How Deep Will The Trumpist Take Over Of The GOP Go? Who Plays The Von Papen Role?
There was a flurry of reports that Republicans would stand up to Trump, rein him in, keep him under control, direct and guide him, etc. German conservatives-- from the industrialists and media moguls to politicians like Franz von Papen-- were supposed to do the same thing with Hitler once he became chancellor.
Hitler’s thirst for power couldn’t have been more grossly underestimated. The nine conservative ministers in the so-called "Cabinet of National Concentration" clearly carried more weight than the three National Socialists. But Hitler also made sure that two key ministries were filled by his men. Wilhelm Frick took over the Ministry of the Interior of the German Reich. Hermann Göring became a cabinet minister without a portfolio, but also Prussia’s interior minister, thus acquiring power over the police in Germany’s largest state-- an important precondition for the establishment of the Nazi dictatorship.This morning I watched a Facebook video clip from Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis' downhill last night in Nee Port Richey. A sincere but naive constituent told him in front of the crowd that they needed him "to go back and defends against Paul Ryan and against President Trump... We have a child in the White House." The audience broke out into loud, sustained applause while Bilirakis started fidgeting, his body language communicating extreme discomfort. Bilirakis is a tool and a knee-jerk right-wing puppet of the special interests and extremist ideologues who prop up his unremarkable career-- most of his constituents think he's his father, their long-time congressman. His ProgressivePunch score for the year is a predictable ZERO and his lifetime score is a ghastly 3.96 (out of 100). He's not protecting anyone against Ryan or Trump. He's one of their enablers. Like Rubio, like Ted Cruz, like Lindsey Graham, like McCain. These Republicans talked a good game but they all folded like cheap tents when push came to shove, just the way Vice-chancellor von Papen did when he confidently imagined he could control Hitler. He served Hitler as ambassador to Austria and then Turkey and was later a defendant in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial.
Media mogul and head of the German National People’s Party Alfred Hugenberg was seen as the strongman in the cabinet. He was given the Ministry of Economy and Agriculture of both the Reich and Prussia. The new super minister purportedly told Leipzig Mayor Carl Goerdeler he had made the "biggest mistake" of his life by aligning himself with the "biggest demagogue in world history," but his assertion is hard to believe. Hugenberg, like Papen and the remaining conservative ministers, was convinced that he could steer Hitler to go along with his own ideas.
Big-business representatives shared the same illusion. In an editorial in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, which had close ties to heavy industry, editor-in-chief Fritz Klein wrote that working together with the Nazis would be "difficult and exhausting," but that people had to dare to take "the leap into darkness" because the Hitler movement had become the strongest political actor in Germany. The head of the Nazi party would now have to prove "whether he really had what is needed in order to become a statesman." The stock market didn’t seem spooked either-- people were waiting to see what would happen.
A report in Friday's Cleveland Plain Dealer proffers hope that Kasich will be the Republican to stand up to Trump. His new political committee, Two Paths America, is run by a gaggle of his top aides and advisors meant to promote him and his ideas ("a higher path") as an alternative to Herr Trumpf. Katich has a book coming out in April titled Two Paths, meant to offer himself as the not-Trump alternative for the 2020 primary. Eschewing authenticity right from the first day, Kasich claims he's not involved with Two Paths America.
GOP consultant John Weaver, the chief strategist on Kasich's White House bid, and Chris Schrimpf, who served as senior communications adviser on the campaign, are helping lead the Two Paths America launch. Columbus-based political consultant Doug Preisse and former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, two longtime members of Kasich's inner circle, are on the organization's board of directors.In the Ohio presidential primary, Kasich-- basically nothing more than a favorite-son-candidate-- beat Trump 956,762 (46.8%) to 727,585 (35.6%), with Cruz taking 267,592 votes (13.1%). In their first post-election face-off, Trump managed to dismantle Kasich's state party machine and settle his score with the Governor, replacing Kasich's man Matt Borges as state party chair and installing his own candidate, Jane Timken.
...[H]e refused to vote for Trump last fall, writing in Arizona Sen. John McCain instead. And he has spoken out against some of Trump's early decisions, particularly the president's ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries.
"We must strengthen our nation's security through well-thought out and constructed plans," Kasich said of the move last month. "The latest executive order is neither."
This feud is sure to spill over into the gubernatorial race to replace the termed-out Kasich next year. Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Congressman Jim Renacci and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor are all looking to win the nomination, but none of them are Trumpists and Trump's political team have no intention of seeing anyone in the job who would offer any opposition to Trump in any way.Kasich loyalists will argue that the governor's team took Trump's to overtime-- that Timken, even after the personal calls Trump made to committee members on her behalf, was unable to clinch without some last-minute horse trading. But there are no moral victories here.
This was a race that, on paper, Borges and Kasich should have nailed. Instead, Trump is the clear winner in a battle of who has the most clout over Republicans in the Buckeye State.
Kasich lost home-field advantage. This Central Committee is stacked with Republicans the governor has long counted as allies. Many are activists he recruited years ago in an attempt to unseat Kevin DeWine, a past Ohio GOP chief who was deemed unfriendly to Team Kasich's political interests.
Borges needed support from 34 of 66 members to remain chairman.
Kasich's operatives were closely counting votes before Friday's meeting. At times they seemed confident they had a comfortable cushion with as many as a dozen votes to spare.
They were wrong.
It's tempting to see this as a referendum on Kasich. But many on the Central Committee still admire him. This is more of a referendum on how Kasich behaved last year after ending his presidential campaign. He was publicly critical of Trump and refused to vote for him.
Kasich put Borges in a bind. He owed a lot to Kasich. A Trump loss could have boosted Kasich's 2020 White House prospects and made Borges an attractive candidate for Republican National Committee chairman. Borges was lukewarm toward Trump. And Trump allies-- including the newly powerful Bob Paduchik, who will have a top role at the RNC-- made it loud and clear that they didn't trust him and preferred not to deal with him in the future.