Thursday, December 03, 2015

GOP's Ugly Food Fight-- Rand Paul And Chris Christie Dueling Off On A Side Stage While Kasich Tries Taking The Fight To Trumpf

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We really are in the silly season. Why can't the Republicans stop Trumpf? Why can't the Republicans do anything right? Truth be told, everything about the people drawn to that political party is premised, primarily, on greed and selfishness. The Republican Party can't save the country from an existential threat like Trumpf because each one of their Deep Bench candidates is looking out for himself (or in one case, herself). Whether you believe Glenn Beck's assertion that Trumpf's campaign is the brainchild of Bill Clinton or not, the Republicans are finding themselves absolutely unable to cope with the threat. Some in the party are already preparing for what they feel/fear is becoming  increasingly inevitable: Trumpf as the official Republican Party nominee. Ward Baker, Executive Director of the NRSC, said Republicans should embrace Trumpf’s tough talk about China and "grab onto the best elements of [his] anti-Washington populist agenda... Trumpf has risen because voters see him as authentic, independent, direct, firm-- and believe he can’t be bought. "These are the same character traits our candidates should be advancing in 2016. That’s Trump lesson #1." He also tells his candidates to stay away from Trumpf and to distance themselves by quickly condemning his more controversial comments, such as "wacky things about women." He cautions his candidates against "piling on" Trumpf, however, warning that Republicans up and down the ballot would suffer if the GOP vote was divided or depressed.

Except for John Kasich, the rest of them are all just plain afraid of him. Placating a bully is never the right policy though. They should all be doing exactly what candidate Kasich is doing and saying just what journalist Dana Milbank is saying. Kasich's SuperPAC, New Day for America (which refuses to say who gave it the $3,181,531 it's deploying against Trumpf), has printed fliers that it is mailing to New Hampshire GOP voters, fliers that contrast what the hyperbolic Trumpf says about undocumented workers to curry favor with the Republicans' Know Nothing base of bigots and xenophobes with his record of hiring them to screw over and cheat unionized American workers. Milbank didn't mince any words: "Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist." Obviously, no one in the Beltway media is comfortable making such an outrageous accusation "but," he wrote, "there is a greater imperative not to be silent in the face of demagoguery. Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and now the disabled."
Though all Trump supporters surely aren’t racists or bigots, even a cursory examination of social media reveals that many are.  Those supporting Trump tend to be white, less-educated and middle-aged and older – those who are anxious and angry because they are losing ground as the American economy changes. An analysis of the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll by my colleague Scott Clement found that Trump, who has the support of 14 percent of registered voters overall, does particularly well among white men who aren’t college-educated (24 percent) and white, non-evangelical Protestants (27 percent), but gets only 3 percent of non-whites and 5 percent of those under 30 years old.
But, like I said, the more Establishment, insider-Republicans are too busy trying to kill each other off to do anything about the real threat to their party and their country. They are all failing a massive test: if they can't handle Donald Trumpf successfully, how can they possibly even begin to handle the even more dangerous problems that confront all president? It's just 2 months to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary where Trump could practically seal up the nomination-- he's polling first in each state (30% in Iowa and 32% in New Hampshire)-- as well as 35% in next-up-to-bat South Carolina and, according to the Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday, he's at 27% nationally, ten and eleven points ahead of his closest rivals, Rubio and Cruz.

Photo of Jersey Boy by darkblack

Earlier today we talked about the Cruz-Rubio war and yesterday Cruz told WRKO-AM listeners he'd "absolutely" hire Trumpf-- who doesn't build stuff-- to build a wall to keep Mexicans out. Tuesday Christie was on Morning Joe claiming Rubio and Cruz aren't qualified to be president because neither has any governing experience and that Cruz and Rand Paul had made the country less safe because they opposed NSA domestic spying on U.S. citizens. Christie had picked up this line of attack from Rubio who's been using it to clobber both Cruz and Paul. And Paul, who barely registers a pulse in the polling any longer-- all the latest ones show him at 2%, below the margin of error-- struck back at Rubio in a broader way in an OpEd for Time: Marco Rubio Wants Illegal, Unending War. "Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and several other of today’s neoconservatives," he write, "are the ideological heirs to an unreconstructed John Foster Dulles. Fortunately, President Dwight D. Eisenhower resisted the early recklessness of Dulles and avoided a nuclear confrontation with Russia."
The Clinton/Rubio foreign policy advocated for direct force to enact regime change in Libya and Syria. Their only difference of opinion was in the degree of direct force necessary. Clinton and Obama tend to intervene but primarily by armaments and air power. Rubio, on the other hand, beats his chest and insists we must also have American boots on the ground in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, and anywhere else terrorism arises.

Currently, 31 factions in 16 countries pledge allegiance to ISIS. Were we ever to have a substantive debate over foreign policy, one might want to ask Mr. Rubio which countries he will send troops to-- or maybe it’s a shorter list of which countries won’t he send troops to.

The Clinton/Rubio foreign policy calls for a no-fly zone over Syria in airspace in which Russia already flies-- a recipe for confrontation. We shouldn’t be surprised since the Clinton/Rubio foreign policy also called for admitting Georgia to NATO at a time when Russia already had her tentacles in Georgia-- an invitation to war with Russia.

When I forced the Foreign Relations Committee to debate an authorization of military force against ISIS, Senator Rubio and McCain insisted that the new authorization be unlimited temporally or geographically. Basically, they want a war without end against an undefined enemy in an unspecified region of the world. And the legal authorization of war? That never came. So we fight on and on without any Constitutional authority. No one seems to care or dare to insist that Congress declare war as our founders intended.

Senator Rubio wrote the President at the time that he saw “no legal reason preventing” him from using his “commander-in-chief” powers to attack ISIS. His letter makes no mention of the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authority.

As we enter into the season of determining the next Commander in Chief, I hope voters will seek out a leader who will learn from history and not pursue a reckless policy that seeks to liberate the world but in reality traps us under a mountain of debt and beguiles us into perpetual war.

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