In a little over a half hour the second presidential debate begins and while no one can predict what Donald Trump will say or do - personally, I hope Hillary pushes his buttons and he goes off and shows his ample ass - but whatever the outcome, many Republicans will have to be held to account for the part they played, often willingly, in destroying what little moral standing the GOP still had. The party of so-called "family values" has shown beyond doubt that it has no core values other than calculating self-promotion and willing self-prostitution to the morally bankrupt. Thankfully, I left the GOP years ago and do not have to feel dirty by association with those who have no moral compass, thrive on hate and bigotry, and would overthrow the U.S. Constitution in order to impose a Christian version of Sharia law. Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin, who for too long was an apologist for the GOP, frames the questions that Donald Trump's sycophants should be forced to answer. Here are column excerpts:
In an extraordinary 36 hours, Donald Trump’s campaign has disintegrated.The list of Republican defectors is long and growing. The Post reports that the “Access Hollywood” tape is not the only new evidence of Trump’s lechery:
Another burst of offensive remarks by Trump emerged Saturday as CNN aired a review of hours of newly uncovered audio from shock-jock Howard Stern’s show. Trump spoke of his daughter Ivanka’s breasts, three-way sex and not dating women who are older than 35. He also described barging in on nude Miss Universe beauty pageant contestants in their dressing room, characterizing his visits as inspections.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Saturday told party officials to redirect funds away from nominee Donald Trump to down-ballot candidates, according to an official informed of the decision. In practical terms, the party will be working to mobilize voters who support GOP House and Senate candidates regardless of their position on the presidential race.
The GOP is, in essence, now campaigning against its own nominee, whom dozens of its elected officials have repudiated. This is unprecedented, to put it mildly. It is nothing less than the incineration of a national party and its nominee a month before the presidential election.
Those elected GOP leaders who have still not jumped ship appear morally obtuse, not to mention pathetic. One finds it hard to image the Republicans plotting their futures (e.g., Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Ted Cruz) will come out of this election looking like legitimate prospects for 2020.
Vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, who — according to friendly leaks trying to preserve the image of a good Christian — is distraught about all of Trump’s doings, is not so distraught as to step away from Trump. . . . . He is every bit as tainted as Trump — and does not have the excuse he is psychologically unbalanced or ignorant. He is simply opportunistic and craven.
Hillary Clinton smartly is saying absolutely nothing until the debate tonight. She’s not about to distract voters from watching Trump’s self-destruction.
What can we say of the GOP officials who only now stepped away from Trump — or still have not? If insulting prisoners of war, birtherism, racial and ethnic bigotry, and previous slurs against women were not enough to shake their confidence in Trump, one is entitled to ask why the latest revelations put them over the edge. They’ll have to answer for that in the days and months ahead. How would they be so blinded by partisanship as not to heed the warnings about Trump’s twisted psyche, outlandish views and unelectability?
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan . . . Having failed the test of character and leadership, it’s not clear what he can offer the party in the way of leadership after the election.
As for the other members of the political hall of shame, Reince Priebus disgraced himself and sold his party and the country short by assisting Trump every step of the way. If the GOP still exists, he should be banished from holding any office, elected or otherwise.
Those Republicans who have stuck with Trump to the bitter end justifying the most heinous conduct . . . . most especially the evangelical throng that still vouches for him — should be banished from polite company. They’ve failed the most elementary test of honesty and decency.
Recent events necessitate widespread, dramatic housecleaning on the right. . . . . The fundamental split is now one of character and basic decency. The future of the GOP and the conservative movement will rest with those who got it right from the get-go and refused to enable a dangerous, evil character.
Thoughtful Republicans and center-right independents need to re-examine their media outlets of choice and disown Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Breitbart and the flock of other intellectually corrupt and morally bankrupt talk-show operators who have no standing to lecture the party or country on much of anything.
The 2016 presidential election will be a spectacular defeat for the GOP. Perhaps it will be enough to drive a stake through a party that has outlived its usefulness — or at least puncture the careers of the legions of apologists, enablers and cowards without whom Trump would never have gotten the nomination.
Ouch! Even two years ago I would never have predicted that Rubin would be writing a column that expresses my long standing views of the GOP. I am keeping my fingers crossed on what happens during the debate.