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Republicans Have A Choice: Embrace Trump And The Alt-Right, Or Save Themselves

Trump Confederate Flag 2

USA Today reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was none too happy about the President’s response to the Charlottesville violence, but it’s unclear what that will mean for the Senate GOP’s future relationship with their party’s de facto leader:

WASHINGTON – There was a reason why it took Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell an entire night to respond to President Trump’s chaotic news conference equating counter protesters with the Nazis they came to resist.

He was livid.

Two sources close to the senator, speaking under condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said the pro-civil rights Republican who lived through the 1960s in Kentucky closely deliberated on the best way forward.

He spoke to a number of aides and confidantes, reflecting on his long career in public service that began working as an aide to former Sen. John Sherman Cooper, a Kentucky senator who was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and – specifically – how hard it was being a pro-civil rights Republican at the time.

McConnell’s anger – and the difficulty he felt responding to the leader of his party – highlights the quandary facing many Republicans in the aftermath of Trump’s comments blaming “both sides” for violence that ended in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

In the end, McConnell sent out a statement challenging Trump’s position that not everyone who came to the white nationalist rally had hateful beliefs – saying there “are no good neo-Nazis” – without mentioning the president by name.

It was McConnell’s attempt to strike a middle ground. The potential cost of Trump’s incendiary remarks is real. And perhaps few understand how far the nation and his party have come than McConnell, who was also present both for Lyndon B. Johnson’s signature of the Voting Rights Act and Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have a Dream Speech.”

The restraint highlights the GOP’s Trump dilemma: Republicans are searching for ways to distance themselves from the president without personally taking on a president who remains popular in many GOP-dominated states. McConnell’s Senate office declined to comment.

“Every member I’ve talked to has been apoplectic about it,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist who’s worked at the Republican National Committee and in the George W. Bush administration.

“This is just the beginning,” added Heye. “The potential for it to be really bad is real.”

The rift within the GOP could also be seen in how the Republican National Committee responded to Trump’s controversial remarks.

Kayleigh McEnany, the RNC’s new spokeswoman, praised Trump’s “message of love and inclusiveness” on Twitter after the Tuesday statement.

Yet RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel said on Good Morning America that “the blame lays squarely on the KKK and white supremacists.”

McConnell wasn’t alone among Republicans who sought to distance themselves from the President’s remarks while at the same time not directly criticizing him by name:

In the aftermath of Trump’s remarks, many Republicans rushed out statements sending an unequivocal message condemning white supremacists and Nazis – with only some urging the president by name to do the same after days of apparent reversals. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. was one of them. ”Mr. President, you can’t allow white supremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain,” he tweeted.

For his part, McConnell aimed his statement squarely at dissuading would-be white supremacists in his home state who are planning a rally in Lexington by saying they are “not welcome” in Kentucky.

According to those close to him, McConnell also didn’t rush out a statement because he was also hesitant to stoke a narrative about a personal war with the president after Trump has publicly excoriated McConnell for the failure of a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The situation was made all the more delicate given that his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, was standing next to Trump on Tuesday at the event meant to be about infrastructure. McConnell was upset his wife was caught up in the controversy.

Another prominent Republican - House Speaker Paul Ryan – also criticized racism and white supremacists without naming Trump, who remains at 79% approval among Republicans according to Gallup’s latest weekly recent polling.

Lawmakers will be watching closely whether and how far that number dips in the first round of surveys since Trump’s news conference, said Heye, the Republican strategist.

Other GOP strategists also said it’s the beginning of a tough political chapter for their party.

“The faction of white nationalists in the party has now emerged and they’re going to go forward,” said Vin Weber, who has advised a number of Republican presidential candidates including Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.

As The New York Times notes, the President’s incendiary remarks about Charlottesville both on Saturday afternoon and on Tuesday have put the GOP in something of a crisis. That may be true, and individual members of Congress are currently trying to navigate the rather difficult waters that lie between not seeming to embrace the racially and morally offensive position taken by the President of the United States, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Trump continues to put his party in a position where it is ultimately going to have to choose between standing by the President out of some naive hope that doing so will allow them to pass agenda items such as tax reform or an infrastructure bill and protecting themselves from the blowback that is likely to inevitably come from standing by a President who is saying things that are not only reopening some very old wounds but also negatively impacting his job approval numbers, which continue to sink to levels that seem likely to inevitably come back to impact the party as a whole down the line.

E.J. Dionne makes the point quite well in his column today when he argues that we have reached a point where it is simply indefensible for Republicans to continue to stand by the President:

If they are so appalled by this man, why do they stick with him? Why do chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly keep standing there? Kelly was supposed to turn this White House around. But since he arrived, Trump’s troubles have only deepened. A much-honored Marine cannot possibly want this as his legacy.

Can any policy victory be worth it for Cohn and Mnuchin to absorb the damage that further complicity with Trump will do to their reputations? As for Chao, her boss had already gone after her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, even before he distanced himself from Trump on Wednesday. “There are no good neo-Nazis,” McConnell said. “And those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms.” Both Chao and McConnell have big decisions to make.

And every member of the administration should read Sohrab Ahmari’s warning on Commentary magazine’s website to his fellow conservatives “who are convinced that a responsible, presidential Trump is just around the corner.” Ahmari concludes: “He will always disappoint you. And with each disappointment comes a fresh dose of humiliation.” His warning to journalists applies even more to officials who imagine they serve the public interest by serving Trump.

(…)

Republicans have spoken a great deal in recent days about their commitment to racial justice, but they need to back up their talk. Now, for example, would be an excellent time for them to pass a revised Voting Rights Act and to end their voter suppression efforts.

And let there be soul-searching in the party about racial dog whistles that exploit white resentment in ways more subtle than Trump’s but still scandalous. Party leaders failed to reproach Trump unequivocally for his birtherist attacks on President Barack Obama. Birtherism was a first step toward Charlottesville.

(…)

Every new Trump outrage seems to invite bold declarations that this time will be the end of the line. If this week’s spectacle of moral obtuseness isn’t the breaking point, may God save our republic.

Josh Barro makes a similar argument at Business Insider:

Trump has taught the Republican Party a few unfortunate things. He showed that the penalty for overt racism, not to mention for admissions of habitual sexual assault, is a lot lower among the entire electorate than it is among cultural and business elites. (I say “entire” for a reason: Trump seems to have done no worse among black or Hispanic voters than Romney did.)

Trump showed the 2013 GOP autopsy report was wrong and that the party did not need to move to the center on immigration and inclusion to win elections. In fact, it could win by shifting in a nativist direction and winning even more support among white voters.

Trump popularized Steve Bannon’s realization that there are a lot of angry men out there, stewing on the internet, often in their parents’ basements, angry that women won’t have sex with them, and waiting to be organized. Now that they exist as a force within the party, they won’t be going away — and they won’t be agitating for a Graham or a Romney.

And Trump showed the crew of Pepe-avatar morons and hang-Hillary hotheads that they could take over the party if they wanted.

(…)

In a way, the Republican Party is getting what it deserved for indulging its racist elements for so long. But there’s no way of going back to how things used to be.

“Normal” Republicans can’t displace Trump because they don’t have an alternative to white grievance as a core message. And if the party is going to have white grievance as its core message, how can it be expected to gain distance from white supremacists?

Barro’s column goes into far more detail than this, and it’s worth reading in full, but his point is nonetheless clear. Perhaps Republicans could have been excused at the beginning of the Administration for lining up behind the President even though they found his rhetoric grating and often embarrassing. For better or worse, he is the leader of their party, and if they are going to get anything done on Capitol Hill over the next two to four years they are going to need the cooperation and support of the White House to get it done. Additionally, there have been plenty of points where the agenda of Republicans on Capitol Hill have been parallel to those of the President over the past six months, including things such as the effort to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court, the health care reform debate, and budgetary issues. Additionally, the fact that Trump continues to enjoy widespread support from the Republican base that exceeds that for Congress itself or any of the member of the Congressional leadership means that the party as a whole, and individual members, take a big political risk any time they seek to distance themselves from a President that remains popular within the GOP even as he becomes more and more unpopular in the nation as a whole.

There comes a time, though, when political reality and the fear of facing a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2018 have to take a back seat to considerations of morality and what is best for the nation. Objectively speaking, it’s not hard to see that the answer ought to be that officials will do what’s best for the country, but history has unfortunately shown that elected officials far too often put partisan loyalty and the desire to safeguard their own political futures ahead of the interests of their country. There have been some exceptions to that rule, of course. Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska have been particularly notable in their willingness to defy President Trump several times over the past six months, for example. Notwithstanding the fact that we are just 210 days into the Trump Presidency, it seems clear that this time is fast approaching and may have already been reached. Former candidates for President ranging from Rick Perry to Mitt Romney who sought to warn their party of the danger that Trump posed.

In addition to a long history prior to the time he entered the race for President of making inappropriate and offensive comments about celebrities, public officials such as President Obama, and other matters, Trump’s campaign was built largely on the legacy of being outrageous and appealing to the worst aspects of American politics. From the start of his campaign, his speeches, media appearances, and Tweets included instances of making bigoted comments about  Mexicans, John McCainMegyn KellyCarly Fiorina, Ben Carson, a disabled New York Times reporter, and Muslims in the most crass and demeaning manner, encouraging his supporters to engage in violence against supporters, and demonstrating utter disdain for the Rule of Law and Freedom of the Press. During the campaign itself, he did everything from attacking a Federal Judge and the parents of a soldier who gave his life in defense of his fellow soldiers to defending demeaning and sexually graphic comments about women that he made during a taping of Access Hollywood.  More broadly, throughout 2015 and 2016, Trump openly courted the support of people who identified with the so-called alt-right and, eventually, made Steven Bannon, the founder of a website that has taken up their cause, a close campaign adviser and now a top adviser in the Oval Office itself.  Taken in that context, the President’s initial response to the events in Charlottesville and his rambling press conference on Tuesday where repeated that response and essentially repudiated the more measured statement he made on Monday have only served to make the reality about this President clearer.

During the campaign, I argued that Republicans were facing a time for choosing between their country and their party and, by and large, they chose to put their party’s interests before their country, thus we are faced with the prospect of this man being President for at least the next three and a half years. That doesn’t mean, though, that Republicans are required to sit idly by and tolerate whatever nonsense may spew forth from the White House and the President’s Twitter account, though. If they chose to, they could stand up and denounce him by name. With very few exceptions, though, that isn’t happening. Instead, we see Republican officials saying all the right things about denouncing the hatred that came out in Charlottesville last weekend but failing to denounce by name the President who has implicitly endorsed that hatred with his statements in the wake of the violence. As long as that continues, their party will continued to be tied to Donald Trump, and the consequences for that, though it may be some time before they emerge, are likely to be quite sever.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Facebones says:

    Too little, too late. The republicans have ample opportunity over the last 18 months – not to mention the 40+ years going back to the Southern Strategy – to forcibly condemn racism and bigotry. But guess what? They haven’t, because condemning racism will cost them senate, congressional, and local elections.

    It was fine to wink wink nudge nudge the white supremacist part of the base and use code words like “forced busing” and “state’s rights” in the sticks where the national papers wouldn’t see. Now the president and de facto leader of the Republican party is out making apologies for neo-nazis, saying there are some very fine people, only concerned about history, in that torch-wielding crowd.

    The Republicans can never again claim to be the party of Lincoln, that they aren’t a racist party. The mask is off. Own it, the way Trump owns you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  2. michael reynolds says:

    The Republican Party is suffering from a disaster of their own making and it did not start with Trump. It started with Nixon and the Southern Strategy, exacerbated by Reagan and his dogwhistle racism and his fantasy economics.

    Everything happening now was entirely predictable, and was in fact predicted, again and again and again. The GOP allowed itself to become the racist party, the party of Nazi apologists and at every step along the way liberals warned. But the GOP was addicted to racist votes, and now has neither the spine nor the intellectual integrity to resist the takeover of the Party of Lincoln by the Heirs of Jeff Davis.

    Exactly what we liberals have been telling them would happen.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3

  3. Paul L. says:

    Odd if the Republicans are making a mistake. and giving the Democrats total victory why not encourage them?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 16

  4. Argon says:

    Why on Earth would they not embrace it instead? The whole point is to generate an electorate of ‘victims’ in the ‘war on traditional values’, and ‘hard working men’ who can’t get a break because of ‘minority’ favoring programs.

    The GOP has been fantastically successful getting their base to vote against their own economic self-interest. The whole point is to distract their base from the reality that the GOP wants to pass legislation that perpetuates the *actual* problems they face. The ‘angry men’ harnessed by that party are like a wolf caught by one leg in a trap. The GOP ratfkrs have been spectacularly successful in convincing the wolf to chew off its other three legs.

    This is a feature, not a glitch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  5. Moosebreath says:

    “During the campaign, I argued that Republicans were facing a time for choosing between their country and their party and, by and large, they chose to put their party’s interests before their country, thus we are faced with the prospect of this man being President for at least the next three and a half years.”

    Unfortunately, I can not see them choosing differently now. To the contrary, attacking Trump while he is in office ensures that the sitting President will support a primary challenge to you, whereas attacking Trump during the campaign left open the possibility that Trump would lose and not be heard from again.

    “the consequences for that, though it may be some time before they emerge, are likely to be quite sever.”

    Quite the Freudian typo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. MarkedMan says:

    You are right Doug, the Republicans have to choose. And they are. They are choosing to do nothing. They might say a few things here and there but they are’nt doing anything that will seriously harm them with the Trump supporters. They have made their moral calculus and it looks like this: (number of voters gained by bravely standing against Trump) – ((number of voters lost) + (inability to ever get on the Fox News / Conservative think tank gravy train)) = some negative value. Moral Calculus done. As Jacob Javits said in 1964 , his fellow Republicans were fooling themselves by thinking they could welcome the racist extremists into the their Party And use them for just one election and then show them the door. Once in, they would drive out the decent members and thereby make themselves more and more important, until they were the dominant force. It is astounding how accurate he was, in so many of the things he envisioned. I’ve linked to a blog post about his editorial but if you have a NY Times subscription you can read his original.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:
    This may be above your grade level, but see if you can follow this complex train of logic:

    Morality ≠ Political Power.

    Now, if you’ve got that straight, let’s try reversing it!

    Political power ≠ Morality.

    See how that works? Or did I lose you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Paul L.: Because White Supremacy is a moral evil, and needs to be resisted at all turns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  9. Kylopod says:

    The presumption that Trump’s recent behavior represents some kind of breaking point may be the most revealing aspect of this controversy. He began his entry into GOP politics pushing birtherism. He launched his campaign for president with a blistering speech about Mexican rapists. He called for a total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. He tweeted phony statistics about black crime from groups with names like WhiteGenocide. He attacked an Indiana-born judge for his Hispanic ancestry. He hired as one of his chief advisors a man who ran a website he boasted was a “platform for the alt right.”

    I almost get the feeling that after the initial shock of these things we start to treat them as though they are normal, and we begin to forget how outrageous and unacceptable they continue to be. Trump is the most openly racist president since Woodrow Wilson, but it’s not as if his true colors weren’t 100% visible from the start. It’s just that people have allowed themselves to become accustomed to it. In fact, a few months from now I bet this whole fiasco will be placed on the laundry heap of Trump controversies that people remember simply as “Trump being Trump.”

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  10. grumpy realist says:

    Vichy Republicans….they’ll hang on to Trump as long as they think they can get those tax cuts for the 1% bludgeoned through Congress…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  11. Paul L. says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Political power ≠ Morality.

    If that were true, the Democrats would not have any SuperPacs since they are against any Corporate money in Politics,,

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23

  12. Kylopod says:

    I will never forget Lindsay Graham’s tweet during the campaign in which he explained his refusal to support Trump: he said that he “cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative.”

    Right there is the perfect illustration of why Republicans were so impotent in the face of Trump during the primaries, and why that continues to be the case today. They knew Trump was unacceptable in unprecedented ways, but they couldn’t say the real reasons why. They couldn’t call him a white supremacist for rhetoric that much of the GOP electorate agreed with. So they fell back on attacking him as “not a true conservative.”

    As I said at the time, it was as if Louis Farrakhan were somehow to win the Democratic Party nomination, and elected Democrats would oppose him on the grounds that he was “not a true progressive.” But that didn’t happen, and it really couldn’t conceivably happen in today’s politics, because despite all the false equivalence the Democratic Party maintains a distance from the loony fringe in a way that today’s GOP simply does not. Trump didn’t create the GOP’s problems, he laid them bare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  13. Jen says:

    A CBS News poll shows that 67% of Republicans approve of Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville, and 68% of Republicans feel that Trump’s assessment of blame is accurate.

    Republicans aren’t going to need to make that choice. They already have.

    I’ve tried to point this out to many of my close Republican friends, and some Republican family members. (I’ve noted before that I worked in Republican politics a long time ago.) They make the mistake of attributing their values to the party at large–a “I don’t think that way, therefore most Republicans don’t think that way” fallacy.

    I have watched over the past few days as it is apparently just beginning to dawn on some of them that yup, this issue is real, and bigger than they ever realized.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1

  14. DrDaveT says:

    GOP politicians have no problem with Trump flinging feces in all directions. They only mind when some of it starts to stick to them.

    As for your dilemma:

    Republicans Have A Choice: Embrace Trump And The Alt-Right, Or Save Themselves

    Be real. They will weasel, trying to find just the right frequency of dog whistle to pacify the crazies while maintaining plausible deniability before the rest of the voting public.

    For every time a Republican has said “why won’t you say Radical Islamic Terrorism?”, Democrats now need to publicly ask ten GOP politicians “Why won’t you disavow the President’s racist views and violent supporters?”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  15. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    Odd if the Republicans are making a mistake. and giving the Democrats total victory why not encourage them?

    You’re dumber than Trump…and I didn’t think that was possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  16. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump is the perfect Republican, save for one important detail; he says out loud what all the other Republican politicians are smart enough to keep to themselves.
    This Republi-klans have long been racists. They are just clever enough to couch their beliefs in clever labels; for instance, minority voter suppression is called election integrity.
    Trump is standing on a platform Republicans built long-ago. That platform is constructed of anger and hate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  17. grumpy realist says:

    If you ever thought there WASN’T an overlap between the Hipster Nazis and the PUA crowd.

    (That’s some righteous bitch-slapping from the author by the way)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. SenyorDave says:

    @Paul L.: Because, as hard as this might be for you to believe, the great majority of liberals and moderates care about this country, and love it. We are now led a morally bankrupt president who is part of a party that hasn’t actually cared about anything other than winning elections for 50 years.

    I disagree with about 95% of the GOP platform (and the other 5% of the platform is a bunch of things that they pay lip service to but don’t really care about, like being “fiscally responsible”), but I could accept if the Republicans ran people who were competent candidates and decent people. Instead they have Trump, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, etc. Their party leaders (McConnell, Ryan) don’t even pretend anymore to care about the country, they just want power.

    If the Republicans are between a rock and a hard place, it is their own doing. 50 years of using the southern strategy to win elections, and when they don’t, pretty much holding their breath and saying we’ll screw the country if you don’t give in to us. The GOP leadership should identify with confederate heroes, they both are disloyal Americans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  19. drj says:

    Republicans Have A Choice

    The headline makes it sound like the GOP is at a crossroads, while in fact the party has long ago decided to go down one particular fork of the metaphorical road.

    For decades now, the GOP, to an important extent, has been the party of racists, albeit – until now – not explicitly so (nor, I should stress, exclusively so).

    To quote the infamous Lee Atwater:

    You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.…

    In order to truly mend itself, the party should not just decide to start moving in a different direction from where it is right now. The GOP should actually reverse course and go directly against a couple of decades of its own messaging.

    I don’t think this is possible, if only because of institutional inertia.

    At this point, it’s probably more feasible to start over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  20. Paul L. says:

    great majority of liberals and moderates care about this country, and love it.

    Then you should be cheering the Republiklan/Rethugicans imploding by turning their backs of the evolved enlightened progressive elites and pandering to backwards trash people.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15

  21. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Paul L.: Because the nation will work better with opposing ideologies able to compete with each other in what will be best for the nation. On the other side, we don’t have that now so what the fork?

    @ Doug: I don’t think the choice is as hard as you imagine it is. They’re Republicans–they will do whatever is most craven and self-serving; just as Elaine Chao “stands by both of her men.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. the Q says:

    The chickens come home to roost, fellow libs. Here’s what some of you don’t want to admit.

    During the impeachment of Bill Clinton, many wingnut friends would ask “how can you libs support a man who stained the office of POTUS, dishonored his wife, had his Cabinet officers lie for him, disrespected the electorate, openly fornicated in the Oval Office with a subordinate intern, committed perjury, then drags the whole country through this sordid affair. What will it take for you libs to value country over party?”

    My response was of course, “you are correct. Bill is an embarrassment and should have resigned immediately. There is no way to excuse or rationalize that behavior. I can’t believe the party has so much animus against the GOP that we would lose our moral compass in the process.”

    Predictably, many neo libs flamed me for being a DINO. They defended Bill with, “its none of our business” “witch hunt by wingnuts” etc. I was appalled at the lack of outrage by the libs. My response was “this will come back to haunt us as we will lose the moral high ground. The guy was putting a cigar up a woman’s private parts, then smoking it!!!! Disgusting..

    Well, now the wingnuts are being asked the same question and they are responding EXACTLY as the libs did. Their animus against all things Hillary or liberal has them defending the indefensible.

    Now, I am not equating Nazis with a blo job, but to the brain dead wingnuts, “two wrongs make a right” and we gave them the ammunition.

    They chose, as did most libs, to overlook their distaste of their candidate’s perversity because the alternative to them was worse.

    And the wingnuts are acting in the exact same way. And then those very same Bill supporters are decrying the wingnuts for acting the way they did 20 years ago.

    Please don’t come back with apples/oranges or in any way try to defend Bill’s bigamy. You will only strengthen my argument.

    I’m an old coot who in no way envisioned libs overlooking sexual deviancy or the GOP supporting Nazi’s.

    The politics of the last quarter century has poisoned any possibility of social comity or rational debate. We have two parties at war with one another and out goes sanity.

    Trump is a lunatic that won’t make the year probably. His supporters are unhinged.

    But, lets not be so much on our high horse that we haven’t done the same thing.

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  23. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:
    “Sexual deviancy?” Jesus, you must be old.

    Screwing intern = Nazis and KKK. One has led to a number of unintended pregnancies, the other led to 60 million deaths.

    Your argument is essentially an argument for applying the death penalty to murder. . . and shoplifting. It is legalistic, superficial, silly, historically-obtuse and immoral. Believe it or not, Q, one moral failing does not justify or rationalize another. Failing to overthrow the clearly-expressed will of the American people over a bj is in no way, shape or form comparable to calling for an end to the administration responsible for the utter collapse of common decency and the stunning destruction of American power and prestige.

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  24. michael reynolds says:

    @the Q:
    Furthermore, a huge number of Democrats instantly condemned Clinton, including his own Veep. Which makes you wrong as to recent history, too. In fact MoveOn.org tried to get the GOP to censure Clinton and “move on.” Republicans refused and insisted on impeachment.

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  25. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    Now, I am not equating Nazis with a blo job

    That’s funny; it sure sounds like you are.

    (Goes back and checks again…)

    Yes. Yes, you are.

    How many people were killed by Willie’s sexual shenanigans? How many made homeless? Deprived of healthcare? Terrorized? Denied an equal opportunity to education or employment or housing? How many lost their jobs? How many US alliances were damaged or preempted? How many wars started?

    It’s not apples and oranges; it’s apples and battleships. Get over your prudery and worry about actual harm to actual people for a change.

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  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Paul L.:

    Odd if the Republicans are making a mistake. and giving the Democrats total victory why not encourage them?

    As many above have pointed out, we love this country. God help us if we get President Pence with the GOP congress. But many of us have made a calculation that this is preferable to the tail risk that Trump will destroy American democracy or stumble us into a major war.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  27. wr says:

    @the Q: Wow. It’s sad that you’ve gone through this much of your life hating and fearing sex. I guess you’ll simply never understand that for many people what Bill Clinton did was not a big deal. He wasn’t the first president to screw around, he probably wasn’t the first president to screw around in the Oval Office, and as for the horrors of the cigar incident — hey, most people who aren’t scared of sex do all sorts of things that you’ll find icky… and which are, frankly, none of your business.

    I didn’t “overlook my distaste of my candidate’s perversity” because I don’t think that what these two people did was perverse, and my opinion of any politician has very little to do with his or her sex life, as long as it is all consensual and as long as said politician isn’t trying to pass laws to keep other people from doing the same things in the name of “decency.”

    The Democrats don’t have a problem here, Old Man. You are the one with the problem. You are a sick, unhappy guy with a hatred and fear of one of the most wonderful aspects of our humanity, our sexuality. And the fact that you see this leading to a support for Nazis just shows how sad you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  28. Cal American says:

    You are either with nazis or you are against them. full stop.

    After 38 years as a registered Republican, today I moved to the Democratic party.

    I am appalled at the behavior of republicans who equivocate on this matter.

    Staying with any party that doesn’t condemn nazis in the strongest way possible makes you an apologist and a nazi appeaser. There is no middle ground.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Cal American:
    And at this point, post-Charlottesville, if you’re still defending Trump you’re defending the Nazis and the KKK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  30. Kylopod says:

    @the Q: Once again, let me quote from that “neolib” Bernie Sanders in 1998:

    Mr. Speaker, I have never fully appreciated before just how out of touch this institution is with the needs of the American people.

    Forty-three million Americans have no health insurance. Millions of senior citizens cannot afford their prescription drugs. And this House is going to vote to send to the Senate for a trial to go on month after month to discuss where Bill Clinton touched Monica Lewinsky.

    The global economy is volatile. The average American today is working longer hours for lower wages. We have the widest gap between the rich and the poor, and we are voting today perhaps to paralyze our government as the Senate explores the President’s extra-marital relations and his lies and his cover-up of that relationship….

    There is great political instability in the world–wars and famine in Africa, tensions in the middle-east, in Bosnia, in Latin America, in Ireland–and a war being fought as we speak in Iraq. There are weapons of mass destruction in place all over the world–nuclear weapons, biological and chemical weapons–all of which can destroy the world.

    And we are voting today to impeach a President [who had] extra-marital sexual relations, lied about them and attempted to cover them up.

    Mr. Speaker, Bill Clinton acted deplorably in his personal behavior with a 22 year old intern. What he did was wrong–and he should be censured. He should not be impeached, however, and the United States Congress should get on with the business of the American people.

    I do not ask you to agree with Sanders. What I ask is for you to stop engaging in name-calling, and stop acting like your personal hangups about Clinton’s sexual wrongdoings have anything to do with people abandoning the party of FDR (a man who was himself carrying on an extramarital affair both before and during his presidency). Just because you disapprove of something doesn’t mean everyone who takes a different view is part of some giant, monolithic common enemy. You remind me of those right-wingers who talk about “rainbow jihadists,” as if radical Muslims and gay-rights advocates must be brothers-in-arms simply because both offend the right-wingers.

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  31. Anonne says:

    I’ve long been saying that Trump is a reflection of the Republican Party’s base and every day it’s clearer that they indeed chose their true standard bearer. I feel bad for my friends who, because they are pro-life, continue to associate themselves with this party.

    Unfortunately, most of those Republicans who claim to not be racist are really the same indifferent “good” people MLK wrote about in the Letter From A Birmingham Jail: people who think time will magically make people less racist and object to pretty much any form of protest because it makes them uncomfortable. They prefer a negative peace, which is the lack of tension, over a positive peace which is the presence of justice. Rod Dreher, who has been mainlining white victimization, is a prime example of that. Instead of spending days denouncing racism, he goes on to question whether diversity is hurting us and yelling about Antifa. Yes, I know that he did one post about white terrorism but you can clearly see where his priorities lie. He’s an enabler of the histrionic “white genocide” mindset that the Nazis were yelling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Kylopod: And wasn’t the Speaker at that time Hastert? Or was it Hyde?

    Talk about hypocrisy…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  33. Kari Q says:

    Maybe, just maybe, the Democrats were right all along when we said that a lot of Republicans were racists. Maybe, just maybe, when we said they were using racist dog whistles, we were right. Maybe, just maybe, the anger and hatred of Obama really was strongly driven by race and not the idea of small government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  34. Kylopod says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And wasn’t the Speaker at that time Hastert? Or was it Hyde?

    The Speaker was actually still Gingrich at that point, but he would be gone within a month, due a disastrous midterm and the revelations that he himself had been carrying on an affair (with his future wife Callista) while this was all going on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  35. al-Alameda says:

    @the Q:
    The chickens come home to roost, fellow libs. Here’s what some of you don’t want to admit.
    ____________________________________________
    I had no idea that Bill Clinton is the source of all that is wrong with American politics today.

    Maybe you did not know but, Bill Clinton WAS impeached for lying about having adulterous-consensual sex with an intern.

    And I admit freely, I do not know how Clinton’s lying about consensual sex with an intern somehow equates to Trump’s sympathizing with White Nationalists, White Supremacists, and Neo-Nazis. I understand that adulterous oral sex is evil, but, really, is it as abhorrent and evil as aligning one’s self with the Aryan trifecta I referred to above?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  36. t says:

    http://youtu.be/lu5HKs-IaM8

    Dave Chappelle on Bill and Monica.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. grumpy realist says:

    @Paul L.: Beaten that straw man to death enough yet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. JohnMcC says:

    @grumpy realist: Your comment caused a synapse to fire in my old bald head – which is reason to celebrate! It was a memory of seeing in the paper recently that Denny Hastert is now officially a free man. His federal probation ran out and he’s totally released from supervision.

    Which led me to think of the relative futures that lay ahead for all those major players in the Clinton Impeachment drama. You know, it turned out badly for most of his impeachers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Davebo says:

    @Paul L.:

    If that were true, the Democrats would not have any SuperPacs since they are against any Corporate money in Politics,,

    I see, your problem is you don’t understand the concept of morality. Or punctuation, but mostly the problem is your ignorance of the whole morality concept.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  40. Ben Wolf says:

    @Paul L.:

    Then you should be cheering the Republiklan/Rethugicans imploding by turning their backs of the evolved enlightened progressive elites and pandering to backwards trash people.

    That’s exactly what’s happening.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  41. Facebones says:

    @grumpy realist: Don’t forget about Bob Livingston! Almost speaker until Larry Flynt dug up his affairs!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @t: That was good. Thanx.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. Tyrell says:

    The time will come soon when towns and cities will outlaw displays of Confederate flags, then US flags on private property, including homes and vehicles. Then displays of the Declaration of Independence in schools, courts, libraries, museums, and other buildings will be stopped.
    We are well on our way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  44. DrDaveT says:

    @Tyrell:

    The time will come soon when towns and cities will outlaw displays of Confederate flags, then US flags on private property

    In which Tyrell decides to skip the usual “slippery slope” argument and go directly to the “invisible imminent precipice” variant. Because, of course, there are no important differences at all between Confederate flags and US flags, or between public and private property, that might be relevant here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: Yeah. There’s a lot of “whataboutism” on the right arguing about a statue of Lenin in Portland. Most of them don’t seem to understand that it’s a statue owned by one individual who bought it (supposedly from somewhere in Europe when they were tearing down all the Lenin statues after the fall of the Iron Curtain) and had it put up on his own property.

    But supposedly this is exactly equivalent to statues to Confederate leaders on state property and owned by the state.

    As said, these guys have the IQ of Venetian blinds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Tyrell says:

    @DrDaveT: I am going to purchase some of the Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote Civil War histories that I don’t yet have – before they are banned. I then will try to get them read before that is outlawed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  47. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: You’re being an idiot. There is no precedent for what you’re claiming is going to happen. You can still buy mien kampf online (google play has it for 1.99) and in book stores. You can still buy and fly nazi flags galore if you want. There is no doubt there was far more public hatred of those symbols post ww2 than there is for your precious flag.

    @grumpy realist: Not only that but the statue regularly has it’s hands painted red to symbolize all the blood on Lenin’s hands. Also it gets dressed up according to what is going on. At least one year it was dressed in drag. There’s no veneration or love for the person and what he stood for as there is for the confederate statues. apples and oranges.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0