“Wow, this isn’t good,” Priebus said, his eyes fixed on a single line. “This is really, really bad.”
The group was paralyzed with silence. Finally, Kushner piped up. “You know, I don’t think it’s all that bad.”
— Scott Bland (@PoliticoScott) July 10, 2019
"Pence hunkered down and prayed with his wife, Karen, who furiously warned him that she would no longer appear in public if Pence remained Trump’s running mate." Then she got over it, apparently. | New disclosures abt Trump video reveal his mastery of GOP https://t.co/iySL88AWre
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) July 10, 2019
Politico Magazine’s chief political correspondent Tim Alberta finds himself trapped in the nightmare party at the end of Animal Farm, where the faces of men and pigs have become indistinguishable. It’s a heavy lift, but eventually he finds a satisfactory villain to blame for the totally inexplicable triumph of Donald Trump over the Republican party:
…As George W. Bush left office with record-low approval ratings and Barack Obama led a Democratic takeover of Washington, Republicans faced a moment of reckoning: They had no vision, no generation of new leaders, and no energy in the party’s base. Yet Obama’s forceful pursuit of his progressive agenda, coupled with the nation’s rapidly changing societal and demographic identity, lit a fire under the right, returning Republicans to power and inviting a bloody struggle for the party’s identity in the post-Bush era. The factions that emerged—one led by absolutists like Jim Jordan and Ted Cruz, the other led by pragmatists like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell—engaged in a series of devastating internecine clashes and attempted coups for control. With the GOP’s internal fissures rendering it legislatively impotent, and that impotence fueling a growing resentment toward the political class and its institutions, the stage was set for an outsider to crash the party. When Trump descended a gilded escalator to announce his run in the summer of 2015, the candidate had met the moment…
And you thought we Democrats had an exaggerated opinion of Number 44. Perhaps once the current Squatter-in-Chief has been replaced by a real (Democratic) President, we’ll be better able to appreciate a scrupulously sourced and painstakingly footnoted version of the current Revanchist Rebellion. It’s pretty clear his Repub comrades don’t intend Mike Pence to inherit the Oval Office, even if his lord and master is removed before 2020 by medical crisis or political impeachment.
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) July 10, 2019
From the NYTimes, “American Carnage’ Shows How War Between Republicans Led to Their Peace With Trump”:
… Alberta, a political correspondent for the conservative magazine National Review before moving to Politico, brings more than a decade of reporting and a real understanding of the conservative movement to “American Carnage.” He reminds readers of the 2000 presidential election, when George W. Bush campaigned with the promise of “compassionate conservatism,” reflecting an attempt by the Republican Party to present itself as “warm, aspirational, inclusive,” pursuing minority outreach and immigration reform. Republican pollsters had taken a look at the changing demographics of the country, and the numbers spelled doom. The Republican Party simply couldn’t survive by catering primarily to white people.
Or could it? This question cuts to the heart of what the party is becoming under Trump, who was the preferred candidate of white nationalists. Gone for the most part is the big-tent strategy of appealing to moderates and expanding outreach; if the 2018 midterms were any indication, the Republican electoral plan currently consists mainly of riling up the base, gerrymandering and appointing the judges who will decide the gerrymandering cases…
… As “American Carnage” makes abundantly clear, Trump tapped into and exploited a bigotry that had already been seething, bubbling up to the surface during the Obama administration. Trump might have been a noisy proponent of birtherism, but he was also, Alberta explains, a “latecomer” to the movement. The Republican adviser Karl Rove says he “knew people, smart people, who were into it.”
Rove is one of the more than 300 people Alberta interviewed for this book, which locates Trump’s ascendancy amid a long-brewing civil war in the Republican Party. The narrative begins with the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, when Sarah Palin — a Trumpian politician before Trump became a politician — was transformed into a national figure by the beloved establishment senator John McCain. Rove calls Palin “vacuous” and an “early warning bell”: “We went from wanting people who were experienced and qualified to wanting people who would throw bombs and blow things up.”
This may sound rich coming from someone who had no problem with actual bomb-throwing in the Iraq War, but Rove’s comment reflected a growing awareness among elite Republicans that their grip on the party had been pried loose. What it doesn’t do is acknowledge that those who were “experienced and qualified” enough to serve in a Bush administration remembered for expensive wars and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression might have played a part in their own political demise…
“American Carnage” tells the degrading story of the ultimate devil’s bargain: As chaotic as the current administration is, and as much as the president torpedoes conservative shibboleths like respect for the F.B.I. and the sanctity of families, Republicans have scored some goodies they have long craved — the gutting of environmental regulations, a raft of judicial appointments and an enormous tax cut.
The question is how sustainable any of this is…
Trump survived the Access Hollywood tapes because Republicans don't believe in women's bodily autonomy anyway. Sorry to ruin the new book for you.
— Dr. Aphra Behn (@Shaker_aphra) July 10, 2019