Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Republicans' Feigned Shock and Disgust Over Trump

As the prior post noted, Donald trump is prompting a civil war within the Republican Party as many Republicans now talk of not supporting or distancing themselves from Trump.  The catalyst has been the release of a 2005 tape that shows Trump in all of his misogynistic glory.  However, the tape did not really show anything new about Trump or that wasn't already on open display.  The only thing that has changed is that belatedly many more Americans have come to realize just how disgusting an individual Donald Trump is in fact, and now the Republicans feigning shock are merely trying to save their own asses.  It's not principal driving Paul Ryan's distancing himself from Trump - note that he has not withdrawn his endorsement - but rather a raw lust to retain power. Sadly, Ryan sums up the moral bankruptcy that now extends to nearly all Republicans who are putting the GOP ahead of decency and morality, not to mention what is best for the nation.  These highlights from a New York Times op-ed sum things up well:
The Republicans who say they changed their minds about Trump because of the 2005 video in which he brags about sexually assaulting women are particularly galling. The video was disgusting, but it showed us nothing new about Trump. He’s been insulting women all year, along with Mexican immigrants, Muslims, gay Americans and people with disabilities.
On Sunday, Trump showed once again that this race is and has always been about his ego, and about sexism, racism, isolationism, fear and anger. It is about hating President Obama, mostly because he is African-American. It is about the hard right trying to seize control of Washington so it can roll back half a century of economic, racial and social progress.
I’ve never believed that the Republican leadership really disagreed with Trump’s fringe views. They just didn’t like the way he expressed them, because it exposed some powerful and disturbing currents in their party. Even Ryan’s rather tepid denunciation of Trump provoked howls of outrage from some of the more extreme Republicans in Congress.
So it was not in the least surprising that Pence was back to praising Trump after the debate, or that right-wing commentators were trying to help the nominee repair whatever damage that 2005 video may have caused.
Pence said Trump “was able to move beyond that controversy” over the 2005 tape. “He expressed genuine contrition for the words he used on the video that became public,” Pence said on Fox News on Monday.
Maybe Pence should be excused for living in an alternate reality. After all, he agreed to run with Trump. But Trump did not show contrition, genuine or not. He tossed off his comments about groping women as locker-room banter (a sadly familiar excuse for men’s bad behavior).
Trump showed last night that he knows next to nothing about foreign policy, claiming that Russia was beating the United States because Obama had done nothing to modernize the American nuclear forces. In the real world, Obama has supported a plan to spend about $1 trillion over the next three decades on modernizing nuclear weapons.
Trump was mean and angry, hovering behind Clinton when she talked to make her look small, interrupting her constantly and berating the debate moderator Martha Raddatz when she tried to get him to stop filibustering and answer a question.
Clinton said too often that viewers could find all the facts on her website, but she showed admirable restraint in dealing with someone who will tell you the sun is shining when it’s midnight.
I don’t think last night’s debate changed many minds. Melania Trump said the man in the 2005 video is not the man she knows. But he is the man the rest of us know. To vote for him, you have to pretend you don’t know who he really is — or choose not to care.

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