Sunday, July 24, 2016

Not Even U.K. Right-Wing Crackpot Boris Johnson Wants To Be Associated With Trumpism


The editors of the Washington Post agreed they would never endorse Trump, calling him "uniquely unqualified" to be president and a "unique threat to American democracy... A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world." In case anyone wasn't paying close attention, the editors wrote that "The Republican Party has moved the lunatic fringe onto center stage, with discourse that renders impossible the kind of substantive debate upon which any civil democracy depends." The NY Times editors weren't as florid in their condemnation, but they didn't leave any doubt about what they thought about the danger Trump poses for America either:
Given a chance to replace the empty sloganeering and self-aggrandizement of his primary campaign with solid proposals worthy of Americans’ trust, Mr. Trump made clear that he instead intends to terrify voters into supporting him, who will protect them from violence, a word that occurs over and over in his remarks.

...The consequences for the Republican Party still lie ahead. Mr. Trump emerged as a political force with the racist claim that President Obama was not born in the United States. He has since sought advantage by playing to disaffected people’s worst instincts, inventing scapegoats and conspiracy theories, waging and inciting vicious attacks on those who disagree with him. He is a poisonous messenger for a legitimate demand: that an ossified party dedicate itself to improving working people’s lives, instead of serving the elite.
The brainwashed Hate Talk Radio and Fox News zombies can easily dismiss that as the liberal media ganging up on their hero. They'll probably say the exact same thing, though, about the far right propaganda sheet, the Weekly Standard which has been pushing a similar line on Trump, as Stephen Hayes did again yesterday: Donald Trump Is Crazy, And So Is The GOP For Embracing Him. Regarding Trump's childish accusations that Ted Cruz's father was somehow involved with the assassination of JFK-- which Trump was babbling about again Friday-- Hayes pointed out that "this isn't the behavior of a rational, stable individual. It should embarrass those who have endorsed him and disgrace those who have attempted to normalize him." And, of course, my normalizing Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin and Michael Savage, the Republican Party-- including the Weekly Standard own what these 5th rate intellects have done to their party and are attempting to do to America.
The degree of this normalization is stunning. The Republican nominee for president made comments Friday that one might expect from a patient in a mental institution, the kind of stuff you might read on blog with really small print and pictures of UFOs. And yet his remarks barely register as news. There are no condemnations from fellow Republicans. His supporters shrug them off as Trump being Trump.

To the extent Trump's latest outburst has generated any attention, it's been a discussion of the tactical mistake he's made. There's been head-shaking that he's gone "off-message," expressions of wonder at his lack of discipline, speculation about the electoral impact of his latest comments, disbelief about the timing of his comments and bewilderment at their target.

All of this misses the point. It's not about tactics or messaging. It's about something simpler and something much more important: Donald Trump is not of sound mind.

His amplification of the Cruz-Oswald conspiracies is part of a long pattern of embracing crazy. He hinted that Antonin Scalia was murdered. He's suggested autism is linked to vaccinations. He claimed "thousands" of Muslims celebrated in the streets of New Jersey after 9/11. He said many people consider Vince Foster's death a "murder" and called it "very fishy." And before he ran for president, his deepest foray into politics was a campaign to prove that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. (It failed.)

Trump has praised Alex Jones, whose radio program is to conspiracy theories what ESPN is to sports. Jones, a prominent 9/11 truther, claimed there was a "98 percent chance" that the 9/11 attacks were controlled bombings perpetrated by the U.S. government. In an appearance on Jones's radio show last year, Trump offered the host deferential praise. "Your reputation is amazing," Trump said. "I will not let you down."

The implications of Trump's irrationality are troubling. Would a President Trump believe-- and potentially act on-- conspiracy theories presented to him in a bilateral meeting with Vladimir Putin? Trump has expressed admiration for Putin, just as he's praised the National Enquirer. In his comments Friday, Trump called the National Enquirer "respected" and wondered aloud why such a credible publication hasn't won the Pulitzer Prize. If he accepts as fact the reports in a publication like the Enquirer, why wouldn't he believe someone like Putin? The possibilities for manipulating the leader of the free world are endless and terrifying.

So, what should Republican leaders do? Trump is, after all, their nominee for president and the leader of their party. Isn't it better to simply make the best of a bad situation?

I suppose that's one possibility and I'd assume it's what virtually all Republicans will do. There's little doubt that this bit of Trumpian insanity will fade away like the ones that came before. So this party of followers, nearly all of them, will keep their heads down and wait for this latest incident to be eclipsed by other news-- the Munich attacks, Hillary Clinton's running mate, the Democratic National Convention.

The better course would be to speak out against Trump, to say in public what some of you said when you initially opposed his candidacy, to say what many of you have said to me privately: Donald Trump isn't fit to serve as president, and electing him president would be dangerous. That might mean saying that you're unwilling to support the nominee of your party. It might mean retracting an endorsement.

Trump supporters would pretend that your refusal to support Trump means you're backing Hillary Clinton. It's an absurd argument, of course. There are other options. This election is not a "binary choice" as Trump backers claim. If the top candidates are, on the one hand, a congenital liar who jeopardized national security in service of her own ambition, and on the other, an unstable conspiracy theorist, the best choice is none of the above-- a non-endorsement, a third party candidate, a write-in.

Doing this would be risky and perhaps costly. It'd also be right.

Even right-wing goofball, U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson wants to be clear his policy agenda-- including Brexit-- is not related to Trump or Trumpism. The U.K. Conservative Party has enough problems without the taint of that stink sticking to them. Speaking in New York, at the UN, Johnson dismissed a suggestion posed by a reporter that Trump’s campaign pledge to "put Americanism before internationalism" might bear "similarities to Brexit." Johnson: I would draw a very, very strong contrast between Brexit and any kind of isolationism... Brexit means us being more outward looking, more engaged, more energetic, more enthusiastic on the world stage than ever before." The Guardian reported that "Johnson cautioned that it would be 'quite wrong' for him to take sides within the US election campaign, and stressed that 'we in the UK government will work with whoever is elected.' But his remarks appeared to amount to a pointed rejection of suggestions by several commentators that Brexit and Trump’s ascent are part of one wave of inward-facing rightwing populism." Hungary's fascist prime minister, Viktor Orban, isn't as reticent about embracing fellow fascist Trump, referring to him as "this valiant American presidential candidate."
"I am not a Donald Trump campaigner," he said in the televised speech. "I never thought I would ever entertain the thought that, of the open options, he (Trump) would be better for Europe and for Hungary.

"But I listened to the candidate and I must tell you he made three proposals to combat terrorism. And as a European I could have hardly articulated better what Europe needs... If we keep prioritizing democracy over stability in regions where we are unlikely to succeed with that, we will create instability, not democracy."

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