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The rot


Jennifer Rubin (yeah that one) has awoken:

The key insight from a week of gobsmacking revelations is not that the Russia scandal may finally have an underlying crime but that, as David Brooks suggests, “over the past few generations the Trump family built an enveloping culture that is beyond good and evil.” (Remember when the media collectively oohed and ahhed that, “Say what you will about Donald Trump, but his kids are great!”? Add that to the heap of inane media narratives that helped normalize Trump to the voters.) We now see that, sure enough, the Trump legal team (the fastest-growing segment of the economy) has trouble restraining its clients, explaining away initial, false explanations and preventing self-incriminating statements. (The biggest trouble, of course, is that the president lied that this is all “fake news” and arguably committed obstruction of justice to hide his campaign team’s misdeeds.)

Let me suggest the real problem is not the Trump family, but the GOP. To paraphrase Brooks, “It takes generations to hammer ethical considerations out of a [party’s] mind and to replace them entirely with the ruthless logic of winning and losing.” Again, to borrow from Brooks, beyond partisanship the GOP evidences “no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code.”

Let’s dispense with the “Democrats are just as bad” defense. First, I don’t much care; we collectively face a party in charge of virtually the entire federal government and the vast majority of statehouses and governorships. It’s that party’s inner moral rot that must concern us for now. Second, it’s simply not true, and saying so reveals the origin of the problem — a “woe is me” sense of victimhood that grossly exaggerates the opposition’s ills and in turn justifies its own egregious political judgments and rhetoric. If the GOP had not become unhinged about the Clintons, would it have rationalized Trump as the lesser of two evils? Only in the crazed bubble of right-wing hysteria does an ethically challenged, moderate Democrat become a threat to Western civilization and Trump the salvation of America.

Indeed, for decades now, demonization — of gays, immigrants, Democrats, the media, feminists, etc. — has been the animating spirit behind much of the right. It has distorted its assessment of reality, giving us anti-immigrant hysteria, promulgating disrespect for the law (how many “respectable” conservatives suggested disregarding the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage?), elevating Fox News hosts’ blatantly false propaganda as the counterweight to liberal media bias and preventing serious policy debate. For seven years, the party vilified Obamacare without an accurate assessment of its faults and feasible alternative plans. “Obama bad” or “Clinton bad” became the only credo — leaving the party, as Brooks said of the Trump clan, with “no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code” — and no coherent policies for governing.

We have always had in our political culture narcissists, ideologues and flimflammers, but it took the 21st-century GOP to put one in the White House. It took elected leaders such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and the Republican National Committee (not to mention its donors and activists) to wave off Trump’s racists attacks on a federal judge, blatant lies about everything from 9/11 to his own involvement in birtherism, replete evidence of disloyalty to America (i.e. Trump’s “Russia first” policies), misogyny, Islamophobia, ongoing potential violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause (along with a mass of conflicts of interests), firing of an FBI director, and now, evidence that the campaign was willing to enlist a foreign power to defeat Clinton in the presidential election.

Out of its collective sense of victimhood came the GOP’s disdain for not just intellectuals but also intellectualism, science, Economics 101, history and constitutional fidelity. If the Trump children became slaves to money and to their father’s unbridled ego, then the GOP became slaves to its own demons and false narratives. A party that has to deny climate change and insist illegal immigrants are creating a crime wave — because that is what “conservatives” must believe, since liberals do not — is a party that will deny Trump’s complicity in gross misconduct. It’s a party as unfit to govern as Trump is unfit to occupy the White House. It’s not by accident that Trump chose to inhabit the party that has defined itself in opposition to reality and to any “external moral truth or ethical code.”

When Trump falls, which at this rate could happen by the end of the All-Star break, there’s going to be a massive attempt to reinterpret what’s been going on as some sort of one-off cult of personality freak show. As Scott has pointed out many times, Donald Trump’s presidency and Trumpism itself are both completely predictable if not inevitable consequences of the nature of the contemporary Republican party.

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  • Rand Careaga

    It’s deeply alarming to find myself on the same side of any issue with Jennifer Rubin and Bill Kristol, but these are weird times.

    • brewmn

      Her commentary has been great for awhile now. A handful of anti-Trump conservatives (Rubin, Sullivan, Frum) are going after this president with a furor that more mainstream left-of-center commentators (E.J. Dionne, I’m looking at you) seem entirely incapabale of.

      • I’d think if ANYTHING could get Dionne’s blood boiling, it’d be Trump, but not even that?

        • humanoidpanda

          Let’s be honest here: if you are Jewish, you have a bit more at stake than other ”
          conservative intellectuals.” And nearly all remaining nevertrumpers ( besides the McMuffin dude) are Jewish

          • Dionne is the media’s Designated Spokesperson for Liberalism and the Democratic Party, though, not a Republican never-Trumper.

            • DocAmazing

              Someone has to carry on Alan Colmes’s stuggle.

          • AlexSaltzberg

            Yes — the naked antisemitism of the Trump campaign and governing is a huge warning sign.

          • McMullin is Mormon, which probably is comparable. For presumably obvious reasons, Mormons haven’t been too comfortable with attacks on religious minorities. The Mormons have been a bit more sceptical of the shitgibbon since the start.

            • Adam King

              But voted for him anyway.

              • Some of ’em probably did, yeah, but they were mostly soft supporters even then. I’ll be kind of surprised if they vote for him a second time. (It’s worth pointing out as well that Glenn Beck, while stopping short of actually endorsing Hillary, did explicitly say she was preferable to the shitgibbon.)

                • Thirtyish

                  The tepid-to-nonexistent support for the shitgibbon that Mormons evinced admittedly surprised me, although I think what you say about distaste for religious discrimination holds (to some extent, although my perhaps flawed perception is that Mormons have historically been anti-Semitic).

                • mausium

                  In public less support, but two-faced nontheless.

              • mausium

                Yup. Complain about his rhetoric, but don’t resist.

            • mausium

              Slightly, but my conservative Mormon inlaws mostly said he’d never get elected. Lol.

        • brewmn

          He was on NPR today offering the same tepid bathwater as always. I’m sitting here listening and thinking, is “the evidence of Trump administration collusion with Russia is now so OVERWHELMING that anyone who denies it is either lying or delusional” really so hard to say?

    • JerryRich

      Even Jews, Muslims, and atheists can have their “come to Jesus” moments, although I don’t expect them from today’s “Christians”.

      • Thirtyish

        Such Christians (evangelicals, to be accurate) recognize that their religion is essentially the Republican Party platform.

        • ciocia

          The American Evangelical faith is increasingly related to Christianity in the way Voodoo is related to Roman Catholicism: it has it as an antecedent, it shares a lot of symbolism, but now means something entirely else.

    • Kristol is no moron. He’s not on a level with either of his parents, but if he wants to put aside partisanship and say something anyone would find reasonable, I’m sure he can.

      • twbb

        But he’s always wrong. I mean, the sole argument in favor of Trump is Kristol doesn’t think he’s doing a good job.

    • SatanicPanic

      Even Krauthhammer was calling this latest news damning. FWIW I’m all for amnesty for conservatives who get off the train now. For their sake I hope more of them do, because the shit they’re going to have to justify going forward is only going to be that much more unjustifiable.

      • stepped pyramids

        Yeah, I’m all for the “no cookies for basic decency” position in general, but this is an existential threat to the republic. We can squabble over the ship’s next destination and who gets to be captain after we keep it from sinking.

        • SatanicPanic

          Yup. This is an emergency. We can argue about tax cuts or school vouchers later. I’ll even pretend to forget about support for the Iraq War.

        • tsam100

          Cosign both of these comments…

    • tsam100

      It’s good that they’re doing this, though. That might be the only vehicle back to some level of sanity for the right. The only real method is sustained electoral losses, but that ain’t happening any time soon.

  • John F

    “Let’s dispense with the “Democrats are just as bad” defense. First, I don’t much care; we collectively face a party in charge of virtually the entire federal government and the vast majority of statehouses and governorships. It’s that party’s inner moral rot that must concern us for now. Second, it’s simply not true”

    Wow, usually when a GOP/Conservative neverTrumper discusses this stuff they preface it by saying, “yes the Dems are worse, but that doesn’t mean we should stoop to their level” (that’s a Red State Never Trump specialty), but she really seems to have had a road to Damascus moment.

    • sigaba

      I would avoid engaging in any comparisons with Trump to any other politician, before everybody in the room stipulates to exactly what they think Trump did.

    • Thirtyish

      Yeah. Part of me wants to stand up and cheer for her for actually admitting this, but then a larger part of me feels like shaking her by the shoulders and yelling “no fucking shit.”

      • Terok Nor

        Or “Wasn’t there enough evidence to realize that, say, sometime between 2009 and 2017?”

  • Hey, Rubin and Brooks have spoken! How long until they call for “reasonable” Democrats to join their new “Republican? Who me?” Party?

    Or that freak show thing you describe will happen and they’ll slink back and hope no one notices, like always.

    Edit: I created a disqus account under my real name, decided to delete it, and instead I keep getting logged out of the LGM thing and automatically logged in the other way. Annoying.

    • SatanicPanic

      Brooks is full of it as always, but Rubin has said a lot this year that will be hard to walk back.

      • Frum has said things that can’t be walked back. By 2006 the R pundits were all “years, maybe decades in the wilderness before we’re fit to come back.” How long did it last?

        • SatanicPanic

          Frum’s generally been good on Trump though, since well before the election.

          • I just mean let’s not deceive ourselves as to why this is interesting, and maybe I’m misreading the reactions. Rubin was so shrill and anti-Democrat before the campaign that it’s interesting even she finally put the blame on her own side. She’s not John Cole. Frum has changed nothing of his beliefs that it’s possible to see, and if he’s written anything about shifting to the center or working better with Ds I haven’t seen it. He just wishes his half of the party were more influential. Goldberg has regularly denounced Rs he thinks are insufficiently classy and is still on the staff of National Review. Rubin skirts very close in that piece to calling Trump voters “not really Republicans,” just like some people say Trump is not. That’s all. Trump doesn’t fit the Daddy Party she thinks her party should be.

            Now, Frum lost his job and maybe a woman is inherently in a shakier position but who is in a position to cut Rubin off?

            • stepped pyramids

              She’s really laid into congressional Republicans, though, and not just over their support of Trump:

              Make no mistake: [the Senate health care] bill is about cutting Medicaid and giving tax cuts to the rich, with health care for everyone else an afterthought… this is not a bill about providing cheaper, better health care to the masses. It’s not about helping older or rural Americans. It’s about taking hundreds of billions of dollars out of Medicaid and giving the money to rich people in the form of tax cuts. The CBO report makes clear what a total disgrace the bill really is.

              That could be an excerpt from one of Scott’s posts here. In another article she lauded Chuck Schumer and even “progressive activists” for working to stop the bill.

              This isn’t John Cole, yet, but it’s further than Frum. We’ll see.

              • Compared with Cathy Young, where is she? Because Young becoming a Democrat is, I’m pretty sure, one of the signs the Messiah has arrived, and still she’s perfectly sane on a finite number of issues.

                It’s entirely possible to see things as “reasonable” and non-partisan even when your own party denounces them in partisan terms, it would seem.

                • majeff

                  Because Young becoming a Democrat is, I’m pretty sure, one of the signs the Messiah has arrived, and still she’s perfectly sane on a finite number of issues.

                  What now? I remember that loon when she was at the Boston Globe. Haven’t paid attention since I left The Hub.

    • ColBatGuano

      I fully expect Brooks to ask the Democrats to move to the center, support ACA repeal and huge tax cuts as the only counterweight to the Republican’s extremism.

  • gocart mozart

    This IMHO is the best thing on the internet today.

    • petesh


  • quakerinabasement

    “Only in the crazed bubble of right-wing hysteria does an ethically challenged, moderate Democrat become a threat to Western civilization and Trump the salvation of America.”

    Well, no shit!

    You helped build that, Jen.

    • jmwallach

      You didn’t build that!

    • agorabum

      She did, but she also turned on Trump and the Republicans during the campaign. She wasn’t one that waited for Trump to win before she began criticizing him.

  • BiloSagdiyev

    The freak show is in DC, it is in NYC, the freak show’s high and low.

    The GOP freakshow is in Spokane Valley, WA.

    Some spout their ignorant ramblings from podiums, others from curbs.

  • RangerJay

    I’m sure it’s an oversight, but she left out “and embraced rampant racism” in her rant.

    • JMP

      She did at least note some of the racism, which is better than the usual right-wing response of “how dare you PC SJWs point out that racism exists!”.

    • Joe Paulson

      Did note the anti-immigrant hysteria, how they wave off Trump’s racists attacks, birthism, Islamophobia — all which have racist aspects.

  • gocart mozart

    “We are here at the Washington Post editorial page, where we’ve
    secretly replaced the both-siderist crap they usually serve with Driftglass
    Crystals. Let’s see if anyone can tell the difference!”

    • ColBatGuano

      Some needs to see if there is an empty DNC pod in Rubin’s basement.

    • brucej

      OWWWW! Coffee through the nose hurts!

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    Even if Rubin is right, in the end she is saying “Conservatives, stop the hatred, racism, and misogyny; let’s all come together to peacefully eat *all* of the poor.”

    • stepped pyramids

      I dunno. Rubin has attacked the Republican healthcare bill on the basis that it will kill poor people. I’m not sure what’s going on with her, but I remember that it took a while for John Cole to transition from writing posts titled “Ann Coulter: Goddess” to being an anti-Bush Republican to being an ex-Republican to being a Democrat to being an actually quite liberal Democrat.

      American politics are so tribal that leaving one side often means joining the other, and joining one side as a ‘strategic’ choice often results in actually becoming a true believer. See Michael Bérubé in 2005, with one of his most celebrated bon mots:

      It’s really quite eerie when you think about it, and I don’t believe it can be explained simply by hatred of Muslims or fear of another attack. Because these people don’t just go on about the War on Terror and the firmness of Dear Leader; they also go on about Jane Fonda (!) and Dan Rather (!!) and the New York Times and the whole MSM and the United Nations (!!!) and Jimmy Carter and the Clenis® (!!!!!) and Teddy Kennedy and the French. It’s just bizarre. (Roger on the subject of the U.N. is especially unhinged.) It’s like, “Everything changed for me on September 11. I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick.” Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear any of them go off one day about our giveaway of the Panama Canal or the insidious plot to fluoridate our drinking water. It’s as if the moment they threw in their lot with Bush, they were e-mailed a Wingnut Software Package that allowed them to download every major wingnut meme propagated over the past thirty years.

      • Lurking Canadian

        What happened to Cole was weird. Terry Schiavo something something we need to raise taxes on the rich and we never should have invaded Iraq? I mean, good for him he joined the side of Light, but what the hell?

        It’s like he was one of the kids in Temple of Doom and somebody waved a torch near his abdomen.

        • lhartmann

          It appears that Mr. Cole is someone who can escape his conditioning via “thinking”.

        • stepped pyramids

          IIRC he was already turned around on Iraq before he jumped ship, and he’d already been moderating a lot, but yeah, the Schiavo thing was his last straw. But it took him a while after that to migrate from “the GOP and Bush suck ass” to “actually, turns out I’m a liberal”.

        • The Great God Pan

          I once saw a right-winger claim that Cole is/was with US intelligence and his apparent change of politics was a result of being turned by some other country. IIRC they even claimed to know when and where this happened, some trip to Europe. It was so goofy, I wish I could remember where I read it.

          EDIT: actually the more I think about it it might have been the Little Green Footballs guy, not Cole.

        • Geo X

          I think it works that way with most people who switch ideologies, though. You come around on one thing, and then the rest fall like dominoes, even if there isn’t necessarily a logical relationship between them.

      • proportionwheel

        My god, that fills me with nostalgia. I didn’t read Cole until after he metamorphosed from wingnut to lib dem, but I was reading Bérubé back then and I still miss his blog terribly. Bérubé and Hilzoy, also, too. And no, tweeting doesn’t make up for it.

        • Tehanu

          Not to mention The Editors, who was (were?) brilliant.

  • carolannie


    wherein he points out indirectly that the only loyalty the super rich have is to money. Not even humanity, or the planet they live on, or anything. And Trump is the perfect exemplar

  • AlexSaltzberg

    But hey, other factions of the Republican party got what they wanted out of a candidate, right?

    The religious right got a deeply religious person who… ok, maybe they didn’t get that.
    The “Respect our military” group got a person who… ok, maybe they didn’t get that.
    The “Moral Majority” group got a person who… ok, maybe they didn’t get that.
    The patriotic right got a person who… ok, maybe they didn’t get that.

    Weird. All those groups that are the foundation of the “moral high ground” of the Republican party have no issues with a person who embodies none of their qualities.

    • John F

      They got a person who pisses off the people they hate

      • brucej


      • And a SCOTUS seat

    • Murc

      Why should they care?

      Seriously. Speaking as a Democrat, I care about precisely two qualities in my candidates: are they effective politicos, and will they sign legislation and make executive policy I find congenial? And the first is negotiable.

      Indeed, I would vote for someone I knew for a fact to have reprehensible personal qualities, a low-down dirty crook, if they were going to sign universal health care legislation, appoint liberal Supreme Court justices, attack climate change hammer and tongs, and generally do stuff I loved.

      I don’t understand why it would be different for the right-wing. Trump is giving them everything they want in policy terms. Why wouldn’t they continue to support him come hell or high water?

      • Tom Riker

        I agree entirely.

        It’s the yawning interstellar vastness of their hyprocrisy that makes listening to them so painful and infuriating. Because they will tell you until the end of time that they WANT and DEMAND a person with the qualities mentioned above, and will never admit that they themselves are simply amoral, power-hungry political wolves with an insatiable lust for power, and an endless desire to oppress everyone not like themselves.

        It’s different only in that they claim they are nothing like us, that their reasons have both virtue and the touch of G-d upon them.

        • A liberal would say “Sure he’s a crook but at least he supports my agenda” and not “I know you are but what am I? Crook crook you’re the crook!”

          See also Edwards v. Duke “Vote for the crook it’s important” bumper stickers back in the before times when the GOP repudiated Nazis.

      • Captain_Subtext

        Frank Underwood? And, yes, he’s fictional…

        • Murc

          Now, I don’t watch House of Cards, but isn’t Frank Underwood the guy whose political genius led him to go on teevee and, without consulting anyone else in his party, make the case for massive social security cuts in exchange for a one-time-only stimulus bill?

          That seems to be policy I would hate combined with stunning political idiocy.

          • Captain_Subtext

            I haven’t watched the later series. He just seemed to fit with the characterization of an amoral bastard who would do things to benefit the country.

            Maybe a GOT character would fit better? Tyrion Lannister?

      • Crebitry

        What if they do all those things, but the crooked things work against your issues, like colluding with a foreign power and organized crime, laundering money that supports terrorism and counter-American political and corporate espionage, or something that works against a more specifically liberal goal (they are selling fake day after pills that don’t work to poor people for grift).

        • Murc

          If they’re still better than the alternatives I’d remain all for’em.

      • AlexSaltzberg


        But the Republican party has tried to wrap itself in a moral superiority based off of generally perceived “good” things.

        American media and politics are wired to consider the following things as virtuous — religious beliefs, patriotism, morality, respecting the military (there are many more, but those are the ones I’m concentrating on with this thought). Republicans have spent a lot of time and effort trying to claim those virtues as a high ground.

        The best example of this in the past was probably Kerry’s Purple Heart — the Republican party mocked it, but they did it through an outside group that they could point to as more patriotic and more military and whatever.

        But Trump embodies none of those virtues. He has no respect for religion or religious beliefs. He has no respect for the military. He has no respect for morality. He has no respect for patriotism.

        There is no outside group pretending that Trump is virtuous and should be respected. Instead, the entire “virtue” of the Republican party has shifted to “white working class”.

      • Would you really expect a low-down dirty crook to keep his/her promises? Any of them? The whole point of being a low-down crook is they do whatever they want.

        • applecor

          Lyndon Johnson did OK.

      • Shantanu Saha

        So, you’d support Andrew Cuomo?

        • Murc

          I hate to reverse myself on this, but over Trump? Yes.

          I mean, I threw up a little in my mouth typing that. I swore an unholy oath to never vote for that motherfucker. But if that’s what it takes…

          • Shantanu Saha

            I don’t think “Cuomo v. Trump” is the right frame for this. I think that the reason that the Republican congressional leadership supports Trump and turns a blind eye to his many glaring faults is that he satisfies the “sign legislation and make executive policy I find congenial” plank to your argument. As for being an effective politico, that depends on whether you believe that Trump’s antics distracting the media and public from mustering their full force against the Republicans’ odious agenda, or encouraging it.

            Cuomo is a different animal. Whatever you may say about him, you can’t dispute his effectiveness as a politico. And you can probably say that he will sign anything that a Democratic Congress will put in front of him, though you might make the argument that he will use his influence to blunt the progressiveness of any legislation except for a few issues that don’t concern his Wall Street backers too much.

            So under those circumstances, would you support Cuomo over a generic Republican like Kasich?

    • MikeG

      He embodies the REAL priorities of all those groups, rather than the ones they proclaim in public — hatred and punishment of The Other.

    • ” . . beyond partisanship the GOP evidences “no attachment to any external moral truth or ethical code.”

      They’re awfully determined to get rid of Obamacare. Come Hell or High Water, drought, famine, war: healthcare for the masses cannot stand!

  • JMP

    Rubin and the media spent decades spreading fake scandals about the Clintons, with Gore and Kerry, and tried to do the same with Obama; this enabled the great actual corruption of the modern Republican party, as they’ve come to believe that honest and ethical politicians like Hillary Clinton have committed all sorts of imaginary crimes, and use that to justify their own actually corrupt actions. This is nice, but it’s way too too little, too late.

    • Marduk Kur

      To add to this, Rubin has confessed to straight-up lying in her writing. She lauded Romney’s debate performance as masterful and compelling at the time but later confessed that she cringed at his ineptitude at that same debate.

      I have zero time for or respect for editorial writers who try to sell knowing falsehoods to their readers.

  • When Trump falls Republicans will post this picture, a lot.


    • agorabum

      Boorish real estate developer is different than political demagogue that colluded with foreign powers to undermine an election.

    • Wow, Melania looks almost hoo-min, smiling & all. Before Botox, I guess.

      • Hogan

        It would make a nice before-and-after with the videos of her swatting away his hand as they deplane.

  • Linnaeus

    I’m waiting for Rubin’s excommunication now.

    • majeff

      I wonder if she’ll get the “renegade Jew” treatment from Breitbart?

    • Thom

      She has been writing this sort of thing for months. I started reading her anti-Trumpism this spring without realizing she was supposed to be a right wing columnist.

      • stepped pyramids

        I also have found myself reading and liking her columns this year (usually because of a headline that seemed unusually feisty for the WaPo) and being surprised when I check the byline. I guess there’s a chance for redemption for us all. We’ll see if it goes anywhere.

      • Linnaeus

        She has, but this column is a bit different because she’s willing to say that the problem is with the Republican Party generally, and doesn’t treat Trump as sui generis, like some conservatives do.

  • The Great God Pan

    (Remember when the media collectively oohed and ahhed that, “Say what you will about Donald Trump, but his kids are great!”?

    I know that was an unimportant aside, but…no? I remember the media saying that about Ivanka, but that’s because she’s an attractive woman who mouths superficial platitudes about empowering women(*). I don’t remember Thing 1 and Thing 2 ever being treated as anything but a couple of charmless mouthbreathers who would be shooting rats at the dump if Donald Sr. hadn’t brought them into the family business.

    (*) Or, in Chris Cilizza’s case, because he wants to hump her foot like the small yapping dog he is.

    • twbb

      Didn’t Hillary Clinton compliment his kids when she was asked to say something nice about him?

      • The Great God Pan

        Ha! I don’t remember that but I hope she did. She should have said Ugg and Ugger are fine young men who are really going to make something of themselves one day.

        • Cheap Wino

          At one of the debates both candidates were asked to say something good about the other. Hillary said something about how nice his children were. Even that turned out to be wrong. There really just isn’t anything good to say about Trump.

          • FlipYrWhig

            And however nice they were had fuck-all to do with the parenting of Donald Trump anyway.

            • Hogan

              That did occur to me. “Here’s something he had the chance to shit all over and didn’t, as far as we know.”

            • mausium

              And that’s the subtle burn.

          • joel_hanes

            IIRC, what she said was good about Trump was
            “His love for his children”

      • SatanicPanic

        In her defense, “say something nice about Donald Trump” is a f*cking brutal thing to demand. Especially in the moment.

        • Eric K

          Yeah, that was basically the polite way to slam Trump and say he has no redeeming qualities.

      • Drew

        She should’ve gone with “he has nice hands.”

        • That would have been awesome.

          Didn’t Trump counter with “She never quits” It contradicted his “No stamina, she’s at deaths door” shtick but whatever.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump has grudging respect for Hillary and still considers her still to be his friend. This would be further evidence that he is a lunatic imbecile divorced from reality but whatever.

          “C’mon Hil nothing personal. It’s all part of the game yo.”

          • mausium

            “I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump has grudging respect for Hillay”

            Good god, he doesn’t have the capacity for such humanity.

  • Adam

    Until she, like Charles Johnson, John Cole and David Brock, admits that this crap has been happening for the last 50 years and liberals have been right about it. Then maybe I’d forgive her.

    • quakerinabasement

      “admits that this crap has been happening for the last 50 years…”

      …and she helped!

    • Justin Runia

      Of course, if she follows the trend, she’ll turn into a fire-breathing leftist on like two to three progressive issues and demand primaries from the left for anyone who fails her purity tests, for at least five years.

    • stepped pyramids

      I still have trouble with Charles Johnson. Cole had some shitty opinions but he always had a lot of ideological variety in his comments section, and his background as a relatively apolitical guy in a conservative area with a military background makes his road to Damascus narrative make sense.

      Charles Johnson, on the other hand, was a Yoostabee in the first place. At least, when he was a right-winger he claimed to be a former Democrat. He engaged in some truly vile Islamophobic rhetoric and was buddy-buddy with some awful people. At least part of the origin of his change of heart is just that he got in a nasty bloggy spat with some of those people (I think specifically Pam Geller?).

      I mean, good for him for coming to his senses, but it’s hard to forget all those years of madness. Also, I just don’t like his site.

      • Thirtyish

        I largely agree. The Islamophobia he engaged in is hard to forget. Good on him for having a change of heart, but it still is hard for me to forgive and forget some of the nasty stuff he one said.

  • epidemiologist

    I won’t say I like it, but what is the best case scenario here that won’t involve a lot of Republicans shoving their own support of these monsters down the memory hole? I mean, they’ve betrayed their country and done something unforgivable to many of their individual fellow Americans.

    (Piping up for myself here, I decided to be sterilized in May and although I didn’t want kids anyway, I will personally never forgive any of these people.)

    So what do we want that won’t involve people forgetting or reinterpreting their own actions and beliefs? What do we think we can have?

    Personally I think none of us are the perfect moral agents we like to think we are, we all respond to the prevalent beliefs we see in our environment, and if anyone here is hoping for an outcome where people get right on the inside, well, I think you need theology and not politics.

    The good outcome here is that people lie, not just to each other but to themselves, about what they did and why they did it. Because it’s no longer acceptable, hopefully for generations of future humans who can enjoy relative safety from the ugliness. Rubin is doing what we all should be doing on that score.

    • I mean, they’ve betrayed their country and done something unforgivable to many of their individual fellow Americans.

      They didn’t betray their county. They betrayed your country. They elected Trump to restore their country. And that’s why they will follow him all the way to Hell.

      • epidemiologist

        IDK, I think a lot of these people will believe whatever keeps them in with the people around them, and whatever feels good. Not for all of them, but for a lot of them, it won’t necessarily be that Trump is great and they wholeheartedly supported him.

        A lot of them seemed eager enough to shove W down the memory hole.

    • Lurking Canadian

      Yep. The Revolution of Thermidor was carried out by Jacobin Terrorists. It had to be. They were the only ones left alive by that point.

    • DocAmazing

      On the bright side, expect to see more reprints of Heinrich Boll novels.

  • Daglock

    Local conservative wag says he prefers to think of Republicans who support(ed) Trump as rubes and suckers taken in by Trump’s massive con job, not as amoral, unprincipled, unethical, xenophobic, racially-prejudiced, ethnically-prejudiced greedheads. That is close to admitting that they are too stupid to pour piss out of a boot with a spout on the toe and directions on the heel. I prefer to think of the Republicans in Congress and other national positions of power enabling this anti-American Presidency as traitorous cowards.

    • Don’t forget the moderate conservatives. You know, the ones who still support forced birth, just a more moderate form of it.

      • Drew

        They support abortion in the case of rape, so long as you ask your rapist’s permission first. Now there’s a moderate, compromise position.

    • MikeG

      Like American evangelicals, when your movement is so riddled with con-artists and masses of gullible rubes who get duped over and over again, you have to stop excusing it as normal human misjudgment and put responsibility on the people willfully immersing themselves in such propaganda that they fall for pure bullshit every time.

    • Drew

      They’re not mutually exclusive. In fact, I would say that being racist, amoral, unprincipled (etc) contributed to them being credulous rubes.

      • Bruce Baugh

        As Fred Clark points out at Slacktivist, teaching yourself to believe lies makes you stupid.

        • The Lorax

          I love Fred Clark.

  • The Lorax

    The thing that fills me with the most frustration is the coming Washington Press Corps reaction to the fall of Trump: Wasn’t that a weird experience! But now the Serious Adults like wonky Paul Ryan are back in charge. Finally we can get back to wringing our hands and wishing for Serious bipartisan work together. (Well, when the Democrats are in charge; only the Democrats have agency.)

    This shit won’t get pinned on the GOP more broadly, because a priori both sides are equivalent. That makes me angrier than anything the GOP has done.

  • Cheap Wino

    This would carry a bit more weight with me if she wouldn’t have kept referring to the GOP as something that she wasn’t one of the most influential enablers for. How about at least a hint of an apology, Jen?

    • twbb

      Was she really that influential, though?

      • AMK

        I could pick a streetcorner in any red state and stand on a soapbox for 5 minutes ranting about illegals or blacks or Jesus and I would have more influence in the Republican Party. The past few months have been the most influential of her career because Democrats everywhere can hold her up as a righteous Republican pundit. Going from garden-variety neocon hack to the Democratic establishment’s #1 example of patriotism is a very deft branding move.

  • As Scott has pointed out many times, Donald Trump’s presidency and Trumpism itself are both completely predictable if not inevitable consequences of the nature of the contemporary Republican party.

    Indeed. And if you draw a straight line from George Bush to Donald Trump, where does that trend take you?

    Ted Nugent. The next Republican nominee for president of the United States.

    • John F

      I’m not sure the Nuge would be worse than Trump… not any better either

      • SatanicPanic

        That would be a lateral change. They’ll have to start visiting prisons if they want worse.

        • Geo X

          I dunno…I feel like very few people in prisons are as morally null as Trump.

      • addicted4444

        I honestly don’t think a US President could be worse than Trump.

        Trump basically meets the bare minimum in all the factors that are needed to be US President and is 0 in everything else.

        Anyone worse probably wouldn’t have become President (setting aside all Russian ratfvcking)

        • MikeG

          Eight years ago I thought Bush/Cheney would be the worst Repuke administration of my lifetime. Boy was I naïve.

          • Drew

            Bush/Cheney sure did a lot of loosening on the proverbial jar though.

        • Drew

          I roll my eyes when people keep talking up Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for 2020. Just because we *have* elected someone inexperienced and unqualified (among many other things!) doesn’t mean we should do it *again*.

          That being said, it’s hard to imagine anyone being worse.

          • Lurking Canadian

            The red nosed old guy who used to beg for spare change outside the Wawa near the corner of 20th and Walnut wouldn’t be worse.

          • stepped pyramids

            What I don’t get is why people keep on assuming Dwayne Johnson would run as a Democrat. He used to be a Republican and claims to be an independent now. His public political stances boil down to “yay troops, go America!” which could really be either party.

            He’s certainly a much better human being than Trump, at least. Oh, and he calls himself a feminist. But, then again, Ivanka called her dad a feminist.

            • Drew

              Huh. I did not know that. I don’t know why people have been talking him up either. Just weird. He’s a serviceable action movie star and charismatic but eh.

              • Linnaeus

                He’s actually pretty decent on his HBO show, Ballers, where he displays a bit more range as an actor than in the kinds of work he usually does.

          • Pete

            The People’s Eyebrow would be good for the debates.

        • LosGatosCA

          You mean the bare minimum to be the Republican nominee.

          He has zero professional or personal qualifications to be US President.

          • Gabriel Ratchet

            Yeah, I’m sure Mr Johnson is a nice guy and all, but if Trump has taught us anything, it’s that America can’t afford to keep treating the presidency like it’s an entry-level job.

      • Thirtyish

        He’s even more of a live wire, and–if this is even possible–even dumber.

    • The Great God Pan

      Nugent/Kid Rock 2024!

      Only a Perspective/Slothrop ticket promising full-bore socialism can beat them, Dems!

    • JMP

      Kid Rock is actually talking about running for Senate in Michigan, and thanks to Donald we can’t be sure that this is just a publicity stunt.

    • The GOP had someone else in mind, Ryan or someone like that, to fill the presidential puppet position they created. They got a usurper instead, but they’re sticking with him because they believe in their puppet theory. Worked with Reagan, Bush II.

  • Joe Paulson

    Baseball returns today. So, that All Star reference might be a bit optimistic.

    Nice rant. Puts Dennis Miller to shame. Will she and her ilk be around in 2018 explaining how Democrats need to win since the Republican Party is rotten to the core and deserves to have the same minority status as the Democrats did in D.C. during the Civil War or Republicans in the mid-1930s? Did she like Ana Navarro in a swing state vote Clinton?

  • Frank Wilhoit

    If you didn’t wake up in 1979, you’re not allowed to pretend you’re waking up now.

    • Pete

      She was about 12 in 1979

    • Geo X

      If we’ve really decided that people are never ever allowed to change because we think they’re doing it too late…well, we’re kind of admitting we’re permanently fucked, aren’t we?

      • Frank Wilhoit

        My point was that you have various people posturing ~~ “Trump may have gone a smidgen too far for me, in this area or that, but that only makes me think back to the glory days of Reagan.” This is incoherent and dishonest and granting it any standing is merely polluting the public discourse with more incoherence and dishonesty.

  • MariedeGournay

    “an ethically challenged, moderate Democrat”

    Even here, even in this, she can’t help herself.

    • sigaba

      If she needs to say this to be persuasive with her audience I can live with it.

      • I can’t live w/ it because it’s the same tiresome apeshit w/ which these primates have been filthying their cages for yrs.

      • MariedeGournay

        Yeah, you’re right. It just hit a particularly raw nerve.

        • sonamib

          That’s kind of the whole point of a tribal identifier. It has to be insulting to the other side, otherwise it’s not credible. It’s basically saying “see, I’m burning bridges with liberals, I’m a conservative, you can trust me”.

          I’ve made my peace with people using that to engage their audience. Hell, I do it myself, in other ways, when I talk to my uber-leftist friends and try to convince them of something.

  • LosGatosCA

    All they’ve had at the core since Nixon has been the hate, to which Reagan added tax cuts.

    Greed and hate, it’s all about me, all the time. This is not new.

    What’s new is the compulsion to dispense with the niceties, the hypocrisy (vice pays to virtue), the dog whistles and just go full fascist hating at the top of their lungs.

    It must be liberating to just fly their freak flags, bully women, sluts, children, minorities, the poor, the sick.

    They really miss the thin veneer of pseudo-respectability the big worded fascist WF Buckley gave them. On PBS no less.

  • IS

    “Only in the crazed bubble of right-wing hysteria does an ethically
    challenged, moderate Democrat become a threat to Western civilization
    and Trump the salvation of America.”
    Yeah, fuck that noise. “Ethically challenged” my ass. As ever, if you spend 25 years, millions of dollars, countless man-hours, a special prosecutor, and Congressional subpoena powers looking under every stone with an electron microscope and find jack shit, that’s pretty compelling evidence there wasn’t anything to find. God.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      (multiple upvotes)

  • the GOP base is still happy with Trump. and that’s really all that matters.

  • UnsaltedSinner

    Remember when the media collectively oohed and ahhed that, “Say what you will about Donald Trump, but his kids are great!”?

    Not really, no…

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