Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Friday, October 29, 2021

Conservative (Not A Trumpian Proto-fascist), Michael Gerson

The problem with our body politic today is the GQP. It is corrupt. It is detached. It is defined by people like Trump, McConnell, Cruz, MTG, Gaetz, and on and on and on. 

 There is no other entity remotely deserving credit or blame for what we are enduring or the dangers that we face. 




 Is it possible to locate ideological hotheads on both left and right who care nothing for democratic procedures and values? Of course. In a country of 330 million people, one can find plenty of anarchist rioters, Marxist college professors and administrators who use tolerance as a club to beat those they deem intolerant. But judging their threat as equivalent to that of the populist right is itself a threat to the country. At some point, a lack of moral proportion becomes a type of moral failure. 

 [skip] 

 Only one party has based the main part of its appeal on a transparent lie. To be a loyal Republican in 2021 is to believe that a national conspiracy of big-city mayors, Republican state officials, companies that produce voting machines and perhaps China, or maybe Venezuela, stole the 2020 presidential election. The total absence of evidence indicates to conspiracy theorists (as usual) that the plot was particularly fiendish. Previous iterations of the GOP tried to unite on the basis of ideology and public purpose. The current GOP is united by a common willingness to believe whatever antidemocratic rot comes from the mouth of an ambitious, reckless liar. 

 [skip] 

 Only one political movement has made a point of denying the existence and legacy of racism, assuring White people that they are equally subject to prejudice, and defending the Confederacy and its monuments as “our heritage.” This is perhaps the ultimate in absurd bothsidesism. My side suffers from economic stagnation and the unfair application of affirmative action. Your side was shipped like coal and sold like cattle; suffered centuries of brutality, rape, family separation and stolen wages; and was then subjected to humiliating segregation and the systematic denial of lending, housing and justice. Who can say which is worse? 

 [skip] 

 Only one president — as released documents show — attempted to overturn the results of a fair election, tried to block the certification of his successor and discussed in the Oval Office the possibility of imposing martial law. Only one president had minions prepare the step-by-step instructions for a constitutional coup.

30 comments:

Dave Miller said...

Before Skud gets here to say "Joey" is senile and doing a bad job continuing the legacy of the "swell guy", let me suggest something.

Before we even allow Skud's comments to be posted, he should answer whether Gerson's statement below is true or false. Simply that. What do you say Skud? One word...

True, or false? Can you do it?

"Only one president — as released documents show — attempted to overturn the results of a fair election, tried to block the certification of his successor and discussed in the Oval Office the possibility of imposing martial law. Only one president had minions prepare the step-by-step instructions for a constitutional coup.

Because if "conservatives" can't, or won't answer, why are we even talking to them?

Dave Miller said...

I've had some long talks with conservatives the last few weeks.

Many of them deeply believe the last election, and many elections prior to 2020, were rife with fraud. To this crowd, that fraud they believe is inherent, has tilted the scales in such a way, that their side cannot win.

No election where they lose is seen as fair by them.

And no amount of evidence exists, or can be offered up, to change their minds.

Because that evidence is controlled by the people who wish to steal elections.

In their view, they are trying to combat rampant voter fraud, cheating and vote stealing by leftists. They know it, they believe it and that does it. Thus, the attacks of 1/6, the move to restrict access to the vote and other anti democratic actions are wholly justified.

It's political fideism...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, Your comments are all very good, especially the challenge to skudrunner. We'll see if he comes here and answers your challenge.

Here's something that speaks to what you posted in your second comment:

Jonathan Bernstein: “One of the most important facts of U.S. politics right now is the terrible shape the Republican Party is in. It has been dysfunctional for more than a decade, and more recently the mainstream of the party has been acting as if they live in a fantasy world.

I attended the American Political Science Association’s annual conference in Seattle last month and heard nothing but a string of pessimism about the Republican Party — something that simply was not the case even 10 years ago. Of course, not everyone was pessimistic about the future of the republic. But no one seems to be able to imagine how the Republicans can turn themselves around, and I can’t remember the last political scientist I’ve spoken with (yes, Republicans included) who didn’t see serious problems here.”


Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University.

We have only one functioning political party -- the Democrats. There is no "Republican" Party. It's a cult that's besotted with a liar, a cheat, and a fraud.

Joe Conservative said...

:)

Rational Nation USA said...

People gain immensely in wisdom (almost immediately) when they realize and then acknowledge how little they really know. Letting go of the prejudices and stories one tells themselves that support their long held beliefs (often unsupported by real evidence) is not easy for a lot of people. For many conservatives and republicans it is amost sacrilege to do so.

I view conservatives (and I used to be one) aa well as present conservative philosophy and republicans as being stuck somewhere between 1945 and 1952 and are ferociously expending tons of effort trying to actually return us that era. Speaking of social structure and politics.

Change, which occurs continouly because everthing is impermanent, is something conervatives and republicans are no longer comfortable with. Not even a tiny little bit. Seeing their white priveledge slipping away serves only to propel them into frantic grasping and fighting to climg to the past. Even given all the hypocrisy and and unjust realities of those days. But as we know their eyes and ears are closed and sealed to truths that expose their cherished belifs to be that which they are. Lies.

Perhaps skud will arrive and answer Dave's challenge. It will be interesting if he does I'm sure.

Shaw Kenawe said...

JoeCon

I grew up with record players that played 45s and 33 1/3s (LPs). Sometimes the needle got stuck in a grove on the record, and it repeated a phrase in the song on the record being played again, and again, and again. We had a term for people who could not let go of a complaint or a nag: "You sound like a broken record." That term was used to say that someone keeps saying the same thing over and over again. You sound like a broken record because you can't stop talking about the loss.

Joe Biden won; Donald Trump lost.

In the interests of your mental health, I suggest you accept that fact.





Shaw Kenawe said...

RN,

Paul Krugman of the NYTimes had this to say today, and it speaks to what you commented on:

"When we talk about the G.O.P.’s moral descent, we tend to focus on the obvious extremists, like the conspiracy theorists who claim that climate change is a hoax and Jan. 6 was a false flag operation. But the crazies wouldn’t be driving the Republican agenda so completely if it weren’t for the cowards, Republicans who clearly know better but reliably swallow their misgivings and go along with the party line. And at this point crazies and cowards essentially make up the party’s entire elected wing.

[skip]

The falsehoods that are poisoning America’s politics tend to share similar life histories. They begin in cynicism, spread through disinformation and culminate in capitulation, as Republicans who know the truth decide to acquiesce in lies.

Take the claim of a stolen election. Donald Trump never had any evidence on his side, but he didn’t care — he just wanted to hold on to power or, failing that, promulgate a lie that would help him retain his hold on the G.O.P. Despite the lack of evidence and the failure of every attempt to produce or create a case, however, a steady drumbeat of propaganda has persuaded an overwhelming majority of Republicans that Joe Biden’s victory was illegitimate."


Today's Trumpublicans (not the old-fashioned Republicans who left the Trumpublican Party) are moral cowards who have abandoned decency and their allegiance to the Constitution and truth.

We have an old-fashioned Republican for our governor. I may not agree with everything he does, but there's one thing I know: Charlie Baker is a decent man; and if I disagree with some policies or program he proposes, that's fine, because I'm pretty certain he's motivated by principles and a desire to do the best for Massachusetts.

You shouldn't be too discouraged, we have an example of how a Republican can work with Democratic legislators and get things done -- without rancor, hatred, and threats of violence.

I'm thankful I live in Massachusetts, and I'm sorry for those Republicans who have to watch their party and the moral cowards who support the Liar, the Cheat, and the Fraud, drag them into the gutter.

skudrunner said...

True

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thank you, skud.

Dave Miller said...

Cheers Skud! Thank you…

Dave Miller said...

Skud... great job.

There are not many conservatives who visit here, the MotherShip and AOW who would say that Gerson's statement is true. Dare I say there are none?

Even if they believed it to be true, we know from previous statements that they'd never admit it for fear of having it used against them, or Trump.

Your simple one word statement says a lot.

And will carry a fair amount of weight with many here. Now if we could only get you to echo Gerson's statement on some of those other sites, we might get some real conversation.

Cheers amigo!

-FJ said...

Speaking of broken records and letting go, is that what Democrat's ever do? The Civil War ended in 1865... and you're still blaming Republicans for it.

Mike said...

"Who can say which is worse?"
I can. It's easy.
"My side suffers from economic stagnation and the unfair application of affirmative action."
Are you kidding? Republicans couldn't care less about economic stagnation. Even if it was true (it's not), they are becoming billionaires.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Um, no, Eff Jay,

It's not the Democrats who can't let go of the Civil War, the Confederate Flag, and worship of Confederate generals' statues. It's SOUTHERNERS who won't let go.

I've lived in New England -- Massachusetts, a very blue (Democratic) state -- most of my life. I never saw Confederate flags, or statues honoring the Confederate generals who committed treason against the United States. That sort of mentality has been rife throughout the South, because they can't let go of the fact that they lost.

Your comment is not smart.

-FJ said...

You don't allow "smart" ones. :)

skudrunner said...

Rev, You asked a T-F question and I answered it but to become a promoter of the leftist is not going to happen. Was trump a crooked jerk, yep, but he had accomplishments that aided the American people. So far crisis joe has accomplished nothing other than not being trump.

Dave Dubya said...

Thanks for the Gerson piece. I included some of it in a "discussion" with a fellow on the far Right. It's an extension on his friends insane projections of the Left embracing fascism. They compare their victimhood to the Holocaust and seem to unite behind the "Margie Greene lowest common denominator".

He may have grown weary of my requests to address my actual words instead of his usual strawman arguments.

I'd love to hear Skuddy extol Trump's "accomplishments that aided the American people", that would even approach a balance to his failed leadership on covid (He withheld information on its contagiousness and lethality) and destructive assaults on truth, decency and democracy. How does a "crooked jerk" help anyone but himself and his cronies and followers?

As I recall, Republicans had nothing to do with the Democrats' covid aid package, that most certainly aided the American people. They did so only when Trump approved the earlier package.

And kudos to Skuddy for accepting this reality:

"Only one president — as released documents show — attempted to overturn the results of a fair election, tried to block the certification of his successor and discussed in the Oval Office the possibility of imposing martial law. Only one president had minions prepare the step-by-step instructions for a constitutional coup."

Let's not forget the "Law and Order" president PRAISED his mob of thugs after their failed coup.

How did this aid anybody outside the radical Right and their echo chamber of hate and lies?

Asking for a dying democratic republic.

Rational Nation USA said...

Watching trumpublican thugs and republicans with weak knees and no spine pull down our democratic republic to supplant it with American style facism and racism (otherism in all its ugly forms) is enough to enrage even a mild mannered EX conservative. True conservatism has been dying in the USA since RWR. trump killed it with his sycophants in tow.

The only hope for a USA survival is by turning the nation on a dime to unfettered liberalism and kicking the growing numbers of ignorant greedy facists out on their asses for good. They are in fact the intellectual offspring of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Eff Jay, “Smart ones” by whose opinion? Yours?

LOL!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave D., and RN,

I certainly see the US as a”dying democratic republic.” The fact that 74million Americans voted for Trump, a liar, a cheat, and a fraud, who incited an insurrection against his own government is ample enough evidence to back that perception.

skudrunner said...

Dube, I will list a few but I am sure you may not agree.

Warp speed for the vaccine by eliminating much of the bureaucracy
America First initiative
Saving millions by withdrawing from the worthless Paris accord
Called out China and WHO for their part in not warning of the virus
Called attention to the economic abuse by foreign governments especially China
Tried to protect the US by building a barrier and remain in Mexico
Slowed border crossing by illegals which is since opened up
Tax cuts for everyone which resulted in companies coming back to the US
Massive growth prior to the virus without the big give a ways
Got other countries to contribute to NATO
Space force
Kept inflation in check and interest at record lows
Kept NKO at bay
USMCA to protect North America and Mexico
Criminal Justice reform and African American unemployment at record lows
Lowest poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics in history
Made the US energy independent

Those are some and I am sure you have issues with most of these because it highlights the accomplishments of someone you detest
I'm someone here will object because it points out that the US is indeed exceptional and they don't agree.

Rational Nation USA said...

And now ole skuddy buddy shows his true alleegience... yet again.

To a lying, anti democracy, pro authoritarian, conspiracy nut who through his orchestrated attempts to overturn a free and fair election and install himself as dictator proved beyond a shawdow of doubt he is not worthy of anything but prison.

Personaly I think he deserves to stand in front of a firing squad. He is a traitor to our America and its Constitution and deserves to be treated as such.

So, ole skuddy buddy, are you going to vote for the facist insurrectionist when he runs again because of all the great things he did to install fascism and insure otherissm would always have a home in Amerika?

Dave Miller said...

Skud... here's the rub for many ppl. Going back to the Gerson quote, which you stated is true, in spite of everything you and yes, many others cite as Trump's successes, they pale when we face this simple fact...

President Trump attempted to overturn the results of a fair election, tried to block the certification of his successor and discussed in the Oval Office the possibility of imposing martial law. Only one president had minions prepare the step-by-step instructions for a constitutional coup.

You and others are supporting a now former president who tried to subvert democracy, while he was in office. America hinges on what up until the Trump Admin had been a mostly voluntary system of free and open elections and elected politicians who while sometimes getting afoul of the law, generally kept to certain norms, for the good of the country.

Former President Trump, worked to overturn that entire system, as Gerson states. Which you said you agree with.

Now ask yourself this... if a Democrat had done the same, would you be quite as sanguine about moving on "for the good of America" as you seem to be with Trump?

Dave Miller said...

Skud... now onto your list.

-Warp speed for the vaccine by eliminating much of the bureaucracy... And yet he, his party and his Admin then sabotaged that effort by systematically working to undermine confidence in a vaccine they themselves rushed to produce.

-America First initiative... Hard to find a specific initiative, but there was certainly a push to put the USA first in spite of global integration. While this led to ppl here feeling good, others would argue it harmed relationships with allies and complicated many aspects of US foreign policy around the globe.

-Saving millions by withdrawing from the worthless Paris accord... The jury is out on this. We may yet end up spending millions as climate change advances.

-Called out China and WHO for their part in not warning of the virus... Well, this is a popular talking point, but the facts are still not known.

-Called attention to the economic abuse by foreign governments especially China... China is a complicated issue all presidents have struggled to understand and respond to. Trump gets a grade about like the rest... a strong C.

-Tried to protect the US by building a barrier and remain in Mexico... Protect is an interesting word. He did continue the drop in immigration numbers we saw in the Obama Admin so while I abhorred the way he did it, I'll admit the numbers dropped.

-Slowed border crossing by illegals which is since opened up... See above.

-Tax cuts for everyone which resulted in companies coming back to the US... Many lower and middle class people actually saw an increase in. their taxes and a decline in their standard of loving as a result of that tax cut, which also added trillions of dollars of debt to the US system.

-Massive growth prior to the virus without the big give a ways... Growth in what sectors? The US economy under Trump never once matched the 3.1% growth we saw in 2015 under ste Obama Admin. Under Trump the gains of the last three years of the Obama Admin, a solid trend, were all reversed, before Covid.

-Got other countries to contribute to NATO... Other countries were already contributing to NATO. Some however did increase their contributions.

-Space force... What exactly is this?

-Kept inflation in check and interest at record lows... And? You never accepted this as a win for Obama so what changed? Maybe presidents have less influence over this than we think.

-Kept NKO at bay... Hmm... they certainly increased their nuclear capability under Trump as they have under previous admins. But Trump did promise that would not happen. At bay is quite a statement.

-USMCA to protect North America and Mexico... This is a trade pact that mostly continues and updated NAFTA. Does it protect the US, Canada and Mexico? I think most of us with any knowledge of Mexico would argue NAFTA has been a net loss and helped exacerbate hunger, poverty and the drug problems.

-Criminal Justice reform and African American unemployment at record lows... Some reform, but mostly a strong win for Trump, especially when you add support for the HBCUs.

-Lowest poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics in history... See above.

-Made the US energy independent... In this Trump continued a log term trend that continued through 2020, the last year for which we have numbers/facts.

Like a lot of similar lists, yours Skud lacks context. There is little thought given to larger consequences and doesn't consider how some of these "policies" negatively impact the US.

At the end of the day, the history of the Trump Admin is going to come down to three things... Covid, which with his lies and uneducated statements, he completely botched, the election and insurrection of 1/6 and the conservative remake of the SCOTUS.

Dave Dubya said...

How do Trump's accomplishments for the people stack against his destruction of the nation's democracy, decency, and truth. He took the country to all time lows in world approval.

Let’s look at Trump's "accomplishments that aided the American people", on balance with the harms done to health care, (unknown thousands of needless deaths due to anti-mask/anti-vax idiocy), the environment, our democratic institutions, voter rights, partisan rancor and a highly partisan Supreme Court, lies and other divisiveness.

Warp Speed was the sane choice anyone would have made to remove impediments to vaccine research and production. Pfizer developed theirs without help from warp speed or Trump.

“Calling out” China and WHO did nothing to aid the American people.

There were no spending mandates in the Paris accord.

Mexico didn’t pay a dime for his wall, and his cruel border policies did not “aid the American people”.

Job growth was greater in Obama’s final three years than Trump’s first three before covid.

Trump actively sought to take healthcare from Americans.

Tax cuts benefited the rich and corporations far more than most Americans and added over a trillion dollars to the debt.

Credit for minor criminal justice reform.

Poverty rates and Black unemployment were already trending down when he took office.

Aug. 2011 the Bush Recession produced black unemployment rate 16.7%

January 2017, the black unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent. Under Obama the black unemployment rate dropped 8.9%.

Trump crowed about a 3.4% drop. No credit is given to Obama for an 8.9% drop.

“America First”:
The Federal Reserve estimated that tariffs on Chinese goods cost the average household $831 a year.
https://www.thebalance.com/trump-and-jobs-4114173

Job Growth:
Trump’s best year of job growth was 2.314 million in 2018 (the first year of the tax cut) but it falls short of any of Obama’s last three years.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2020/02/07/obamas-last-three-years-of-job-growth-all-beat-trumps-best-year/?sh=2a5358bb6ba6

Energy imports were reduced by over 6 Billion Barrels per Day under Obama.

Net petroleum imports
https://www.statista.com/statistics/191381/total-us-petroleum-net-imports-since-2000/

2008 – 11.11 Billion Barrels per Day
2016 – 4.8 BBD

Following the advent of unconventional shale extraction,(fracking) the U.S. was able to achieve a trade surplus.
In 2020, the United States became a net exporter of petroleum, as its net import volume reached a negative 651 million barrels per day. Net imports have decreased notably, having reached a peak of 12.55 million barrels per day in 2005. Following the advent of unconventional shale extraction, the U.S. was able to achieve a trade surplus.


Last, but not least, Trump's hate-mongering, lies and insurrection have taken the country closer to the brink of civil war since the Confederacy.

He had to go. Period. If Biden did nothing else but defeat Trump, his contribution to America will stand as a victory for democracy.

Rational Nation USA said...

America First Initiative - Code for Screw anything and everything that benefits anyone cons don't agree with and specifically envisioned and designed on greed and ignorance. Trumpublican specialties.

skudrunner said...

Rev, You asked a question which my answer was not supportive of trump. Dube questioned what accomplishments trump had which I answered.

Trump was and is not a nice person where biden is. I have worked for a number of people who were not nice people but were effective. The left is all about pushing Jan 6th as their agenda hoping to defer attention to the fact that the only agenda they have is to tax and spend at a record pace. I understand your vocation is to give money away but that is money donated by people who donate it to give away. The government seizes money to give away much of it to people who choose not to provide for themselves.

All politicians are crooks and care only about themselves and building their wealth. At least one party has a lie that they are about helping people while the other is all about hating trump. Hating trump worked as a platform in 2020 but not convinced it will be a workable platform going forward.

Dave Dubya said...

Right.

"The left is all about pushing Jan 6th as their agenda hoping to defer attention to the fact that the only agenda they have is to tax and spend at a record pace."

Such simplistic blather. Tax whom and spend on what? Taxes for the general welfare is constitutional. Regulation of commerce is constitutional. Public health and education are constitutional provision for the general welfare.

Never mind the military spending. That's sacred. Never mind militarizing law enforcement. That's sacred. Never mind denying reproductive freedom, the zygote is sacred. Never mind global warming and environmental destruction, corporate profits and greed are sacred.

The Right is all about ignoring insurrection and pushing voter suppression. They press their war on democracy with their Big Lie. Repeating Jan 6th is their agenda, and hoping to defer attention to the fact that the only agenda they have is to eliminate democratic representation, coddle the rich, and punish the poor ("people who choose not to provide for themselves").

Texas is showing their agenda. Suppressing voter rights isn't enough. They are banning reproductive freedom, banning books, banning "CRT", or any and all study and teaching of the history and effects of slavery and racism, and telling teachers to balance Holocaust books with "opposing" views".

There's their "workable platform going forward".

"But, but we've patented 'tax and spend' and 'the left hates America'. Trump says he won, Democrats are commies, and the press is the enemy of the people! This is our 'workable platform going forward'."

The left is "all about" opposing this fascism.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dave, skud just doesn't see it that way. He refuses to see what's in front of his nose.

Maybe the truth of Trumpism is too horrifying for him and his fellow travelers to see.

You and I and the 81+ million who voted for President Biden believe having an armed mob attack the U.S. Capitol, screaming to HANG PENCE!, attack and cause the deaths of people, desecrate the halls of the Capitol with their excrement and bear spray police -- we believe that should deserve punishment to all who participated and planned that attack to overthrow the U.S. government.

skud doesn't think it's that important. HOWEVER! We can bet our last dollar that had those armed thugs been wearing "Ridin' With Biden" t-shirts, hats, and carrying flags, skud and his pals over at AOW and GeeeeeZ would be screaming for the death penalty for all of them.

skud, like those folks on those blogs are in a cult. Only cultists would want the rest of the country to "move on" from such a shameful, seditious and illegal attack on America.

Kinda shows us all what they are.

Rational Nation USA said...

America (by the numbers) has without a doubt become a nation with a huge cultish minority that that apprently loves the idea of oppressing those they disagree with.