompted by legislation sponsored by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and 22 other lawmakers that, after nearly 150 years, would end automatic citizenship.

The 14th Amendment, King told the panel, “did not contemplate that anyone who would sneak into the United States and have a baby would have automatic citizenship conferred on them.” Added King, “I’d suggest it’s our job here in this Congress to decide who will be citizens, not someone in a foreign country that can sneak into the United States and have a baby and then go home with the birth certificate.”

It’s no small task to undo a principle, enshrined in the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court, that defines the United States as a nation of immigrants. It’s particularly audacious that House Republicans would undo a century and a half of precedent without amending the Constitution but merely by passing a law to reinterpret the 14th Amendment’s wording in a way that will stop the scourge of “anchor babies” and “birth tourism.”

That’s no small detail. In the American system of government, if federal lawmakers want to alter constitutional law, they have to actually amend the Constitution. But King and his cohorts have a different idea: they intend to simply pass a regular ol’ law voiding the unambiguous language of the 14th Amendment.

Remember, these are the same folks who are convinced President Obama is a radical who ignores constitutional principles he doesn’t like.

To bolster his case, House Republicans invited a few “experts” to tell lawmakers why the plan to end birthright citizenship is a great idea – one of whom has a deeply troubled history on issues related to race.

But to dismiss the entire debate as a pet project of a clownish congressman would be a mistake. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), for example, is also sponsoring a bill to end birthright citizenship, calling it a constitutional “loophole” he hopes to fill.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) hasn’t signed on to King’s bill, but he considers the constitutional principle an open question. “The question of whether our forefathers meant for birthright citizenship in all circumstances to be the law of the land is far from settled,” Goodlatte said at the hearing. “In any event, we must still determine if it is the right policy for America today.”

Even at the national level, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a GOP presidential candidate, recently sat down with a right-wing conspiracy-theory website, WorldNetDaily, where he voiced opposition to birthright citizenship.

WND: Do you still want to end birthright citizenship?

PAUL: Yeah, I think if you have a broken system like we have now, you can’t let just people –  you know, I’ve always agreed with Milton Freedman who said you can’t have open borders and a welfare state. You can’t become a magnet for the world and let everybody come in here, have children, and then they all become citizens. So I still do agree with that.

In 2011, Vitter introduced a measure to undo birthright citizenship, and the proposal picked up four Senate Republican co-sponsors. Rand Paul was one of the four.

It’s a bad sign when the debate shifts from whether or not to pass comprehensive immigration reform to whether or not Congress wants to nullify part of the 14th Amendment.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, April 30, 2015

May 1, 2015 Posted by | 14th Amendment, Citizenship, U. S. Constitution | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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