Saturday, May 20, 2017

Republicans Are as Tainted by the Russiagate Scandal as Trump

In my view, the Republican Party lost its moral compass when it allowed its base and local city and county committees to be hijacked by Christofascists, many of who are outright racists.  As I have said before, these were self-inflicted wounds since one must be voted onto city and county committees. Sitting committee members opened the doors for the moral equivalent of the Visigoths versus the Roman Empire.  The irony, of course is that it was supposed Christians that undid the GOP's moral compass.  Yet from following "family values" groups for over two decades, the take away is that no one lies more often - except perhaps Der Trumpenf├╝hrer and his sycophants - and hates other more than these allegedly "Christian" organizations and the fundamentalist and evangelical Christians who continue to bankroll they and fall for their ugly propaganda.   All of this ugliness has come to a pinnacle with the evangelical Christians having put Trump in the White House. Two divergent pieces look at the tainted nature of the GOP.  One is in the New Republic and the other is a piece by Erick Erickson (a man I rarely agree with on anything) in the Washington Post.  First highlights from New Republic:
All politicians, even the most polished, say things they wish they hadn’t. In the jargon of Washington, the process of resolving these self-inflicted crises is usually called the walk back. Compelled to provide more context, politicians will—usually through their press aides—admit that they “misspoke” or “regret their remarks.”
Donald Trump forgoes the walk back in favor of irresponsibly disclaiming the seriousness and implications of his statements.
Just about any Trump utterance, apparently, can be written off as yet more locker room talk—including his private request to FBI Director Jim Comey to abandon the federal investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “I hope you can let this go,” the president said, according to a Comey memo revealed by The New York Times on Tuesday. After 12 hours of conspicuous silence, White House aides and several Republicans on Capitol Hill, chalked up the whole thing to a misunderstanding.
Trump’s complete absence of integrity is rubbing off on the party at large. Of Wednesday’s many news bombshells, the most contested story was about a year-old conversation among House Republican leaders in which Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was funneling money to then-candidate Donald Trump. Speaker Paul Ryan then swore the group to secrecy.
The basic nature of the pro-Trump subversion effort was known to GOP leaders before the parties’ conventions last year: The above conversation took place on June 15. Several weeks after the GOP officially nominated Trump in mid-July, in a secure setting with Obama administration officials and other members who receive classified briefings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to politicize any effort on the part of the government to reveal that Russian intelligence was intervening in the election to help Trump. “According to several officials,” the Post reported, “McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”
Despite Ryan’s clear awareness of the truth, we can infer that he sided with McConnell, tacitly or otherwise, because the Obama administration backed down in the face of McConnell’s threat. An official government assessment that Russia was helping Trump in the election didn’t reach the public until after the election, as Trump was transitioning to the presidency.
Unless this story has a second act, McCarthy and Ryan will stick to the explanation that their Putin-paying-Trump speculation was meant to be a joke. But even if that part of the conversation had never happened, the rest of it, and the later briefing with Obama officials, tell a perfectly rounded story of congressional Republicans’ complicity in Russian sabotage of the Clinton campaign. There is no way to walk this one back—and it wasn’t locker room talk.
In his op-ed in the Washington Post, Erickson predicts that Republicans are headed towards a day of reckoning for their continued support of Trump.  He likewise sees the Christofascists taking a major hit.  Here are highlights:
[T]hroughout 2016 I maintained my opposition to Trump for three reasons, two of which are increasingly, worryingly relevant.
First, I did not think Trump could beat Hillary Clinton. When it came to the popular vote, of course, he did not, but thanks to roughly 70,000 people in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, he won the presidency.
Second, I thought that Trump, even if he won, would be deeply destructive to the national fabric and to the conservative ideas I support.
Third, I strongly believed that Trump lacks moral character and that he sets a bad example both for my children and for people of faith. 
Unfortunately, while I was wrong about my first concern, I am increasingly worried about the latter two. Trump’s evangelical Christian supporters often told me that whether we liked Trump or not, we needed him to save the Supreme Court. My response remains that four years of Clinton appointing judges, while awful, would be nothing compared with a generational wipeout of the GOP. Watergate may have turned Charles Colson from hatchet man to pastor, but the defense of President Trump is turning a lot of pastors into hatchet men. Few people come away from Trump’s orbit without compromising their characters.
A Republican reckoning is on the horizon. Voters are increasingly dissatisfied with a Republican Party unable to govern. And congressional Republicans increasingly find themselves in an impossible position: If they support the president, many Americans will believe they are neglecting their duty to hold him accountable. But if they do their duty, Trump’s core supporters will attack them as betrayers — and then run primary candidates against them.
Through it all, voter dissatisfaction has been growing. Trump’s core might stand with him, as he claimed, even if he killed someone in the middle of the street. But would those 70,000 voters who put him in the White House? As the president acts more irrationally and his Twitter rantings become more unhinged, will he draw more people to himself and his party than he will repel? I suspect not.
The president exudes incompetence and instability.  . . . Republicans excuse this behavior as Trump being Trump, but that will only embolden voters who seek greater accountability to choose further change over stability. The sad reality is that the greatest defense of the president available at this point is one his team could never give on the record: He is an idiot who does not know any better.
Trump is increasingly disliked, and the Republicans who enable him are increasingly distrusted.
With a horde of vocal Trump supporters cheering on every inane statement, delusion, lie and bad act, the majority of the American people can be forgiven for thinking the GOP as a whole has lost its mind. The Republicans may soon lose a generation of voters through a combination of the sheer incompetence of Trump and a party rank and file with no ability to control its leader.
Unless Republican leaders stage an intervention, I expect them to experience a deserved electoral blood bath in November 2018.

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