Monday, July 16, 2018

When Will There Be Real GOP Opposition To Trump And The "Permanent Damage" He's Doing To America?


Two very different visions for Wisconsin by Nancy Ohanian

Want to get into the time machine for a moment? Not ancient Egypt or a chance to hear Socrates or even a look at the French declaring human rights while chopping off the heads of their oppressors . Glorious moments in the history of man, but our trip is just two years ago-- to July, 2006. John Harwood had interviewed the very right-wing senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, who he dubbed "a leading Republican voice on foreign policy and potential future presidential candidate." Neither Harwood nor Cotton knew at the time, of course, but a few months after the interview, Trump went on to win Arkansas' 6 electoral votes by defeating Hillary in the state where she was once First Lady, 684,872 (60.6%) to 380,494 (33.7%).

Harwood's first question-- and Cotton's response-- probably didn't sound as important then as it does now. "One of the questions that has been raised about Donald Trump is, "Is he more friendly with Russia than it is in America's best interests to be?"

Republican foreign policy wonk Cotton glibly responded that "Putin was a KGB spy and he never got over that. He does not have America's best interests at heart and he does not have any American interests at heart. I suspect, after this week, when Donald Trump is the nominee and he begins to receive classified briefings, similar briefings to what I receive as a member of the Intelligence Committee, he may have a different perspective on Vladimir Putin and what Russia is doing to America's interests and allies in Europe and the Middle East and Asia."

Is Cotton living in a dazed and confused Republican world today, where he is now part of the Grand Enablement Brigade? Cotton's Trump affinity score is a hearty 92%. When the media speculates about who among Republican senators might stand up for the American people against Trump's insane rush towards fascism, Cotton's name is never mentioned, never. Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Bob Corker (R-TN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Kennedy (R-LA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Corey Gardner (R-CO), James Lankford (R-OK) all have lower affinity scores than Cotton and all are denounced by hard core Trumpists on the fringes as being traitors to the Great Leader, and all are occasionally mentioned as possibly bulwarks against Trumpist extremism-- but the most any of them ever does is grumble and grouse.

The Harvard-educated and closeted Cotton is still laying low., still hoping his party will come to him one day (perhaps in 2024) with a presidential nomination. This guy:
HARWOOD: His criticism of John McCain. You asked him to retract and apologize. He said that President George W. Bush lied to get us into war in Iraq and didn't protect us because 9/11 actually happened?

COTTON: Well, I disagree with those statements and I said them at the time. But I think that Donald Trump and a Republican Congress will have an agenda that's better for the American people. And, you know, Hillary Clinton has a lot of things to answer for as well, to include direct lies to the American people and the FBI director has now corroborated that.

HARWOOD: but you're willing to live with those things that are distasteful to you because of Hillary Clinton?

COTTON: Well, I mean, the Clintons have set some of their own standards for low conduct in office.

HARWOOD: Right, but what do you think of his standards?

COTTON: Well, again, I've said that I disagree with those statements you cited, at the time, and I still disagree with them. I don't think they're helpful to the campaign. You know, the Republican Party is bigger than any one man. It's bigger than Donald Trump. It's bigger than me. I think that Donald Trump, like all Republicans, should be focused on the issues that matter to the American people.
Oops. Luckily, Senator Cotton only wants to be a post-thump presidential nominee, not a tea leaf reader.

If anything, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is even further right than Cotton, a real kook with a crazy extremist ideology. Yesterday he went on-air with conservative radio host John Catsimatidis on New York's AM 970. Johnson, considered even less likely to utter any anti-Trump syllable than Cotton said that right for Harley-Davidson to respond to Trump's trade war by moving production to other countries. "Because of the beginning of the trade war... our state has been particularly targeted. Harley-Davidson has been targeted, our cranberry industry, our ginseng industry... We're a big steel-using state. Steel tariffs are hitting us pretty bad, pretty hard. That raises the costs of American-manufactured products, of Wisconsin-manufactured products... What happened with Harley basically is the trade war. They were paying 6% tariffs [to get] into Europe, now it's 31%! If they manufacture in another country they can enjoy the lower steel prices and remain competitive... So they really don't have a choice."

The media takeaway will be Johnson saying that Trump's trade policies are doing "permanent damage." Permanent damage is a big deal. It feeds right into Randy Bryce's campaign down in the southeast part of the state, where he's already chased Paul Ryan out of Congress and is now running against a hand-picked Ryan clone, Bryan Steil.

Randy heard the same Catsimatidis radio broadcast that I did, after he  addressed the AFT convention in Pittsburgh yesterday. I asked him what he thought about it and how it might impact his own race in southeast Wisconsin. This is what he told me:
Ron Johnson admits Donald Trump is responsible for permanent damage yet he seems to be just fine with that. I’m guessing it would be a different tune if the plastics company that he married into would be affected-- but why would it? He uses prison labor to help him make a profit. Also, a decent percentage of his workers depend on BadgerCare due to the fact that he doesn’t care about their health. Ron Johnson has never been accused of being brilliant. He’s also never been accused of looking out for others.

Reminds me of another guy in Wisconsin who is running around trying to convince people he’s a “problem solving manufacturer.” We’re talking about Paul Ryan former staffer Bryan Steil who is committed to carrying on for the fleeing Paul Ryan. Steil actually is responsible for helping a manufacturer outsource hundreds of jobs to Mexico. That’s how he solves problems. As for manufacturing, he is good at fabricating BS. We won’t get fooled again. What we’ve built is a Movement in southeast Wisconsin. 
I think we're still a long way off from Republicans in Congress standing up to Trump. It's going to take an ass-whipping in November before that happens. But that's coming. Trump beat Hillary in Ryan's district by just over 10 points, 52.6% to 42.3%. That could well be the margin by by Bryce beats Steil in November. And Bryce isn't running some kind of Republican-lite DCCC campaign. He's a full-on progressive, campaigning with Bernie and on Bernie's populist issues.

Meanwhile, more muttering:

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At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer, clearly, to this pointless and rhetorical question is: NEVER.

What this proves, as if we didn't already know, is that the Nazi party is solely interested in power. They care nothing about country.

"...our trip is just two years ago-- to July, 2006." I think I'm seeing a problem here.

And, again, the false meme that we're heading toward FASCISM. We've been fascist for 38 years. We've been adopting Nazi tendencies and reflexes since 2000. The caging of kids pretty much is the last step in that adoption.

We're all Nazis now, whether we can bring ourselves to admit it or not.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

Why would the GOP object to Trump? He's their wet dream. They love him because he has taken their wish list and turned it into an action plan.

Just like Obama, he ran on change and turned into a right winger two hours after the polls closed. I'm not so sure why you keep harping on Trump destroying "norms" when he's doing the exact same thing his two predecessors have done - and they both got re-elected so someone must like what they are doing.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those plutocrats backing the Nazi Party should have to read I Paid Hitler. Fritz Thyssen ended up enjoying the best creature comforts Nazi Germany could offer at Sachsenhausen and Dachau for his troubles.

Trump will eventually do the same in this nation once he runs out of Mexican immigrants to imprison.


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