Observations On The Fox GOP Candidates Debate in Detroit

GOP-DEBATE_

The transcript is here.

1. I’m in Atlanta, teaching ethics to lawyers, and watching some shows I seldom get to see. I believe I have discovered why so many citizens are ill-informed, have warped priorities, are entranced by a vulgar reality TV star, and appear not to comprehend that electing a President isn’t something that should be used as the means to express free-floating frustration. This morning I made the excuse of tuning into “Good Morning America!,” the top rated morning show,and watched in disbelief as the happy, giggly crew “covered” the debate by briefly highlighting Donald’s defense of his penis and the silly exchange about yoga Romney’s thorough dismantling of Trump didn’t make the cut, but the big news, according to ABC, was that a GMA cast member was announced as new “Dancing With The Stars” contestant. We were treated to a 10 minute segment including her mother, her DWTS partner, and a montage of the career of a typical TV weather girl.  The news that Hillary Clinton’s tech guy who set up her server and who had used the 5th Amendment to avoid answering the FBI’s questions was granted immunity yesterday by the Justice Department wasn’t anywhere to be found. Hey, the gang on GMA don’t seem to think who gets to run for President matters, why should anyone else? Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), what isn’t reported has as much effect on distorting Americans’ views, beliefs and civic conduct as much as what is.

But isn’t it exciting that Ginger is going to get to wear those skimpy dance outfits, and so soon after having her baby?

2. Back to Donald’s penis: I was tempted to re-post this in it’s entirety. I correctly forecasted that a President Trump would transform the culture and leave us with a “nation of assholes,” but I did nor foresee that he would be able to substantially accomplish his mission by just running.  In a Presidential debate, a candidate discusses his penis size and the audience hoots delightedly like Bill Maher’s crowd when he says “fuck you.” A civilized U.S. worthy of international respect would regard a candidate who stooped to such crudeness and idiocy as having eliminated himself from consideration.

3. Marco Rubio showed that Trump’s reliance on rationalizations is communicable. Asked why he spent last week name calling and suggesting that Trump wet his pants, after once vowing that he wouldn’t stoop to personal attacks,  Rubio answered that the media gives “an incredible amount of coverage” to Trump’s attacks—Oh. so it’s OK because it works. How big is your penis, Marco?– and Trump “deserves” to be attacked the same way. Great: the ends justify the means, and “he had it coming.” Later, Rubio objects to Trump calling him a “little Marco” instead of giving a substantive answer to a plocy question. Yes, ad hominen attacks are the hallmark of weak thinkers, bullies and fools. Explain to us again why you started using them, Senator?

4. Nonetheless, Trump’s constant use of “little Marco” should be the last strawfor any parent who doesn’t want to raise a bully or have a child tormented by one. Trump is validating bullying behavior, at a high level. Here, I’ll link to “A Nation of Assholes” again. Insufferable conservative bloggers and pundits who know how bad Trump is but who are actively rooting for him to destroy the Republican party as retribution—Why don’t they just root for a dirty bomb to take out the Capitol?— write about how the “elites” just don’t understand:

“To the establishment, this breakdown looks like chaos. It looks like savagery. It looks like a man with a flamethrowing guitar playing death metal going a hundred miles an hour down Fury Road. But to the American people, it looks like democracy.”

Well, that’s because the “elites'” contempt for people who applaud bullies, torture and penis-boasting is absolutely justified, and if the American people think electing someone like Trump is democracy, then it proves that they understand neither democracy nor their obligations as citizens. There is nothing noble, or admirable, or justifiable about someone supporting Donald Trump. Writes another right-wing apologist for Trump supporters (the pompous conservative gang are all saying the same thing—they are interchangeable):

“The messenger doubtless is deeply flawed. Trump is no Washington, that’s for sure. Donald Trump would not have been my first choice as a GOP nominee. He wouldn’t have been my 100th choice. But if the counter-revolutionaries decide they want Trump as the nominee, I will not oppose them. And I will hope that the counter-revolution has now become too big for one deeply and profoundly flawed man to derail.”

What an irresponsible statement. And by the way, if Trump would be your 10,000th choice, your respect for ethical values and responsible leadership is woefully insufficient. The Left ridicules Trump, and the Right roots for him to wreck the country. The Left is correct, and the Right is disgracing itself while showing the deep, deep cynicism and ugliness within.

4. Trump was, of course, asked if the tape of his off-the-record discussion with the New York Times, in which he supposedly expressed a willingness to be flexible on his immigration stance, should be released, and he says he won’t authorize it. This is identical to Hillary Clinton refusing to release her  Goldman Sachs  speeches. If the tape wouldn’t contradict what he has said in public, there is no reason not to release it.  Trump’s angry zombie supporters will excuse this just as Hillary’s corrupt zombie supporters will ignore the fact that she says what any given audience wants to hear.

When I hear the complaint that politicians have contempt for ordinary Americans, I am tempted to say, “And they have earned every bit of it.”

5. Leading into the yoga exchange, Trump excuses a list of his flip-flops, some very recent, by saying, “I’ve never seen a successful person who didn’t have a degree of flexibility,” and, regarding one of his reversals on a specific issue, “I’m changing it, and I’m softening the position.” In other words, the most cited reasons  for Trump’s irresponsible support, that he “means what he says” and “tells it like it is” are completely illusory, and he admits it.

Oh, never mind, Trump fans, it’s not worth trying to explain it to you. Here’s a hammer: go and keep hitting your head with it.

6. Trump defends his advocacy of torture by invoking the most inexcusable rationalizations of them all, #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.” In case you feel Donald Trump  rotting your values while he tries to destroy the culture’s, here’s a brief reminder:

“…this excuse is popular in high places: witness the “Abu Ghraib was bad, but our soldiers would never cut off Nick Berg’s head” argument that was common during the height of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal. It is true that for most ethical misconduct, there are indeed “worse things.” … So what? We judge human conduct against ideals of good behavior that we aspire to, not by the bad behavior of others. One’s objective is to be the best human being that we can be, not to just avoid being the worst rotter anyone has ever met.

“There are worse things” is not an argument; it’s the desperate cry of someone who has run out of rationalizations.”

My rule is that anyone who thinks this is a valid argument is per se untrustworthy, and capable of doing, or excusing, terrible.

7.  Ted Cruz  had a strong debate, not surprising, as he is a strong debater. He is still repugnant on a visceral level, has shown himself to be shameless cheat as a campaigner, and has more negative charisma than even Hillary Clinton, Bob Dole, or Mike Dukakis. Maybe Nixon was as inherently unlikable as Cruz; I think he was easier to look at.

Admittedly, that little white thing that came out of Ted’s mouth and crawled around his lips didn’t help.

8. Ann Althouse didn’t say so outright, but she flagged this exchange as smoking gun proof that Trump thinks like a fascist. (Hey, but that just means he’s just “flawed,” right ?). She is correct. And this is why his supporters are either ignorant, or irresponsible, and definitely not “counter-revolutionaries” to be deferred to:

BAIER: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists’ families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders. So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?

TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.

BAIER: But they’re illegal.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you look at the Middle East. They’re chopping off heads. They’re chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way. They’re drowning people in steel cages. And he — now we’re talking about waterboarding. This really started with Ted, a question was asked of Ted last — two debates ago about waterboarding. And Ted was, you know, having a hard time with that question, to be totally honest with you. They then came to me, what do you think of waterboarding? I said it’s fine. And if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger, too, because, frankly… (APPLAUSE) … that’s the way I feel. Can you imagine — can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That’s my opinion.

BAIER: But targeting terrorists’ families?

TRUMP: And — and — and — I’m a leader. I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

BAIER: Even targeting terrorists’ families?

TRUMP: Well, look, you know, when a family flies into the World Trade Center, a man flies into the World Trade Center, and his family gets sent back to where they were going — and I think most of you know where they went — and, by the way, it wasn’t Iraq — but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening. They left two days early, with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went, and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon, and probably trying to fly into the White House, except we had some very, very brave souls on that third plane. All right?

Not only should  Americans who support this man be ashamed of themselves, we should be ashamed of them, and that we have so neglected basic civic education here that there are so many of to be ashamed of.

67 thoughts on “Observations On The Fox GOP Candidates Debate in Detroit

  1. It’s too bad that Kasich seems unable to talk about anything except how he made Ohio great. Trump of course remains a bully, unethical to the core (kind of reminds me of Mussolini), and should go back to doing his reality show where he belongs. I’m afraid though that we as a country have devolved to a society like Rome was in the era of bread and circuses.

  2. “We judge human conduct against ideals of good behavior that we aspire to, not by the bad behavior of others. One’s objective is to be the best human being that we can be, not to just avoid being the worst rotter anyone has ever met.”

    I love this comment. There’s an incredible nobility about it that makes it powerful.

  3. “…this excuse is popular in high places: witness the “Abu Ghraib was bad, but our soldiers would never cut off Nick Berg’s head” argument that was common during the height of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal.

    According to the UCMJ, that the soldiers would not cut off Nick Berg’s head is beside the point. Furthermore, the Abu Ghraib prisoners were not even associated with the beheading of Nick Berg.

    On the other hand, it is not as if terrorists are entitled to any international law protections.The UCMJ was meant to maintain discipline among troops, not to protect terrorists.

    http://talk.mailarchive.ca/politics.mideast/2004-06/3183.html

  4. Although there is no way I will pull the lever for Trump in June, since this time out NJ’s primary might actually mean something, I am increasingly faced with the inevitability of pulling the lever for a proto-fascist who lies and breaks the law, or a proto-fascist who bullies and brags about his schlonger. This is how nations fall apart. I will still choose Trump over Hillary, I refuse to create a false goddess of feminism.

    • Steve-O, I was with you until just a few hours before last night’s “pisser contest.” Now, I can vote for neither Trump nor Hillary. He is trying to help her win. She MUST win. (So we’re told.) I am now resigned to Hillary’s inevitability as the 45th president. There is a special place in hell-on-earth for countries like the United States; it’s getting there as fast as it can.

  5. I know you’ve heard most of it before, but it seems appropriate to share again, with a few new additions…

    No matter how much idiotic Liberals want to portray Trump as a Conservative, to Conservatives Liberals look like they’re politically and morally ignorant of what makes a Conservative a Conservative; but that’s no big surprise considering Liberals hacks and Progressive hacks are blinded to the real world by their own magical thinking, for them reality resides in that place between awake and asleep when their dreams dominate their magical thinking. Trump is literally a caricature of what the Liberals thinkConservative ideology and values are all about not what real Conservative ideology and values are all about; that’s exactly why Liberals “think” Trump is a Conservative – the whole Trump thing appears to be Liberal magical thinking of Republicans portrayed by a narcissist actor citing a script written by Progressive political hacks that have extensively studied psychological propaganda warfare. Trump is manufactured from the magical thinking of Liberals. Trump is the culmination of all those Liberal political cartoons portraying Republicans with Liberal magical thinking, it’s the equivalent to a DC Comic graphic novel coming to life; remember, it’s Liberal Magical Thinking. (See definition above).

    Trump is full of rhetoric that is entrenched in unwavering intellectual dishonesty guided by his appallingly unethical character that is projecting his complete and utter moral bankruptcy and he is using his uncivil rhetoric to steamroll over anything in his path. Trump is using Liberal/Progressive political tactics based on the value system of leftist political hacks and he has put those tactics on a continuous IV stream of heroin; the narcissist thinks he’s invincible and he’s actually stated as much.

    Trump’s values are everything real Conservatives are not. Trumps values are equivalent to extremist Liberal/Progressive hacks; there is not a Conservative bone in his falsely portrayed persona. There is nothing ideological about Trump. Trump is not a Conservative. Trump may be waving a Republican flag but he is definitely not a Republican.

    It’s my opinion that Trump is a dirt bag narcissistic snake oil salesman; Trump is not a Conservative; Trump does not represent the Republican Party. Trump has no ideology. Trump is dangerous. Regardless of the consequences in the 2016 election, it is my opinion that Trump should not get the nomination at the convention; the Republican Party needs to take an ideological, ethical, and moral stand against this faux Republican caricature; the future of the Republican Party depends on it but more importantly the very future of the United States of America may depend on Republicans standing their ground right here and right now!

    • But, Zoltar, they won’t. At it’s core, the Republican Party is moderate, not Conservative, and the term “moderate” has been sliding to the left for many years. The Republican Establishment’s failure to recognize and deal with a rising discontent on the part of the Tea Party, which WAS conservative, is the proximate cause of Donald Trump’s success right now. You are right, of course, in that Trump is NOT a conservative, no more so than Obama. What he is, however, is a bombastic narcissist who is taking advantage of the Tea Party, who are rightly pissed at being ignored and pooh-pooped by the establishment for the last two Presidential election cycles. There is, at this point, no legitimate way the establishment (I hate that term, but it’s what we have) can dump him, which means that they will need to resort to illegitimate means, and that, arguably, will destroy the Republican Party (assuming they are even willing to take any form of action. So far, the survival of the Party seems to be a secondary concern for them). And it is quite possible that they are dead no matter what, for allowing a schlepnik like Trump to even consider running as a Republican.

      • If Trump gets the nomination the entire 2012 Republican Platform will have to be rewritten to reflect Trump’ism; the sections We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government and the section Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods will have to be eliminated entirely with Trump as the nominee, heck the only section Trump really needs will be the American Exceptionalism which can be summed up with one sentence; I am great, do what I say or else, and I get along with everyone whether you freaking like it or not.”

        I can’t friggin’ wait to read the blow sunshine twisted drivel that will have to be written if Trump is the nominee.

        • You’re almost certainly right that that is what SHOULD happen. Two points though: number 1, don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen and; 2 better catch your breath, because unless the RNC grows a pair, Trump WILL be the nominee. Have I mentioned that we are doomed?

          • Maybe the GOP should just delete their old 2012 platform and not write a 2016 platform, because if Trump is the nominee the platform will certainly not be inline with Trump’ism.

            • I think most liberals believe as Beth stated.

              As for what IS Trump? He’s a sociopath, a narcissist, a misogynist, a racist, and most importantly….he’s a chameleon. He represents whatever is convenient for him at the moment. I do not for one moment believe he is as obtuse as he portrays. He realizes fully half of the population is below average intelligence, and even among those above that line, many are ignorant of how politics work. Prior to this election these were not the people campaigns pandered to. Now they are at the heart of it….and loving it. Donald is appealing to every American of below average intelligence and below average education….and unfortunately that is a huge portion of our population.

              Frankly – if Trump REALLY wanted to appeal to the vast majority of his supporters – in answer to Romney’s attack his best answer would have been “F–k off Romney, you loser!” his supporters would have cheered, they would have fallen all over themselves with pride at his boldness and lack of political correctness. It would have been on T-Shirts and bumper stickers. It would have been the catchphrase of his campaign and probably clinched the nomination for him. Sad, shameful, disgusting and frightening, isn’t it?

              • Lisa & Beth,
                Please read the following:

                Paul Fanlund: On race and more, Donald Trump is a fit for the GOP

                Open your eyes, there are many Paul Fanlund Progressive hack equivalents roaming the streets; open your eyes and ears. You should read some of the crap that Mr. Fanlund posts as comments in madison.com threads using his multiple madison.com corporate protected pseudonyms.

                I repeat…


                No matter how much idiotic Liberals want to portray Trump as a Conservative, to Conservatives Liberals look like they’re politically and morally ignorant of what makes a Conservative a Conservative; but that’s no big surprise considering Liberals hacks and Progressive hacks are blinded to the real world by their own magical thinking, for them reality resides in that place between awake and asleep when their dreams dominate their magical thinking. Trump is
                literally a caricature of what the Liberals thinkConservative ideology and values are all about not what real Conservative ideology and values are all about; that’s exactly why Liberals “think” Trump is a Conservative – the whole Trump thing appears to be Liberal magical thinking of Republicans portrayed by a narcissist actor citing a script written by Progressive political hacks that have extensively studied psychological propaganda warfare. Trump is manufactured from the magical thinking of Liberals. Trump is the culmination of all those Liberal political cartoons portraying Republicans with Liberal magical thinking, it’s the equivalent to a DC Comic graphic novel coming to life; remember, it’s Liberal Magical Thinking.

                You can continue to tell me I’m wrong it you like, but I think you’re the ones who is wrong.

                  • I finally read your Fanlund link – and find I almost totally agree with him!

                    I think he’s a little harsh, in that there are certainly principled conservatives in the GOP. But they are clearly, clearly outnumbered these days. What you wishfully see as the GOP is a (slightly blurred) vision of the past.

                    I suspect you and I could agree to disagree about whether people like Paul Ryan are principled conservatives or hypocrites (Fanlund would say the latter, I’m inclined to agree), but we ought to be able to agree that the good guys have gotten overwhelmed by the marauding Huns.

                    And if it’s too late to prevent the End of Civilization, the good guys should’ve seen it coming. Yet as recently as last week they all pledged to support Il Duce I mean Mr Trump.

                • WHO are all these liberals who you claim think Trump is a conservative?

                  Most of us are quite clear: he’s NOT a conservative, he just represents the very sizable chunk of the Republican Party that feels sold out by the increasingly-obvious minority part of the GOP that calls itself “conservative,” and thinks everyone else is following them.

                  Conservative dogma is that all government is bad, free trade is good,maxes should be cut, trickle-down economics rules, and Planned Parenthood should be de-funded.

                  Trump supporters either don’t care much about this or don’t buy it at all. That is no surprise to Trump voters or to liberals.

                  The only people who are shocked–shocked!!– to find out that the rank and file are no longer eating the Conservative dog food are Conservatives themselves. They have a hard time believing that the masses finally caught on to the con of dog whistle politics as cover up for massive corporate welfare.

                  • charlesgreen asked, “WHO are all these liberals who you claim think Trump is a conservative?”

                    With all due respect, you need to visit my back yard, the Liberal bastion of Madison, WI – a Liberal/Progressive community surrounded by reality.

                    • Good catch on the typo; yes, I do believe maximums should be minimized. 🙂

                      Re the People’s Republic of Madison, I note no fewer than three pieces today in your hometown rag The Cap Times which talk about the rift between the mainstream GOP and Trump.

                      No one in Madison who reads the paper can miss the conflict.

                      I’m making the further assumption that most readers equate GOP with Conservative, a la Ryan, Cruz, Rubio. And if I’m right about that, then it’s obvious in your liberal neighborhood that Mr Trump is anathema to Conservatives–further, he has them tied in knots.

                      What am I missing?

                    • Charles,
                      You’re missing the guts of the articles written by those actually in Madison and what I am observing as a general consensus from the political left across the country that Trump is just openly verbalizing what the GOP has always been “hiding” and he IS the modern GOP.

                      “To me, Trump’s candidacy is a natural evolution — and an accurate manifestation — of the modern GOP. It’s just that, in the past, the party deftly disguised its bigotry. Trump does not.”, “What does surprise me is how so many national political reporters and pundits more or less accept the narrative peddled by national Republicans that Trump represents an unprecedented and hostile takeover of the modern Republican Party”, “The GOP has been exploiting race by nurturing racism for at least 50 years”, “GOP has similarly contributed to and profited from a simmering xenophobia in the United States”, “Trump and his resume of hatred is more of the same. It is just that Trump doesn’t bother with nuance, filters or, in what has become a cliché, the “dog whistles” of coded communication employed by Republicans.” Paul Fanlund

                      I’m seeing and hearing what’s actually there; Paul Fanlund is NOT alone with the political hackery smears from Progressives it’s wide-spread.

                      I did not say that Madison’ians or Liberals in general do not acknowledge that there’s conflict in the Republican Party, what most Liberals refuse to acknowledge is that what Trump is is NOT what Republicans or Conservatives have been or are. What I’m predominately hearing from the left is that Trump IS the epitome of the Republican Party – it’s a false smear! There are certainly some exceptions to that; you , Beth, Lisa, et al but your voices are very few and very far between and being drowned out by the illogical voices of leftist political hacks spewing their smears. There seems to be very few of you that are willing to take the heat and stand up to those in your party that are spewing this kind of hackery nonsense; however, the Republicans are showing the masses, to no avail, that there are many, MANY in the political right who are openly willing to take the heat and stand up to unethical and morally bankrupt people like Trump.

                    • I think the confusion here is between “Republican” and “Conservative.” You initially said the most liberals mistakenly think Trump is a conservative: to quote you:

                      “No matter how much idiotic Liberals want to portray Trump as a Conservative, to Conservatives Liberals look like they’re politically and morally ignorant of what makes a Conservative a Conservative; but that’s no big surprise considering Liberals hacks and Progressive hacks are blinded to the real world by their own magical thinking, for them reality resides in that place between awake and asleep when their dreams dominate their magical thinking. Trump is literally a caricature of what the Liberals thinkConservative ideology and values are all about not what real Conservative ideology and values are all about; that’s exactly why Liberals “think” Trump is a Conservative.”

                      I responded that liberals perfectly well know the difference between Trump and Conservatives, that in fact it’s Conservatives who are confused. They think that Conservatism = Republican. And, to their horror, they’re discovering that the Republican Party has been hijacked by the likes of Trump.

                      In your latest note, you’re subtly changing your claim, from “conservative” to “republican.” I quote you:

                      “what most Liberals refuse to acknowledge is that what Trump is is NOT what Republicans or Conservatives have been or are. What I’m predominately hearing from the left is that Trump IS the epitome of the Republican Party – it’s a false smear!”

                      If liberals claimed that Trump were conservative, that would be a false smear. But what both Trump supporters AND liberals are actually claiming is precisely what you’re denying – that the Party of Lincoln has been hijacked by Trumpists.

                      You clearly don’t like it, but – Trump TRULY IS the epitlome of the Republican party. Look at the polls. Look at the electoral votes. Look at the primaries, Who’s winning the Republican primaries? Donald John Trump.

                      This is not “liberals” talking – this is your party, the GOP, the Republicans. The “old guard” is in complete denial – Romney actually added to Trump’s popularity. CPAC does not control the party’s voters. Ryan reads the Tea leaves and realizes he’s in the same position as Boehner.

                      The Party of Lincoln is voting for Trump. Read the papers – all of them!

                      Your protestation is precisely wrong – Trump IS the epitome of the Republican party! It’s just that the Old Guard is in denial about it.

                      Don’t believe me? Just watch for Cleveland – if it goes to an open convention, which it looks like it might, beware the wrath of the people – the people who vote GOP, that is, and who have finally chosen to take the party’s former leaders at their word, instead of their hidden agenda.

                    • Charles said, “”I think the confusion here is between “Republican” and “Conservative.” “

                      Absolutely no confusion here. Don’t you think your premise is a little intellectually dishonest?

                      Ask 100 Liberal, Progressives or staunch supporters of the Democratic Party if Conservatives are Republicans and I would be willing to bet the farm that well over 90% of them would say yes in a heartbeat; ask the exact same 100 people if a Republicans is a Conservatives and I believe you would get the exact same answer. Right or wrong, in the minds of the political left a Republican is equivalent and completely interchangeable with Conservative; furthermore, I think you would get almost exactly the same results if you asked Conservatives about Liberals and the Democratic Party. Independents is where you’ll get a wide variance in answers to those questions.

                      Charles said, “You clearly don’t like it, but – Trump TRULY IS the epitome of the Republican party. Look at the polls. Look at the electoral votes. Look at the primaries, Who’s winning the Republican primaries? Donald John Trump.”

                      With all due respect, that is spoken like a true Progressive. Using your logic; Bernie Sanders (a Democratic Socialist) is winning some primaries, and some polls, and is quite popular among the political left – that’s right, a Democratic Socialist can be considered the epitome of the Democratic Party. I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think you should either.

                      There is no logical reason for the two of us to continue this particular conversation, I’m not going to convince you of anything and you’re not going to convince me of anything; we disagree, that’s ok, let’s leave it at that and move on.

                    • Huge difference. Bernie is losing. Donald is winning. One deserves to be called the leader of his party, the other doesn’t.
                      Sure conservatives are Republicans–but not all Republicans are conservatives. Count the votes.
                      Most Republicans today are Trumpeters–not conservatives.

                    • Huge difference. Bernie is losing. Donald is winning. One deserves to be called the leader of his party, the other doesn’t.
                      Sure conservatives are Republicans–but not all Republicans are conservatives. Count the votes.
                      Most Republicans today are Trumpeters–not conservatives.”

                      It really isn’t a “huge” difference actually. HuffPo. Trump is as 43% support, Bernie is at about 39% support. You can start making equations once it’s down to two candidates in the Republican Primary.

                      Trump may be getting there, but he is NOT the party leader nor deserves it.

                    • charlesgreen said, “Bernie is losing. Donald is winning. One deserves to be called the leader of his party, the other doesn’t.”

                      Leader of his party; WOW, you’re hoot! If that’s really what you think, then this conversation just became a complete waste of time.

                      http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/latest-polls-set-the-stage-tomorrows-republican-contests

                      Trump can’t muster any more than 42% in polls and you want to call him the “leader of the party”; heck in one poll he’s only got 36% which is less than Sanders 38% from a couple of days ago. (http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-national-democratic-primary)

                      Leader of the Party; you’re a professional political comedian, right?

                    • Yes, and you could expound on this point. When the leadership of your party says its ashamed to have you succeeding, and when key powers in that party make it clear it won’t follow you, you can’t possibly be the party’s leader.

                    • Read the polls. Watch the news. Who’s calling the tune? It’s Mr. Trump.

                      He dictates whether or not he goes to debates; he influences moderators; he’s knocked off 14 out of 17 other competitors, and leads the last 3.

                      Who do YOU think leads the GOP – Reince Preibus?/!!??

                    • charlesgreen,
                      I’m a Republican, I’m a Conservative; Trump has no ideology; Trump is not a Conservative; in my opinion Trump is not a Republican and calling him a RINO might imply in some way that he’s a republican so even that is a stretch. There isn’t anything that could ever make me vote for Trump, nothing – ever – period. If Trump is nominated I will disavow the Republican Party until they get their collective heads our of that place the sun doesn’t shine; if Trump is the Republican choice I’m writing in someone else – likely Jack Marshall.

                      Any relevant questions Charles?

                    • Zoltar, just to be clear, I totally share your antipathy to Trump, as well as your concern about what he’s done to one of our two great political parties. He’s already responsible for a great deal of damage, and not just nationally, but internationally as well.

                      I’m just trying to be very clear about the danger he presents: he already HAS in effect taken over the party, and it’s no longer accurate to say he’s “not a Republican.” I know what you mean, but putting it that way understates his threat. The real threat is – he IS a Republican, Republican voters vote for him, and all the other Republican candidates claim they’ll support him – all the way off the cliff. He’s driving the train, and kicked everyone else out of the locomotive.

                      It’s even scarier than you’re saying, IMHO!

                    • Charles,
                      I’m glad we have some common opinions, I figured we did but you just aren’t getting the part where Trump is not a Republican; Trump would not have to hijack a party if he and that party were ideologically inline with each other. The Trump perversion is not the Republican Party, you likely will never understand that because you are not a Republican and it’s not your party that is being perverted.

                      I believe the party is irretrievably fractured into the Trumpeters with no ideology and the same moral bankrupt value system as the extremist of the political left and then there are the real Republicans with honorable ideology and honorable values; each Republican must make a choice, go through the looking glass with Trump or stay in reality, make a stand, and put an end to this insanity if that’s possible at this point. I chose to stand against the Trump perversion.

      • [reply to dragin_dragon Mar 4 12:52 pm]
        “[Trump] is taking advantage of the Tea Party,…”

        He might have suckered a few of them, including even a founder. I did one quick search, “Tea Party support for Trump,” and found a mixed bag. I would like to believe that TP Americans, in the vast majority, are opposed to Trump’s nomination and candidacy. A big businessman from New York should be enough of a clue. That is to say, Trump can be fairly suspected of having accumulated much of his wealth in “New Yorky” ways, like through litigation, taking advantage of tax loopholes, and just flat-out scamming people. (No apology, New Yorkers – you elected Hillary, too.)

        Trump – or rather, some strategic thinking on my part, involving Trump – had me temporarily digging in heels and saying I’ll vote for him if he is the R nominee against Hillary. But no more. We all agree that he is not a conservative. (In my book, he is not a moderate, either.) His views are much more comfortably at home in the Democrat Party. There’s the rub. I simply will not vote for either one of two Democrat Party sympathizers.

        The Republican Party has brought its destruction upon itself. It did not even have the “tent-managing” will and fortitude to eject an impostor.

        The country will bring its destruction upon itself, too, when it elects Hillary.

        I have said this before in this blog – or, maybe something very much like what I am saying now: The country prior to 1992-1993 was in “B.C.” – Before Clintons. Then the “antichrist” Bush piled-up more debt and bigger government. Then “Christ returned,” in the melanin-fed Marxism of Barack Obama. Next up: “A.D.” – All Democrats – the misjudgment, and Hell.

      • That’s not a far wrong assessment, but you must hang out with more, reflective (shall we say), liberals than the ones I seem to know. Both Cruz and Rubio have surmountable problems. Cruz is a prick, and Rubio reminds everyone of the schmuck in high-school who started running for Senior Class President during his freshman year. These issues can be worked with. Trump is Trump, and therein lies the problem.

    • I’m a liberal and am fully aware Trump is no conservative. Try telling it to Cruz, who doesn’t seem to have gotten the message, as evidenced by his continued protestations “but he’s not a conservative!”

      We all know he’s not. It’d be funny-ironic that he’s in the GOP (except it’s not funny ha-ha anymore for any of us).

      • charlesgreen said, “I’m a liberal and am fully aware Trump is no conservative. “

        I commend you for stating that; however, that really doesn’t seem to be the standard mantra I’m hearing from the political left these days.

        Since you don’t think Trump is a Conservative, what do you think he is?

        • I see him in the grand American tradition of half populist and half demagogue, and all PT Barnum-ish huckster.
          Of course, it’s not just us. Look at Toronto’s ex-mayor, or London’s present, or Italy’s Berlusconi, or Eva Peron. I don’t know enough about Boss Tweed or Huey Long, but they sound like parallels.
          Easy to mock and under-estimate, and dangerous to do so.

          • “I see him in the grand American tradition of half populist and half demagogue, and all PT Barnum-ish huckster.”

            I agree with you there, Charles.

            • Of course, to Charle’s blindness, half-demagogue and half-populist pretty well describes Obama to a T.

              Populism has always been a major undercurrent of the Democrat party. So much so it’s assumed normal and not ridicule worthy. The real scary thing is that now the party of grown ups realizes that populism is a thing to be tapped into.

              Don’t get me wrong. Every successful candidate has a percentage of populist in him, but not of the likes we’ve seen since Obama.

                • I just recently watched those two movies but had to look up Huey Long.

                  I disqualify myself from being able to have an opinion about what has produced Trump. Essentially I have only questions.

                  I had not heard of the man until he ran begin to appear in the news. But looking over his history, and the contempt for him in NY (‘The Donald’ and all that) I get the sense that he is resentment incarnated. He is retribution against the high-brows who (with justice) reviled him, tortured him with social ridicule. While he should have melted away into anonymity, he chose the opposite; to harden himself and keep pushing upward, and to place himself constantly at the center in the most vulgar way.

                  I read the NYTs today and an article describing that many republican party people – the crass, lower echelons who have no right to pipe up – speak of the arrogance of Romney and respond saying “You’re telling me who to vote for and who not to vote for? Please.” Another quote seemed telling: “I want to see Trump go up there and do damage to the Republican Party”.

                  To do damage …

                  Is not a major aspect here (that is, of Trump’s ascendency) reducible to a rather simple phenomenon: the desire to get even, to disrupt, to disturb, to get in the face of those who call him/them ‘stupid’, etc?

                  I have always noticed that ridicule and shaming and revilement are the most deadly of insults. The worst thing is to say something so true about another, and so insulting to their self-worth (there must be a perfect Maxim of La Rouchefoulcauld that nails this) that they will spend their life getting even with you for having said it.

                  Is not the underpinning here, or one large underpinning, an enactment of revenge?

                  But isn’t it true that when one considers ‘Reality TV’ and such (I do not have or watch TV but I sometimes see snips of Reality shows and have a sense of what they are about), it is about participation, the participation of the demos, at the most basic and vulgar level. Does not ‘Reality TV’ naturally flow from an advertising culture, a media culture of titillation and immediacy and playing down to the lower denominator? If this is so, is not ‘all this’ inevitable? Had it not all been predicted?

                  And what is the cure?

                  But in this sense had not the culture been ‘trained’ to think and feel in such terms, to desire to see a Reality Show enacted in front of them where they might be able to call in and cast a vote but one that has little connection to politics, or current affairs, or the world political scene, and is a minor enactment of issues and sentiments from their own reduced world? This all stems from training up a culture to respond to PR machinations and propaganda, doesn’t it?

                  It is not so much that Trump himself is a danger – he cannot be said to represent an Idea and certainly he does not have a platform – but that ‘Trump’ and politics enacted at this level will likely bring forth some populist demagogue who really does have a serious program.

                  But what I can’t quite grasp here is What does the ‘power structure’ of the United States want? I mean in the so-called ‘halls of power’ that no one seems to be speaking about?

                  • Alizia, your observations of the impetus behind Trump’s ascendance seem to be accurate. I was recently involved in a discussion that involved the practice of exacting revenge or engaging in otherwise irrational, unethical, and criminal behavior simply because a person thought he was disrespected. What you’re writing about may be the same phenomenon. As for the desires of the “power structure”, those involved want exactly what the rest of us want: to be happy. I suspect they would prefer an “establishment” Republican, but this is only conjecture. Those with considerable wealth and power do not have to overly concern themselves with the outcome of the election. They have the wealth, power, connections, and other resources required to prosper whatever the outcome (e.g., I suspect they’re benefiting handsomely from the ACA). The only negative outcome would be the wealth-redistributing war referred to by Other Bill in comment to Jack’s next post.

                    • Thanks for your comment. Since I am not qualified to offer an trustworthy assessment (though I do not know who really is and the idea of ‘qualifications’ is tricky) I would go so far as to say that ‘resentment’ and ‘getting even’ are part and parccel of Trump’s internal make-up. I am still trying to figure it out.

                      Presently, and I think this way about America overall, its ‘being’, its ‘self’, the reality of it, has become essentially irrational. One attempts to know it through analytical exercise – the use of rational skills – but what you are attempting to know is non-rational. I am not sure what aspect of America I am speaking of or how real this aspect is. I am speaking of a ‘psychological self’ which is I guess a form of personality, if indeed a nation can be said to have a personality. I am inclined to say ‘America has gone mad’ but those statements are problematic since, without specificity, they don’t mean much. It seems to me that to describe what this ‘madness’ is, and how it has come about, is a critical endeavor.

                      For example, the critical base I would privelage for my assessment, the components of it, would be ‘reactionary conservative’: a reaction against ‘everything’ insofar as this general madness I would describe as an unmooring from principles. The ‘mad entity’ we speak of when we say ‘America’ has veered so far away from certain principles and into decadence that recovery is not possible except through a social renovation movement. This will not happen obviously because there are too many competing segments. It points to value-conflict and definition-conflicts that are unresolvable. In the idea-realm, which is idea-sentiment, the country is balkanizing. It will not get better, it will only get worse. This seems a fair prediction and yet it is obviously pessimistic.

                      Yet I am aware that someone else, oriented differently, would organize a critique through privelaging ‘progressive’ principles. What is needed is a more ‘radical’ set of choices. For example, I know of a man who says ‘the cure for the problems of democracy is more democracy’ (whatever that means and yet it does, I think, means something, or what it means, though indefinite, is somehow understood).

                      One thing I have been thinking – based on reading the opinions section of the NYTs (and the comments section which, as Camille Paglia has intelligently said, reveal much much more about how people think than the journalists themselves), that it must really be true that another major element here is indeed (shhhhhh! it is in fact an unmentionable and non-conversable topic) ‘race’. The populus (vox populi) knows that this is all part of a last-ditch dying-gasp effort by ‘white men’ of a particular orientation to assert their regressive ‘racism’ as against another tide which is symbolized by Obama. There is a who cultural sub-text, an undertext, an overtext, an invisible and a visible text that clearly recognizes that this is the ‘issue’.

                      The post-war era is one of defining and instituting multi-cultural states and communities and enforcing a propaganda program on various populations to force them to accept this state of things as a moral good. If you oppose it, if you argue against it even slightly, if you have ANY level of sentiment or idea that does not jibe with it, you are a racist. Therefor, you cannot argue against ‘the present dispensation’.

                      So – and even to write these things is to take risks and to risk being shunned for the mere thought of them – there is another aspect of the ‘resentment’, the desire to rise up and to do harm, to overturn, to mess with things, to get even. It is the aspect of a significant part of a constituency which is in rebellion against the project of the present (multicultural and possibly also globalization and much else determined by executive decisions outside of the democratic will of specific communities) but which is not allowed to think what it thinks, not allowed to believe what it believes, and not allowed to see what it sees. These are our own ‘mentally ill’: the backward and – I find this funny – those who ‘do not have a university education’ (a consitently presented argument of the ultra-sophisticated sorts who read the NYTs).

                      My idea for a Reality TV program: I guess it would have to be on an island. Proportional factions of the American demographic tossed into a survival situation, a war, a civil conflict aftermath. Let them all divide up – like in a prison population – into their racial categories. I’d allow for an Amazon-lesbian-feminist camp of course (headed by a graduate from the Navy Seal program, thank heavens for feminist gains!) and also a Gay Militia with appropriate uniforms. Hippies, millenial Christians, a white militia of men of ‘a certain age’. The winner of course would be awarded the island and the others would have to sail away and start their own colonies (numerous Realities as spin-offs possible here).

                    • Alizia, there was no option for me to reply to your message, so I am replying to my own. [Jack, I apologize if I am skirting protocol.] If I interpret your prose correctly, what you seem to be addressing in your first few paragraphs is the difference between behavior prompted by rational thought (informed by emotion) and behavior dictated by nothing more than emotion (which is, essentially, non-rational). Emotions provide indispensable information, but are not by themselves sufficient for rational and ethical behavior. For you and others, I suggest checking out Six Seconds (http://www.6seconds.org/).

                      Yes, the cure for the problems of democracy may be more democracy. We may be seeing that now. Only when the idiots become the majority, will the rest of us begin to recognize that the dumbing down of America is a bad idea. It is not okay that today’s newspapers are written for sixth graders, or that kids get participation trophies simply for showing up.

                      Yes, race has a part in the discussion. Yet, only the liberals make it an issue. It is not because “white men of a particular orientation [want] to assert their regressive racism.” There are very few such men (Charles quoted the numbers many posts ago). Most people, and most Republicans, don’t care much about race. Race does not cause unethical behavior. Each person’s behavior is a result of personal choice. Still, Republicans have an opportunity to be the activists in this narrative. They can boldly come out and assert that the DNC has been playing minorities as shills, promising them much and giving them nothing. The Democrats’ efforts have only made the plight of minorities worse. The RNC and conservatives have a plan that allows minorities to succeed and prosper, but they have not well articulated or broadcast that plan.

                      I refuse to watch “reality television” (an oxymoron, emphasis on moron, offense intended only for Mr. Trump and perhaps others that watch such drivel). If someone were to produce the program you suggest, it would have to run for several decades. In the end, the team of heterosexual, lesbian, gay, feminist, militia, Christian, white, black, brown, yellow, and red hippies, with some agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims would certainly win. This is America.

                      Yes, I think you are a bit too pessimistic – it’s easy given our current situation. Still, there are too many of us Americans willing to say, “Enough is enough”, grab our guns and put a stop to the madness (this is why we insisted upon that pesky second amendment and why we are still a free nation today).

              • “Populism has always been a major undercurrent of the Democrat party… The real scary thing is that now the party of grown ups realizes that populism is a thing to be tapped into.”

                I respectfully offer, as counter-example, a Democratic political ad from 1968. See if you can spot the populists:

                  • There were three players in that ad: EG Marshall, playing the cool rational role, commenting on George Wallace and Richard Nixon, each very much playing to populist sentiments.
                    It’s a counterpoint to the claim that the Democratic Party has long been the main home of populist politics.

                    • “It’s a counterpoint to the claim that the Democratic Party has long been the main home of populist politics.”

                      Except that isn’t what I said, is it?

    • “Trump is not a Conservative; Trump does not represent the Republican Party.”

      Correct on the first point. Wrong on the second point.

      The Republican party was hijacked some time ago by people who actually dared belief the dog whistles the conservative “leaders” were blowing. They don’t give a damn about CPAC and corporate tax rates, and haven’t for some time. They knew Cheney’s Iraq war was a lie, and they appreciate someone calling it like it is.

      The GOP ‘leaders’ just recently looked behind them and noticed no one was following them. Instead, they found someone who wasn’t afraid to say out loud what the conservatives had only hinted at – and they liked hearing it out loud.

      Most conservatives are Republicans: but most Republicans aren’t conservatives, and probably haven’t been for some time now.

    • Zoltar,

      Interesting to look back from the vantage point of August at what was written in March. To wit – you wrote:

      “Trump may be waving a Republican flag but he is definitely not a Republican…Trump does not represent the Republican Party…the Republican Party needs to take an ideological, ethical, and moral stand against this faux Republican caricature.”

      With the benefit of hindsight, it is pretty clear that the Republicans DID INDEED nominate Trump; that he is now not just the de facto but the OFFICIAL standard-bearer of the Republican party; and that all leading Republicans (notably excepting Ted Cruz) joined the general acclaim in ENDORSING the now-official nominee of their Grand Old Party, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

      So to correct your statements: Donald Trump IS NOW OFFICIALLY a Republican, in fact he’s their nominee for President; Donald Trump DOES represent the Republican party (they nominated him, for crying out loud); and the Republican party completely failed to ‘take an ideological, ethical and moral stand against’ – because, again, they in fact nominated him.

      The only statement of yours that remains to be seen – and I personally agree with you on this one and think you may yet be proven right – is that “the future of the Republican Party depends on” the rejection of Trump. It may be too late already, which (and I do in fact agree with you) would be a tragedy. The two-party system has worked pretty well for us; I don’t see anyone benefiting from one party committing hari-kiri.

      • Charles said, “So to correct your statements: Donald Trump IS NOW OFFICIALLY a Republican, in fact he’s their nominee for President; Donald Trump DOES represent the Republican party (they nominated him, for crying out loud); and the Republican party completely failed to ‘take an ideological, ethical and moral stand against’ – because, again, they in fact nominated him.”

        So to correct your statement Charles, you’re not “correcting” my statements, you’re updating them using hindsight knowledge from the GOP convention. 😉

        As far as I’m concerned Trump is a faux Republican, he’s bringing to life all those caricatures of Republicans drawn by left wing political cartoonist hacks. Trump is the perfect definition of a RINO and he’s bastardized the GOP and turned it into the Trumplican Party. The party is now full of either true Trump believers or a bunch of blind partisan sheep that are toeing the party line; and I’ll have nothing to do with it. In March, I still had some level of “hope” for the GOP, that hope is long gone. The Republican Party may have retained the name, at least for now, but that’s it.

        The Democratic Party chased me away decades ago with their ideological shift to the extreme left and the tactical shift to moral bankruptcy where they truly believe (but won’t openly admit it but their actions prove it) that the ends justify the means, and now the Republican Party has allowed this caricature (caricature of what the political left has thought of the political right for decades) to take the Party to the far right and flush the “Republican Party” right down the same moral bankruptcy toilet where the ends justify the means and Trump did it almost overnight. The old phrase fight fire with fire pretty much describes what I’ve seen gradually happen to the Republican Party in the last 7 years and the rapid decline of ethics since this campaign season began.

        • ” The Republican Party may have retained the name, at least for now, but that’s it.”

          I think that’s the heart of the matter, and I do agree with you.

          Still, I don’t think it was some thunderbolt out of the blue that suddenly happened; historians will be pretty easily able to look backward – yes, using benefit of hindsight – and trace how the Party of Lincoln became the Party of Trump.

          It was more morph than mis-fire. It was the result of years of dog-whistle pandering to lower-middle class whites on social issues in order to get elected, followed by shameless cutting of corporate taxes and regulations, and resistance to genuinely beneficial reforms like broader healthcare. A con job, shamelessly using what became Trump’s people for their own ends.

          The Tea Party, with benefit of hindsight, was merely an early warning shot across the bow, a canary in the coal mine that McConnell and Boehner and Ryan and Cantor thought they could ignore. But that movement grew up and became Trumpism, which ended up eating the party that thought it controlled it.

          Yes, the name is all that remains. But it was no accident.

  6. The candidates all blew their chances once they said they would support the nominee, even if it were Trump. This legitimizes Trump, making him seem like merely “not the best choice”, rather than the existential disaster he truly is. Cruz in his victory speech in Texas destroyed Trump almost as well as Romney, but he threw it all away. Rubio proved himself woefully naive to think that Trump would be less awful than Hillary. Kasich lamely waffled, claiming he would be the nominee.

    There is a conservative population rightly believes Hillary cannot be trusted, and must be kept out of the White House. Trump, even if elected, might as well be Hillary. Trump will be so ineffective, that Democrats will sweep in Congress during the mid-terms, and gain a super majority capable of pushing anything and everything past a Trump veto.

    There is a small population who’s votes are chosen almost exclusively on whether a candidate is Pro-life. Thus they would blindly choose Trump over Hillary. Even this, however, would be a tragic strategic mistake. Trump will sit in the oval office pouting that Democrats are not treating him fairly, as they push everything that Hillary would have promoted anyways. At least with Hillary as President, as “liberal” and pro-“choice” as she might be (at least when such positions are popular), would not provoke a Democratic onslaught that Trump in office would. Thus Hillary would still be limited to the two party checks and balances and would still have to seek bipartisan support. Trump would simply be a four year lame duck.

    Trump is the reason we have an Electoral College rather than a popular vote. He is the reason the parties model their nomination after the college with delegates, rather than a direct popular vote. It would trigger a near constitutional crisis these days for the Electors to defect and vote on another candidate should Trump have the theoretic number to win, but the system’s purpose is clearly understandable now. It would be interesting, should there be a tie, as to whom the House would choose…

    Would today’s Republic house, given the power, choose the candidate that would disassemble their party’s entire presence in Congress?

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