Why the outrage now?

Mike Pence was reportedly “beside himself.” Paul Ryan disinvited the nominee from his big shindig in Wisconsin today. Rep. Chaffetz and other prominent Republicans publicly withdrew their support. Though a bit more profane than usual, the video is entirely consistent with everything we’ve known about Donald Trump all along. Why are Republicans suddenly outraged by this?

Before we wind up the GOPLifer blog in a few days (fingers crossed), here are a few last thoughts on this incident and its implications:

Republicans didn’t care how vile Trump is when they thought he might win.

There’s a sick, disturbing power-worship in the way Republicans have handed Donald Trump, going all the way back to his campaign announcement. The way they cower when it looks like he’s winning and pounce when he looks weak is revolting behavior in a bunch of adults. Mike Pence wasn’t “beside himself” because he had learned something new about the man he agreed to support. He was upset because it was finally clear that Trump was collapsing, and that the rubble would come tumbling down on him. These people following Trump, many of whom I had respected until very recently, are disgusting.

Our election cycle isn’t nearly as long as we think.

Media coverage and the fevered hype from those of us who pay attention makes it seem like Americans spend half of each Presidential term electing the next one. That really isn’t the case. Only about one in three of the Americans who will vote for President bothers to tune in to the primary process. Our election cycle actually runs from just after Labor Day to November. A minority of the country is paying attention before October. If it seems like the whole character of the process changed after Labor Day, that’s because the rest of the country suddenly joined the party. Keep that in mind in 2020.

Don’t act surprised.

Did you hear Donald Trump’s speech announcing his candidacy? Did you read his comments about POW’s? Did you see the way he treated Megyn Kelly after the first Republican debate? Did you see his comments about the Khan family? Have you had the slightest awareness of his multiple messy divorces and sordid private life? What does it take to make Republicans feel something for another human being? No one has the slightest basis on which to act surprised. We have all been on notice since day one that this man is a horrid, destructive cretin. For some reason, millions of Republicans were willing to set that aside and make him our President. For Republicans who are shocked this morning, ask yourself why. Why were you willing tolerate this?

The Trump scandal no one cares about.

As a private citizen, Trump played a significant role in the campaign to railroad the Central Park 5, including a concerted effort at the time to reinstate the death penalty. Years after we discovered to our shame that those teenagers had been wrongly convicted, Trump this week defended his role in the case and insisted that they are guilty. My fellow Republicans, THAT’s the man you were proposing to place in command of the Justice Department. Again, no one in the GOP cares when Donald Trump says (or threatens to do) horrifying things to racial and religious minorities. This is a problem, folks.

Maybe “political correctness” isn’t such a bad thing.

Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t OK for people to go around spouting bigoted, ignorant slurs about other human beings they don’t understand. Perhaps the world might be a better place if we gave the slightest thought to how the words we choose affect other people. Here’s a thought for my friends still in the party: if Republicans weren’t so cavalier about so-called “political correctness” you might be winning this election.

Time for a “Pro-Life” headcheck

I’ve argued for a long time that America doesn’t have a politically relevant pro-life voting bloc. Scratch the surface of the so-called pro-life movement and waves of misogynistic spiders come pouring out. It is impossible to conceive of a political movement genuinely interested in the dignity of life that would line up behind a man who pours out invective against refugees, religious minorities and women. Yet, even this weekend, those sick, confused bastards keep defending him.

This would be a better country if we recognized that Tim Kaine is a far better intellectual ambassador for the pro-life movement than Mike Pence. As Republicans pick through the rubble of this election cycle, hopefully someone will explore whether a minimally self-aware pro-life movement might offer some hope for the future.

Republicans face a frightening empathy gap

The greatest challenge for Republicans in coming years, if the party is going to remain intact, is empathy. While the rest of America works its way forward toward a culture capable of respecting and protecting people beyond the bounds of clan, tribe and race, Republicans remain trapped inside a tribal fortress. Republicans seem like nice people, people like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan, who are nonetheless bafflingly incapable of grasping the humanity of people beyond their kinship groups. Black people are real human beings who feel things. Muslims are just like you. Mexicans want good things for their children. These simple statements seem to stick in the throats of Republican leaders. Why? Seriously, why is that so hard?

The challenge facing the Clinton Administration.

Hillary Clinton is about to assume leadership over a nation of people who didn’t particularly want her in charge. Many of us who will be voting for her feel confident about her competence and intelligence, but there is nothing in her policy agenda that attracted us. She hasn’t threatened to do anything stupid, criminal, cruel, or insane, which makes her an empirically superior choice over any of her rivals for the White House. That’s her campaign in a nutshell.

That isn’t her fault. She seems like she was prepared to run and win a campaign based on policy and vision and ideas. But this is how events played out.

I am not exactly your average low-information voter. I have degrees in Political Science and Law and have been an active political volunteer for almost three decades, but I don’t even know what her tax plan looks like. When your house is on fire, do you ask what kind of water the firemen plan to use? I’m confident I’ll pay more taxes under Clinton than Trump. Frankly that seems fair. I’ll happily write a check to hold off Fascism (or its cousin, Idiocracy) for a few more years while we all work out some alternative plans.

Politically, this means that a very large chunk of the support Clinton leveraged to reach the White House will have evaporated by Inauguration Day. She will launch her Administration under the shadow of Churchill Syndrome – “thanks for rescuing Western Civilization, now when do you plan to leave?”

She is a remarkably capable political operator. She will need every ounce of those skills to build a governing coalition from the alignments she rode to victory.

That is all. Enjoy your weekend. If things come together we should have a new site ready by early next week.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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257 comments on “Why the outrage now?
  1. RobA says:

    And the first real polls since P***ygate are now in, and I’m sure Madame President will bw pleased.

    That’s it. She’s up 11 in a four person race, up 14 head to head. It is all bit official, barring the most devastating October surprise in political history, Trump has no chance to come back from a deficit like this in 30 days. And if there’s even 5% of true undecideds by this point, id be shocked.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/poll-video-trump-clinton-229548

  2. tmerritt15 says:

    Regarding the second debate, I have no doubts that HRC decisively won the debate.

    Trump’s body language was terrible. At points during the debate, he appeared to be stalking her. That will not sit well the public and particularly women.

    He threatened HRC. That is totally unacceptable. At times he appeared to attempt to physically intimidate her. Of course that is his MO.

    He got into arguments with the moderators. Martha Raddatz knows more about Syria and foreign affairs than Trump can even dream.

    He was totally uninformed on many topics. He did not even know how legislation moves in Washington DC.

    He seems to regard ISIS as an existential threat to the US, while dismissing the geopolitical challenges Russia represents. Russia can destroy the US; ISIS cannot. If Russia moves against the Baltic states or Poland, there will be a Great Power War. NATO with strong US backing is the major factor preventing Russia from moving against those states. ISIS on the other hand can perhaps launch some terrorist attacks against the US via some deranged lone wolves. Many people are being “terrorized” just as ISIS wants.

    These are just a few random thoughts that pop into my mind. To bad the media set the bar so low that all he had to do was show up on stage!

    • tmerritt15 says:

      I might add to this by saying that Obama was absolutely correct in his statement that Trump is so insecure that he has to compensate by bragging and bullying other people. Trump’s comments on the tape are not locker room talk by men. Rather they are typical of teen aged boys who have to brag to compensate for their own insecurity. Almost always they are the biggest failures. Real men do not need to degrade women, rather they value women for all they offer. Women complement men as men complement women. In the locker room men will talk about their wives, families and significant others.

      President Obama is a perfect example of this. I will miss him, when he leaves office.

      • 1mime says:

        Powerful piece in WaPo detailing the disaster the GOP now faces. Trump may have staunched the bleeding for “his” base, but he is still the same person we saw in that bus, on the GOP primary stage, and in public presentations all over America. He will not change because he does not want to….He is an arrogant egoist whose every act is self-advancement.

        “The result of all this is that the GOP is in a state of total paralysis: “One member of the House Republican leadership, conceding its majority was now in jeopardy, compared the situation to the 2006 scandal involving a Florida congressman’s inappropriate conduct with congressional pages. If that scandal was a house fire, this lawmaker said, Mr. Trump had brought on the political equivalent of a nuclear attack,” Alex Burns, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report in the New York Times. As Steven Law, a longtime confidant of Mitch McConnell who runs the main GOP super PAC focused on saving the Senate, put it: “The Republican Party is caught in a theater fire; people are just running to different exits as fast as they can.”

        — Last night was proof point number 4,358: Trump cannot change. Even if he tried. Even if he wanted to. And he does not want to…”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/10/10/daily-202-more-than-trump-the-republican-party-was-the-biggest-loser-in-last-night-s-debate/57fb0c74e9b69b0592430208/?wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

      • tmerritt15 says:

        Thanks for your linkages, Mime. Watching how this all plays out in the days and weeks to come will be interesting. At least at midday, PT, on 10-10, it appears that the GOP is taking stock, but is very unhappy. The implosion may continue shortly.

    • 1mime says:

      Agree. His alliance with the Russian, Assad, Iranian position in Syria is frightening. Here’s a piece on the debate that I liked. The threat he made to Clinton is unheard of even in contentious political circles. You simply don’t say things like that. If elected, he would be a vindictive, ugly, domineering president. Even as a candidate, he is sending out the message that this behavior is acceptable in politics. It isn’t.

      https://newrepublic.com/article/137639/donald-trump-going-tear-everything?utm_source=New+Republic&utm_campaign=569fbb1080-Daily_Newsletter_10_10_1610_10_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4ad0aba7e-569fbb1080-59579285

  3. Armchair Philosopher says:

    My last post here before switching to the new site:

    I can’t stop thinking about how Donald Trump looked at Hillary and claimed that she had hate in her heart. Of all of the horrible things that man has said, this one is the saddest.

  4. For all the media pundits and talking heads saying that Trump “exceeded expectations” tonight, please, hold off on popping the champagne. Make no mistake, Trump put his head through the proverbial noose tonight and someone’s about to let the floor fall out from under him.

    Recall this exchange between Trump and Anderson Cooper:

    AC: For the record, are you saying, what you said on the bus 11 eleven years ago, that you did not kiss women without consent or grope women without consent

    DT: I have great respect for women. No one has greater respect for women than I do

    AC: So you’re saying you never did that.

    DT: I said things that frankly, you hear these things. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.

    AC: Have you ever done those things?

    DT: No, I have not. I will tell you that I’m going to make our country safe.

    The Tape was just the opening salvo. Everyone, including Kellyanne “Unless….” Conway, knows it, and the only question was just how bad the rest was going to be. Trump just walked right into a trap he should’ve seen coming from a mile away.

    Anyone who thinks Clinton stumbled in her subdued approach to Trump tonight isn’t giving her enough credit. Get ready, the hammer’s about to fall.

  5. Kenneth Devaney says:

    Taegan Goddard over at Political Wire had an interesting perspective on the second debate. He puts forth the notion that Trump determined he would lose the election last week and post video/audio debacle the gang in Trump Tower weren’t focused on the winning but prepping for the debate by going full Breitbart so as to hang onto the Deplorables for his Trump network launch. I was going to try to break down his key points but its a short article and better to just give you the link….it is an interesting thought given some of the lines and attack language he used in the debate….
    https://politicalwire.com/2016/10/09/reaction-second-presidential-debate/

    • 1mime says:

      The most interesting point is the Plan B gambit. I think that is right. Ailes has a non-compete buy out agreement with Murdoch so they can’t go into business together….at least not anytime soon….I do think the campaign will go all the way. Trump is going to milk this for his next venture. It’s all about him….

      What is not known, but is expected, is there is another video out there…..after all, there are 30 days to go………..What could happen?

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