Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Saturday, January 23rd, 2016.


The Crackup Continues

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Obama Administration

Rick Klein has a pretty good analysis of what ails the GOP right now.

What’s left of the GOP establishment is so deeply divided that it can’t even decide which of its two frontrunners needs to be stopped more urgently. That says nothing of the party’s inability to settle on one or even two candidates to represent its traditional power bases, despite a deep talent pool helped by opposition to President Obama. …

…The conservative National Review has taken the unprecedented step of publishing an entire issue aimed at blocking the party’s leading candidate. Generations of prominent conservative journalists, tea party activists, and former administration officials are uniting to say that Donald Trump should not even be considered a true conservative.

Meanwhile, in the halls of Congress, Republican lawmakers are coming together to argue that one of their own, Sen. Ted Cruz, is the candidate who must be blocked. Their argument is that Cruz would not just lose but damage the party brand for years to come.

I didn’t read any of the National Review issue — life is way too short for that — but Amanda Marcotte did read it.

The editors can’t quite seem to decide what their exact objections to Trump are. Is it that he’s driving the right too far in the direction of fascism or that he’s a secret liberal in disguise? Both! Whatever you need to hear! The strategy is argument through overwhelming. They’ll throw everything they’ve got, even contradictory stuff, at the reader and hope the sheer volume of words impresses them enough to vote for Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush.

The everything-and-the-kitchen-sink strategy produces some hilarious contradictions. The main anti-Trump editorial, written by the editors, darkly warns that Trump isn’t the racist that his followers think he is. “Trump says he will put a big door in his beautiful wall, an implicit endorsement of the dismayingly conventional view that current levels of legal immigration are fine,” they write, even trying to get the reader to believe that Trump’s mass deportation plan is “poorly disguised amnesty”.

Of course they can’t come up with a coherent objection to Trump, because Trumpism is the inevitable extension of their own deranged politics.

Charles Pierce, on the National Review anti-Trump issue:

OK, I have decided that, for the next two hours, I am going to be a supporter of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign. Why? Because the nation’s most conspicuously advertising-free longtime journal of white supremacy has gathered the finest minds in American conservatism to create the world’s biggest mudpie with their toes, that’s why.

I mean, look at this wingnut slide zone: Beck, Loesch, Podhoretz, Erickson, Bozell, a few of the now completely laughable reformicons, Butcher’s Bill Kristol. This is like the ’27 Yankees of bad ideas.

This crew is incapable of generating anything resembling a coherent ideology, but they are too self-oblivious to see it.

Andrew O’Hehir:

So when I read through National Review’s barrage of “Conservatives Against Trump” broadsides, a collection of mini-essays from miscellaneous haters with little else in common, I didn’t just notice the desperation, the flailing, the misplaced snobbery and self-righteousness, or the pervasive sense of abandonment and bewilderment. All of which were considerable: Trump was variously compared to Hitler, Mussolini and Barack Obama (I’m not sure who’s supposed to be worse); derided for his outer-borough accent and the vulgar design of his casinos; accused of being a phony conservative and a phony Christian (guilty as charged) and described both as a hateful racist and a stealth advocate of illegal immigration.

But when you get past the outrage, anger, betrayal and name-calling, you get to the unexpected but powerful nuggets of truth. To a significant degree, the National Review roster of right-wing philosopher-kings perceive that the jig is up, not just in terms of the 2016 nomination but in terms of the entire jury-rigged Frankenstein apparatus of the Republican Party.

The elites and insiders have lost control. Can they pull themselves together before the general election?

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