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Hullabaloo


Sunday, March 05, 2017

 
When a whole party goes crazy, this is what happens

by digby




I don't think we can underestimate how important it is that Trump came along when the GOP was at peak crazy. He probably couldn't have made it if that weren't true. They are, in a slightly different way, just as looney and dangerous as he is, and their lunacy enables his.

This article in the Guardian get to that issue:

Sure, Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham vow to hold Trump to account. But the rest of them are profiles in moral weakness, prepared to turn two blind eyes to the actions of the president simply because he wears the right party colours. So Devin Nunes, chair of the House intelligence committee, which should be investigating all this, says “there’s nothing there”. His colleague Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the House oversight committee, declined to look into the Flynn affair because “it’s taking care of itself”. Oversight, it seems, is precisely the right word. But please don’t get the impression that Chaffetz is lethargic in his supervisory duties. On the contrary, there’s one scandal he’s very keen to investigate even now: Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Remember that? “Lock her up,” the Republicans chanted throughout 2016, believing that Clinton had put sensitive information at risk. The email affair dominated coverage and fatally damaged her campaign. Well, it turns out that as governor of Indiana, vice-president Mike Pence also used a private email account to conduct state business, including sensitive security matters and counter-terrorism, and that account was promptly hacked. Pence kept strangely quiet about that.

‘You never forget meeting a Russian’: late night hosts on Sessions’ recusal
You see, it’s not just Trump. This week Republicans waved through yet more of the president’s absurd cabinet appointments. In comes Ben Carson, who had earlier declared himself unfit to head any department because he had “no experience”: he will be in charge of housing and urban development. Republicans also ratified Rick Perry as energy secretary: Perry famously forgot, in a 2011 presidential debate, that energy was one of the departments he wanted to abolish.

It’s Republicans who are making a mockery of Trump’s claim to speak for the forgotten millions by planning a tax cut that will send billions of dollars into the pockets of the very richest. It’s Republicans who devoted years to denouncing Obamacare, promising to replace it with a system that would miraculously provide better healthcare to more people for less money. Now that they’re in charge, that’s been exposed as the magical thinking it always was. Trump is the face of that idiocy – saying this week that, “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated”, when in fact everybody but him and the blowhards on Fox News knew precisely that many, many years ago.

But we can’t just point the finger at, and pray for the downfall of, Donald Trump. He is merely the face of a deeper Republican malaise. The hypocrisies he embodies extend far beyond him. For decades, Republicans cast themselves as the party of family values, wagging their finger at anyone who had fallen short of the moral standards they set. But when Trump came along, promising them the tax cuts and seats on the supreme court they craved, all that went out of the window. Suddenly they were prepared to embrace a thrice-married worshipper of mammon who brags about sexually assaulting women and was happy to assess his own daughter as “a piece of ass”. Note the polling on white evangelical Christians. In 2011 they were the group least likely to accept that a candidate guilty of immoral behaviour in their personal life might nevertheless be able to act ethically as a leader. Now they are the by 2017 to become the most forgiving on that score.

Consider the way Republicans used to claim “freedom” as their own, posing as liberty’s champions. Now it emerges that fewer than half of all Republican voters believe news organisations should be free to criticise political leaders – a freedom that is surely fundamental.

And of course, for decades Republicans wrapped themselves in the flag, claiming a monopoly on patriotism, casting themselves as the heirs to Ronald Reagan and all those who stood strong against Russian authoritarianism. Yet now, delegates to the CPAC ultra-conservative conference will happily wave little Russian flags, so long as they have Trump’s name on them.

It’s natural to direct our fury at Trump and to want to see him gone. But it was the wider American right that, over more than two decades, feasted on bigotry, ignorance and contempt for science, facts and the compromises required by democratic governance – it was that right that incubated Trump and Trumpism. If impeachment and removal from office are ever to be more than a fantasy, it will be Republicans who will have to make it happen. And that will require them to do more than change a president. They will have to change themselves.
This will only happen when they are repudiated by an overwhelming majority of the American people. Unfortunately, that will probably take something so catastrophic it may not be worth it.

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