Tuesday, September 19, 2017

As The Congressional GOP Falls Apart, The Party Is Looking More And More Like TRUMP


We've been commenting lately about how mainstream Republicans are starting to announce their retirements from Congress earlier and in greater numbers than normal. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Charlie Dent (R-PA) and David Trott (R-MI) have already announced they've had it and won;'t be returning to Congress in 2019.  None of them specifically mentioned the new report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, a study that shows hate crimes-- crimes targeting people based on their race, religion, sexuality, disability or national origin-- rose about 5% since Trump was installed in the White House. States with the biggest rates of increase were Indiana (+123%), Minnesota (+27%), Michigan (+22%), New York (+20%), California (+11%) and Kentucky (6%). Cities with the biggest increases in hate crimes are Portland, Oregon (+200%), Phoenix (+46%), NYC (+28%), Seattle (22%), DC (+22%), Cincinnati (22%), Los Angeles (+13%), Philadelphia (+9%) and Chicago (+8%).

Professor Brian Levin, who directed the study, says that attacks against Muslims and transgender people have been rising rapidly and he attributes the rise in general to Trump's rhetoric, which appears to Nazis and racists to be offering them unintentional permission to go on the offense, even violently.

That said, Charlie Dent was interviewed by Andrew Desiderio for the Daily Beast and he seemed to be blaming the retirements on Trump's "isolationism, protectionism, and nativism" plus the nihilism and dysfunction that have marked his first half year in the Oval Office. Dent admitted he didn't vote for Trump last year, neither in the primary nor in the general election.
Since Trump’s inauguration, Dent has clashed with Trump on a host of issues. He criticizes the president’s “economically isolationist tendencies on trade” and his “restrictionist approach” on immigration. He calls the president’s travel ban “ill-considered and horribly executed,” for example, and fought hard against Trump when he was pushing for the passage of the American Health Care Act-- the House version of an Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill.

Ahead of the AHCA’s eventual passage, Dent took his concerns straight to Trump-- a man who he believes focuses too heavily on personalities in his approach to politics, rather than substantive policy.

“I was in two meetings with the president. One went well, the other not so much,” Dent said with a laugh. “We just came down on different sides of that. I was opposed to the House bill, and he spoke negatively of the House bill after the fact-- said it was mean. So I don’t know. Go figure.”

Dent was suggesting that Trump decided to lobby support for the bill when he thought it was in his own interest, and soured on it when he realized it could be more of a political ticking time-bomb.

Dent’s pushback against the president on the merits of the AHCA was something that would earn most elected Republicans a primary challenger at their next election. In his meetings with Trump, Dent suggested fixes to the AHCA that went entirely against Republican orthodoxy: that some of the Obamacare taxes remain in place, that the Medicaid aid cuts be softened, and that a provision defunding Planned Parenthood be scrapped.

“He wasn’t happy that I was not supporting the bill, and he let me know it,” Dent said. “He said it was pretty clear it would undermine tax reform if we didn’t pass that bill and that I was going to cause great damage to the Republican party. And he blamed me. OK, but it didn’t change my opinion.”

Unlike Trump, Dent doesn’t make his criticisms personal. He decries the shift toward personality-based politics that he believes predates Trump, but has taken center stage in the Trump era-- and when he agrees with the president, he does so enthusiastically.

Dent applauded Trump’s recent agreement with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to combine Hurricane Harvey relief funds, a debt ceiling increase, and a government funding mechanism into one piece of legislation. The deal was met with disgust from conservatives.

“It was absolutely the right call,” Dent said. “There are not 218 republican votes to extend the debt ceiling for three months, six months, 18 months. So clearly the Democrats had some leverage and the president recognized that. So for the guys in my party that are complaining about the deal… the reason why we got the deal that we got is because a lot of our guys wouldn’t vote for a debt ceiling anyway.”

Dent, who hails from what he calls the GOP’s “governing wing,” was referring to the party’s ideological purists-- those who, in his view, are “very good at telling us what they can never do because it violates their principles.” In recent years, for example, Republican lawmakers have demanded that modest spending cuts be tied to any increase in the federal debt ceiling.

...[T]he conservative hardliners in the House Freedom Caucus have gained immense power and leverage over the years. They successfully forced out embattled House Speaker John Boehner in 2015, and have threatened to shut down the government if their demands for spending cuts aren’t met. Their votes were critical for the passage of the AHCA, which many of them threatened to vote against on the grounds that it wasn’t conservative enough. Dent refers to them as obstructionists who remain “cohesive as a unit” to derail any negotiations with the other side.

“They can’t pass what they want, but they can stop things from happening,” Dent said, referencing the government shutdown in 2013 as the first incident that sparked his consideration of retirement.

“Some of the frustrations predated Donald Trump,” Dent added. “The difficulty of enacting just the most basic fundamental items of governance-- from keeping the government open to not defaulting on our nation’s obligations, and other similar things like budget agreements and just necessary bills that had to be enacted or re-authorized-- these types of matters were becoming extraordinarily difficult to enact.”
Still percolating is the uptick in internecine warfare that will manifest itself in destruction, ideological (and careerist) primaries. We've been reading about Bannon's and Mercer's plans to finance neo-Nazi extremists against mainstream GOP Senate incumbents in Alabama, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee and Mississippi. The likeliest result will be candidates less able to compete for the votes of independents in general elections-- and seriously depleted campaign war-chests. Even Paul Ryan has a Republican opponent from the Trump wing of the party, one who Bannon is trying to persuade to run as a third party candidate in the general election where he can do Ryan the most harm. Crazy Republicans, huh?

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At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the gop is falling apart. They are about to collectively ratfuck 320 million people as they repeal ACA and replace it with allowing insurance and phrma to do anything they want for money.

so... there's that...

At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and when, not if, he starts a war with NK or iran, the democraps will prove that there really is only one party and they are unified.

so... there's that.


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