Republican Candidates Abandon Reagan’s Optimism In Favor Of Doom And Gloom

To listen to many of the Republican candidates for President, it would appear that the lights have been turned out on Ronald Reagan's shining city on a hill.

ronald-reagan-salute-bw

To listen to the way some Republicans tell it, America is a pretty awful place these days.

A hell hole,” as Donald J. Trump has put it. Our leaders are “babies” who are “so stupid” they can only watch helplessly as we become “a third-world country.”

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas sees evil menacing America not just from within, like the “tyranny” and “lawlessness” of jailing a county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, but from the outside as well. As he condemned the Obama administration’s nuclear pact with Iran last week, Mr. Cruz warned, “Americans will die.

These dark diagnoses of the country’s condition have become an especially powerful part of the message sounded by several Republicans seeking their party’s nomination for presidency this election cycle.

Their damning assessments — that the country is diminished and unrecognizable, imperiled by forces foreign and domestic — seem to resonate with voters already feeling angry, alienated and under threat.

Appeals to voters’ insecurities and anxieties have always been part of politics. But what is striking about the current dynamic inside theRepublican Party is how pervasive the sense has become that the country is slipping, and maybe irretrievably so.

“You’ve got elements of all the different branches of the Republican Party that see darkness now,” said David Gergen, a former adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. “Social conservatives have been at the forefront of that for a long time. But now the foreign policy and economic types feel like we face serious risk of decline.”

The mood of the country is certainly grim. About two-thirds of Americans believe the country is adrift, according to recent public opinion surveys from a variety of news organizations and independent firms. That sentiment has remained stubbornly high for most of the Obama presidency, with strong majorities of Americans consistently saying the country is on the wrong track for the last five years, according to polling by The New York Times and CBS News.

After years of slow economic growth, stagnant incomes, political dysfunction and worsening threats from abroad, many Republican pollsters and analysts are asking themselves whether there has been a fundamental change in how Americans, historically an optimistic people, now see themselves. And they are wondering whether, as a consequence, 2016 will be a year when voters turn to someone whose message is mainly focused on what is wrong with the country.

“Today, conservatism is much more meanspirited, angry, not optimistic and much more viscerally divisive,” said Matthew Dowd, a former top strategist for President George W. Bush.

The dark imagery emanating from Mr. Trump and others collides with the long-held Republican conviction that a message of optimism and uplift is essential to winning elections and leading the country. That belief also aligns with their view of America as a special and divinely inspired nation, always capable of renewal.

(….)

“Americans like optimistic brands. We like brands that lead us into the future,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican messaging strategist who has offered informal advice to several of the candidates running for president this year. Quoting something he said George W. Bush had once told him, Mr. Castellanos added, “Nobody ever bought a product that made them feel worse.”

After the 2014 midterm elections, Mr. Castellanos commissioned research for a project he is leading on reinventing his party’s brand called “New Republican.” It looked at three states where Republicans took Senate seats from Democrats and one where they lost.

In the three winning states — Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina — voters said they thought the Republican was the more optimistic candidate. Only in the state Republicans lost, New Hampshire, did voters say they felt the Republican, Scott Brown, was the more pessimistic candidate. Still, some Republicans question the power of optimism, noting that voters picked the candidate of hope and change in 2008 and that many are unhappy with the results.

The negative messages are more prominent, of course, in the campaign of Donald Trump, who opened his run for the White House back in June with a speech that cataloged how bad he claimed the United States had become, how stupid our leaders and businesses are, and how we’re being overrun by a combination of crafty Chinese, sneaky Iranians, and Mexican rapists. This is rhetoric that Trump has continued throughout the campaign, and it clearly seems to be resonating with a significant portion of the Republican base. To some degree, of course, Trump talks this way as means of promoting his already over-inflated ego and to make the argument that he is the only person who can turn the country around, even if he never actually tells anyone how he would do that.

The tone clearly goes far beyond Trumpesque boasting,  though, because the vision of America that Trump paints isn’t all that dissimilar from the one we get from candidates such as Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and others who come from the ultra-conservative wing of the party. In this segment of the GOP, even those things that most of us would consider to be progress are seen as signs of doom and destruction. To these people the debate over same-sex marriage wasn’t just a debate over whether or not the law should extend equal rights to gays and lesbians, it was a fight to prevent something that would bring about the destruction of America. The debate over the Affordable Care Act wasn’t just a battle over the proper way to deal with a broken health care system, it was battle to prevent something worse than Nazism. In many respects, of course, the rhetoric that politicians on the right used in situations like this was intended mostly to rile up the passions of the base and to help with fundraising, but the messages never would have been used if they didn’t work.

All one needs to do is take a tour of the web sites and literature preferred by people in that wing of the GOP, and you are presented with a very dark picture. Despite the economic statistic, the economy is said to be on the very of a collapse that some people on the right have been predicting for the better part of a decade. The nation, they will tell you, is being overridden by immigrants while Islamic terror cells sneak into the country just waiting to launch the next massive attack. President Obama, they believe, has spent the last six and half years amassing power and is plotting to grab still more even has his days in office grow shorter and shorter. The fact that this is the same President Obama that they also believe is utterly incompetent, spends most of his time golfing, and doesn’t really care about his job at all, is presented without even the slightest sense of irony. The Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and Muslims are all just years away from being able to utterly destroy us. And, of course, all of this can only be prevented if you vote for whomever the chosen savior of them moment happens to be.  Quite clearly, there is a powerful strain in modern American conservatism that has abandoned the optimism of Ronald Reagan and replaced it with an apocalyptic vision that seems more suited to a bad movie than a serious discussion about American politics.

That isn’t to say this this is true of every politician on the right, of course. In the Presidential race, candidates such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich are much closer to marking the Reaganesque view of America as a “shining city on a hill” than their opponents, and each of them has criticized Trump and the other candidates for their doom and gloom rhetoric. At the same time, though, those three candidates are not the ones who are leading the polls right now. By all accounts, the doom and gloom lecture that is a central part of Donald Trump’s campaign is what Republican voters seem to be buying right now. If that continues to be the case, then the GOP’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign could turn out to be quite dark indeed.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    When you have no ideas and no coherent ideology, your only tactic is to identify the “enemy” and claim that it is destroying everything your base holds dear (even if that is imaginary to begin with). You can also go a step further and simply promise to exterminate this “enemy,” as Trump, Cruz, Huckabee, and others are doing. Anyone recognize the playbook? You don’t need to look far back in history to see it.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    Fear and hate.
    Hate and fear.
    Republicans have nothing else to offer.
    They long ago gave up on ideas…going so far as to abandon Obamacare…which was their idea.
    But let’s be clear…it’s hard to develop ideas when you refuse to accept reality.
    For instance…you cannot develop valid economic theories when you refuse to accept how the economy actually works.
    If you insist on being the Party of Stupid…then you will be.

  3. Facebones says:

    Since 2001, the Republican message has been “Holy sh*t! Terrorists are coming to kill you and only we can keep you safe!!!” (The fact that the worst terrorist attack on US soil happened on their watch is always conveniently omitted.)

    Since 2009, they’ve added the following: “Holy sh*t! A Kenyan Muslim socialist snuck his way into the White House and is going to destroy this country from within! Only we can stop this dusky-hued traitor!”

    For 15 years, the Republican message has been death, terror, betrayal, treason. If that’s the what you keep shoveling to your base, it’s really hard to be optimistic.

  4. ernieyeball says:

    American conservatism that has abandoned the optimism of Ronald Reagan and replaced it with an apocalyptic vision…

    Examples of Ronnie’s optimism:

    One of the SLA’s demands was a free food program. Patty’s father, Randolph Hearst, publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, arranged for such a project in Oakland. Governor Ronald Reagan responded to the long line of people waiting for free food: “I hope they all get botulism.”
    A year after “Bloody Thursday”, Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

    If ya ask me Trump is taking lessons from the Gipper.

  5. Tillman says:

    Quite clearly, there is a powerful strain in modern American conservatism that has abandoned the optimism of Ronald Reagan and replaced it with an apocalyptic vision that seems more suited to a bad movie than a serious discussion about American politics.

    You see this as replacement, I see it as evolution. The people swayed by Reagan’s optimism either learned they were lied to and abandoned it, profited from it and kept it afloat, or appropriated it as they saw fit to their own experience. You’re concerned about the last group: the first group are probably not Republicans, and the second group don’t have to believe it past its utility.

    The last group has proven more culturally durable than either of the first two. It has seen their flourishing stagnate with their wages, other people take cultural space on media they used to control, and their values denigrated and unprotected by their alleged ideological allies. They still believe Reagan’s optimism, they’ve simply adapted it to the ills of the modern age they perceive.

  6. Scott says:

    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    The Republican message is negative because they have to persuade people to vote for them. Since the policies they are offering are the same ones that have failed they need to distract from that fact by using fear and negativity.

    For some time the right has been bashing various sections of the United States: East Coast, West Coast, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Hollywood, liberals, RINOs, takers, the 47%, etc. The list goes on. One wonders how they claim they can love America while despising 80% of the people who live here.

  7. Modulo Myself says:

    There was an article that pointed out that Patrick Bateman’s idol in American Psycho was Donald Trump. Without going into the possible merits of Brett Easton Ellis, let’s just say that it’s conventional wisdom that Bateman was written as the poster-child for 80s materialism. That is to say, very few intelligent people are shocked when the decade of Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America is the decade of a brand-obsessed yuppie with psychopathic fantasies. This is part of our culture. It’s like the Kennedy Assassination as the death of innocence in America. Regardless of reality, it’s there: Reagan = insane greed and hatred.

    So none of this is new or shocking.

  8. Modulo Myself says:

    There was an article that pointed out that Patrick Bateman’s idol in American Psycho is Donald Trump. Without going into the possible merits of Brett Easton Ellis, let’s just say that it’s conventional wisdom that Bateman was written as the poster-child for 80s materialism. That is to say, very few intelligent people are shocked when the decade of Ronald Reagan’s Morning in America is the decade of a brand-obsessed yuppie with psychopathic fantasies. This is part of our culture. It’s like the Kennedy Assassination as the death of innocence in America. Regardless of reality, it’s there: Reagan = insane greed and hatred.

    So none of this is new or shocking.

  9. DrDaveT says:

    “Today, conservatism is much more meanspirited, angry, not optimistic and much more viscerally divisive,” said Matthew Dowd, a former top strategist for President George W. Bush.

    Congratulations, Matt — you apparently got exactly what you were striving for.

  10. KM says:

    Remember, they’re playing to their audience. And their audience is getting old fast.

    With age comes pessimism. If your first vote was for Reagan in 1980, you’re in your mid-50’s now at the very least. An entire generation has been born, grown up and now have children of their own that are approaching their teens. The world has moved on and suddenly you’re finding out you’re not top dog anymore. No longer the ingenue no matter how much plastic surgery you get. No longer the wunderkind in the office, no longer the young and bright hope for the future. You have been replaced twice over and that’s a little harsh on the ego. Time is running out, the dwindling sands falling ever faster. What’s the point of optimism for the future if you won’t be there – why should they be happy when you’re dead?

    Conservatives don’t talk Happy because their demographic is more likely to yell Get Off My Lawn then Whoohooo College!!! Conservatives tap into that latent fear of being forgotten, ignored and rendered obsolete that every aging person faces and transforms it to directed anger. THEY are why you are obsolete when you won’t learn coding – THEY stole your job! THEY are why your paycheck doesn’t go as far in the same job you had for years – THEY are taking your money! THEY are why the pews are empty – damn commie libural enviroatheists hates Jesus, the age group dying off has nothing to do with it!!!

    Optimism is for the young and people who give a crap about something other then themselves. The GOP is currently not trying to court either of those groups.

  11. Bokonon says:

    For a number of fundamentalist Christians, they believe very literally believe that “doom and destruction” are at hand, and that we are approaching the End Times.

    And I would argue that those fundamentalists are driving a lot of the negative mood (as well as driving the no compromises, total obstruction, take-no-prisoners, scorched earth bullpucky that has been going on in national politics for the last decade or so … escalating after 9/11). They are no longer a subtext or undercurrent to the GOP – their obsessions and agendas and freakouts are now the main event.

    And these people are NOT concerned with piddly little things like government shutdowns … because they have other priorities.

  12. Dave Schuler says:

    The good news for Democrats: in the post-war period the presidential candidate who painted the brightest picture of America and its future has won the election.

    The bad news for Democrats: Hillary Clinton is likely to be the Democratic standard-bearer.

  13. Grewgills says:

    @Dave Schuler:
    Do you think that Clinton’s message isn’t that the future will be better? What leads you to think that? She isn’t my ideal candidate, but her message does seem to be that we are doing well and can do even better.

  14. Tony W says:

    Republicans remain the party of America Can’t (TM).

    They don’t even have to get off their whiny butts and start doing things to make America great again – I’d just like them to get out of the way of those who are willing and able to do the work.

  15. Ben Wolf says:

    @Grewgills: Attitude and enthusiasm are an integral part of the process, I think. And Hillary looks tired. I wonder whether she wants to be president or feels forced to do so in carrying the endless parade of courtier-parasites on her back.

  16. Pete S says:

    Let’s be honest – If you really believed that the BEST choice to be president was coming from a group including Trump, Jindal, Jeb!, Carson et al you would be cranky and depressed too. And Republicans pretty much have to believe this if they identify their party. If I were one of them I would spend the next 16 months drunk.

  17. Grewgills says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    At this point I don’t think she’d be running if she didn’t want it. It’s too much work and too much abuse to endure for something you don’t want. Why she wants it is an open question, but I don’t think whether or not she wants it is. I would guess her whys are varied and complicated, but having her place in history as the first female president, the first first lady to become president, and the opportunity for a long legacy with her Supreme Court nominations are all in the top ten.

  18. LC says:

    way to realize what’s going about 12 years too late, Doug.

  19. Tyrell says:

    Trump is resonating and striking chords all across different groups and political parties. He talks about making this country great again. For the first time in ages, I heard a crowd at a Trump rally chanting “USA ! USA. ! “. People are tired of being told the election is over. Women are tired of being dictated to concerning who they are all going to vote for, and what they are supposed to support. People are tired of leaders and politicians who are afraid they might say something that might just offend someone.
    Trump, and Sanders, are getting huge, cheering, enthusiastic crowds. That is optimism.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @LC:

    Oh, he still doesn’t realize what’s going on, don’t kid yourself. Because what’s at the root of all this is the collapse of the Libertarian-Republican ideology to which Doug still clings. The fact is Republicanism just has not worked in the real world. Their economic beliefs are nonsense, their foreign policy is ineffective and counter-productive, and their social issues stands have all been rejected as either absurd or bigoted.

    The ideology of Republicanism is as discredited as the flat earth. But Doug is nowhere close to admitting that.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    Trump is a fascist demagogue appealing to credulous nitwits. Apparently you’re one of them.

  22. Guarneri says:

    One does have to chuckle at a bunch of lefties hectoring about pessimism when their stock-in-trade argument for 50 years has been how awful the human condition is in the US, only salvageable by a tax increase and an additional government program or regulation.

    Now THAT’S entertainment.

  23. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Without going into the possible merits of Brett Easton Ellis

    Please tell me you weren’t about to call BEE a misogynist…..
    @Grewgills:

    Do you think that Clinton’s message isn’t that the future will be better?

    I’m not speaking for Dave, but I think the “bad news” of a Clinton candidacy is that it doesn’t matter what her message may be. No one’s going to believe it’s sincere.

    I would guess her whys are varied and complicated, but having her place in history as the first female president, the first first lady to become president, and the opportunity for a long legacy with her Supreme Court nominations are all in the top ten.

    I fear you may be right. Notice, though, how none of this is really about the country or its people. It’s all about Hillary.

  24. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: You say that the Republicans will set up death camps and destroy the world – but it’s the Right that’s gloomy.

  25. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But Doug is nowhere close to admitting that.

    Surely you’ve noticed that Doug hasn’t exactly been defending Republicans lately. His posts haven’t come with an admission that Republicanism is discredited, that’s true, but should they?

    I know a lot of gullible right-wingers who are falling in love with Trump for all the wrong reasons, but Doug is not that guy. There’s no romance, there’s no support, just this constant stream of criticism. (Check his Twitter feed.)

  26. Pinky says:

    @Guarneri: Exactly. Guys like Michael talk about America as if it’s a constant race war, and complain about the Republicans and the Jewish lobby starting wars and poisoning the water, stealing money from old people and leaving the poor to starve. They’ve got nothing but bleak stories. Every political position is a moral crusade with them, voting against gay marriage is the same as lynching, voter ID’s are the same as apartheid. Any solution but the one they happen to offer that day is called “hate”. It’s ridiculous. And before the locals start yelling at me, I should note that Michael is an extreme case. Even you guys admit that. But don’t say that Republicans are unique in using doom and gloom, and don’t complain that I said that both sides do it unless you’re prepared to demonstrate that your side doesn’t.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    Yeah, except I’ve never said anything like that. I’ve said that the Trump ’round ’em up’ plan is ethnic cleansing and it’s appalling that people like you are ready to sign up as brown shirts.

    But none of that’s going to happen because it’s an impossibility. Which brings us ’round to the problem that afflicts conservatives: what you believe is pure drivel. That’s why your “policies” never quite seem to come to fruition in the real world, and ours do. That’s why you’re upset and ready to throw yourselves at the feet of this fascist insect who is less “conservative” than I am, but who plays on your frustrations.

    You don’t get your way because you’re idiots and your way is nonsense. And that makes you mad. Like toddlers when they first learn that no, they can’t have a pony in a two bedroom apartment.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    I agree, but his opposition springs from his continued naive belief that some day, some perfect candidate will come along and hey, presto, utterly unworkable libertarian theories will all somehow come to pass.

    Besides, come February o thereabouts Doug and James will both start to make their peace with Trump. Betcha a dollar.

  29. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: You didn’t used to be a cartoon character. What happened to you?

  30. michael reynolds says:

    If you’ve got a point to make, make it. Baiting me won’t work. Your Jedi mind tricks are for amateurs.

  31. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: You call people toddlers and idiots, and I’m baiting you? Seriously, you’ve always been a blusterer, but something happened to you about two months ago, and I don’t know if you even noticed it. If you want to be this guy, I can’t stop you (although you can expect me to laugh at you). But do you want to be this guy?

  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Guarneri:

    how awful the human condition is in the US, only salvageable by a tax increase and an additional government program or regulation

    You and Pinky have the same problem — you can’t distinguish absolute discourse from relative discourse. You can’t distinguish “America would be better if…” from “America sucks”. You can’t distinguish “Republican policies are harming America” from “Republican policies have made America suck”.

    American liberals are perfectionists. They aren’t content that most Americans have it great; they want all Americans to have it better than they do now. They want to avoid the increasing wealth disparity that is going to harm all but the 0.1% They want to stamp out the remaining bigotry and discrimination. That’s the very opposite of thinking that American is going into the crapper, as preached by Trump and Carson and Cruz and the rest of them.

  33. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    But do you want to be this guy?

    Says the raging asshole who insists that liberals think dead cops is a Christmas present. But then you can’t help it, you actually are that guy.

  34. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I agree, but his opposition springs from his continued naive belief that some day, some perfect candidate will come along and hey, presto, utterly unworkable libertarian theories will all somehow come to pass.

    Don’t we all have unworkable pie-in-the-sky ideas just waiting for the perfect candidate to come around?

    I do expect Doug and James and a whole bunch of other righties to support the Republican candidate no matter how awful they are. If all it took to make righties liberal was horrible candidates, we’d all be liberals by now.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Don’t we all have unworkable pie-in-the-sky ideas just waiting for the perfect candidate to come around?

    What an interesting question. I had to think about that, and I’m not sure I came up with an answer I like. But I believe I can honestly say that I have never been one to look to anyone to deliver anything to me. (Except the pizza guy. And the Chinese food guy.) Which sounds like end-stage cynicism, but I think may have preserved me from cynicism. I’m more interested in the idea than the person delivering it.

    On a related note, that’s one of my problems in terms of profitability as a writer; I tend at times to put idea too far ahead of character. It’s always gotta be about character. Which will of course just break your heart carried through to politics.

  36. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    I fear you may be right. Notice, though, how none of this is really about the country or its people. It’s all about Hillary.

    That is politics and politicians. Can you name any major party presidential candidate from the last 50 years that wouldn’t have at least 5 self centered reasons out of their top ten reasons for running? The only one I would give a maybe is Carter.

  37. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    But don’t say that Republicans are unique in using doom and gloom, and don’t complain that I said that both sides do it unless you’re prepared to demonstrate that your side doesn’t.

    Of course anyone can find any number of people on either side preaching that the end is nigh, but that wasn’t and isn’t the point. The main point being made is about the messages being sent by the parties and their top tier candidates. Look at the message of every candidate polling in double digits on either side and tell me which side is more down on America and who is preaching more doom and gloom.

  38. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m more interested in the idea than the person delivering it.

    As you should be. I think Doug and James are too, just from a different angle. And I sympathize….

    There’s a lot on the left I can’t defend but I’m not prepared to abandon ship and become another Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

    And I agree with the character versus ideas stuff, although I will say that Michael Chrichton made quite a living, and sold plenty of books, by elevating the ideas over the thinly drawn, uninteresting characters. I guess the big trick is to craft your characters in a way that they convey the ideas. (Oh if we could do that with our politicians!)

    I don’t know if it will be profitable, but it will probably make a better book.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Can you name any major party presidential candidate from the last 50 years that wouldn’t have at least 5 self centered reasons out of their top ten reasons for running?

    That’s reasons to run. Not reasons to vote for them.

  40. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    That was the question. You feared that I might be right about why she wanted to run because the 3 reasons that I listed off the top of my head were self centered, though legacy in the Supreme Court could certainly be argued as being for the betterment of the country (as she sees it). I pointed out that self centered reasons were the norm when people decide to run for president. You have now moved the goalposts.

  41. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:

    Look at the message of every candidate polling in double digits on either side and tell me which side is more down on America and who is preaching more doom and gloom.

    And tell me what Republicans would say about Democrats if they said what Trump is saying?
    Gadzooks – look what they said about Michelle Obama for saying something as inane as;

    “People in this country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

    Republicans annihilated her.
    And yet today Trump…the leading Republican candidate by far…is saying outright that we suck. And crickets…..

  42. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    Trump is resonating and striking chords all across different groups and political parties.

    Sorry…Trump is appealing to people like you….people with no sense of reality…who have a mythical idea of America that never actually existed outside of old black and white TV shows. His ideas are impossible to implement; completely unworkable.
    He’s just going to take all the oil in the Middle East. And you believe that.
    He’s going to deport all the illegals. And you believe that.
    You want the guy that was behind Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump University, and has run countless casinos…CASINOS!!!!…into bankruptcy, to run this nation.
    Not to put too fine a point on it…but you are an idiot…blithely un-tethered from reality. It’s people like you Trump is appealing to. No one else. And he has the Republican establishment quaking in their boots.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    You have now moved the goalposts.

    Maybe, but I remain unmoved in my general dislike of Hillary Clinton. I trust her over any Republican to focus on the things I think are important, but that doesn’t mean I have to like her.

    Frankly, I’m anti-royalist enough to think the “Clinton Legacy” –Bill and Hillary as mater and pater of America in the 21st Century– is not really a good thing.

  44. An Interested Party says:

    Frankly, I’m anti-royalist enough to think the “Clinton Legacy” –Bill and Hillary as mater and pater of America in the 21st Century– is not really a good thing.

    Unfortunately that ship already sailed with the “election” of George W. Bush…

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott:

    Since the policies they are offering are the same ones that have failed

    Why don’t people notice that? I’m full of doom and gloom. Largely because of Reagan. He put a positive, avuncular face on a nonsensical, repellent ideology. We are headed in the wrong direction, the country is in bad shape. Largely because much of Reagan’s program got enacted. We cut taxes on the wealthy. We’ve broken unions. We screwed up welfare. We’re allowing infrastructure to crumble. We lifted bank regulations. We failed to do more than small scale stimulus. We screwed up education. We implemented neocon foreign policy.

    But conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed. So we must do more of the same. We must Brownback/Jindal/Walker the whole country. Clinton, even Sanders, would just be a pause on the real Road to Serfdom.

  46. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Here’s how stupid you are to buy into the Trump con-job…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClQwznPfjSY

  47. Neil Hudelson says:

    @C. Clavin:
    I don’t think you meant to post a youtube link to a mazda review…

  48. C. Clavin says:
  49. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: I said that if some of the people on this site believed the things they said, and thought through their implications, then they should cheer dead cops. I did not say what you’re claiming I said. If you didn’t know what I said and made the claim you just made, you’re simply mistaken. If you knew what I said when you made the claim you just made, then you’re lying. Either way, you’re wrong.

  50. Guarneri says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You just keep tellin’ yerself that.

  51. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: Dead horse, but you were challenged to explain how you “thought through the implications” of anyone’s statement to reach your conclusion. You failed to come up with a single example. Let’s not, months after the fact, try to parse some thin difference between ‘you cheered dead cops’ and ‘if you were honest you would have cheered dead cops’. Apologizing might work better.

  52. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: I’m fine with the statement I made. I wish people would stop making false representations of it. I don’t remember if anjin has does this before, or if we’ve talked about it, but at some point it moves beyond merely being false and has to be considered a lie. Surely a recent lie is more of a live horse than a disputed statement from months ago?

  53. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: The definition of “to parse” seems to be “to make a specific true statement about something that the other person wants to generalize past”. My parsing in this case is simply a repetition of my original statement. I do believe in clarity, which is why I’m not going to accuse anjin of lying. I don’t know if he’s lying or not, because I don’t remember if we’ve talked about this before, but I do know that his statement is false, and I’m going to call him out on it. A couple of weeks ago there was an OTB piece in response to an article about something or other being the new Jim Crow. Doug was critical of the article. I pointed out that the original article had only used the Jim Crow analogy in the headline, making it disputable whether the author had intended it. Parsing, I know, but the liberal author of the original piece deserved the benefit of the doubt.

  54. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    You are regularly upset that people you feel are liberal on this site accuse conservatives of not actually believing what they say and you regularly complain about people’s tone and their characterizations of conservatives. When you make statements like christmas present comment* then your complaints about MR, Clavin and others are easily seen as partisan hackery rather than concern for fairness and accuracy. Put down your own sloppy and offensive broad brush before you demand others do the same.

    * That is just the most egregious of the statements you have made about liberals, but far from the only spiteful broad brush statement you have made about liberals.

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    So, it makes perfect sense for you to accuse me of imagining death camps and genocide when what I said was “ethnic cleansing” and “concentration camps” but when it comes to you, we’re supposed to parse the subtleties of “you want dead cops” vs. “if you thought the way I think you think you’d want dead cops.” Which subtleties don’t actually hold up to more than five seconds’ consideration.

    Possibly it’s just ignorance on your part. Many people may not understand the difference between concentration camps and death camps, or extermination camps. I’m not always as accurate in my language as I’d like to be, but generally speaking if I choose a word there’s a reason for it.

    Concentration camps have been used often – Spain in Cuba, the Brits in South Africa, us with Indians, us with Japanese-Americans, for example. The Germans began with concentration camps – facilities where communists, gays, Jews, intellectuals – were imprisoned. Later they turned some of those concentration camps into death camps, and also created some purpose-built death camps.

    I used “concentration camp” and “ethnic cleansing” because those are accurate descriptions of what will follow inevitably from the Republican plan to hunt down 11 million people, drag them from their homes and force them at gunpoint into Mexico.

    Now, that’s certainly not how Mr. Trump will describe his plan, nor how many Republicans will imagine it. But that’s because Republicans don’t do imagination well, if they did they’d be Democrats. There is in fact no way, no way at all, to arrest and ship 11 million people without first confining them in staging areas – camps – where they will be imprisoned and. . . concentrated. Which is the definition of a “concentration camp.”

    In fact, before the GOP could begin rounding up brown people they’d first have to establish a series of concentration camps. People will need to be held – imprisoned – as they are processed for expulsion. People won’t be arrested and shipped off in a single mass of 11 million, they’ll be seized at their jobs at their homes in schools, in twos and threes, and we will have to imprison them as we process them.

    So, Pinky, simple question: how would you go about expelling 11 million people without the following elements:

    1) Mass arrests.
    2) Mass confinement in jails and concentration camps
    3) The development of a vast system of informants and the collection of this data by government.
    4) A huge expansion of ICE.
    5) The tearing apart of families.
    6) Protests and riots in numerous locations requiring…
    7) An increase in police and in police power.
    8) The inevitable arrest of a large number of documented brown people and citizens of the brown persuasion.

    In fact the Republican plan for ethnic cleansing begins with the rapid and massive build-up of ICE, secret informants, new government databases, an increase in riot police and police armored vehicles, and yes, concentration camps.

    So what is really going on here is yet another demagogue convincing Republican morons that we’ll get Iraq to pay for the war out of oil revenues and it shouldn’t be any problem at all, at all.

    And of course that’s not getting into the sudden closure of tens of thousands of businesses suddenly deprived of workers.

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:

    Here’s on for you, Drew, though it may require you to actually think rather than blurting out whatever haw-haw bon mot you overheard at the country club:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfred-w-mccoy/grandmaster-of-the-great-game_b_8139828.html

  57. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:

    @michael reynolds: You didn’t used to be a cartoon character. What happened to you?

    Did you steal that line from a jilted lover in a bad soap opera???
    Criminy.

    @anjin-san: I said that if some of the people on this site believed the things they said, and thought through their implications, then they should cheer dead cops.

    Oh…well now…that makes perfect fwcking sense.

  58. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:..I wish people would stop making false representations…

    U mean like U do of me ALL THE TIME!

    Pinky says:Monday, July 27, 2015
    …and you’ve admitted before that you’ll say anything to insult political figures, even if the statements aren’t true.

    You also have said, when we’ve talked about this subject before, that you’re more interested in trolling than in truth.

    Which time was is that you said that heckling and insulting political figures was more important than speaking the truth? I don’t remember. I remember it was you,..

    I remembered the conversation with Ernie, because we’ve had the same conversation multiple times. (It also means that it’d be a pain to track down via Google exactly which one of those conversations he said that he’s primarily interested in insults rather than facts.)

    I believe you did say that you don’t care about facts.

    (it’d be a pain to track down via Google)
    Here. Let me do it for you.
    https://www.google.com/#q=outside+the+beltway+ernieyeball+pinky&tbs=sbd:1,qdr:y

  59. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    I said that if some of the people on this site believed the things they said, and thought through their implications, then they should cheer dead cops. I did not say what you’re claiming I said.

    Oh, OK, that’s actually much better, then. That’s much more understandable. It’s sort of how if you yourself believed some of the things you said, and thought through their implications, then you’d cheer for the murder of African-Americans by the police.

    Again, I’m not saying you do this! Not at all! I’m only saying that if you actually believed some of the things you said, and thought through their implications, THEN you’d cheer for that. It’s a different thing entirely!

  60. Pinky says:

    @ernieyeball: Weird. You forgot to link to where you disputed it, and I said that while I still thought that you’d said it, I was sorry if I was wrong and I’d never repeat that claim.

  61. Blue Galangal says:

    @Grewgills: And I’d argue that Supreme Court nominations are not actually about Hillary; they’re about the country.

  62. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Let’s keep in mind the suspension of due process. The DOJ’s Executive Office of Immigration Review, which runs the country’s immigration courts already has a docket back log of over 4 years in many jurisdictions.

    Will these people be deported without due process? Will we suspend their option to seek counsel and fight the deportation by seeking asylum or cancellation?

    If not, will they all be detained pending a hearing or will they be, as is normally the case, be granted temporary legal status allowing them to work while awaiting a hearing which would at this point be 50 years down the road given even 1,000,000 attempts to deport?

    It’s beyond stupid, beyond idiocy. A pipe dream dream.

    But amazingly people are buying into it.

  63. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:..You forgot to link to where you disputed it,..

    Here. Since I have to draw pictures for you.

    ernieyeball says:
    Monday, July 27, 2015 at 18:14
    @Pinky:.. that you’re more interested in trolling than in truth.

    I categorically deny that I have ever posted such a statement. Please produce it.

    Duh…

    Pink sez:..and I said that while I still thought that you’d said it, I was sorry if I was wrong and I’d never repeat that claim.

    Your apology was conditional and since you continue to misrepresent (I am being kind here) the remarks of other commenters on these threads I can not take it seriously.

  64. Pinky says:

    @ernieyeball: Fair enough. No one’s got a gun to your head.

  65. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    It’s sort of how if you yourself believed some of the things you said, and thought through their implications, then you’d cheer for the murder of African-Americans by the police.

    I wish people around here provided that much wiggle room, but I’ve learned not to expect it.

  66. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:..Fair enough. No one’s got a gun to your head.

    I’m so relieved. I can’t imagine where anyone would get a gun in this country.

  67. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    I wish people around here provided that much wiggle room, but I’ve learned not to expect it.

    Exactly. I’m not, after all, accusing you of cheering on the murder of African-Americans. I’m just saying that you would cheer on those murders if you were (a) honest enough to actually believe the things you wrote rather than posting a pack of falsehoods, and (b) smart and honest enough to actually think through the implications of what you wrote rather than being too stupid and lazy to actually do so.

  68. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    I said that if some of the people on this site believed the things they said, and thought through their implications, then they should cheer dead cops.

    Yet despite repeated requests from other commentators, you could not produce a single example of these sort of remarks. Not a single one.

    Which leaves us with you making a remarkably weasel worded & chickenshit attack on “some of the people” on OTB.

    And since you can’t back up you claim – even a tiny bit – I will leave it to the OTB commentariat at large to decide who the liar is here.

  69. anjin-san says:

    @Tyrell:

    Trump is resonating and striking chords all across different groups and political parties.

    Hmm. A high school classmate of mine who is a hard core anti-vaxxer (outlaw all mandatory vaccinations) posted on Trump’s FB page the other day that she thinks “everything you say is sheer genius”.

    So if your point is that Trump is being effective bringing together different groups of nut jobs, you are probably right.

  70. ernieyeball says:
  71. Pinky says:

    @ernieyeball: Come on, you have to have realized that I was making fun of you for posting the same Huckabee comment over and over.

  72. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: I was ok with leaving that comment as is. Are you ok about making misstatements about it?

  73. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders: Again, thank you.

  74. ernieyeball says:

    HUCKABEE: I don’t know anyone in America who is a more effective communicator [than David Barton.] I just wish that every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage and understand something about who we really are as a nation. (Ha! Ha! Ha!) I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, (Hee! Hee! Hee!) forced (this is gonna’ be hilarious, wait for it…) — at gun point no less (Ack! I’m ROFL!…Oh no, wait…I’ve been shot!)— to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.

    Groucho Marx…Bob Hope…Lenny Bruce…George Carlin…
    Let’s hear it for Mike Huckabee ladies and germs!
    Please, take my wife!

  75. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    What a surprise to find you playing victim rather than responding to my question about the Republican ethnic cleansing plan.

  76. Neil Hudelson says:

    I bet Pinky was really popular on the playground in grade school.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seqWiHLCmcY

  77. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Rafer Janders: Pinky responded:

    @Rafer Janders: Again, thank you.

    WA! (Korean for WOW!) You are slick! My hat is off to you, Jedi master of snark.

  78. jukeboxgrad says:

    pinky:

    I was ok with leaving that comment as is.

    You said this:

    If some of you guys believed the things you’ve typed over the last few months, two dead cops should be like an early Christmas present for you.

    Number of days since you said that: 267. Number of examples you have provided, so far, of those alleged “things you’ve typed:” zero. Need more time?

  79. Tillman says:

    I feel like someone who only started reading the comments here a few months ago, someone who has no idea who Tsar Nicholas is or was, and is completely unaware Jenos’s moniker is an anagram for Indiana Jones taken from a Star Wars EU novel. I didn’t see the original thread, and it’s apparently been my loss.

    I’m usually relaxing when I’m here which [chemically] forbids forming strong attachments to anything you people write, so please forgive me for my lack of outrage and/or fascination with the social dynamics involved.

  80. anjin-san says:

    @Pinky:

    I was ok with leaving that comment as is. Are you ok about making misstatements about it?

    In other words, you reserve the right to misrepresent the comments of others, and to be self-righteous about it, but if you feel others are misrepresenting your comments, well that is something else entirely.

    I suppose that given your inability to present compelling arguments & insightful comments, this sort of thing is all you have to work with.

  81. ernieyeball says:

    @anjin-san:..I suppose that given your inability to present compelling arguments & insightful comments, this sort of thing is all you have to work with.

    If we all pitched in enough quid there might be enough to send Pink to a full course at the Argument Clinic.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

  82. Pete S says:

    So here we have a post started off about a very rich guy, with a history of bragging how he has exploited bankruptcy laws to enrich himself at the expense of creditors and employees. He complains how bad the country is and strikes a chord with the very people he has been ripping off! And a bunch of us read about it and talk about it here and instead of teeing off on him we take shots at each other! We are all being played for fools.

  83. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: I hadn’t noticed your question in that comment. You’re talking as if THE Republican position on immigration is to deport 11 million people, when it’s more accurate to say that’s A Republican’s position. The Republican position is in the party platform. I just read it; it seems fine. I don’t agree with Trump’s position, which is one of the reasons I wouldn’t vote for him.

  84. ernieyeball says:

    @Pete S:..We are all being played for fools.

    Who’s we Hambone? You can speak for yourself and that mouse in your pocket.
    Citizen Chump can’t sucker me with his nativist tripe.

  85. Davebo says:

    @Pinky:

    You have some inside information into the GOP’s 2016 platform?

  86. Pinky says:

    @Davebo: I was looking at the 2012.

  87. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    The ball has moved a bit since then. The majority of the Republican field is now espousing positions on immigration much closer to Trump than Romney 2012. Jeb and Rubio are the closest to the 2012 GOP position than the rest, but their future isn’t looking so bright and if it is going to brighten part of it will be by pulling hard right on immigration. Certainly the House is held hostage to the hard right position (Trump or Trump-like) on immigration.
    On the bright side, none of those fever dreams would escape filibuster in the Senate now or after a likely stronger Dem showing in 2016. As much as actual implementation of those policies would be a human rights horror show, I think most of the politicians are taking that position to satisfy a base that doesn’t realize how unrealistic and unethical their proposed plan really is.

  88. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    So, you can’t dispute my extrapolation of the Trump position on ethnic cleansing. And yet you accuse me of wild flights of fancy and hysteria over those extrapolations. See the problem there? If what I’ve said about the GOP position supporting ethnic cleansing is wrong, then you’d make that argument, right?

    So, let’s accept that my description of what would follow from this policy is close to being true. And you admit it is at least “a” Republican position (one held by the frontrunner and others). Which leaves us all to assume that nothing in this policy causes you moral alarm, even though you can’t dispute my description of the effects.

    Which brings us back to my contention that Republicans – including you, obviously – are at the very least open to fascist demagoguery, nativism and racism.

  89. Pinky says:

    @michael reynolds: I only stated the most obvious criticism of your scenario, not all of them.

    As near as I can tell, Trump isn’t calling for the establishment of systems that would be required for the successful deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants. His appeal on the issue, as I see it, is that he’s calling for the government to return to active enforcement of the laws on the books. He states it differently, but basically, that’s it. The fact that a full-scale 100% removal of all illegal immigrants would require your scenario (or something closer to it than I’d want) doesn’t mean that that’s what’s being suggested, or would be written into law, or found constitutional, or actually implemented.

    And as someone who prides himself on his use of words, you must realize what you did in that second paragraph. You said that my admission that a Republican holds a position implies that I find no moral problem with that position. Not only have I proven that wrong before on this site, but your statement is absurd on its face. There are some Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and whoever else who believe some terrible things – are all party members bound to accept them?

  90. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky:..There are some Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and whoever else who believe some terrible things

    This is a serious charge.
    Please identify these citizens by name and state specifically what “terrible things” they believe.

  91. jukeboxgrad says:

    Trump isn’t calling for the establishment of systems that would be required … he’s calling for the government to return to active enforcement of the laws on the books

    Trump is talking about deporting 11 million people in 2 years or less. That’s the equivalent of a Greyhound bus crossing the border every 5 minutes, 24/7, for 2 years.

    You should explain when we ever did this before, because your use of the word “return” suggests that we used to do this. Do you really think a flow at this rate can be achieved just with “active enforcement of the laws on the books,” and would not require “the establishment of systems” that don’t currently exist?

  92. Neil Hudelson says:

    @ernieyeball: PInky will get back to you as soon as he’s done finding the answer to @anjin-san request. It’s only taken him 9 months so far for the first request, so I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  93. ernieyeball says:

    @Neil Hudelson:..so I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    Good advice.
    However I do find myself holding my nose when The Pink One comments here.

  94. Barry says:

    @Tyrell: “Trump is resonating and striking chords all across different groups and political parties. ”

    Yes, different parties – from the Tea Party to (right-wing) Libertarians to the Neo-Nazis.

  95. michael reynolds says:

    @Pinky:

    No, Pinky, the point is that you used my reaction to what we both now agree is a reasonable extrapolation of Trump’s (and much of the GOP’s) stated policy, to attack me as hysterical and extreme. If we agree on the underlying reality, and if you think my reaction to it is way over the top, then the logical conclusion is that you are not alarmed at the prospect.

    Right? Right.

    Basically what’s happened here is that I started referring to Trump’s proposal as ethnic cleansing. Various people accused me of overstating the case. But when I’ve asked people to explain why I’m wrong, I get nothing.

    In fact my description of the likely consequences of Trump’s policies is at the very least plausible. And that policy and its consequences are extreme. We’re talking a crime against humanity, that’s how it will be seen by the world as a whole. And yet you and others want to portray me as some fringe nut for calling this what it is.

    It’s exactly the reaction I heard when I said the Tea Party was not about taxes or big government, but was rather incoherent rage expressed by white folks terrified at their loss of privilege. The Tea Party love affair with Trump has now made my point for me.

    I was right about the TP, I was right about the fascist impulse in the GOP base, I was right about the racism and nativism and white panic at the heart of the GOP, and the last few months has validated my position far more effectively than I could ever have hoped for. I was right, I was just right before the consensus caught up.

  96. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky:

    As near as I can tell, Trump isn’t calling for the establishment of systems that would be required for the successful deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants.

    On that point, you are correct. As is the case in all of Trumps positions, he is asserting that the logistics are simply management problems and that his known skills as a manager will resolve them.

    Trump isn’t calling for the establishment of systems because he doesn’t believe he needs to show you that he can accomplish his goals. Hide behind that if you like, but it’s pretty lame–even for you (and I was one of the commenters who called his position hyperbolic).

  97. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky: On the other hand, I do have to admit that your interpretation of Trump’s metamessage is, well… creative is the word that comes to mind.

  98. Neil Hudelson says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Various people accused me of overstating the case. But when I’ve asked people to explain why I’m wrong, I get nothing.

    If I had to guess–and I was certainly this way until you explained your position more in depth–most people hear “ethnic cleansing” and translate that as “genocide.” That is, the “cleansing” part means killing. Your definition of ethnic cleansing is factually correct, but I’m sure many people are interpreting it different ways.

    That said, we are talking about Pinky, who believes that there is no such thing as context, and that a precise reading of every word is the only way to interpret any statement. So I am sure Pinky by no means misinterpreted your words.

  99. Tillman says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    If I had to guess–and I was certainly this way until you explained your position more in depth–most people hear “ethnic cleansing” and translate that as “genocide.”

    To be fair, he was referring an awful lot to Nazis and Rwanda early on. These are not the go-to examples for mass deportation. Given the tact taken lately, it was probably just a poor choice of historical analogies though.

    @michael reynolds:

    But when I’ve asked people to explain why I’m wrong, I get nothing.

    I explained why you were wrong and got nothing back, but that’s fine since you’re orating instead of arguing.