HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 19, 2018

 
From the GOP coward files

by digby



My Salon column today:

In the wake of his historically disastrous summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump is bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball grudgingly making halfhearted statements in support of the Intelligence Community in one breath and then contradicting them the next. Republicans in congress are desperate for him to clean up the mess he made but he just keeps making new ones.

He issued a ludicrous "walk back" on Tuesday (reportedly drafted by Trump's unctuous factotum Stephen Miller) insisting that he only made one tiny little mistake in an otherwise bravura press conference performance. He claimed his now notorious line, "I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” should have been "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be." This not only doesn't make sense but it doesn't in any way mitigate all the obsequious fawning and obvious willingness to ignore his own government's findings even as Putin stood there and trolled him so hard he could barely keep from laughing out loud.

Since then, he gave CBS News a muddled account of his discussion about the interference during his 2 hour private conversation with Putin:
Very strong on the fact that we can't have meddling, we can't have any of that, now look. We're also living in a grown up world. Will a strong statement, you know, President Obama supposedly made a strong statement, nobody heard it, what they did hear is the statement he made to Putin's very close friend. And that statement was not acceptable. Didn't get very much play relatively speaking. But that statement was not acceptable. But I let him know we can't have this, we're not going to have it, and that's the way it's going to be.
Then later, when asked by a reporter at a White House photo op if he believed that the Russian government was planning to interfere in the upcoming election he said no. (Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to spin it by saying he was responding to something else but when you see it in context it's clear that he was answering that question.)

This would be a direct contradiction of his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who gave a speech on July 13th in which he compared the current situation to the days leading up to 9/11 and specifically called out Russia as the most aggressive foreign actor penetrating American digital infrastructure and undermining US democracy.

It's possible that Trump thinks Vladimir Putin was so dazzled by his manly strength and charisma at the most successful summit in world history, that when Trump said "we're not going to have it and that's the way it's going to be" Putin immediately put an end to the interference. More likely, he's just lying about all of it.

And it's just as probable that he knows the interference is ongoing and appreciates the help. Certainly, you have to start wondering if the Republicans in congress aren't saying a little prayer of thanks to the Russian president every night. The way the mid-term election is shaping up a little Russian "meddling" may be necessary for them to maintain their majority.

In the immediate aftermath of the Helsinki press conference it was clear that the GOP establishment was discombobulated. This seemed to be more than even they could tolerate. Some of the usual suspects like Sen. John McCain R-AZ and Sen. Bob Corker R-TN criticized the president's performance in strong words while others expressed their "disappointment" and "concern." It appeared that a crack in the Trump support wall might be appearing.

But after the White House came up with their fatuous "I meant wouldn't instead of would" most of them are rushing to say how happy they are that Trump clarified his remarks and expressing their desire to move forward and let bygones be bygones. The relief among many of them is palpable.

Behind the scenes they're telling reporters that they've held hearings and imposed sanctions and defended NATO and it makes no difference. According to Politico:
Privately, senior-level Republican aides and lawmakers had a second message: what the hell do you want us to do? At the end of the day, senior Republican aides and lawmakers told us yesterday, it’s up to the president to conduct foreign policy. The Hill can -- and does -- criticize and conduct oversight. So the answer to the media feedback loop is: of course, Congress is not going to do anything substantive. They have no idea what more they should be doing.
They could hold real public hearings, censure the administration, protect Robert Mueller and most importantly, take strong, decisive steps to protect the integrity of our elections. Most importantly they could stop acting as Trump's accomplices and behave as a co-equal branch of government.

But they aren't going to do that because they believe doing so would be political suicide which they think is pointless. McClatchy reports that Republicans think they can pick up as many as four Senate seats as long as Trump dominates the airwaves with his endless whining about the "witch-hunt."  They quote GOP operative Josh Holmes:
“Everybody thinks that President Trump is some kind of drag on the Republican Party, [when] in this case, he’s just the essential ingredient,” said Holmes, who’s helped engineer his party’s Senate strategy for the past 16 years as a chief aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“What the president is doing by continuing to discuss the investigation [into allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia] and the quote-unquote ‘witch hunt,’ particularly on prime time Fox [News], is doing more to mobilize base voters than any legislative issue we’ve seen,” added Holmes.

In other words, colluding with a foreign country is all part of a cynical strategy to get out their voters in November.

It's unclear if that will work. According to Jared Yates Sexton in yesterday's Salon, there is a growing sense of discontent among rank and file Republicans over this Russia business (and I would guess the tariffs will take toll as well.) There may not be quite as many true Trump aficionados as these clever strategists assume.

But they do have one last trick in their bag. The Washington Post reported that today House Republicans will vote on a spending bill that contains no money for election security grants to the states. They say the states have received enough money in the past to get the job done. The fact that the DNI Coates says the "red light" is flashing as it was before 9/11 doesn't seem to be of concern.

The GOP establishment saw what Trump did in Helsinki and were momentarily shaken. It was a stunning performance to say the least. But it's pretty clear that after thinking it over they've decided that maybe Russian interference in the election isn't such a bad thing after all. It may be their only hope.


.