Saturday, June 06, 2015

Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Others Send Dog-Whistles to the GOP Base

As a one time Republican and GOP activist, I never cease to be shocked by how low the Party has fallen.  Nowadays, one needs to either be a KKK card carrying member, a religious fanatic in need of a mental health intervention, or a vulture capitalists like the Koch brothers.  Decent, moral people truly are no longer wanted or welcome in the GOP.  And watching the GOP clown car of would be presidential candidates there seem to be no limits whatsoever as to how far they will go to prostitute themselves the the ugliest elements of the GOP base.  Truly, the tawdriest whore has more integrity and honesty than any of the GOP's would be presidential candidates.  A piece in Salon looks at the "dog whistles" being used to pander to the racist, homophobic, extremist party base.  Here are highlights:
A couple of weeks ago, Jeb Bush, a GOP 2016 front-runner, gave America a brief tutorial on why he should never be president, spouting off a series of outmoded, fact-free responses. But it was actually a model tutorial on why no GOP contender should be president, as follow-up events underscored.

It began with Bush telling Fox’s Megyn Kelly that he’d still invade Iraq, even “knowing what we do now,” to which Laura Ingraham replied, “There has to be something wrong with you.” Bush then fumbled Sean Hannity’s attempt to help clean up the mess, saying “I interpreted the question wrong, I guess,” then admitting, “I don’t know what that decision would have been.” Then in a Nevada town hall meeting he tried to turn the tables, saying that folks like Kelly even daring to ask the question “does a disservice” to the troops who “sacrificed a lot,” adding that “What we ought to be focusing on is what are the lessons learned.” Which, of course, was the reason behind Kelly’s question in the first place. Finally, in Arizona the next day, Bush broke down and confessed, “Knowing what we know now, I would have not engaged.”

But in that, he’s [Bush]  no different than anyone else in GOP race—whether announced or not.  We saw that quite clearly the following week, when Chris Christie’s vulgar anti-press rant was leaked (“we don’t give a s–t about this or any of you”), and the gay-bashing Mike Huckabee rushed to the defense of child molester Josh Duggar on Facebook (“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable’”).

The pattern should be clear: It’s a crowded GOP field in which everyone’s fatal flaws are exposed for all to see, and the media works overtime to minimize them, or outright pretend they don’t even exist. And the first tier of candidates comes off as poorly as the third and fourth.

Indeed, there’s no real quality difference between the top tier and the third or fourth. For example, Rick Santorum—a fourth-tier candidate at 1.3 percent in a recent Real Clear Politics polling average (current version here)—acted eerily like second-tier Mike Huckabee defending a child molester back in 2012, when he blasted the Freeh report on the Penn State coverup of Jerry Sandusky’s decades of molestation. Find any sort of outrageous act one with one candidate, and you will find echoes among others in this field.

The whole party is caught in the grip of this ludicrous contradiction (and all the governors—Walker, Christie, even Kasich—would rather not talk too much about their economic records). The contradiction is obvious: Christians who refuse to compromise with secular Western culture are heroes, whereas Muslims who refuse to compromise are demons. That’s not necessarily a contradiction, though: it could be just plain old-fashioned bigotry. In which case, the “arguments” aren’t really arguments, they’re camouflage. As Beinart himself later concludes, “The only principle he’s really defending is anti-Muslim bigotry.” Jindal just makes this contradiction a bit clearer than most—at the same time that he’s trying to distract from the financial disaster he’s created as Louisiana governor.

[T]here were a couple of first-tier candidates tied at 13.2 percent with similarly disastrous budget situations (Scott Walker), as well as ones who strike similar appeals to Christian victimhood (Marco Rubio).

Walker’s first-tier rival, Marco Rubio, hews much closer to Jindal’s rhetoric on the social issues side. While the media played up the idea that Rubio might attend a friend’s gay wedding, they left out the matter of timing: a quarter after hell freezes over. In reality Rubio’s hostility to gay rights is profound. He recently used gay rights as part of a slippery-slope argument that ended with “a real and present danger”

 Prior to the Civil War, the Bible was the No. 1 source of Confederate arguments supporting slavery, yet Christianity somehow managed to survive Lincoln’s hateful Emancipation Proclamation. So Rubio’s hysterics would be laughable, were they not so widely shared. He’s a top-tier candidate, and similar views have been expressed by Huckabee (“We are moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity”), Cruz (“the greatest threats we’ve ever seen” to religious liberty, also “a real risk” that pastors will be jailed for preaching “traditional marriage”), Carson (gay marriage is a Marxist plot to impose a “New World Order”), Santorum (“you can be persecuted and maybe even prosecuted”) and Jindal (“The left no longer wants to debate. They simply want to silence us.”)—all offering slightly different variations on the same paranoid theme.

A month prior to his “real and present danger” comments, in late April, Rubio called it “ridiculous and absurd” to believe gays have a constitutional right to marry, in an interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network . . .

Attacking the Supreme Court is another common theme among GOP hopefuls as well. Huckabee, ensconced in the second tier, tied with Cruz at 8.6 percent, registered a slightly different, but related take, when he appeared on Fox with Chris Wallace recently: the Supreme Court isn’t really supreme, because #God, inveighing against “judicial supremacy” and whining about people being forced “to bow down and fall on their faces and worship that law.”

There's much more and none of it flattering to the GOP clown car.  The current clown car occupants truly make me embarrassed to admit that I was ever a Republican.   The party base now consist of freaks and losers and its candidates are no better.

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