Who Is Going to Meet the Moment?

As much as I dislike him, I have always believed that Lindsey Graham was smart enough to know his entire career was built on shams and demagoguery to keep the rubes on his side. But now I wonder. At least one of us is a moron, and I don’t think it’s me.

Miz Lindsey did not just whiff on doing his duty in the impeachment vote. He is doubling down on the crazee to help Republicans take back Congress in 2022. Aaron Rupar writes at Vox:

If Graham’s Sunday morning appearance on Fox News Sunday is an indication, his loyalty to the former president is stronger than ever.

“Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party,” Graham said, distancing himself from former UN ambassador Nikki Haley’s comments about Trump not having a future in the GOP. “The Trump movement is alive and well … all I can say is that the most potent force in the Republican Party is President Trump.”

Those comments came at the end of an interview that began with Graham suggesting Republicans will go as far as to retaliate for Trump’s second impeachment by impeaching Vice President Kamala Harris if they take back the House next year.

Rupar goes on to say that “Graham seems to be calculating that Trumpism represents the Republican Party’s best bet to retake one or both chambers of Congress next year.” Maybe, but I question if loyalty to Trump will provide the political capital Graham assumes it will in 2022. I think the political landscape is very much in a state of flux right now. It’s too soon to know what it will look like 20 or so months from now. It may be time for the old dogs to learn new tricks.

Right now congressional Republicans seem to be divided between those who, at the very least, realize the party can’t continue down the same road. That’s the minority. The majority are stubbornly clinging to the shams and demagoguery that have sustained their entire political careers and which have crystallized in the form of blind loyalty to Trump, no matter what he did. See, for example, Dana Milbank, Trump left them to die. 43 Senate Republicans still licked his boots. Among other things, Milbank records this revelatory moment:

On the Senate floor, Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.), an always-Trumper, was seen pointing at Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) and saying “blame you” in a raised voice. Romney was one of five Republicans who joined all 50 Democrats in voting to allow witness testimony.

See also Colbert King, In rallying to Trump, Senate Republicans sacrificed Pence. Yes, they’re okay with Trump trying to get his own vice president killed. But Pence himself is hardly a profile in courage; he remained at a safe and silent distance from the impeachment trial.

See also Peter Wehner, Why Are Republicans Still This Loyal to a Mar-a-Lago Exile?, at the New York Times. Wehner is a Republican who served in various roles in the Reagan and two Bush administrations. The short answer to the question is “tribal loyalty.” But it goes deeper:

For nearly a half-decade, Republicans became accustomed to saying one thing and thinking another. The impeachment vote was the last, best chance to break decisively with Mr. Trump. Yet once again most Republican lawmakers couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Mr. Trump still seems to haunt them, to instill fear in them. More than that, however: He has become them, weaving himself into their minds and communities so seamlessly that they are no longer capable of distinguishing their own moral sensibilities and boundaries from his, as they might once have done.

In short, too many Republicans have become hollowed-out simulations of human beings, incapable of independent thought or moral agency. But in trusting their fortunes to Trump, they are taking terrible risks. Trump, after all, lost. Not only did the Trump GOP lose the White House; it lost the House and Senate also. This hasn’t happened to Republicans since Hoover.

Further, Trump is facing multiple investigations, both criminal and civil. There could be big, splashy trials that reveal a lot of ugly truths.  There could be criminal convictions. There could also be more terrorist activity by his MAGA-head followers. I see no reason why Trump won’t be at least as much of a liability to the Republican Party as he was in the past two elections. Republicans may assume they can’t win without Trump’s rabid base, but I don’t see them winning with that base, either, outside of already deep red territory.

E.J. Dionne writes that it will be “wrenching … for Republican politicians to appease the GOP’s Trump-supporting majority while pretending to be another party altogether.” Frankly, I don’t think they can do it.

Kevin McDermott, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, thinks The GOP deserves to have Trump stalking their party for the next four years.

Trump’s acquittal may actually turn out to be good for the country.

Why? Because it will be bad for the Republican Party. And the GOP has become a dangerously dysfunctional cadre of extremists, cynics and cowards who would best serve America by sidelining themselves for a while. …

…Happily, Trump’s continued presence on the political stage will be especially bad for the most toxic elements of the GOP — the Josh Hawleys and Ted Cruzes of the world. Hawley, Missouri’s self-pitying, demagogic junior senator, has been positioning himself to inherit Trump’s base for a couple years now; Cruz, the reptilian Texan, has been doing it even longer (throwing his own wife and father under the bus in the process).

Yes, the party out of power does nearly always come roaring back in midterm elections. And there’s always the real possibility that the Democrats will fail to meet the moment, leaving voters confused as to why it matters who they vote for. We’ll see.

But for now the House Republicans who voted for impeachment, and the Republican senators who voted to convict, are facing censure from their own state parties, revealing how deep the rot goes.

Right now there is a bumper crop of editorials and opinion pieces declaring the Republican Party dead, at least as a political party. I say it hasn’t been a real political party for a long time, at least on the national level, but whatever. Now the current GOP is  finally being recognized as just the zombie version of the party it used to be. Will Bunch has an absolutely magnificent obirtuary at the Philadelphia Inquirer that begins:

The Republican Party was born on March 20, 1854, the green shoots of a political spring. Unlike America’s other parties that were often shotgun weddings of convenience, the Republicans burst forth around moral ideas that were so powerful — ending slavery and making America a world industrial power — that the tail of this supernova lasted for more than 166 years and inspired its eventual nickname, the Grand Old Party.

That GOP died — morally, if not officially — in the late afternoon gloaming of a grey and bitterly cold winter’s day, Feb. 13, 2021. After 43 Republican senators who’d been given a green light to “vote their conscience” on Donald Trump’s impeachment still managed to come up empty — thus enshrining the notion that an end-of-term president can foment a deadly insurrection to thwart a peaceful transition of power and not face any consequences — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell strolled to the well of the Senate. He was presumably holding the bloody knife with which he’d repeatedly stabbed American democracy for a dozen years hidden behind his back.

Do click on the link and keep reading. Toward the end Bunch writes,

There is, arguably, a large opening for a completely new second political party — one that actually promotes the economic interests of a multiracial working class and some of its social conservatism, but embraces ethics and eschews racism — but the stench of the GOP’s corpse may have to get worse before that can happen.

In 2021, the only hope for American salvation is not bipartisanship with a dead body but instead a Democratic Party that is every bit as bold as the Republicans are cowardly.

Can the Democrats be bold? Some of them seem ready; some not. I fear we’re going to be held back by the likes of Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin, and Dianne Feinstein. You want to win in 2022 and 2024, Dems? Kill the filibuster and pass H.R. 1

If there was ever a time that same old, same old ain’t gonna cut it, this is it. Who will break out of the old, dysfunctional patterns of the past few years? Who is going to meet the moment?

Probably not Lindsey Graham.

18 thoughts on “Who Is Going to Meet the Moment?

  1. Definitely NOT Lindsey Graham…

    Ms. Lindsey is a parasite that needs a host to attach to.  When McCain died, Ms. Lindsey found another powerful host to attach to.  Parasites are never leaders regardless of how much they think they are because of the perceived power of their host.

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  2. Miss Lindsey apparently decided that he loves kissing tRUMP's ass more than thinking more rationally, and helping his party.

    Good.  We liberals thank you, Miss Lindsey!  Because tRUMP will take your already diminishing control over the federal government, and crush it down into a true minority party.  Btw: A lot of MAJOR ASSHOLES in that small minority party!

    You see, first, tRUMP is going to go after the RepubliKKKLANS on his laminated list:  Those are the ones who voted against his noble and exalted self.  He doesn't just want them to lose, he wants them humiliated!

    Then, around the country, he's going to support the candidates who don't just kiss his ass, but slip some tongue in there.  This will be great in already very Red States and gerrymandered districts.  But not so great where the majority of people don't fit somewhere on the paint-swatch between Albino and Tanned Yankee.

    So, HIS new monsters WILL win their primaries.  But in the general elections?  Not so much.

    So, please go ahead and give tRUMP the full spa treatment with your tongue, Miss Lindsey.  It might also keep you from saying something else really stupid for a while!

     

     

     

     

     

  3. Very off-topic:  My beloved Mother died in her sleep this morning.  She had just been moved back to a rehab facility in the Mid-Hudson Valley from a hospital in Far Rockaway.

    She got there Saturday to begin about a month of rehab.  

    This is gonna take a lot to…

    A lot to handle.

    She was the light of my life.  My guiding star.

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  4. George Will wails about the Republican Party bowing to what he terms the Lout Caucus.  I am thinking Will is using lout in the classic definition, and Hawley, Graham, and Cruz's names get associated with this faction.  Let us just go with the Cambridge English Dictionary definition of lout; rude, offensive, who sometimes behaves in a violent way.  The Cambridge definition indicates a lout is a young man which seems inaccurate when defining the insurrection mob, but all the rest of the words say lout fits well.  

    The Lout Caucus, in that way becomes that group of the Republican Party which is attractive to and caters to the members of the party who are rude, offensive, and sometimes behave in a violent way.  I could go with that usage and message.  

    I was thinking Will or others might be using it as an acronym, and looked up his and other's usage.  LOUT Caucus I thought could be those he deemed Loyal Only Unto Trump.  I found nothing to suggest this notion had ever been used, and the term did not have roots as an acronym or initialism.  I kind of like the all caps definition better and still could include the more standard lout characteristics.

  5. George Will wails about the Republican Party bowing to what he terms the Lout Caucus.  I am thinking Will is using lout in the classic definition, and Hawley, Graham, and Cruz's names get associated with this faction.  Let us just go with the Cambridge English Dictionary definition of lout; rude, offensive, who sometimes behaves in a violent way.  The Cambridge definition indicates a lout is a young man which seems inaccurate when defining the insurrection mob, but all the rest of the words say lout fits well.  

    The Lout Caucus, in that way becomes that group of the Republican Party which is attractive to and caters to the members of the party who are rude, offensive, and sometimes behave in a violent way.  I can go with this definition and label for that faction.

    I was thinking Will  might be using it as an acronym, and looked up his and other's usage.  LOUT Caucus I thought could be those he deemed Loyal Only Unto Trump.  I found nothing to suggest this notion had ever been used, and the term did not have roots as an acronym or initialism.  I kind of like the all caps definition better and still could include the more standard lout characteristics. 

    The political ship that is the Republican Party has no future with the LOUT Caucus at the conn.  Why not?

  6. "Republicans may assume they can’t win without Trump’s rabid base, but I don’t see them winning with that base, either, outside of already deep red territory."

    As you pointed out, over the last four years the GOP has lost the House, the Senate and the White House. There's a trend here. Granted, I'm biased but the more voters got to know Trump and Trumpism, the less they liked it. A rational GOP would check where they are bleeding voters and tweak the message to staunch the loss of votes. Trump and his base have continually doubled down on the violence, racism, and cruelty.

    We had the highest voter turnout (by percent) in 2020 since 1960. Trump inspires loyalty from his base and pure loathing from rational people. Turnout for Trump was higher in 2020 than 2016 – when people knew what they were getting. There were even MORE people who turned out to vote against Trump – because they knew what they were getting. Therein lies the problem – if Trump plays his music loud enough to inspire his base, he also inspires opposition.

    Trump is no great thinker – Trumpism as a philosophy is based on winning by lying and cheating. He did it in business and won more than he lost. He tried it in politics and he's consistently lost more than he gained. To retake the House or Senate in 2022, Trumpism has to be more popular than it is – the trend has to be reversed for Trumpsters to win.

    I don't think Trump gained popularity through the second impeachment. Throwing his rioters under the bus after inspiring them to overturn the election isn't a formula to build loyalty. Depending on what a 9-11-type commission turns up, Trump will be hurt by greater exposure of the plot. If NY and GA file criminal charges, Trump will not win fans. If the IRS rules publicly on Trump's tax evasion, and the nature of the tax fraud is exposed, Trump gets nicked financially and exposed further as a cheat. The defamation of character suit is also a rape trial – that's going forward. And I hold out hope that victims of the riot will file civil suits against Trump. Banks might/could learn the details of loan fraud at the moment Trump is in dire need of funds. There's the very real threat of domestic terrorism where the perps have 'Trump' tattooed on their butts. And they will get caught and charged and they will declare their fealty to dear leader. 

    All of which is to say – the brand will be strong for the cultists but will repel regular conservatives. Consider this scenario. In red states, in the primary, the Trumpster will win. Resoundingly. But the sane Republican could pull a Murkowski. (She lost in the primary and ran as an Independent and won in the general.) In a bright red state with a strong faction of independent voters, could a moderate win? I do not know but the dynamics look like a moderate could walk away with the chips. The more overtly racist and violent the Trumpsters are, the more viable this option is.

    The SS Trump is firing all guns and the ship is taking on water. We have to keep firing torpedos into her. Even after the hulk is submerged, we have to recognize there will be those who want to resurrect the hulk and put the ship of white privilege in service. This is the Confederacy, resurrected. We haven't won the war. It will take generations!

  7. This is the Confederacy, resurrected.

    I think of watching video footage of events throughout history where the flag has played a role in denoting victory over an enemy.. Like the flag raising on Mount Suribachi, placing the Soviet flag above the Reichstag with the fall of Berlin, or the People's Army of Vietnam raising their flag above the Presidential palace with the fall of Saigon.

     As I watched the video footage during the impeachment trial showing where the insurrectionists first breached the Capitol building I noticed that after the second person had come through the window they were followed by the confederate battle flag attached to a flag pole that was tossed through the window only to be retrieved by the flag bearer upon his entry into the building. Fortunately they didn't get to raise their flag above the Capitol dome, but they did manage to convey the symbolism of attaining a victory. A disgusting display of what Trump has wrought!

    • "Graham is smarter than he seems."

      Only in recent times have historians recognized how the South turned their loss into a win. The North allowed overt domestic terrorism in the former slave states for a century. The North allowed rules that stripped Blacks of meaningful participation in former slave states. 

      Learn from these tactics and anticipate what the Trumpsters will do in response to their "defeat." I'm sure the government establishment structure is mobilizing against the violent elements. There will be spectacular trials and the revolution will be quelled. But watch for the "reconstruction." They are planning to write the terms of their own surrender.

  8. I think that they all have different levels of depravity and culpability, but at the end of the day, it's just the practical matter of getting voters to vote for you.

    As long as Trump maintains his mind-meld on the deplorables, he will maintain his control of the GOP.

    He knows it, they know it.

    He hates them, they hate him.

    Trump hates everyone, but whatever, that's why the deplorables like him. They are all stuck with him until something changes, and they don't know what to do right now, and they haven't for the last 5 years either, after he walked off with all of their racist hater voters.

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