The Race Up Crazy Hill

Josh Marshall writes about the “declining marginal value of crazy“:

Several days ago, perennial presidential candidate Mike Huckabee charged that President Obama was ready to lead Israeli Jews “to the ovens.” A few days later, he said he might use not only the FBI but even the US military to prevent abortions. And around the same time, Ted Cruz called Obama the world’s biggest funder of Islamic terrorism. There was a day when cracks like these would have stopped the political world in its tracks, spurring transgressive glee from supporters and outrage from liberals and normal people. But this summer, they’ve struggled to break through. And the reason is obvious: Donald Trump has flooded the market with a new, purer brand of Crazy that has left the other candidates scrambling and basically unable to compete.

Every few days, when Trump says something really outrageous, the Villagers will use their op ed privileges to tsk tsk that Trump will now fade from political view. And then the next polls come out, and he’s still leading the GOP field.

The crazy shtick is working.

Ted Cruz is apparently doubling down on the crazy, frantically trying to ensure a spot in the GOP debates, I suspect. He has just made a video of himself cooking bacon by wrapping it around the barrel of a machine gun. Because, you know, nothing says “gravitas” and “presidential” like some stunt involving a machine gun and bacon. And you need to read Steve M’s post on this.

It appears that Cruz will make the cut for the first GOP debate, but Bobby Jindal probably will be out. Jindal has made a hail-mary pass, however. He had called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood because of the hoax videos accusing PP of selling aborted fetus parts for profit. However, he seems to have decided to not wait for the results and went ahead and cancelled PP’s Medicaid provider contract, thereby depriving thousands of women from reproductive health care. Note that other states investigating PP are finding that PP is not selling fetus parts or doing anything else illegal.

I believe the first debate is August 6, this Thursday.

Joan Walsh ties Trump support to the “psycho-sexual insecurity” combined with white supremacism that animates the far Right.

This is not merely a new way to shout “RINO.” It’s a call to make the GOP an explicitly racist party, devoted to the defense of whites. It’s no accident it’s taken off in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign launch/performance art, where he attacked illegal Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals.”

White nationalist Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute explained Trump’s appeal to Dave Weigel: “a) he is a tougher, superior man than ‘conservatives’ (which isn’t saying much), and b) he seems to grasp the demographic displacement of European-Americans on a visceral level. We see some hope there.”

Walsh also says the GOP “can’t wean itself from its reliance on overt and coded racial appeals to turn out its 90-percent-white voter base.”

The swaggering “common-sense” racism of Donald Trump is touching something deep in the conservative psyche.

Jeb Bush apparently thinks he can use Trump to beat Scott Walker and the 15 other uninspiring Republican contenders and win the GOP nomination. But the Trump faction is determined to tear apart the party to make its racism explicit rather than coded. All the money in the world isn’t going to let Bush chase this conflict away.

So, there it is. The dog whistles did their job, but now the dogs expect to be fed.


There is some good news. The push to defund Planned Parenthood failed in the Senate, 53-46. A few Republicans voted with the Dems; a few Dems voted with Republicans. I don’t have a complete list of names, though. From the Guardian:

“I just can’t see how we can ensure that all the patients can be absorbed by alternative healthcare providers,” said Maine Republican Susan Collins, who sponsored a compromise amendment with Mark Kirk of Illinois, which calls for more investigation of the practice first.

“The best way to reduce the number of abortions is to ensure that women have access to services they need to protect against unwanted pregnancy,” added Collins.

The point was echoed by independent Maine senator Angus King, who argued that it was counter-productive to defund contraceptive services if you were worried about abortion.

“The issue is not about abortion, it’s about fetal tissue and uses of fetal tissue and whether it should be allowed to be used for medical research, but that’s a debate we should have on that issue,” said King.

“This bill is like attacking Brazil after Pearl Harbor: it’s a vigorous response but it’s the wrong target.”

Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren went further still, arguing the bill was “just one more piece of a deliberate, methodical orchestrated rightwing attack on women’s rights”.

“Do have any idea what year it is?” she demanded of Republicans in the Senate chamber. “Did you fall down and bang your head and wake up and think it was the 1950s?”

You go, Liz Warren.