Trump Tightens the Leash on the GOP

Yesterday’s bit of Trumpazoid Crazy was that Trump issued a statement calling on Republicans to not vote in 2022 and 2024.

Oddly, right-wing news sources have been quiet about this. All of the snarking commentary about it is coming from the left.

Ed Kilgore asks where Trump might go with this.

Will it be enough when every Republican from sea to shining sea is grinding out a Big Lie message like so many cicadas? Will he then stop saying things that might discourage the people listening to this inane noise from voting in 2022 and 2024? Or are his intentions more sinister? Is Trump making it plain that democratic elections are so hopeless that extra-constitutional measures are the only resort?

Trump is, of course, making an impossible demand about the Big Lie. His theories of how he was cheated of a second term are constantly shifting, not to mention ridiculous. He is not going to be “reinstated.” His claims will not be “solved.” So I’m going with “making it plain that democratic elections are so hopeless that extra-constitutional measures are the only resort.”

It’s widely believed that Trump’s whining about a stolen election suppressed Republican votes in the Georgia Senate elections and helped the two Democrats win. Maybe they would have won anyway. But the Republican Party expects to take Congress back in 2022, and encouraging Republicans to not vote to keep Trump happy is probably not part of their plans.

Greg Sargent has another explanation. He points out that, hours after releasing the “don’t vote” statement, Trump called in to a rally in Virginia with an endorsement of the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Glenn Youngkin. If there’s an actual plan here — with Trump, one never knows — it may be that Trump just wants to tighten his leash on the Republican Party. Keep the Big Lie alive, or kiss off your next election. 

All I can say is — pass the popcorn.

In other news: At the risk of rupturing the time-space continuum, I must say that George Will has written a column that I can endorse. Seriously. He reviews a new biography of Robert E. Lee that completely shreds the the old Lee myths.

Princeton’s Allen C. Guelzo, an eminent Civil War historian, has now published exactly what the nation needs as it reappraises important historical figures who lived in challenging times with assumptions radically unlike today’s. “Robert E. Lee: A Life,” Guelzo’s scrupulously measured assessment, is mercifully free of the grandstanding by which many moralists nowadays celebrate themselves by indignantly deploring the shortcomings of those whose behavior offends current sensibilities. But by casting a cool eye on Lee, Guelzo allows facts to validate today’s removals of Lee’s name and statues from public buildings and places.

I have not read this book myself, but according to Will, Guelzo portrays Lee as less than a man of honor than one who was mostly concerned about losing his wife’s Arlington property if he didn’t fight for Confederate Virginia. He was also utterly, callously oblivious to the human suffering caused by slavery. Plus Lee appears to have been a bore with no intellectual interests.

The part about the Arlington property rings true to me. Years ago I read a book titled The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family by Paul Nagel. It traces the fortunes of the Lee family from the first Lee to set foot in North America to the life of the fabled Bobby Lee. As I remember it: Lee’s father, Henry Lee III, aka “Light-Horse Harry,” must have had some serious addictions. He inherited a fortune and burned through that, plus the fortunes of two wives. Whether he did this through financial speculation or plain old gambling wasn’t entirely clear.

As Harry’s first wife was dying, the family was living in the estate she had inherited from her wealthy family. Wife #1 (a second cousin and also a Lee) arranged for the estate to be held in trust for her children so that Harry couldn’t sell it. She was on to him, I take it. It got to a point he was so broke he began selling paintings and furniture and even wine in the wine cellar to keep up appearances. Then he started “borrowing” horses from his rich relatives; he would sell the horse and then report it had run away, or was stolen. Then he tried the same thing with his relatives’ slaves, but one got away and blabbed about what had happened to him. Wife #2, Robert E.’s mother, also was very wealthy, but by the time Robert E. was 2 years old her money was gone, and Harry spent a year in debtor’s prison. Mrs. Lee took Robert and an infant daughter and went to live with her parents, on a plantation near Arlington. Harry did not follow but spent much of the rest of his life in a kind of self-exile in the Caribbean.

So it was that little Bobby Lee grew up in the elite Virginia plantation class but not entirely of it, since he had no money of his own. He was a very privileged charity case. As I recall, he decided to go to West Point for his education because it was free; he didn’t have to ask anyone for money to pay for it. Then he married into the wealthy Custis family of Arlington; his wife was a great-granddaughter of Martha Custis Washington. So through his wife’s fortune he finally had something of his own. It makes complete sense to me that keeping his property in Arlington was more important to him than defending his country. I got the impression from the book that being a respected member of the plantation class was the driving force in Robert E.’s life.

9 thoughts on “Trump Tightens the Leash on the GOP

  1. Trump may think he can turn on and turn off voter participation like a light switch. I don't think it works that way. Trump is undermining confidence in elections as the BASIS of his return to power. He's not allowing anyone to concede or even consider that Trump lost. It's an Article of Faith that can not be questioned. 

    If doubts about election integrity factored into the special election wins in GA, Trump is undermining turnout by the GOP faithful. How much we might know in 2020. 


  2. I think Lee was a treasonous snake.

    A corrupt product from the loins of generations of early Virginia land/slave-owner class inbreeding.

    Of course he, of the landowner class, valued his land more than following the US Constitution.

    That he swore allegiance to.

    How fitting that that treasonous bastard's land is now the site of Arlington National Cemetery.

    Lord knows, he caused a lot of graves there.

    And he and his racist offspring may create some more.


  3. Vote Republican 2022: Bring Back Polio and Trump! 

    Youngkin was already toast, and he's even more toast with Treason Trump's and Adolf Bannon's re-emergence into Virginia.

    It's a 2022 preview and a redux of the GA runoff and CA recall redux. Lots of doom and gloom concern trolling before Democrats overperform. Prompting the press to memory-holed its concern trolling.

    Biden ended the endless Afghan war, stocks up 20%, unemployment down 4%, wages up 8%, stimulus and childcare tax credits lifted millions from poverty, 76%+ are at least partially vaccinated, COVID receding (except in red, rural counties where Republicans are killing themselves).

    That's a solid record, even before BIF and BBB pass. #VoteBlue 

  4. One of the most frightening statements I ever heard in my life is the ultimate big lie.  One that I heard some exec say on the CNBC business channel.  He said in D.C. perception is reality.  He limited the scope of that statement to Washington, but I have heard it used without geographic limits.  

    Perception is subjective.  Reality is objective.  To you the magician makes coins appear and disappear.  In reality no such thing happened.  You were duped by and illusion as were the people around you.  Many people have been duped into thinking election fraud abounds, but evidence to support those claims is harder to find than a herd of unicorns.  

    It is true that illusion is a major skill set used by government, business, institutions, and individuals.  The person that lost the last election has created a loyalty litmus test for the GOP.  If you do not "see" the election fraud, like the naked emperor's grand clothes, you do not have skills needed to hold office as a party member.  W once promoted democracy as the solution to all the world ills. Now we have a push by the GOP to kill voting, trust in elections, and essentially democracy in the United States.  

    I know self identified loyal Republicans who think this level of illusion and deception is many bridges too far.  Needless to say they know they are not it the tent at this time.  Those in the tent believe he is truly making the coins appear and disappear.  They are in a state of chronic suspension of disbelief.  They live in LaLa land, they don't just visit it on occasion like most of us.  

    • "Perception is Reality" is one of those "aphorisms" you hear all the time in the business world. It's behind the magic acts Elon Musk and Steve Jobs and many others are able to pull off. But it only works for a certain amount of time, reality does catch up. Wiley Coyote can't violate the law of gravity forever.

  5. I don't think it's at all odd that "…right-wing news sources have been quiet about this."  Remember, the real money behind the right-wing infrastructure comes from the Old GOP – Koch Bros, etc – and they are working hard to regain control of the Mob that they created.  They have to avoid battles to win the "war".  Fighting Trump directly is  too dangerous – they can't risk alienating the Mob.  Their path to "winning" – regaining control of the USA – is to outlast Trump, assuming the Mob will just go back to being "loyal Republicans" once Trump is gone.

    IMO, the rest of us should not make this easier for the GOP.  What can we do to exacerbate this war within the GOP?  

  6. He is not going to be “reinstated.” His claims will not be “solved.” So I’m going with “making it plain that democratic elections are so hopeless that extra-constitutional measures are the only resort.”

    You're making the common mistake of putting more time into thinking what Donald Trump is doing than he does. All he knows is that screaming for what you want, louder and louder and louder, has "worked" for him all his life; i.e., it gets him more money or power than if he acted like a decent human being. So that's what he does. Whether it gets him back into a White House, or a TV show, or a hotel in Moscow, he doesn't know and doesn't care.

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