Tuesday, December 08, 2015

What A Hateful Bunch These "Pull Up The Ladder" Republican Candidates Are-- Especially Trumpf, Cruz And Rubio


Trump hates when he's exposed as a loser-- as he often has been-- and the release yesterday on a new Monmouth poll showing his campaign taking a backseat to the other fascist candidate in the race. Trump slipped from 23% in August down to 19% in December. Meanwhile, Cruz's support has grown in the same period from 9% to 24%. Trump was on twitter, of course, hootin' and hollerin' about some CNN poll that shows him still ahead of Cruz. The Iowa contenders, according to Monmouth:
Cruz- 24%
Trumpf- 19%
Rubio- 17%
Dr. Ben- 13%
Jeb- 6%
Rand Paul- 4%
The rest of the sad pack of also-rans-- also known as the Republican Deep Bench-- are bunched up between zero and 3%. Meanwhile Jonathan Martin reported in the NY Times that Rubio's campaign is changing strategy now to pour his firepower on Cruz, while ignoring Trumpf and his clown following.
With help from an allied group that is airing television ads in Iowa, Mr. Rubio is seeking to raise doubts on the right about Mr. Cruz’s toughness on national security — a potentially fatal vulnerability, should Mr. Rubio succeed, amid heightened concerns about terrorism. More quietly, he is trying to muddy the perception that Mr. Cruz is a hard-liner on immigration, asserting that Mr. Cruz supports “legalizing people that are in this country illegally.”

Mr. Rubio has ample reason to act. Polls show that Mr. Cruz is consolidating support among conservatives in Iowa, which begins the nominating process. A victory here could allow him to gather strength quickly on the right, gain speed in South Carolina on Feb. 20 and potentially become a steamroller by the Super Tuesday voting in many Southern states on March 1. And with right-of-center Republicans like Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John R. Kasich effectively making a last stand in New Hampshire, the Republican establishment could be delayed in coalescing around a Rubio candidacy-- making stopping Mr. Cruz, or at least slowing him, all the more urgent.

The possibility that the Republican contest could come down to a standoff between these two young Cuban-Americans, born just over five months apart, is no sure thing, particularly in an election in which Donald J. Trump’s durability as the front-runner is only one surprising twist. But if the race does narrow to Mr. Rubio and Mr. Cruz-- and many of Mr. Rubio’s aides believe it will come down to the two senators and Mr. Trump-- their superficial similarities would be overshadowed by their sharply different approaches to winning the nomination.

...Appearing recently on a conservative radio show in Iowa, Mr. Rubio was asked what had changed.

“I personally like Ted very much,” Mr. Rubio responded. “We get along well.”

Then he dived into another attack, saying that Mr. Cruz had “voted to weaken our intelligence programs at a time when intelligence is a critical component in the war on terror.”
Meanwhile, Karl Rove, who seems to have finally faced the reality that the Jebster isn't going anywhere but back home, has been subtly shifting his support towards Rubio, the only hope the party establishment has to hold off the dual fascist threat or Trumpf or Cruz. In an interview with Gabe Sherman for New York, asked why the GOP establishment can't successfully take on Trumpf, he said "I don’t think the issue is taking on Trump. The issue is consolidating the parts of the party that are becoming increasingly resistant to Trump. What we’ve got are a bunch of people crowding each other saying, 'I’m not him,' and what will be interesting to watch is to see how they consolidate or if they do consolidate around someone. My sense is they probably will... To win the nomination and to win the general election you have to be a unifier. If you’re a candidate who has an 11 percent approval rating among Latinos, you’re not succeeding there. If you have a record of misogynist comments, that’s not going to be helpful. If you call all the people you’re running against losers, clowns, and dopes, that’s not the language of someone who unifies the party. Point me to a successful person who secured the nomination and won the general by adopting that tone."

Rove sort of said that he would vote for Trumpf if he were the nominee but that Crossroads, the giant SuperPAC he runs, would not raise money for him. Rove, by the way, isn't the only America unenthusiastic about Trumpf. A new Marist poll shows that Hillary would beat all the Republicans among Hispanic voters, especially Trumpf. "Clinton's biggest lead is against current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump: She's ahead of him by 11 points among all voters, 52 percent to 41 percent, and a whopping 42 points among Latino voters, 69 percent to 27 percent." She also beats Señor Cruz by 27 points among Latinos (61% to 34%) and beats Señor Rubio by 19 points among Latinos, 57-38%.

Back to Trumpf for a moment. Dan Manatt, documentary filmmaker and friend of the blog, did a piece last week for Des Moines' CityView about the irony of Trumpf's anti-immigrant/nativist extremism. Trumpf, he writes "is the grandson of Friedrich Drumpf, a German immigrant. So are more than one-third of all Iowans."
That German heritage makes Trump’s scapegoating of Mexican immigrants and Syrian refugees especially ironic, since Iowans’ German forebears were similarly scapegoated for much of Iowa’s history.

Researching my documentary, Whiskey Cookers: The Amazing True Story of the Templeton Bootleggers, I discovered that Templeton’s German-American ethnic identity was an essential part of the bootlegging story in western Iowa. It helped explain the socio-ethnic cohesion-- especially in the face of the anti-German xenophobia during and after World War I-- that created an environment where bootlegging was not only tolerated, but considered a socio-ethnic folkway.

What does that have to do with Donald Trump and immigration?


German immigrants settled Iowa from territorial days. But in the years immediately following the 1848 German Revolution, when the United States had a population of 23 million, 1.5 million Germans immigrated to America, increasing the nation’s population by 6.5 percent. In 1880, there were 261,650 foreign-born immigrants living in Iowa-- a full 16 percent of the population. Iowa’s immigrants today are a blip by comparison-- just 97,000, or 3.2 percent.

Iowa’s German immigrants had a reputation for hard work. They were also stereotyped and resented for speaking German, drinking too much beer, fighting too much and for their religion.

In the 1850s, the anti-immigrant “Know Nothing” Party accused newly arrived Germans of stealing elections by buying the votes of their fellow immigrants with steins of beer-- the 19th century version of today’s ballot-security controversies.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) attributed much of the nation’s social ills to immigrants and their peculiar addiction-- alcoholism. The WCTU even set up a pavilion on Ellis Island to educate immigrants on the error of their ways before they set foot on the American mainland.

When World War I came, all hell broke loose.

Thousands of Iowans marched against the German Kaiser-- including the German-American boys whose families had just emigrated from Germany.

Yet on the home front, another war was being waged-- against many of those same German immigrant families. In western Iowa, German-language books were burned; the offices of the German-language newspapers were vandalized; a German-immigrant farmer was dragged around the square by a noose until he agreed to buy war bonds; and a minister was nearly lynched for preaching in German.

Extra-judicial “Citizen Defense Councils” held kangaroo courts to determine if citizens were being sufficiently patriotic-- with German-Americans frequently targeted.

Infamously, Iowa Gov. William Harding issued an executive order-- the so-called “Babel Proclamation”-- forbidding citizens from communicating in any language except English in public or private schools, in public conversations, on trains, over the telephone, at all meetings and in all religious services. (A subsequent Supreme Court case on a similar law, Meyer v. Nebraska, had the effect of invalidating the Proclamation).

Nor did World War I’s conclusion end the anti-German hatred and discrimination in Iowa.

In the 1920s, Iowa’s German immigrants faced discrimination and hate from a group new to the Hawkeye state: the Ku Klux Klan. The 1920s Klan was very active in the Midwest and chose new targets: bootleggers, immigrants and Catholics-- three groups they saw, not without reason, as overlapping. The 1920s Klan in Iowa burned crosses to intimidate immigrants, and trafficked in hysterical anti-Catholicism.

...Today we certainly don’t think of Catholics, Lutherans and Amish as dangerous religious fanatics. But back in their day, they were. The Iowa KKK of the era distributed pamphlets claiming that the “fish-eating” Catholic Knights of Columbus required their members to take an oath to murder their Protestant neighbors upon orders from Rome.

And then there are Iowa’s religious refugees: the Amish. Back in Germany, they were seen as a threat to “public tranquility” and “the imperatives of morality.” They were persecuted because they refused military service and attendance at official Lutheran schools. In more recent times, Amana has been noted less for theology than economic ideology. One headline from 100 years ago read, “An Iowa Experiment in Communism: A Study of the Amana Community.”

Iowans today often grumble when they hear Spanish radio or TV or when ATMs ask them what language to use.

Consider this: In Iowa, between 1880 and 1920, there were around 60 German-language newspapers. German priests and ministers conducted church services ein deutsch. And Iowa’s Germans, like German-Americans through the Midwest and America, had social clubs and schools where German was the lingua franca.

...The biggest pushback I get in drawing a parallel between Iowa’s German immigrants and today’s immigrants is the argument that today’s immigrants get tons of government “freebies,” while Iowa’s immigrants back in the 19th century didn’t.

I’ll leave the accuracy of what today’s immigrants get to the experts.

I do know this: Our German immigrant grandparents (my great-grandfather was one) got plenty of government benefits.

For starters, affordable education at country schoolhouses and Land Grant colleges. Price supports. Rural Electrification. Crop insurance. Conservation Reserve Program. Roads, highways and interstates.

And in the 19th century, they got the biggest government benefit of all-- land.

True, only a tiny fraction of Iowans got truly “free land” from the government. Iowa was settled before the Homestead Act of 1862, so only 2.5 percent of Iowa farms were homesteaded.

But much of Iowa land-- 33.7 percent-- was direct government sale at bargain basement prices. Land was sold at $1.25 per acre, $100 for 80 acres of land. The price was pegged to 1833 prices for much of the 19th century.

Think of buying land today at 1965 prices.

Opa and Oma may not have gotten free land, but they got deep, deep discounts from Uncle Sam. So deep, I doubt it would withstand an IRS audit.

I think today’s immigrants would give anything to buy land at comparably cheap prices. There was an additional way German immigrants did receive Iowa land. It was free of charge, though not at all free of service and sacrifice.

Much of Iowa’s land-- nearly 40 percent-- was granted to military veterans in exchange for their service. Abraham Lincoln won two parcels of Iowa land this way-- one in Tama, one in Crawford County-- for his service in the Blackhawk Indian War.

Many German immigrants won their original homesteads this way-- a pathway not to citizenship, but to land ownership.

And Opa Trump?

A recent book, The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire, lays out the fascinating immigrant history-- and paradoxes-- of the Trump family.

Friedrich Drumpf arrived in the U.S. in 1885-- ironically, three years after passage of America’s first anti-immigrant law, the Chinese Exclusion Act-- and promptly Americanized his name to Frederick Trump. Trump came from Kallstadt in northern Bavaria, the same exact region from which many western Iowans emigrated.

Once in America, Trump headed west, settling in Seattle and then the Yukon, where he ran saloons that rented “private rooms”-- the sort of activity that sparked deep protest from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.

One parallel between grandfather and grandson: They both prefer European brides. Frederick Trump returned to the Old Country to court the fräulein next door-- Donald Trump’s grandmother.
And now we have this two-bit authoritarian sack of Nazi garbage riling up the ignorant, brainwashed Republicans to, among other things, prohibit American-born Muslims who are traveling abroad from returning to their country. The "think tank" he cites for this poll, Frank Gaffney's fascist-oriented Center for Security Policy, is infamous for just making things up-- especially beyond the pale conspiracy theories.

Despite the smug, ugly South Carolina Know Nothings interviewed in the video from the Trumpf rally up top, the head of the Republican Party of South Carolina-- as well as the heads of the Republican Party in New Hampshire and in Iowa (those less overtly) have all condemned Trumpf's fascist statements about banning all Muslims. GOP Chairman Matt Moore used the Benjamin Franklin quote, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," to set up a late afternoon slam against Trumpf: "As a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump’s bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine. American exceptionalism means always defending our inalienable rights, not attacking them when it’s politically convenient." Jennifer Horn, head of the New Hampshire GOP, called Trumpf's latest headline-grabbing extravaganza "un-American" and "un-Republican." She said "There are some issues that transcend politics. While my position is certainly political, I am an American first. There should never be a day in the United States of America when people are excluded based solely on their race or religion." Trumpf had already demanded she resign. And in Iowa, the GOP chair, Jeff Kaufmann was too cowardly to mention Trumpf by name but tweeted lamely and cryptically that "I’m here to reiterate that our founding principles are stronger than political cynicism."

Update: White House Not Happy With Trumpf

Today White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told the media that "each of the Republican candidates has already taken an oath pledging it support Donald Trump for president of the United States if he wins the nomination. But the fact is the first thing a president does when he or she takes the oath of office is to swear an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. And the fact is, what Donald Trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president. And for Republican candidates for president to stand by their pledge to support Mr. Trump, that in and of itself is disqualifying."

Unlike Trumpf, Los Angeles Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu enlisted in the military and served in the Air Force, where he is still a reserve officer. Like virtually all Democrats, he was disgusted with Trumpf's bigoted statements of the last few days months. He told his constituents in Southern California that "Donald Trump recently proposed a ban on all Muslims from entering the United States. He is now trying to justify that bigoted proposal based on policies the U.S. enacted in World War II. The racist internment of Americans of Japanese descent represented some of the darkest moments in American history-- when we betrayed our most sacred values. Mr. Trump says he might have supported the internment. Mr. Trump's brand of bigoted and racist demagoguery does nothing to safeguard American families and further underscores a basic truth: He is unfit to be President, and just a really awful person."

There is no candidate, on either side of the aisle, who should be reluctant to issue a statement like this one that P.G. Sittenfeld just did. It's time to man up, especially for Republicans who have helped create the atmosphere that allows a Trumpf to thrive.

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