Time For Republicans To Choose: Can You Really Support The Bigot At The Top Of Your Ticket?

Republicans have a choice to make and, so far, they've been making the wrong one.

Trump Nixon V

Paul Ryan joined many of his fellow Republicans in denouncing Donald Trump’s comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, but then turned right around and said that he continued to support Trump:

WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday called Donald J. Trump’s criticism of a Hispanic-American judge “the textbook definition of a racist comment” and said he “regrets” the remark. But Mr. Ryan also reiterated his support for Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, against Hillary Clinton.

“I disavow these comments — I regret those comments that he made,” Mr. Ryan said after announcing a new Republican anti-poverty initiative in Anacostia, an overwhelmingly black neighborhood in Washington.

“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Mr. Ryan continued. “I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable. But do I believe that Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not.”

He said, “I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than with her.”

Mr. Ryan’s continued support of Mr. Trump, even as he accuses him of making a racist comment, underscores the tricky political predicament national Republicans are facing as their party’s nominee repeatedly insults and offends broad swaths of the American public.

Mr. Ryan on Tuesday struggled but mostly failed to distinguish between Mr. Trump’s remarks and the man himself, saying, “I don’t know what’s in his heart.”

He said: “I do absolutely disavow those comments. I think they are wrong. I don’t think they are right-headed. And the thinking behind it is something I don’t personally relate to. But at the end of the day this is about ideas. This is about moving our agenda forward.”

(…)

Asked how he could support Mr. Trump after calling the remarks racist, Mr. Ryan said: “I don’t know what’s in his heart but I think that comment itself is defined that way. So I’m not going to defend these kinds of comments because they are indefensible.”

Ryan is only the latest in a whole round of top-level Republicans who had already rallied behind Trump’s campaign but now find themselves on the spot due to Trump’s insistence on using his campaign to fuel a racially-tinged personal vendetta against a Federal Judge:

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) who is running for re-election told Politico that he didn’t agree with Trump’s comments, but he that wouldn’t stop him from endorsing him.

“If they were inconsistent with things we’ve seen up to this point in the election, I would tell you it might. But I think we’re all sort of used to remarks being made that we don’t expect,” Politico reported Burr said.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who is also running for re-election, re-upped her own opaque position on Trump.

“I felt that his comments were wrong and offensive, and I’ve urged him to retract them,” Ayotte said, according to Politico, before adding “I’m running my race and focusing on the people of New Hampshire. I’ve said he’s our nominee; I plan to vote for him, but I’m not endorsing.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) reiterated that he planned to run “a very independent campaign,”according to the Associated Press.

(…)

Some Republicans are warning their colleagues that it is not too late to backtrack.

In a New York Times story Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fired off a warning for his fellow Republicans who’d decided to endorse Trump up to this point.

“This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Graham said according to the New York Times. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. … There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Like Ryan, the Republicans quoted above who had already endorsed Trump have given all indications that they will continue to support him notwithstanding the fact he has yet again demonstrated that he has no problem appealing to the worst aspects of American politics, such as ethnic, religious, and racial biases, imagined resentments against foreigners, and ill-informed ideas regarding immigration, foreign policy, international trade, domestic crime rates, and a whole host of other issues. What, exactly, does it say about a man like Paul Ryan after all when he correctly points out that Trump’s slanderous attacks against the integrity of Judge Curiel, attacks which the Judge cannot directly respond to or defend himself from without running afoul of the rules of Judicial ethics are racist and yet then goes on to say that he will still support Trump in November because,well, because he’s a Republican? At best, I would suggest that this represents a level of cowardice on the part of politicians such as Ryan in that they are unwilling to do more than issue strongly worded statements against Trump while continuing to support him in the General Election. At worst, it says that they are perfectly okay with a man like Trump, who has spent the last year making bigoted comments about Mexicans and Muslims, mocking disabled people, attacking women like Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina in the most crass and demeaning manner, encouraging his supporters to engage in violence against supporters, and demonstrating utter disdain for the Rule of Law and Freedom of the Press, being at the top of their ticket. Of course, the fact that these things were all well-known about Trump and that these politicians endorsed him anyway doesn’t say very much positive about them to begin with, and it makes their denunciation of his latest comments ring hollow.

As Chris Cillizza notes, the time for Republicans to jump ship on Trump, whether it’s in the form of refusing to endorse him and concentrating on down ballot races in an effort to save as much of the GOP’s majorities in the House, Senate, state legislatures, and Governor’s Mansions as possible, actively campaigning for another candidate such as Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, or basically sitting the entire election out as the Bush family appears to be doing, is slowly closing in any case. You can either stay on board a ship piloted by a largely irrational megalomaniac who appeals to bigots, racists, and those who would divide America rather than unite it, or you can try to save something of the GOP for a later day even if it means years in the political wilderness.

Fifty-two years ago, on the eve of what turned out to be a disastrous election defeat for the GOP, Ronald Reagan appeared on televisions around the nation and made the case for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. By the time Reagan spoke out, it was largely too late to save Goldwater of course, but it was a speech that established Reagan as a political figure rather than just an actor and television host. The title of that speech was “A Time For Choosing.” Today, Republicans also have a choice to make, but it is one where the answer seems far more obvious. To a large degree, the Barry Goldwater of the 1964  campaign was a caricature of the actual man, and the things he believed in were far from the racist buffoonery that Lyndon Johnson’s Democrats were able to label it as. Donald Trump, however, is every bit the racist, bigot, and demagogue he has been labeled as over the past year. The Republican officials who are supporting him know this, and yet they continue to support him. What that says about them I will leave to the reader to judge, but if they want to save themselves they have little time left to make the right choice.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. NW-Steve says:

    Kudos for taking this unambiguous stand, Doug.

  2. Hal_10000 says:

    The problem with the, “he said racist things, but …” argument is that you are making racist utterances acceptable. You’re moving the dial on social norms, a dial that took a very long time to move in the first place. Most people are glad you can’t run around saying blatantly racist things any more (in a social norm sense, not a legal sense). If people continue to support Trump and he continues to say stuff like this, which he will, then spewing racist garbage has no consequences. It can even get you elected to the most powerful position on Earth. The GOP always talks about messages. A message is being sent when they continue to support this train wreck of a candidate.

    (A lot of GOPers are giving me the, “He’ll be different after the election” spiel. I’ve heard that before. From a friend who said her drunken bum of a boyfriend would be different after he had kids. Didn’t work out so well.)

  3. DrDaveT says:

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the argument that, if I’m losing a lawsuit, I can get the case thrown out by insulting the judge, then claiming that he’s now biased against me.

    Awesome.

  4. steve s says:

    McConnell’s right, they want to win. Their supporters will be pissed at them if they denounce racism. Like GOP representative Lee Zeldin said, trump’s not racist, Obama is the real racist.

  5. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Why do they think he’ll be different after the election? This is what he is. There isn’t a kinder, gentler, less racist/misogynistic Trump. And in any case, what his supporters like about him is precisely the fact that he’s a buffoon and a bully.

  6. steve s says:

    The GOP won for decades by dogwhistling racism. Now they’re freaking out because the racism is too obvious.

  7. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I’m shocked! SHOCKED to discover that most politicians are moral cowards.

    I mean, it’s almost like they put party ahead of country sometimes.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    First, kudos, Doug.

    Second, of course he’s a racist, and of course he’s not going to change. I have not altered my conclusions about Trump – he is an unusual example of a stupid psychopath. We’re all accustomed to fictional depictions of smart psychopaths – Blofeld etc… and people assume intelligence and psychopathy go hand in hand. But psychopathy is about a world view, and instinct and has no necessary connection to IQ.

    It’s like a tiger shark. Not remotely smart, but with terrific instincts for finding prey and exploiting weakness. That’s Trump. An excellent instinct for predation, for discovering weakness. . . and nothing else going on between the ears. He’s not just an ignoramus, he’s actually stupid. He’s a man who has accomplished nothing but to bluff suckers into believing his name is magic. It’s a testimony to just how credulous people are that anyone has ever bought this clown’s line of b.s.

    A smart psychopath would know how to prioritize, how to put “White House” above “attack judge in minor court case.” But Trump can’t do that. It’s really fascinating to watch.

    As for the GOP, they’ve not won an election since 1968 that did not rest on appealing to racist voters. And now their cloak of deniability is gone, stripped away by this ridiculous, two-weeks-past-Halloween Jack O’ Lantern, with both the instinct and the IQ of a predatory fish.

    It’d be funny if we weren’t taking about the presidency.

  9. Kylopod says:

    To a large degree, the Barry Goldwater of the 1964 campaign was a caricature of the actual man, and the things he believed in were far from the racist buffoonery that Lyndon Johnson’s Democrats were able to label it as.

    True–but there’s no question the bulk of his support came from racists, and he knew it. He was the first Republican since Reconstruction to win the Deep South, and those were the only states he won apart from his native Arizona. He was also the first Republican to garner endorsements from Klan leaders. He opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on nonracist (albeit shortsighted) grounds, but he failed to disavow the white supremacists who flocked to him. It was a Devil’s Pact that the GOP has been committed to ever since.

    Color me a little unsympathetic when I hear politicians who have played the racial game before acting like Trump’s newest remarks are somehow alien to the party or even alien to Trump himself. Thus Newt “food stamp president” Gingrich criticizes Trump’s remarks against one judge after having stood by Trump during his many, many earlier remarks condemning millions of blacks, Latinos, and Muslims.

    Make no mistake: Trump’s “crime” in this case wasn’t that he was being racist, it was his rejection of the myriad of euphemisms and dogwhistles the party has relied on for the past few generations to disguise its racism. His crime is letting the cat out of the bag.

  10. James Pearce says:

    “I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than with her.”

    If this is the best rationale for a Republican voting Trump, it would be worthwhile to examine whether this is actually true.

    And, well, it’s arguable. Me, I’d argue there’s a bit of a disconnect between the policies Trump supports and those supported by congressional Republicans. There’s some overlap, sure, but –assessing reality– there’s some overlap with Democratic policies too.

    And if Republicans are willing to tolerate Trump’s racism in exchange for a little ideological overlap that increases “the likelihood” of GOP policies being enacted, there’s no real reason that they can’t also tolerate Hillary’s liberalism. Especially considering that liberalism > racism.

    Policy? No, just tribalism.

  11. steve s says:

    A smart psychopath would know how to prioritize, how to put “White House” above “attack judge in minor court case.” But Trump can’t do that. It’s really fascinating to watch.

    That’s the GOP nominee. Ignorant, loud, racist, thin-skinned, and topping it all off, Poor Impulse Control. Let’s put the full machinery of federal law enforcement and military power at his discretion.

  12. CSK says:

    @steve s:

    “Ignorant, loud, racist, thin-skinned, and topping it all off, poor impulse control.”

    You realize that to a Trumpkin, these are features, not bugs.

  13. steve s says:

    For decades, some of us have argued that the liberal stereotype of Republicans as extreme, dim and intolerant is inaccurate and unfair. But here is a candidate for president who fully embodies the liberal stereotype of Republicans — who thinks this is the way a conservative should sound — and has found support from a committed plurality of the party.

    -michael gerson

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @steve s:

    Gerson blurting out the truth. Yep, every bad thing we ever said about the GOP is now being voiced by decent (the few, the. . . few) Republicans.

    It’s kind of weird when the other side basically just says, “Okay, you’re right, you’re totally right.” I’ve lost my raison d’etre.

  15. CB says:

    For someone who has built his entire ethos around straight talk, he sure is full of shit, huh.

  16. Moosebreath says:

    Good post, Doug.

  17. Gustopher says:

    How would a Republican office holder actually say “We nominated a racist buffoon with no qualifications” without then being destroyed by the base that nominated the racist buffoon with no qualifications?

    It’s not like Trump’s current behavior is a big surprise. Republican voters want a racist buffoon with no qualifications– they chose one. They had plenty of (terrible) options, and picked this one over the rest.

  18. Joe says:

    @michael reynolds: I There is another interesting dynamic at work beyond the obvious racism. Time and again the institutional Republican and Democratic parties have said to their candidates “you change” with regard to some policy position or another or some “misstatement” or another. Time and again Trump says to the institutional Republican party “no, you change” and, so far, they have caved every time. (Can you even imagine what it would sound like for Trump to issue an apology? Inconceivable.)

    It’s like watching timid parents give in to a brat. You know the parents are hoping that with a little patience he’ll grow out of it and you know he never will with parents like that. You just cringe. The Republicans do not have a whit of control over Trump. They have no idea what they will get from him other than “not Hillary.”

    Just wow.

    Once they are done letting him get away with this, what will be the next test? And the one after that?

  19. An Interested Party says:

    Once again, the Clintons, much like Obama, are truly lucky with the political enemies they have…

  20. Loviatar says:

    Donald Trump shows Republicans care more about tax cuts than racism

    Let’s be clear with what Ryan is saying here: A presidential candidate making blatantly racist remarks is regrettable, but tolerable as long as he supports massive tax cuts for the wealthy, reforming Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and changing welfare programs…

    This is what economists sometimes call a “revealed preference.” If you just asked an elected Republican whether he cared more about holding the line on racism or taxes, you might not get a real answer. But Trump is forcing those choices to actually be made, and tax cuts are winning.

    Since Nixon, Republicans have couched their racism with dog whistles, now they are angry at Trump, because he has let the cat out of the bag.

    Next time one of you have a chance, ask a “reasonable” Republican, how much evil they are willing to support before they consider themselves evil?

  21. Paul L. says:

    Interesting to see Doug and his fellow progressive spin defend this.
    La Raza Judge Gonzalo Curiel and the Hispanic National Bar Association…

    Judge Gonzalo Curiel specifically mentions his affiliation with the Hispanic National Bar Association, or HNBA.

    The Hispanic National Bar Association published a press release on July 2nd 2015 which specifically stated their intention to [boycott Trump Business Ventures and] target the “business interests” of Donald Trump:

  22. Joe says:

    @Paul L.: I would venture to guess that a lot of Judges belong to the American Bar Association, which, from time to time takes positions that many of its members disagree with. That doesn’t disqualify those Judges from hearing cases involving the position that the ABA opposes or supports.

  23. Dazedandconfused says:

    I’m not convinced Trump is a racist but I am that he is at minimum pretending to be one. This appears to me to be a clever, if exceedingly risky to his presidential aspirations, red herring on this attempt to obstruct justice.

    I expect to be corrected by a real lawyer if wrong, but after looking up contempt of court I discovered that isn’t the proper charge for what he is doing and obstruction of justice fills the bill much better.

    He appears to be attempting to get himself fired, and if at all possible before the convention.

  24. Paul L. says:

    @Joe:
    If a Judge belonged to the NRA, would you object to him hearing a case where Gun Manufacturers are being sued?

  25. Eric Florack says:

    Always remember that the one thing that the GOP has for the last many decades feared more than losing elections was actually being conservative. Had the GOP actually embraced conservatism instead of John McCain, Mitt Romney and so on, and in this case Ted Cruz Donald Trump would have been a laughable also ran, if that.

    They are now paying the price for that bad judgment.

  26. al-Alameda says:

    I think it’s remarkable that a guy a smart as Trump considers himself to be, does not see the difference between pursuing the party nomination and being able to say anything that comes to mind, and winning it (presumptive) and smartly shifting into “okay, that was fun, but time to comport myself with dignity” mode.

    I’m glad he’s keeping unfiltered and real – it’s always good to know exactly where Trump stands, what he actually believes. People need to know and understand that this man has a chance to become our president.

  27. al-Alameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Had the GOP actually embraced conservatism instead of John McCain, Mitt Romney and so on

    I’m curious, exactly who would have been an acceptable avatar of this real conservatism? Which person would have been a great candidate ?

  28. stonetools says:

    The Republican Party in a sense built Trump. They attracted and cultivated the racist base that now follows him and glorifies him for his “straight talk.”Now the Republican Party is stuck with him. It would serve them right to go down to a devastating electoral defeat at all levels in November. The Republicans, though , have the good fortune of having the Democrats as their opponents, and the Democrats are still in circular firing squad mode, so the Republican Party may yet succeed.
    It’s up to sensible individual Republicans and independents to walk away from the Party this November, and and do the right thing by voting in a way that would keep Trump from the Presidency. I hope that you all do the right thing.

  29. Lit3Bolt says:

    The good thing about Trump is it’s made the white nationalists extremely easy to identify

  30. Steve Verdon says:

    So is H.L. Mencken about to be right…will the White House be occupied by a downright moron?

    I’m thinking yes.

  31. stonetools says:

    Also too, those Democrats who are so sure that super delegates are The Worst Thing Evah? Behold the results of pure Republican primary voter democracy.

  32. Of course Republicans can really support a racist at the top of the ticket. How do you think he got to the top of the ticket to begin with?

  33. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools:

    It’s up to sensible individual Republicans and independents to walk away from the Party this November, and and do the right thing by voting in a way that would keep Trump from the Presidency.

    I keep seeing something similar to the above quote being bandied about, so I have to ask what is a sensible/reasonable/moderate Republican? Based upon the current Republican party platform and actions, if you still call yourself a Republican by definition, you’re not sensible or reasonable or moderate.

  34. stonetools says:

    It begins:

    An Iowa state legislator became the first GOP lawmaker to leave the party in an act of protest over Donald Trump’s presumptive presidential nomination, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

    State Sen. David Johnson announced that he changed his party affiliation from Republican to “no party,” citing the real estate magnate’s “racist remarks and judicial jihad.”

    “I will not stand silent if the party of Lincoln and the end of slavery buckles under the racial bias of a bigot,” Johnson told the Quad City Times….

    The senator went so far as to liken Trump’s campaign to fascism, saying that he won the GOP primaries “by reducing his campaign to reality TV and large crowds and divisive language and all the trappings of a good show for those who like that kind of approach and that’s what happened in the 1930s in Germany. I think that’s all I need to say but certainly the fascists took control of Germany under the same types of strategies.”

    Guess this is a Hitler analogy we can all get behind. Above all , kudos to this courageous Iowan.

  35. stonetools says:

    @Loviatar:

    Hey , there are a couple on our front page. James still calls himself a Republican, and Doug is an independent who, so far as I can tell , votes Republican or libertarian. There are a few out there, although they are a dwindling species.

  36. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools:

    Above all , kudos to this courageous Iowan.

    Why Kudos? What is it about today that is any different from the past 7+ years? Is it because Trump said in plain english what Republicans have been saying with dog whistles? Whats different from what Trump said from whats been said about President Obama or Justice Sotamayor?

    I know you want to give credit for any sense of decency from a Republican, however this is not it. This is a scamper from a rodent when the lights are turned on, nothing more.

  37. Paul L. says:

    Doug is an independent who, so far as I can tell , votes Republican or libertarian

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
    Doug is a concern troll. her would never vote for a Republican.
    Even the moderates like Mccain and Romney.

  38. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools:

    There are a few out there, although they are a dwindling species.

    James and Doug are not sensible, reasonable or moderate. They’ve had multiple opportunities over the past 7+ years to reassess their support of the Republican party. If neither has changed their commitment to the party in that time, why should I consider them any different from a JKB or Jenos.

    Realize, we’re not talking about a Republican party that drifted slightly off course, no we’re talking about a party that is batshit crazy. We’re talking about a party whose top two choice for president this year are a racist and theocrat.

    Sorry, while you may respect the men they used to be, with their continued support of the Republican party they are no longer the men you remember. They are no better than the company they keep. A man is known by his associates. You lay down with dogs, you get fleas., etc. etc. etc.

  39. stonetools says:

    @Loviatar:

    Like Obama, I try to be magnanimous, although:

    1. everything you say is true.
    2. The Republicans have never been magnanimous.

    But it makes me feel like I’m the better person. I do hope that the Democrats get their stuff together and truly and un-magnaminously kick a$$, both in November and next year, if they gain political power.

  40. john430 says:

    @Loviatar: If there is any party that is “batshit crazy” it’s the Democrats. Their top 2 candidates are a lying crook and the other dreams of another Bolshevik revolution.

    I’ll hold my nose and either vote for Trump or pass on that office. Too bad there isn’t a “none of the above” vote.

  41. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools:

    But it makes me feel like I’m the better person.

    Good for you.

    Me, I have too many friends and family who have been hurt by people like them. I seen up close and personal how devastating and damaging their policies have been to my community. I’ll let GOD do the forgiving.

  42. Joe says:

    @Paul L.:
    Would you let a majority Catholic Supreme Court rule on abortion rights? Would you let judges who got to the bench as partisan politicians hear cases involving politicians from the opposing party? The answer is we do. We do it because we expect a judge to be impartial and, for the most part, judges do their jobs.

    Would I object to a Judge who belonged to the NRA if I were suing a gun manufacturer? First of all, I would not bring the case if I didn’t have a legal basis to win it and I thought I could win the case based on the law. Real life Judges in my experience mostly apply the law. And if they won’t, an appellate panel will.

    But, to your point, I would examine my grounds for asserting bias. I would look to see if that Judge had made any public statements relating to the issues in the case. And if I thought I had legitimate grounds to question the bias of the individual Judge, I would ask him to recuse himself and, if he didn’t, I would make a motion for his recusal. I would venture a guess that mere membership in the NRA would not be grounds for recusal. Tough shit for me. So I might not like that the Judge is a member, but I am subject to existing laws and so is the Judge. Within the code of judicial ethics, he is free to exercise his First Amendment rights like everyone else.

    What I would not do is make NO request (and I have seen nothing suggesting that Trump’s lawyers have even made a request to Judge Curiel), make NO motion (Trump’s lawyers have not) and then whine and cry to my friends that I am not being treated fairly. Put on your big boy pants. There is a system. It is not perfect, but its there and I guarantee you Trump will use it to his advantage and brag when it does. He can spare me his cry baby whimpering when it does not.

  43. MikeSJ says:

    I wonder if there is a good reason for Trump to be behaving like this.

    It could be he doesn’t want it disclosed that he has terrible cash flow problems and is in debt up to his eyeballs. Trump Steaks? Really? Is this something a multi – billionaire would actually get involved with?

    He may also not have the money to cover a judgment against him.

    I won’t be surprised if it turns out Trump is a fraud, essentially living off of credit and juggling loans from bankers who don’t want to call in their debt because they know he doesn’t have it.

  44. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: On the other side of this particular conundrum, suppose that Speaker Ryan believes (and I expect that he does) that Trump supports, say 20-25% of the House GOP agenda compared to Hillary supporting 0% of it (as I suppose he also believes), why should he throw away the possibility of getting something in return for the surety of getting nothing? In much the same way as one can make perfection the enemy of good, in this case, he’s trying to make sure that abomination does not become the enemy of evil (at least in my jaded view of the GOP, agenda).

    It’s really a logical approach. I think that they’re selling Hillary short in that she may be more amenable to the GOP agenda than they realize (and you guy can begin downvoting that statement any time now), but the tribalism (as you note) may be clouding their thinking.

    The real problem for the GOP–and thus, movement Conservatism at large–is that the party and the movement have a base that believes that Trump is the face of the ideology. How ’bout it, guys? Doug? Dr. Joyner? Rush? Hannity? Hal? Anyone? How do you unring THAT bell?

  45. rachel says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    I mean, it’s almost like they put party ahead of country sometimes.

    It isn’t even putting party ahead of country; Trump’s going to be a disaster for the party. It’s putting hanging onto their offices ahead of everything else because they’re afraid of the loons primarying them if they do the right thing.

  46. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Alameda: While I will agree with you, kudos are in order to Mr. Florak in recognizing “a bridge too far” when he sees it. Now that we know that Cruz is also not it, I, too, would like to know what this “true conservative” looks like. Then again, I was interested in knowing what GOP “real health care reform” looks like and nobody is showing me that either.

  47. Pch101 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Had the GOP actually embraced conservatism instead of John McCain, Mitt Romney and so on, and in this case Ted Cruz Donald Trump would have been a laughable also ran, if that.

    The No True Scotsman logical fallacy is the gift that keeps on giving.

  48. Loviatar says:

    I have a question for the group at large.

    I believe the current Republican party base is made up of the stupid and the evil.

    – The Stupid: They’re too dim to understand they’re being used to further goals which will harm them.
    – The Evil: They know they’re fucking over the country, but they don’t give a damm.

    My question; those people you still consider a sensible/reasonable/moderate Republican, which group do they fall into?

    —-

    Just so you understand I’m not being hyperbolic, these fuckers wanted to default on the national debt, repeatedly. The evil part planned it and the stupid part went along with it.

  49. James Pearce says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The real problem for the GOP–and thus, movement Conservatism at large–is that the party and the movement have a base that believes that Trump is the face of the ideology.

    I’d argue that the real problem for the GOP is that its base is inhabited mostly by assholes who have very little attachment to ideology. I had a guy at work, great guy who is not an asshole, who said he thought Trump would be good for the economy.

    And I was just scratching my head thinking, Trade wars with Mexico and China will be good for the economy how?

    But he wasn’t really listening to Trump’s platform, he was listening to the assumptions. “Republicans = good for the economy.” Or “Trump’s rich. He knows what to do with money.” But trade wars with Mexico and China?

    You’d almost expect a bleeding heart liberal to propose that, citing human rights violations and political corruption. But in 2016, it’s the Republican candidate proposing them, and not for any ideological reasons. No, it’s mostly because he’s an asshole.

  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Always remember that the one thing that the GOP has for the last many decades feared more than losing elections was actually being conservative.

    Thank God Eric is back, and can tell us what “actually being conservative” means.

    Enlighten us, Eric. What do “actual conservatives” believe in? What policies do they support? What tests do they apply when new policies are proposed?

  51. Mikey says:

    The thing that bugs me–well, not the only thing but the most significant–about Trump’s statements regarding Judge Curiel is the implication Curiel is insufficiently American. His parents came from Mexico, so he has to somehow be tied to Mexico, and those ties must somehow influence his decisions, make him slant in favor of a foreign nation and its citizens (who are all rapists and druggies here illegally, dontchaknow).

    This is the same way of thinking that underlies the “one drop rule,” and the calls in 1930s Germany to only patronize businesses that were “rein Arisch” (purely Aryan), and every other bigoted appeal to racial, ethnic, and nationalistic “purity” you can think of.

    It offends me, particularly, because my wife is from Germany and therefore our son must, according to this bigoted and awful way of “thinking,” be less than fully American, despite having been born in Virginia.

    Of course Trump is out with statements shifting the blame to everyone else, with a non-apology apology blaming the rest of us for “misconstruing” his remarks, “I didn’t say what I clearly said,” and every other hallmark of those who refuse to accept responsibility for…well, in Trump’s case, anything.

    And this is the GOP’s nominee for President, behind whom the party leadership is rallying? For shame, for shame.

  52. michael reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT: @Eric Florack:

    Trump is Florack. This is Florack and JKB and Jenos out in the sunshine where their essential nastiness, dishonesty, ignorance, racism, misogyny and stupidity is on display. After telling themselves for years that they are somehow the ‘true America’ they’re seeing the appalled, even sickened reactions of most Americans.

    They’re like perverts who think secretly everyone is a pervert and start sharing their visions with normal people and discover to their shock that, nope, most people actually don’t want to tie women up in the basement.

    So now Florack et al have to beat a retreat, talk about ‘holding their noses’ to vote for Trump, when Trump is everything they have ever wanted in a presidential candidate. Trump is their exact ideal.

    It’s wake-up time for Florack and Jenos and JKB. They are much further from the mainstream than they think.

  53. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: Trump isn’t there exact ideal — Trump is a blithering idiot who offends people. Their ideal is someone who says everything Trump says, but in a way that makes everyone agree with him.

    They just want someone who looks better in white sheets than Trump does.

  54. Jen says:

    @MikeSJ: I think that is definitely part of this.

    The WSJ has reported that he owes more than $250 million to banks, and a huge portion of that is to Deutsche Bank–Fortune calls them his “go-to” lender.

    There is simply no reason for a billionaire with steady cash flow to get involved with nonsense opportunities like Trump steaks and Trump water, or Trump U, unless he’s trying to raise cash quickly. He has established a pattern of over-valuing his properties when estimating his net worth and under-valuing them for tax purposes.

    I think he wants out of this gig, and quick.

  55. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Jen: that also explains his stance on not releasing his tax records.

    I think he got into this whole thing as a lark and now doesn’t have the guts to say, hey, I was trolling everyone. Plus his ego is now involved.

    Even though I would love to see Trump’s Potemkin empire ripped open in public and everyone laugh him off the stage, the more elegant method may be for the Republican Party to find a face-saving way for him to exit the stage. Except they won’t. The leaders of the party obviously think they can ride Trump all the way into the White House and then “control” him afterwards. Which anyone who knows a smidgen of history knows is stupid. You don’t “control” a man-child by plunking him in a position of power.

    Nietzsche was right–history DOES repeat itself, the second time as farce.

  56. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Grumpy Realist:

    You two aren’t the first to suggest, credibly, that Trump wants out. He did get into it for the ego boost, and the brand-hyping, and it ran away with him. No matter what appalling thing he says or does, his popularity just increases with a certain segment of the population.

    If he bails, will he do so before or after the convention? My guess is that he’ll bail–if he does–after the convention. How could he resist the coronation?

  57. JKB says:

    Wait, lots here have been claiming for years that if the GOP didn’t come around on illegal immigration, etc, that Hispanics, especially Mexican-Americans, would never support them and hold it against them for decades.

    All Trump has done is point out the appearance of impropriety of a Mexican-American judge overseeing the lawsuit given the statements Trump has made that don’t pander to the Mexican community.

    Not to mention the judge appointed a law firm that has paid the Clintons $700,000 for speeches, is a member of a La Raza legal group, and is a member of the Hispanic-American legal group that has voted to oppose and boycott Trump. That sure looks like the appearance of impropriety.

    I suggest perusing this by Scott Adams on the robot judge

  58. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yup. I’m thinking this may well be the GOP’s hail Mary pass: Trump picks someone not a lunatic for running mate, and then after the convention bows out citing “business concerns” or similar. Leaving Clinton to run against…whomever they can get to agree to being on the ticket with Trump, albeit for a short time.

    It’s a long shot, for sure…but given this wacky and unpredictable year, nothing seems to be far-fetched. Republicans know that Clinton’s negatives are high enough that they could, conceivably, beat her with a good candidate. That good candidate is not Trump. He wants out, they want him out.

    The only thing standing in the way? His yuuuuuge ego.

  59. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Yes, the yuuuge ego. How to assuage that? I suppose they could lever him out by letting him have his coronation, complete with Vegas show girls, a few lounge acts, continuous screenings of a hagiographic biographical 4-hour movie about Trump called The Greatest Story Ever Told, and testimony from various manicurists about the length of his fingers in return for his agreeing to step down on the grounds of some vague but sinister-sounding health issue.

  60. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    Not to mention the judge appointed a law firm that has paid the Clintons $700,000 for speeches, is a member of a La Raza legal group, and is a member of the Hispanic-American legal group that has voted to oppose and boycott Trump. That sure looks like the appearance of impropriety.

    Explain how any of those things are improper.

  61. Jewelbomb says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    Nietzsche was right–history DOES repeat itself, the second time as farce.

    FWIW, I do believe that quote comes not from Nietzsche but from Karl Marx. It’s cool, I’m sure Marx would be happy to share the profits of his intellectual labor with the people.

  62. Jewelbomb says:

    @JKB:

    All Trump has done is point out the appearance of impropriety of a Mexican-American judge overseeing the lawsuit given the statements Trump has made that don’t pander to the Mexican community.

    Not true. He’s said the judge should recluse himself. Serious question: If judges are deemed ineligible to preside because one party in the action has said things that the judge, in light of his ethnic heritage, might construe as inflammatory, just where do we imagine this will stop? Couldn’t any defendant defer a case forever simply by saying inflammatory things publicly about the background of every judge on the schedule, thereby making them all ineligible to preside?

  63. al-Alameda says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    While I will agree with you, kudos are in order to Mr. Florak in recognizing “a bridge too far” when he sees it. Now that we know that Cruz is also not it, I, too, would like to know what this “true conservative” looks like. Then again, I was interested in knowing what GOP “real health care reform” looks like and nobody is showing me that either.

    Every time conservatives do a post-mortem on a loss, or in this case many don’t like what they see, they complain that ___________________ [[fill in the blank]] was not a real conservative. For once I wish they, including Eric Florack, would tell us, exactly which real conservative would have won.

  64. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Hey look…Eric Florack, uber-racist, shows his ugly face…obstensibly to say that if Republicans had embraced a real racist like Buchanan then we would be playing tiddly-winks with a wannabe like Trump.

  65. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    And of course…JKB supports the racist-as-victim meme.

  66. C. Clavin says:

    @john430:

    Their top 2 candidates are a lying crook

    Millions of dollars and decades spent investigating her says you are full of shit. Discuss.

  67. bookdragon says:

    @Jen: I don’t know if it will happen at the convention. Too many trumpkins would be too angry if it wasn’t handled just right and too many would stay home anyway if an ‘establishment’ guy got put in his place.

    But I tell my kids I’m not worried about a Trump presidency even if (God forbid) something happened to HRC and he won. I fully expect that between RICO charges from Trump U and general cluelessness on how govt works, there’d be cause for impeachment within the first 100 days and the GOP congresscritters would step right up to prove their “integrity” by impeaching him.

    In fact, I think this is the long game Paul Ryan’s playing. He expects to either get someone tractable as VP or someone who can be taken down with Trump, making him POTUS after Trump is impeached.

  68. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Pearce: It’s improper because he’s Mexican not a Republican judge. It’s nothing at all like Clarence Thomas’ wife making so much money challenging the ACA (and Clarence not declaring it until caught) but it was perfectly okay for Thomas to rule on the ACA’s constitutionality. IOKIYAR. All others need not apply/be a member of the judiciary/vote. Etc.

  69. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Alameda: Again, I agree. The problem is that, in the same manner as “real health care reform,” “a real conservative” [whether or not that person can actually win] is simply a fantasy that they use to hold their seat at the table. They have nothing–no candidate, no plan, no policy, nada, zip-a-roo.

  70. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: The key words are “Clinton,” “La Raza,” and “oppose and boycott Trump” (as if Trump has any businesses that can be boycotted by the general public). Please consult your dog whistle dictionary for the importance of any that you don’t fully get.

  71. anjin-san says:

    @JKB:

    Well of course dude. If you are a Klan member, a black judge should have to recuse himself. And so on, and so on.

  72. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @JKB: So what your saying is that Scott Adams is a victim of early onset dementia and we should expect the strip and blog to be ending soon?

  73. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce:

    Explain how any of those things are improper.

    He’ll have to get to relevant before he gets to improper.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  74. Jen says:

    @bookdragon: Oh, I agree–not *at* the convention. Trump is looking very much forward to that spotlight shining on him for four days (thus the idea that he will speak on all four nights).

    I’m thinking more along the lines of an October (or late September) surprise.

  75. James Pearce says:

    @Blue Galangal: @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: @Mikey: Brian Beutler sums up JKB’s comment pretty well here:

    The Republican Party is now reluctantly in thrall to a man who decries the imagined biases of minority judges, in the hope that he will nominate different judges, whose genuine biases can be counted on.

    We all know that’s true, even if certain folks can’t really admit it.

  76. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    You are the dumbest man alive.

  77. steve s says:

    Mr. Florack opines:

    Had the GOP actually embraced conservatism instead of John McCain, Mitt Romney and so on, and in this case Ted Cruz Donald Trump would have been a laughable also ran, if that.

    So if the GOP nominated candidates who couldn’t even win the GOP primary, they would have won the general election.

    Eric, this is a less-than-brilliant belief, let me tactfully say.

  78. steve s says:

    – The Stupid: They’re too dim to understand they’re being used to further goals which will harm them.
    – The Evil: They know they’re fucking over the country, but they don’t give a damm.

    My question; those people you still consider a sensible/reasonable/moderate Republican, which group do they fall into?

    The whole point of Why People Believe Weird Things is that smart people aren’t immune from craziness–they’re often really good at rationalizing things a duller person would confront. In other words, there. a third group. the Motivated Delusional.

  79. gVOR08 says:

    @Loviatar:

    Just so you understand I’m not being hyperbolic, these fuckers wanted to default on the national debt, repeatedly. The evil part planned it and the stupid part went along with it.

    To be fair, the default thing was really the stupid wing, the Freedom (sic) Caucus guys. The evil wing want to maintain Exxon’s profits while drought and flood destroy a chunk of the third world, want to bomb any brown people that don’t show us due deference, want to make sure we don’t regulate their banks, and don’t want to pay any taxes.

  80. Loviatar says:

    @steve s:

    I’ve been working on a Magic Quadrant graph to help myself define the Republican base.

    – X axis: Smart to Dumb (the further to the right you go the dumber you get)
    – Y axis: Good to Evil (as you get closer to the bottom, you become more evil)

    I think you’ve given me the name of my lower left section: Motivated Delusional

  81. wr says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: “So what your saying is that Scott Adams is a victim of early onset dementia and we should expect the strip and blog to be ending soon?”

    Maybe the blog, but the strip can just keep going on repeating the same three jokes until the end of time. Like Marmaduke.