Thursday, October 19, 2017

Have the Republicans Developed "Stockholm Syndrome"?

An article in Foreign Policy by displaced former Republican pundit Max Boot suggests that Congressional Republicans have capitulated to Donald Trump's will and have begun accelerating his and their own "race to the bottom."

The lobotomization of the Republican Party appeared complete last year when the same GOP paladins who had denounced Donald Trump as a “lunatic trying to get ahold of nuclear weapons” (Marco Rubio), as a bigot who was guilty of “the textbook definition of a racist comment” (Paul Ryan), and as a “narcissist,” “serial philanderer,” “pathological liar,” and “bully” (Ted Cruz) nevertheless endorsed him for the most powerful position in the world. Tragedy turned to farce (or is it the other way around?) after the emergence of the “grab ‘em by the pussy” tape on October 7, 2016. Republicans such as Sens. John Thune, Mike Crapo, and Deb Fischer called for Trump to leave the race on the grounds that he was unfit for office, only to change their minds and re-endorse him when it became evident that he was still polling strongly among base voters.

But the Republicans’ race to the bottom — to the absolute lowest moral and intellectual depths — wasn’t over last year, and it’s not over now. It’s still continuing, with even supposedly “normal,” “moderate,” “mainstream” Republicans increasingly echoing Trump’s know-nothing effusions.

The leaders of Congress seem to be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, which by now should really be renamed Republican Syndrome. There, on Monday, was Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell singing kumbaya with Trump in the White House Rose Garden only hours after the president disavowed any blame for “not getting the job done” legislatively. “I’m not gong to blame myself, I’ll be honest,” Trump said. (When has he ever blamed himself for anything?) “They’re not getting the job done.” In case there is any doubt about who “they” is, Trump has been explicit in calling out McConnell as a weak leader, tweeting in August, “The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed!” McConnell nevertheless pledged fealty to his abuser. “Contrary to what some of you may have reported,” he dutifully intoned, “we are together totally on this agenda to move America forward.”

This GOP attitude was taken to its logical if laughable extreme when Sen. Rob Portman, another supposed Republican adult, was asked about the victory in Alabama’s Senate special election primary of far-right rabble-rouser Roy Moore, who makes Trump seem wonkish by comparison. Portman’s only response? “He’s going to be for tax reform, I think.” Never mind about the Constitution, which Moore and Trump both seek to shred in their own ways — Moore is opposed to the separation of church and state, Trump to the freedom of the press. (He thinks that “it is frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.”) As long as they’re for tax cuts, we’re all good!

It becomes ever harder to disagree with the verdict of foreign-policy sage Robert Kagan, like me an erstwhile Republican, who writes that the GOP in its current form is doomed and that Republicans who cannot stomach Trumpism “should change their registration and start voting for Democratic moderates and centrists, as some Republicans did in Virginia recently, to give them a leg up in their fight against the party’s left wing.” As I’ve explained before, I have my qualms about the Democratic Party, which is lurching to the left, but I am done, done, done with the GOP after more than 30 years as a loyal Republican.

This is truly Trump’s party, and that leaves me to root for Democrats to win a landslide victory in the midterm elections next fall. I have my differences with many Democratic candidates, but on the most important issue facing our nation — whether Trump is fit for office — they are right and Republicans are a disgrace.


Trailblazer said...

This says it all.

But the Republicans’ race to the bottom — to the absolute lowest moral and intellectual depths — wasn’t over last year, and it’s not over now. It’s still continuing, with even supposedly “normal,” “moderate,” “mainstream” Republicans increasingly echoing Trump’s know-nothing effusions.

The Republicans have been exposed for what they are and always have been.


The Mound of Sound said...

Wouldn't it be grand if that view was widespread in the U.S.? How many of the GOP incumbents in the mid-terms are at risk due to Trump?

Anonymous said...

Neolibs and neocons are part of the same Deep State party. Clinton expanded on Reagan. Obama expanded on Bush. Now they're hysterical the looting, gouging, war-profiteering and bribe-taking are coming to an end.

Whatever they whine and complain about means absolutely nothing. They demand the status quo because of one thing: economic/financial self-interest.

They use identity politics as a mask: beneath it monsters feed upon their prey.

The Mound of Sound said...

Leaving aside this "deep state" bullshit, Anon, has anyone been more predatory than Trump. Most people, laymen, have a feeble grasp of how scumbags can use bankruptcy laws to wash away legitimate creditors to enhance their own wealth. I know because that was my main field of practice for many years. So don't give me the Clinton/Bush/Obama bullshit. That's for Gullibillies. Trump bragged about how it proved he was "smart" to build a fortune out of playing the laws to screw those who were ruined by his chicanery. And you're fine with that which speaks as much of you as of Trump. Scumbags.

Northern PoV said...

Meanwhile back in the real world....

"the Senate approved a budget blueprint that would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster. "

Anonymous said...

I can't take guys like Max Boot seriously when they claim to be shocked that there's gambling going on in their casino. Since Nixon's "southern strategy,” the GOP actively sought to become the mouthpiece for angry white men. Trump is merely the logical conclusion of that strategy, following on decades of Willie Horton campaign ads and Rovian push-polling about whether McCain had an illegitimate child with a black mother. Max was fine with that.

Max talks about a moral race to the bottom, but nothing Trump has done so far comes close to the depraved acts Max actively supported during the Bush2 administration - things like lying the country into a war of aggression against Iraq, the constitution-shredding torture at Abu Ghraib and the CIA black sites, and the outrages at Guantanamo that continue to this day.

Max was fine with all that stuff as long as his party pretended to be "serious." It's alright to pass tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit rich white people and make it more difficult for the government to continue the social welfare spending that benefits African-Americans, as long as there's a ream of studies from partisan think tanks to support them. But a narcissistic boor in the White House is a bridge too far for Ol' Max.


Anonymous said...

A) Trump funded risky projects with junk bonds and restructured the debt when project completed and the level of risk changed. Like restructuring credit card debt. In the world of finance, 'bankruptcy' is a lot more complicated than people (who typically know nothing about economics) realize.

Trump is the perfect president for our hysterical pussy-whipped times. Because of neocons and neolibs, the US has amassed $19T in debt doling out tax cuts to the rich - and now owe the rich $19T!

Mr. Trump: Play with that debt!

B) Neolibs always pretend they're aghast by big tax cuts. Then there leaders come to power on promises of change and cement them in place. Then cut taxes further. Weasels.

C) Trump is wrong on tax cuts in general. Will wait and see if there is any merit to tax restructuring. (Not that you can trust ax-to-grind Fake News coverage.) But Trump is doing SOMETHING. He killed neolib TPP, NAFTA. Certainly no free trade with China under Trump - like Trudeau.

Neolibs like to act hysterical. But they like tax cuts & free trade. They hate the people and democracy. Spit on workers. Workers love Trump!

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon 8:57.

It's impossible to engage with your comments. For starters you have no idea what constitutes neoliberalism. You'll have to go back to Hayek and Friedman, Thatcher and Reagan, to correct your misconceptions.

Bankruptcy, receivership and insolvency generally are more complicated than the average person realizes. I know. I was a bankruptcy and insolvency lawyer. I practiced in the higher courts, wrote papers, gave professional lectures and seminars. I'm well acquainted with the field. That said, Trump used bankruptcy in a predatory manner to blow off creditors, often small trades, and investors. It is a time-honoured principle of bankruptcy law that what Trump did was an abuse of process and the protection should have been denied.

You pretty obviously equate Democrats with neoliberals. They are but they pale beside the neoliberalism practised by today's Republicans. That's Reagan's legacy. Voodoo economics, supply side nonsense, trickle down madness. There's a lot of compost in that and there are many of your countrymen, yourself included I expect, all too eager to swallow it.

To sum up your arguments are hollow, founded on misconceptions and delusions. Take that stuff to Facebook. It'll be welcome there.

Anonymous said...

Reagan, Thatcher and Mulroney created neoconservatism based on Friedman's neoclassical economic ideology. (Essentially Gilded Age economics with loose money on economic downturns/crashes.)

Clinton, Blair and Chretien/Martin created neoliberalism: expanding on neocon economic reforms with social-progressive claptrap distractions.

(Clinton considered himself a "New Democrat." Of course the Clintons are more like old 1924 Klanbake Dems.)

Trump is half neocon and half anti-neocon. Like Copernicus and Planck: one foot in the old and one foot in the new era. But a new era is coming thanks to Trump and Bannon none-the-less!

(No thanks to bribe-taking neolib Dems and Liberals who fiercely oppose change despite all the promises to gullible voters.)

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for your views, Anon. Duly noted.