The Ever Worsening Republican Party

Ted CruzMartin Longman asked a great question, How Did Cruz Become the Sane Alternative? A lot of people think the most likely scenario for the Republican nominating contest is that Trump will drop out and it will become a head to head match-up between Cruz and Marco Rubio. This narrative is presented as though it is a great relief. But how is that? Before Trump stopped being a joke, Ted Cruz was the crazy one that Republican elites were afraid of. Now we are supposed to think that he’s a statesman who can be trusted? That’s a reach.

The truth of the matter is that I fear Cruz more than Trump. There’s no question that Trump is not only a demagogue, but a damned fine one. Still, I think he’s at base a practical guy. He’ll say anything to get elected, but he isn’t going to destroy the world economy. If things go wrong, I think he will reverse course. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is a typical bitter ender. He is ideologically rigid. He always argues that if we just follow his One True Way™ then all will be fine. If a two week government shutdown doesn’t work, then a two month one will; and if not that, a two year one.

But what we are seeing in the Republican presidential campaign is what we’ve seen for decades with the Republican Party. Just look at the Bushes. First we had George HW Bush, and we thought he was pretty bad with his racist campaign. And then we got his eldest son who was equally as evil but spectacularly incompetent. And now we have Jeb Bush. A lot of conservatives have convinced themselves that Obama made the nation miss George W Bush. That didn’t happen. But Jeb has managed to make his older brother seem both less evil and incompetent.

Marco RubioLongman pointed out that, “Cruz is unapologetically at war with the mainstream of the party…” And he’s right to note that Rubio is no great shakes. Jonathan Chait pointed out some of his absurdity on Monday, Guns Don’t Kill People, Planes Kill People. This is in reference to Rubio’s ridiculous claim over the weekend that we can’t withhold guns from people on the no-fly list, because it is filled with errors. But of course, Rubio has no interest in getting rid of the no-fly list — or even fixing it. I’m sure if this lack of consistency were pointed out to Rubio, he would respond, “I’m not a logician, man.”

The larger issue was discussed in another Chait article, Donald Trump May Not Get the Nomination, but He Has Already Won. He showed Rubio’s disingenuousness — saying that Obama’s call for calm on Sunday was “cynical,” while only saying of Trump’s call for panic on Monday, “His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.” As Chait noted:

Rubio impugns Obama’s motives for rejecting discrimination against Muslims. (“Cynicism”!) He makes no such judgment about Trump’s motives. Rubio needs to harness the same passions that Trump is exploiting, but to do so more carefully. His anti-anti-bigotry message cleverly redirects conservative resentment away from Muslims and toward the liberals who cynically denounce anti-Muslim prejudice and refuse to present the case against ISIS as a war of civilizations.

Whatever Marco Rubio truly believes, it is clear that he is determined to win the same votes by the same basic demagoguery as Trump. He just doesn’t do the whole comic-in-chief act of Benito Mussolini. Rubio, Cruz, Trump? They are all pretty much the same. The elites can pat themselves on the back about getting rid of Trump (if they do). But this is just a process that has repeated itself again and again in the GOP. It’s the reason why the party is so much worse than it was 40 years ago.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

13 thoughts on “The Ever Worsening Republican Party

  1. The fact that J. ‘hippy-puncher’ Chait is the voice of reason here is conclusive evidence that we’re fucked.

    • That’s the weird thing about Chait. I find his thinking excellent except when it comes to “PC” (which he’s be hawking for more than a decade) and “education reform” (which his wife is part of and his work might as well be funded by Billy and Mindy). So I’ve just taken to only reading him when he isn’t writing about those subjects, and he’s really good. It is strange though.

  2. That picture of Rubio looks weird. Like it is a George Bush painting.

    And now I am wondering if Trump is the spoiler in this campaign. He is saying all of these things to ensure someone like Cruz seems like the sane alternative so he gets elected. That happened here locally with something a certain politico said to give cover to the people who agree with him but needed an easy way to claim they didn’t.

    • Yes, I ran it through some PhotoShop filter. I should get a nice picture of him. There is a good one in the public domain.

      I’ve heard people speculate that Trump is actually trying to get out of the race, but it keeps backfiring. I don’t think that’s true. I think Trump loves this stuff too much.

      Did you see, Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter? I bring it up because The Daily Show is one place I’ve heard that mentioned. But I’ve heard it said seriously elsewhere.

      • Oh he doesn’t want to get out of the race. But I do think he doesn’t want to be President since it means having to do actual work much like Bush II viewed it. Bush II loved campaigning-it was really obvious-but he hated having to be President.

        I had heard about his statements to that effect. Gag.

        • Yeah, he always reminded me of a line from Primary Colors about people who want to become president because of the prize. That’s always how Bush struck me.

          • I honestly think that is the way a lot of Republicans office holders (and not a few Democrats sadly) view the office. As some kind of prize without realising that this means you need to do some actual work. My successor is like that-I worked my tail off but he takes vacations once a month.

            • That goes along with one of the most frustrating myths (among everyone, but especially conservatives): the “anyone can govern.” Yes, I suppose that’s true in the same way that anyone can ski. But governing is a skill as the people of California should have learned over the last decade. Schwarzenegger wasn’t bad because he was stupid; he’s not; he’s a very smart guy. But he had no experience and never should have been given the job. Brown’s been amazing, even while I haven’t been thrilled with everything he’s done.

              • I absolutely hate with a passion, as in I will literally get on a soapbox, the idea that you should not have career politicians.

                The more you serve in office, the more you get that what you do is valuable to a lot of very average people. What you do matters and it should never be a point of pride of any candidate running for a top tier (governor, lt. gov, attorney general, treasurer, or any federal office) that they have never served in office. Governing is hard. Dealing with the political process is extremely hard. There are dozens upon dozens of conflicting interests that have to be balanced out.

                Hell even just picking one garbage pick up service takes a great deal of effort by city council members! Or it should. It gets more complex the more you move up. Obama made huge mistakes in his first two years of being President that I don’t think he would have made had he been more seasoned. Bill Clinton was the same-he did not truly hit his stride until his second term and he did have that experience as a governor for eleven years.

                It is the same reason I hate term limits-so what if someone was there for 14 years-that means that they know their colleagues better and can get stuff done since they no longer are suspicious of the person’s motives. They know the rules and what can be done. The biggest reason that Ted Kennedy was so successful was because he was a politician and knew how to play the game. That matters when it comes time to do the hard work of governing.

                Yes it means that you have to make difficult and less than fun decisions but frankly that is what being in office is about-having to do that kind of decision making so the person sitting at home watching you on TV and complaining can be comfortable as they are sitting at home watching you on TV!

                Gah!

                • Yeah, I was going to bring up term limits. That’s really just people trying to control others, “I don’t like you vote for!” If you believe in democracy, then you should be against term limits. We have them here, and it’s terrible. A lot of very good people were thrown out of office for no good reason.

                  • It is almost as bad as the people who say “throw them all out!” No, stop that, they are just being a lazy thinker and not paying attention to if the various elected officials are any good.

                    Essentially it is “I don’t want to expend any effort on this particular task so therefore I am going to ignore anything that contradicts my pre-conceived notions.”

                    • Right. Of course, polls consistently show when you ask people about their own representative, they say, like Tony Tiger, “They’re great!” So again, it comes back to not wanting other people to be able to make their own decisions. Why would you want to throw them all out? It makes no sense. It is just an expression of being unhappy with the system. It means nothing else.

                    • For the few who know who their Congressional or other Representative, yes.
                      It is the main reason I never believe any national poll that says “Americans want X!” What matters is “what do the majority of the congressional districts say?” If they say they want a single payer system, then I ask “why did you not vote in the person who said they would do that?”

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