Thursday, January 14, 2016

Will The GOP National Convention In Cleveland Turn Into A Gun Battle?


When asked if he would support Herr Trumpf if Herr wins the GOP nomination, Paul Ryan was ready to cast aside concerns for the well-being of the country in favor of naked narrow partisanship. He told Matt Lauer Wednesday morning, without much enthusiasm, that "Yes, I will. I'll support whoever our nominee is." Tuesday night, though, it was Ryan and his brain trust that crafted the anti-Trump messaging for Nikki Haley's SOTU rebuttal, in which she warned Republicans against following the anti-immigration rhetoric that has propelled Donald Trump to the lead in GOP presidential election polls.
"During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices," she said, without mentioning Mr. Trump or other 2016 candidates by name. "We must resist that temptation."
The first I saw of the anger headed Nikki Haley's way after-- actually during-- her SOTU response came from Ann Coulter, who has attacked her before and, in fact won a PolitiFact Pants on Fire designation for smearing her last summer. In a series of xenophobic and islamophobic tweets, she was enraged at the premise behind Haley's compassionate conservatism approach. Coulter concluded that President Trumpf should deport her. This morning Kasie Hunt was reporting that the backlash from the far right fringe was heating up. And it went beyond just Trumpf fan-girl Coulter. Laura Ingraham condemned Haley because her speech was praised by Van Jones and accused her of missing an opportunity to move the right-wing agenda forward.
The quickly evolving sentiments underscore the deepening divide in the Republican Party-- one that has many so-called "establishment" Republicans increasingly convinced that Trump is on his way to winning the nomination. It's a reality, many believe, that will fundamentally reshape the GOP as it's now known.
Even right-wing Members of Congress, like Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Steve King (R-IA) and Dave Brat (R-VA) were critical of the Haley-Ryan approach. Jeb Bush, Ryan and the establishment brand Republicans-- who are increasingly being called RINOs by the neo-fascist Trump/Cruz end of the party, lauded Haley, as did many independents and Democrats, while the right exploded with their usual vitriol. Establishment shill David Jolly (R-FL): "This isn't a fight for the soul of the party, This is a fight for the dignity of the party and I admire what she did." Herr Trumpf, of course, immediately called Fox and Friends to vent.
"No. 1, she's very weak on illegal immigration. I've known that for a long time. And she certainly has no trouble asking me for campaign contributions. Because over the years, she's asked me for a hell of a lot of money in campaign contributions. So it's sort of interesting to hear her. Perhaps if I weren't running, she'd be in my office asking me for money. But now that I'm running, she wants to take a weak side on immigration. I feel very strongly about illegal immigration. She doesn't."

In his SOTU speech last night, the president made more than one veiled warning about a rise of incipient fascism in the country. Most Americans have no idea what that means. Ryan Grim tried explaining it soon after the speech was completed. Trumpf-- a Willy Loman-meets-P.T. Barnum character who addresses audiences on a 4th grade reading level-- was tweeting that the president's speech was "really boring, slow, lethargic-- very hard to watch!" Of course he had to dismiss it. He understood some of the president's warnings were a little close for comfort.
"Those with money and power will gain greater control over the decisions that could send a young soldier to war, or allow another economic disaster, or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of Americans have fought, even died, to secure. As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background... We can’t afford to go down that path. It won’t deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world"
The irony to all this attention Trumpf is getting is that it has largely allowed an equal-- if not greater threat-- to largely slide under radar scrutiny. Trumpf is primarily a self-serving blowhard with no real political agenda. Cruz is a demented ideologue with a truly dangerous agenda. And there are some inside the Republican Party who are awakening to how badly a Cruz nomination could hurt the party in November. Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan reported at Politico that GOP pollster Dave Sackett of the Tarrance Group privately told Ryan and his leadership team at an NRCC retreat in Annapolis that "Cruz would be the biggest drag on House Republicans should he win his party’s nomination."
After the presentation to the group of elected Republican leaders, Ryan (R-Wis.) asked Sackett which of the Republican presidential hopefuls would be most detrimental to GOP House candidates on the ballot this year. Sackett replied that Cruz would have the biggest negative effect, citing the Texas senator’s starkly ideological positions, according to six sources who were in the meeting. Sackett told the group that the public’s perception of Cruz could shift if he becomes the nominee.

...Ryan, McCarthy and Scalise have not endorsed in the race, and the speaker did not indicate he was looking to wade into the contest or attempt to change the direction of the primary, according to sources present. Ryan’s office declined to comment, as did the NRCC and Sackett.

But the private comments indicate for the first time Ryan’s active interest in the presidential race and its potential bearing on his House majority. Senior Republican lawmakers such as NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon have publicly expressed concern that Trump could damage the House GOP’s electoral prospects should he become the nominee.

Sackett’s presentation confirmed those worries. His poll showed that a plurality of respondents-- 48 percent to 40 percent-- would be less likely to vote for a Republican congressional candidate or incumbent if Trump were the nominee. The business mogul and former reality TV star, who has been leading in most GOP polls for months, was the only candidate surveyed on that question, the sources said.
Bottom line: whichever extremist the Republicans nominate-- whether Herr or Cruz-- it's going to kill them down-ticket. And they know it. Ryan sees this as part of the rationale for the brokered convention scenario that hands him the nomination as a "unifier."

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home