Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In The Wake Of Trump... How Bad Will The Destruction Be?


Bruce Bartlett was a Kemp guy who went on to work for Reagan and Bush I in policy positions that pushed the GOP's economics. During the Bush II term he strayed firther and further from Republican Party party line and helped write Bush II out of the conservative movement.

Last year he started warming to the idea of a Trump run for the presidency as a way to cure what ails the GOP. "I love Donald Trump," he wrote at the time, "because he exposes everything about the Republican Party that I have frankly come to hate. It is just filled with people who are crazy, and stupid, and have absolutely no idea of what they are taking about. And the candidates, no matter how intelligent they may be, just constantly have to keep pandering to this lowest common denominator in American politics."

Simon Maloy discovered that he's developed that theme as the months rolled forward and Trump started looking more and more inevitable, which Bartlett sees as a death sentence for the Republican Party as it has developed since the Reagan days. Bartlett hates those developments so much that he actually voted for Trump, who he clearly detests, in the Virginia primary. "I think the Republican Party is sick," he told Maloy. "it just doesn’t know it. And I think anything that speeds up its demise is to the good, because then it can reinvent itself and return as something healthy. Or you could use an addiction metaphor, where people have to hit bottom so that they can reach out and ask for help before they can cure themselves. I think that Trump is a symptom of a disease of rampant stupidity, pandering to morons and bigots and racists and all the sort of stuff that defines today’s Republican coalition. And I just think it’s awful. It’s terrible for the country in a great many ways that I don’t need to tell you. And I think that we need to have a healthy two-party system. We need to have a sane, functioning conservative party and a sane, functioning liberal party. And I think that half of that equation, at least, is not working, and it affects the other half."

He also told Maloy that "giving Trump the nomination is the surest path to complete and total destruction of the Republican Party as we know it. And I look forward to him getting the nomination for that reason. I think he will have a historic loss. I think he may well bring in a Democratic Senate. But more importantly, my hope is, at least, that he will lead to a really serious assessment of the problems of the Republican Party, and lead to some opening of thought, opening of discussion, conversation among groups that have been sidelined for quite a long time. Mainly moderates and people of that sort who have been just pushed to the sidelines in favor of ever more rabid, nonsensical, right-wing authoritarianism."

Better yet, he says he doesn't think it matter whether Trump gets the nomination or not at this point "because he’s already succeeded in destroying the Republican coalition as far as the general election is concerned. Because, look, if he doesn’t get the nomination, he’ll probably do everything in his power to guarantee that whoever does get the nomination is defeated. So either way the party is looking at historic losses, historic defeat. And I think that is really, really a wonderful thing." He goes so far as to say some conservatives will just give up on the GOP altogether and vote for Hillary.

Maloy: "One name I wanted to bring up is that of the House Speaker, Paul Ryan, who’s been positioning himself of late as this Trump alternative, a voice of reason and rational discourse. He’s very popular within the party and seems like a natural candidate to shift into that post-Trump leadership role. Do you see any way in which someone like Ryan who has that popularity but is still extremely conservative, particularly on economic policy, do you see him as being able to effectively reform the GOP at all?" Barlett's response should send shudders down Ryan's spine:
No. I think Ryan is in a much more serious position than people think he is. He’s slowly sliding into the same problems that destroyed John Boehner, which is he has a bunch of lunatics in his caucus who are effectively able to be the tail that wags the dog. What Ryan would have to do is make peace with the Democrats and be willing to have a governing coalition made up of Democrats and enough Republicans to get legislation passed and be a Speaker for not just the majority party, but for some kind of fusion party.

But I don’t think he’s got the support and I also don’t think it’s in his nature to be that kind of leader. The only way he could get reelected as Speaker would be with Democratic votes, and that sort of thing simply doesn’t happen. So he would just be signing his own political death warrant if he tried to do something like that, and then he would disappear from view.

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At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe a word Bruce Bartlett says, for his actions don't match. I think he's trying to give himself cover in case things go as he's clearly voting for: the victory of these insane Republicans. The desire to regain power is always strong in Republicans no matter what they say. If Drumpf were to win, he'd be right there at the victory parade, stiff right arm raised high and shouting loudly.

At 5:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think we know much about how Trump would rule. He has no record beyond a bunch of self-contradictory chatter, but some of that chatter has been a boon to the Republic: "low energy Jeb," "little Marco," opposition to trade treaties, telling Republicans that little Georgie was responsible for the disaster in Iraq etc. I don't think he means much of the more substantive stuff like opposition to trade treaties and suspect he would be pretty similar to Hillary. But who the hell knows? I'm not even sure he does. His incompetence at closing out delegate selection makes me think his ballyhooed business chops don't add up to much. Beginning with Reagan, the nation's "journalists" fell in love with style over any pretense at substance and with Trump this has been taken to the maximum.


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