Republicans Are Actively Helping Trump Undermine The Russia Investigation

Republicans on Capitol Hill and in positions of power are slavishly backing their President over their country. They should be ashamed.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes that Republicans are actively helping the President undermine the Russia investigation:

One of the big political questions of the moment is this: Will GOP congressional leaders act to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation against President Trump’s threats to hamstring or kill it?

But in a way, this question, while important, doesn’t really get at the full story here, because its premise is that Republicans are mostly behaving passively toward the Mueller probe, clearing the way for Trump to act if he wishes. In reality, Republicans are, under cover of fake oversight, actively working to interfere in the investigation, on Trump’s behalf.

Here’s the latest on this front: The Post reports that House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte is planning to issue a subpoena for release of the memos that former FBI director James B. Comey has made of his private conversations with Trump, which have been turned over to Mueller.

Those conversations include the ones in which Trump demanded Comey’s loyalty and pressed him to drop the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, but there is a lot more in those memos we haven’t heard about. They are probably important evidence in Mueller’s efforts to establish whether Trump obstructed justice.

The Justice Department is already signaling reluctance to release these memos. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the Mueller probe, has already told congressional Republicans that he wants more time to evaluate “the consequences” of giving them to Congress and worries about “publicizing them.”

Does anyone really believe Republicans are motivated by nothing but pure oversight impulses here? There are two other reasons they might want these memos. The first is to deliberately provoke Rosenstein into declining to provide them all — which could create a pretext to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress or even for Trump to fire him.

“The Deputy Attorney General should be aware that no matter what he gives to these members of Congress, it will never be enough,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told me this morning. “The point is to create a conflict with the Justice Department that would give the president grounds to get rid of Mueller or Rosenstein. They don’t care what damage they do to our institutions to protect the president.” Separately, Schiff is pushing a new bill that would create disincentives for Trump to pardon people involved in the investigation.

The second reason for getting these memos — and let’s not pretend this isn’t perfectly plausible — would be to selectively leak from them, to mislead the public by, say, creating phony impressions of misconduct on Comey’s part that could provide more fodder for Trump and his allies to delegitimize the investigation, possibly manufacturing further pretext to hamstring or kill it. Let me remind you that Republicans already tried a similar caper with the bad-faith-saturated Nunes memo.

(…)

There is a broader principle at stake here: We want such investigations to be generally insulated from political interference, to protect law enforcement’s integrity and independence. “This could have a chilling effect on Mueller’s team,” McQuade said. “If they know that every decision they make is going to be perhaps exposed to the public, it might change the way they do their work. We want them to be able to act independently, so they can make decisions based on objective facts and without worrying about someone twisting their actions in the eyes of the public.”

The complication here is that Congress, of course, is supposed to exercise oversight over law enforcement. But there comes a point at which this oversight, when exercised in obvious bad faith, crosses over into something else — that is, overt and deliberate political interference — and good-faith observers need to be able to say so. As former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller put it to me: “The president is working with members of Congress to actively thwart his own Justice Department, because he wants it to stop investigating him.”

By the way: Does anyone think this would be happening if House Speaker Paul D. Ryan didn’t give this effort his tacit blessing? And is there any point at which Ryan, who is now the subject of much discussion summing up how his career will be remembered, will step in and put a stop to it?

In addition to these developments, the efforts by some Republicans and many Democrats to enact legislation that would make it more difficult for President Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but Senate Majority Leader is saying he will not support it:

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday thwarted a bipartisan effort to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s job, saying he will not hold a floor vote on the legislation even if it is approved next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

McConnell said the bill is unnecessary because President Donald Trump will not fire Mueller.

“We’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate,” McConnell said on Fox News.

His comments came amid widespread opposition to the bill among members of his caucus, with several GOP senators saying the bill is unconstitutional. Others said it’s simply not good politics to try and tell Trump what to do, likening the legislation to “poking the bear.”

The bipartisan legislation was introduced last week as Trump publicly criticized Mueller, who is investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign as well as possible obstruction of justice by the president. Trump, fuming about a raid of his personal lawyer’s office by a different division of the FBI, said last week that the Mueller investigation is “an attack on our country” and is “corrupt.”

Trump has also privately pondered firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s investigation.

Within a day of Trump’s criticism, Republicans Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina combined two bills they introduced last summer to protect special counsels. They introduced the new bill along with Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware and Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican, announced that his committee would vote on the bill.

The legislation would give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of a firing, and would put into law existing Justice Department regulations that require a firing to be for “good cause.”

Democrats immediately jumped on the legislation, but many Republicans have been cool to it.

At least three of the 11 GOP members of the Judiciary panel have said they will vote against it and another five have said they have questions about its constitutionality. Grassley is one of those with concerns, but said he felt obligated to hold a vote.

Republicans off the committee had questions too — and some acknowledged that it could be politically difficult.

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said Tuesday that Trump that should make the decision on his own and be responsible for the consequences.

“I think having Congress tell him what we believe he should do in this case is simply poking the bear, and I’d just prefer not to do that,” Rounds said.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Lankford said the bill is a “political distraction.”

“You create this whole constitutional political stir over something that is not going to happen,” he said.

Others said there was little point.

“It’s about as popular as cholera with the leader in the Senate and it’s about as popular as malaria in the House,” said Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary panel. “I think most people think we’re picking an unnecessary fight with the president.”

Senator Kennedy does, of course, have a point regarding the likely fate of any bill aimed at protecting Mueller and the Russia investigation in the House of Representatives. While such a bill would likely pass with Democratic support and some support from Republicans if it were allowed to reach the floor of that body, it likely would not have the support of a majority of the House Republican Caucus. Because of that, it’s unlikely that the House GOP leadership would ever allow the bill to get to the floor, meaning that the only way to force a floor vote would be via a Discharge Petition that would require the signature of a majority of members of the House. In any case, even if the bill did pass the House and the Senate, it would likely be vetoed by the President and it’s not at all clear that there would enough votes to override such a veto in both the House and that Senate. That being said, the fact that Republicans are unwilling to even try to take the steps that could stop this President from trying to shut down the Russia investigation is something that makes them look complicit in the President’s ongoing efforts to undermine that investigation.

On some level, of course, this is entirely unsurprising. As a matter of course, it’s typically the case that a President’s own party will rally behind him in the face of any allegations against him made by the opposing party or by outside forces. We saw it during Watergate with the allegations against President Nixon when Republicans were largely defensive toward the President. Indeed, it wasn’t until the very end after the release of the final Oval Office tapes made Nixon’s impeachment and conviction inevitable that Republicans on Capitol Hill approached Nixon and told him he needed to resign. It happened during the Iran/Contra investigation under President Reagan, and, of course, it happened with Democrats and the various investigations of Presidents Clinton and Obama during their time in office. Given that, the fact that most Republicans are rallying to the side of the President of their party is not, I suppose, something to be particularly surprised by.

There are some exceptions to this rule, of course. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have taken the lead in pushing the legislation to protect Mueller and, by extension, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Other Senators, such as Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, and Ben Sasse have also been outspoken in this regard, but it’s worth noting that two of those Senators are retiring this year and Sasse isn’t up for re-election until 2020. Beyond those names, though, most of the rest of the Republicans on Capitol Hill are either slavishly backing the President’s efforts to undermine a legitimate investigation or remaining silent in the face of his repeated attacks on Mueller and Rosenstein and his unsupported claims that he has been completely vindicated by the Congressional investigation of the matter.

That being said, the extent to which many Republicans on Capitol Hill, as well as people such as Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel, are not only rallying behind Trump but actively seeking to undermine the special counsel and the investigation into foreign interference in a Presidential election is disturbing. There comes a time when one has to choose between partisan loyalty and loyalty to one’s country, and far too many Republicans are quite obviously choosing to side with their party over their country notwithstanding the fact that it could end up harming their own political fortunes in short term.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Intelligence, Law and the Courts, National Security, Politicians, Russia Investigation, 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. Mark Ivey says:

    MRGA……………………




    2



    0
  2. CSK says:

    My very first thought when McConnell refused to hold a floor vote on the bill to protect Mueller is that McConnell is trying to manipulate Trump into firing Mueller, precisely because McConnell knows this will land Trump in a very, very bad place.




    3



    0
  3. michael reynolds says:

    I’ll tell you a little secret: to so-called conservatives, patriotism is just a cudgel used against opponents. It’s exactly like deficit worries and abortion and every other issue so-called conservatives allegedly believe in. When it’s useful as a weapon, they use it. When it works against them, they drop it.

    But sadly it’s not one-sided. Liberals believe in freedom of speech until they don’t. And they believe in women’s rights until the discussion turns to Muslim countries. And they’re anti-racist unless it’s racism directed at white people.

    This is no longer politics, it’s no longer ideologies, it’s a clash of cultures based really on little more than Yankees vs. Red Sox mentality. Hate for hate’s sake. Rage for the love of rage. The number of vocal, active participants in the game vastly exceeds the number who have even a faint clue what the fight is supposed to be about.

    I remain a Democrat because progressive totalitarianism is less threatening than conservative racism, misogyny and contempt for anyone with a net worth expressed in fewer than nine digits, and now outright treason. But politically I’m feeling a bit like Poland 1939. Nazis in front of me, Commies behind. It’s a choice between the Right-wing bubonic plague and the Left-wing malaria. Stop the virulent before tackling the chronic.

    I have another 14 months until my daughter graduates high school and I am the fck out of this asylum.




    17



    7
  4. reid says:

    So many profiles in courage.




    1



    0
  5. teve tory says:

    Stupid people with shitty values.




    1



    0
  6. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And they’re anti-racist unless it’s racism directed at white people.

    I was with you until you reached this sentence. Apart from a few extremists like the NOI folks and some little-known college professors, what liberals are preaching racism against white people? That’s the kind of nonsense you hear on the alt-right. I thought better of you than to repeat that canard.




    16



    2
  7. drj says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But sadly it’s not one-sided. Liberals believe in freedom of speech until they don’t. And they believe in women’s rights until the discussion turns to Muslim countries. And they’re anti-racist unless it’s racism directed at white people.

    You do realise that you’re mainly talking about some(!) college kids rather than people with actual power?

    Democrats … progressive totalitarianism

    Srsly?

    Your sense of proportion might be a tad off.

    I mean, on the one hand we have the President and Senate Majority Leader selling out their country to some corrupt, wannabe autocrat, while on the other there’s your local liberal arts college’s vegan & social justice society.

    It’s not the same.




    15



    1
  8. CSK says:

    The DNC has filed suit in Manhattan federal court claiming that Trump campaign officials conspired with Russia to throw the election to Trump.




    2



    0
  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    Bull. I have a Twitter feed. I can show you thousands of people preaching anti-white racism. There is this notion that there’s no such thing as racism against white people, but that’s nonsense. Hate and contempt are hate and contempt, regardless of who is hating who.




    2



    3
  10. michael reynolds says:

    @drj:
    I disagree. The academy is irrelevant to Republicans, but it is powerful and central on the Left. And it isn’t just academics or college kids. As I mentioned above to @Kylopod, I am seeing loud and vociferous hatred from the Left – hatred aimed not at individuals, but at groups. It’s simply not true that this is a college phenomenon alone. Go on Twitter some time and tell people you believe in freedom of speech. See what happens.




    3



    2
  11. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Bull. I have a Twitter feed. I can show you thousands of people preaching anti-white racism.

    Since when was Twitter an accurate barometer of public opinion? By very definition, it’s exactly the sort of place that draws in fringe extremists because it’s the only sort of place people like that can be heard.

    In any case, “thousands” is essentially no one at all. If you’re talking about, say, 5,000 people, that’s literally 0.0015% of the population of the United States. I’m not worried about the nuts on social media if that’s practically the only place they can be found, nor do I think it’s anything short of absurd to use such a platform to make generalizations about “liberals,” “conservatives,” or any other mainstream group.




    16



    2
  12. drj says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As Kylopod said: “thousands of people” on Twitter is basically nobody – especially when the other side holds the presidency, controls Congress and owns a TV channel.

    “The left,” apart from the humanities, doesn’t even own the academy.

    Moreover, while on the right the inmates have taken over the asylum, these “thousands of people” on the Left Twittersphere are decidedly not representative of the Democratic Party.

    I’m not saying there are no people on the left with crazy ideas, but these people are few and far between, don’t control anything and set the agenda of exactly nothing.




    9



    1
  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I have another 14 months until my daughter graduates high school and I am the fck out of this asylum.

    You’ll be glad you did. It was the best move we’ve ever made, to be honest. I didn’t realize just how toxic and debilitating US society had become until I was no longer in it. The kids (like kids do) have essentially adjusted completely and have no wish to return. They’re already comfortably babbling away to each other in French.

    The wife and I agree – we’ve sold both properties in NY, and the houses in Baltimore/Guilford & Gibson Island are on the market as we speak. We’re currently looking at properties along the Brittany & Normandy coasts. The plan is to utilize it for weekends away from Paris now, and eventual retirement. I plan to be that old guy sitting in my chaise lounge enjoying the sun, sipping wine and looking at / listening to the ocean from my lawn. We’re not returning.




    11



    0
  14. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I can offer some additional comfort on the kid side. My dad (Army) was stationed in France in the early 60’s. I was sent to French school – back in the days of gender-segregated schools, tabliers, individual slates, actual pens dipped in inkwells, and liberal corporal punishment, and I thrived. Mes copains ne croyaient pas que j’étais Américain – unless they wanted to use my size to intimidate bullies. Then it was all, “Look out: he’s an American!”




    2



    0
  15. Franklin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    contempt for anyone with a net worth expressed in fewer than nine digits

    Asking for a friend: can you count the digits after the decimal place?

    I have another 14 months until my daughter graduates high school and I am the fck out of this asylum.

    You may have told us before, but what places are you considering?




    1



    0
  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod: @drj:
    And yet we judge the other side by their craziest. Look, I don’t think I need to establish just how anti-Trump and anti-Right I am. But we are starting to do exactly what they did. They excused and pooh-poohed their extremist fringe and insisted they were irrelevant, until suddenly the fringe was in charge.

    We need to believe in something other than blind team loyalty or we stand for nothing and have no real value. I believe in freedom of speech, full stop. Progressives do not. I oppose all forms of racism or hate speech, progressives do not. These are not minor differences. I believe in due process and progressives do not. This goes to core beliefs, and a significant and influential portion of the Left has veered wildly away from what I believe.

    I believe identity politics is dangerous and that the inevitable result will be a backlash in the form of white ethno-nationalism – oh, right, that’s already happened. And how do we oppose white ethnic identity politics while touting it for every other race? What’s our ‘principled’ objection? It’s ‘our turn’ to be bigots?

    I agree that in our case we have no power to implement these ‘policies’ and that’s why the Right is The Enemy. But the enemy of my enemy is only my friend in desperate times. Once Trump is gone we on the Left need to have some serious conversations about what we stand for. Because it is not at all clear that we all agree on even basic principles.




    5



    1
  17. michael reynolds says:

    @Franklin:
    Well, the current plan (and neither of us is known for sticking to plan) is to go around the world for a year and see if there’s a place we like. My default choice is London (for the bargains!) and yes, I know that UKIP and Northern Irish nuts are now hard to differentiate from Tories, and all the rest, but I’m not British. I don’t have to own their politics.

    Current back-up choices: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Melbourne and Wellington NZ. But we’ll see.




    1



    0
  18. Charon says:

    As long as we are quoting from the Post, here is what Jen Rubin thinks:

    Rubin

    Then came the dopiest idea of all — threaten to subpoena the James B. Comey memos and then charge Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein with contempt when he refuses. Did it dawn on them that he would hand them over and that they would match almost identically with everything Comey has said or written? Apparently not. This crowd has blown itself up more times than Wile E. Coyote.

    To the contrary, Comey’s attention to detail and perspicacity bolster his own credibility. It is all there — the president’s rambling monologues, obsession with the alleged “pee tape,” attempts to lean on Comey to let Michael Flynn off the hook, demands for loyalty and so on. The only “surprises” — the claim that Vladimir Putin told Trump personally that Russia has the most beautiful hookers, Trump’s frustration with Flynn for not making certain his first call to a foreign leader was …. drumroll, please … Putin — reinforce the image of a narcissistic, attention-challenged president who really has no clue how to conduct himself. Trump’s repeated denial that he used prostitutes, or denial that he even spent the night in Russia (an assertion contradicted by his former bodyguard Keith Schiller), suggests what worries him the most.




    4



    0
  19. Franklin says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The kids … already comfortably babbling away to each other in French.

    Approximately how old were they when you left, and how long have you been there?

    I could see doing this, but I have to wait until my in-laws are pushing up daisies. Unless I picked their home country, which is somewhat conceivable.




    0



    0
  20. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And yet we judge the other side by their craziest.

    Who’s “we”? I certainly haven’t judged the Republican Party just because of a few Twitter Nazis. I do, however, very much judge the Republican Party because their nominee and president has actually retweeted from such people. What prominent Democrat has retweeted from a group that preaches hatred of white people?




    16



    1
  21. TM01 says:

    Kind of surprised your kids aren’t babbling to each other in Russian.

    #DLTDHYOTWO




    0



    9
  22. TM01 says:

    michael reynolds: I remain a Democrat because progressive totalitarianism is less threatening than conservative racism, misogyny and contempt for anyone with a net worth expressed in fewer than nine digits, and now outright treason.

    HarvardLaw92: It was the best move we’ve ever made, to be honest. I didn’t realize just how toxic and debilitating US society had become until I was no longer in it.

    Hmmmm…..




    0



    11
  23. TM01 says:

    @Kylopod:
    Well, a lot of Democrats proudly hang out with Al Sharpton.

    And they LOVE Louis Farrakhan.

    So much so that they suppressed photos and stories of Obama hanging out with him before his first election.

    Ok fine…those aren’t tweets. Whatever.




    1



    12
  24. Jay L Gischer says:

    And today we see that the Comey memos have been leaked to the press, making the cherry-picking impossible. I would be delighted to see that Comey did it himself, since they can’t exactly fire him.

    Honestly, I continue to be impressed with the political deftness that the Mueller investigation is surrounded by.




    1



    0
  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    And you did not think the GOP was racist prior to the election of Trump? I did. Obviously they were racist in order to elect a racist. The racism was a pre-existing condition. Trump is not the cause, he’s the symptom. I would argue that Trump is the apotheosis of currents in the GOP, not an aberration. So it is those currents, those beliefs held by voters that are the problem.

    Our ‘pre-existing conditions’ include hypocrisy on a wide variety of issues, intolerance of any divergence from orthodoxy, and our own bigotries, including more than a little anti-semitism. Are you and I going to be the Max Boots and Jennifer Rubins of the future pretending to be shocked, shocked at what our side has become?

    Simply saying, “I believe in freedom of speech” is now controversial on the Left. And before you dismiss Twitter, bear in mind that in addition to a whole lot of very nice teenagers, my feed is heavy with librarians, writers, academics and publishers, as well as African-Americans, trans folk and gays.

    In my little space – kidlit – the crazy is out of control and creating an atmosphere of fear and oppression. Careers are being ruined by things as minor as telling an off-color joke. (I mean that literally. No, it’s not about me or my wife, and I won’t name names, but this is a real person, a decent man.) I’ve personally refused all public appearances. Books are being mulched (figuratively burned) and banned and withdrawn from circulation for minor divergences from orthodoxy or for less-than-criminal behavior. I know three pretty big-deal YA and kidlit writers other than myself who’ve quit and migrated to other genres because we won’t work in an atmosphere of oppression.

    I’ll tell you who I can name: Sherman Alexie. His book The Absolutely True Adventures of a Part Time Indian is being pulled off shelves in school libraries, or hidden away, because why? A rape allegation? Nope. Racism? Nope. Child molestation? Nope. The book is being attacked because Alexie is alleged to have slept with a number of wannabe writers at lit conferences. That’s the crime: he slept with adult women and threatened to hurt their careers if they told.

    If true this is piggish behavior. I don’t accept that kind of thing, and I certainly don’t do it myself. But it is Orwellian to disappear a book into the memory hole because the author is an alleged dick. Apply those standards and you’d have empty libraries and museums. It is totalitarian thinking.




    5



    1
  26. scot says:

    @michael reynolds:

    it’s no longer ideologies, it’s a clash of cultures based really on little more than Yankees vs. Red Sox mentality

    Substitute two violent gang names and you’ll be where I am.

    Watch out it’s a slippery slope!




    0



    0
  27. Kylopod says:

    @TM01:

    And they LOVE Louis Farrakhan.

    So much so that they suppressed photos and stories of Obama hanging out with him before his first election.

    Posing for a single photo isn’t “hanging out” with him. And of course they suppressed it. They knew that people like you would make a far bigger deal out of it than the situation merited.

    Throughout his career Obama has repeatedly denounced Farrakhan’s racist and anti-Semitic views in the strongest terms. For example, in 1995 he said in specific reference to Farrakhan, “But cursing out white folks is not going to get the job done. Anti-Semitic and anti-Asian statements are not going to lift us up. We’ve got some hard nuts-and-bolts organizing and planning to do. We’ve got communities to build.”

    Now show me when Trump has denounced Alex Jones, who has engaged in racism, anti-Semitism, and conspiracy-mongering no less vile and deranged than Farrakhan. Not only has Trump never denounced him, he’s repeatedly gone on his program. One time he told him “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.”

    This is not just a game of guilt by association. Trump hasn’t just “hung out” with these people but has actively spread their hateful lies. For example, among the tweets he passed around from white nationalists included a phony stat about African American crime and an anti-Semitic graphic featuring Hillary Clinton next to a Star of David and a pile of cash.

    I’m no fan of Al Sharpton, and I completely opposed the decision of MSNBC to hire him as a commentator. That said, he did not spend his time on the network preaching hatred of white people. By contrast, Fox News routinely employs commentators like Ann Coulter, Lou Dobbs, and Tucker Carlson who do use their platform to preach hatred of minorities. There’s just no comparison here: the bigotry in your party comes from people at the very top–the pundits, the politicians, the president, who not only embrace racist individuals but actively preach their messages. Bigotry on the left exists at the margins, but it is for the most part entirely rejected by everyone of consequence in the Democratic Party.




    16



    1
  28. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    And you did not think the GOP was racist prior to the election of Trump? I did. Obviously they were racist in order to elect a racist. The racism was a pre-existing condition. Trump is not the cause, he’s the symptom. I would argue that Trump is the apotheosis of currents in the GOP, not an aberration. So it is those currents, those beliefs held by voters that are the problem.

    But we did not need Twitter to figure any of that out. Republican politicians have been making appeals to racist voters for about the last 50 years, from Reagan’s “states rights” speech at the town of the infamous Klan lynching to Willie Horton to “illegitimate black daughter” to “food stamp president.” And in the decade leading up to Trump’s rise, the racism was becoming increasingly explicit among mainstream Republican politicians and pundits. When Trump began pushing the birther theory in 2011, it had already been defended by Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and various elected GOP officials. When Trump launched his 2016 campaign ranting about Mexican rapists and Muslim terrorists, he was simply echoing rhetoric that had existed within right-wing media (actual media, not social media) for years.




    6



    1
  29. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    When someone says there is no racism against white people in this country is someone using the sociological definition of racism. In that context racism is prejudice backed by power, that is a prejudice that is pervasive enough in the dominant culture and/or institutionalized to the point that it causes harm to the population experiencing the prejudice. Using that definition the dominant culture doesn’t experience racism and minority populations are racist against the dominant culture. That is a valuable frame in certain contexts. Of course some people (lots of first year uni students and overexcited activists) use that argument outside of the proper contexts. There are, of course, plenty of ignorant people on every side of any debate. This is another case of damning a useful concept because some overzealous people use it improperly to try to shut down debate. No one with any sense believes that there is not prejudice against or bigotry towards white people in the US, but there isn’t institutional racism against white folk in the US. That is what is being argued by people using the term correctly. Lumping them in with naive college kids or ignorant, but angry protesters is not valuable and you should know better.
    Other than that, what Kylopod said.




    8



    0
  30. Charon says:

    Misogynist Comey:

    https://twitter.com/7im/status/987192052101165056

    Putting his behavior in perspective.

    (Big part of why HRC was a “bad” candidate, too – too many ovaries).




    0



    0
  31. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @TM01:

    Kind of surprised your kids aren’t babbling to each other in Russian.

    Funny…you and your party are the ones that are actively defending the Russian attack on the US.




    13



    0
  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Grewgills:

    In that context racism is prejudice backed by power, that is a prejudice that is pervasive enough in the dominant culture and/or institutionalized to the point that it causes harm to the population experiencing the prejudice.

    I find that definition rather too convenient. The idea is father to the action. White racism was amplified by power, but had there been no racism to begin with no amplification would have been possible. This definition is permission to move openly to Stage 1 on the theory that only Stage 3 is dangerous. I think this is nonsense. Peasant anti-semitism was the seed-bed of the Holocaust. Had a large percentage of the populations of Germany, Austria, France, Poland etc… not already been anti-semites there would never have been a Dachau.

    And again, the oppression in my world comes not from college kids but from big, grown-up people with jobs. Also, it’s not just racism, it’s also a denial of agency to women in order to demonize men, inevitably leading to a Victorian sexual morality which in the end may loop back to undercut the professed goals.

    Politically this is absolutely suicidal. All political power achieved by POC or LGBTQ people relies of necessity on ‘allies.’ When the allies begin to feel despised, the alliance weakens, which weakens the power of the minority. So the result may be a sugar rush of ’empowerment’ but the numbers aren’t there to sustain it in a context of identity politics. Black people are 13% of the vote and punch below that. Transgender people are maybe 2% of the population. Neither group can hold power by themselves, so a belligerent insistence on demonizing allies along identity group lines is self-destructive. Minorities need a moral and ethical basis that can transcend identity. MLK was a genius and understood this.

    Do men deserve opprobrium? As a sex, yes, obviously, what with being the perpetrators of basically 100% of violent crimes. But that is a slippery slope for reasons that should be obvious. Do white people, as a historical group, deserve opprobrium? Jim Crow says, ‘yes.’ But the political reality is that there are different rules for a minority and a majority. I’m an ethnic Jew, and we don’t get to go around cursing out gentiles because we’ve been down this road before, and know where it leads. The power of a minority is in moral suasion, and moral suasion does not begin with mirroring the opponent’s vices.




    5



    0
  33. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    It is still a useful frame. It isn’t the only useful frame, but it retains value within it’s context. Misused it’s problematic, but many terms misused are problematic.

    Peasant anti-semitism was the seed-bed of the Holocaust.

    Those peasants were part of the dominant ethnic and religious culture. The dominant culture perpetrated the Holocaust. Whatever Jewish bigotry may have existed was not responsible, neither was any bigotry by Rom, or Homosexuals. It was the dominant culture that did it.

    All of this doesn’t mean, like you seem to be arguing, that people who use this frame think that bigotry by minority groups against the dominant group is good, because racism is bad. It simply means that bigotry by the disenfranchised is different than racism institutionalized by the dominant group. Different doesn’t mean one is good and the other is bad, it just means they are different. They are different in causes and different in effects. They are sometimes different in how excusable they are. For instance, to use your example, it is easier to forgive an older Jewish person for bigotry against Germans than it is to forgive the opposite. That doesn’t mean that the Jewish person’s bigotry is a good thing, just that it is more easily explained and forgiven. Similarly I had friends growing up whose homes I didn’t get to visit because their parents didn’t want white people in their homes. That was not a good thing and my friends were very apologetic about it. However, their parents had dogs and firehoses turned on them and had friends lynched. Their bigotry was easier to forgive than the bigotry of the white parent that didn’t want black kids in their home simply because they considered them less than. Neither situation is good. One is worse. Acknowledging this isn’t some sort of slippery slope into left wing totalitarianism. Failing to acknowledge it is putting blinders on.

    And again, the oppression in my world comes not from college kids but from big, grown-up people with jobs.

    Are you actually being repressed in any meaningful way, or are you being annoyed and inconvenienced?

    Politically this is absolutely suicidal. All political power achieved by POC or LGBTQ people relies of necessity on ‘allies.’ When the allies begin to feel despised, the alliance weakens, which weakens the power of the minority…

    While that is true, amplifying the voices of the fringe that only accepts the perfect ally by pretending their numbers are higher than they are doesn’t help either. There is a vocal minority on the left that doesn’t understand how politics works and demonizes allies and potential allies, but it is a rather small minority with little power and virtually no elected representation.

    MLK was a genius and understood this.

    King was also outspoken about supposed allies that denigrated the work of the people that were actually fighting for civil rights. I think you know the quote about white moderates I am referencing.

    The power of a minority is in moral suasion, and moral suasion does not begin with mirroring the opponent’s vices.

    On the converse, demanding moral purity from the minority before rights are granted is an easy way to continue to withhold rights from minorities.




    9



    1
  34. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’ll tell you who I can name: Sherman Alexie.

    What’s happened with Sherman Alexie makes me want to puke. Unless you want the guns turned on you, you can’t even defend the guy. An entire generation of indigenous voices are now just going to STFU than try to enter the conversation.




    1



    1
  35. Scott O says:

    @michael reynolds:
    If I wasn’t in my cups on a Friday evening I would try to debate your earlier comments that strike me as bothersiderisms. You and I live in very different worlds. In my small town on the Oregon coast I would have to look long and hard to find a liberal that thinks free speech is bad. It wouldn’t take long to find a guy that thinks that the Clintons had people murdered.




    3



    1
  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Franklin:

    Approximately how old were they when you left, and how long have you been there?

    They’re 19, 17, 14 and 11 now. We’ve been here about 14 months. To be fair about it, they’d all been through fairly extensive foreign language classes already in the US, so they spoke French, at least at the survival level if not better, when we arrived. The oldest is now in university in the UK, and the three younger ones are enrolled at a Jesuit Lycée here in Paris (yes, the irony doesn’t escape me). Between prior training, daily immersion and classes taught exclusively in French, they’ve acclimated in record time. Kids are amazingly flexible; they’ll thrive almost anywhere I think.

    I was already fluent when we arrived, and my wife speaks the international language of shopping, so we’re comfortable with the move.




    0



    0