Monday, August 27, 2018

Trump corrupts the GOP. An example, Kelli Ward, Says McCain Died to Harm Her Campaign

A local campaign sign asserts that the candidate is a “principled conservative.” Does that imply that there are UNprincipled conservatives?

Onward …

There are a couple of things covered in this post. First, there is a general charge that, with respect to Trump, “Everyone and everything he touches rots.” Second, there is a story about a Republican candidate for the AZ U. S. Senate Seat now occupied by Jeff Flake, Kelli Ward, a story that might have been penned by New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz - but it is the real deal. The GOP rot does not stop in DC.

(1) The Full-Spectrum Corruption of Donald Trump

Peter Wehner, a Republican columnist at the NY Times, writes about the rot. (h/t Sherry Moreau)

There’s never been any confusion about the character defects of Donald Trump. The question has always been just how far he would go and whether other individuals and institutions would stand up to him or become complicit in his corruption.

When I first took to these pages three summers ago to write about Mr. Trump, I warned my fellow Republicans to just say no both to him and his candidacy. One of my concerns was that if Mr. Trump were to succeed, he would redefine the Republican Party in his image. That’s already happened in areas like free trade, free markets and the size of government; in attitudes toward ethnic nationalism and white identity politics; in America’s commitment to its traditional allies, in how Republicans view Russia and in their willingness to call out leaders of evil governments like North Korea rather than lavish praise on them. But in no area has Mr. Trump more fundamentally changed the Republican Party than in its attitude toward ethics and political leadership.

For decades, Republicans, and especially conservative Republicans, insisted that character counted in public life. They were particularly vocal about this during the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal, arguing against “compartmentalization” — by which they meant overlooking moral turpitude in the Oval Office because you agree with the president’s policy agenda or because the economy is strong.

Senator Lindsey Graham, then in the House, went so far as to argue that “impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

Not any more. Graham is just as submissive as the rest of the cowardly Republican senators.

All that has changed with Mr. Trump as president. For Republicans, honor and integrity are now passé. …

It is a stunning turnabout. A party that once spoke with urgency and apparent conviction about the importance of ethical leadership — fidelity, honesty, honor, decency, good manners, setting a good example — has hitched its wagon to the most thoroughly and comprehensively corrupt individual who has ever been elected president. …

For many Republicans, this reality still hasn’t broken through. But facts that don’t penetrate the walls of an ideological silo are facts nonetheless. And the moral indictment against Mr. Trump is obvious and overwhelming. Corruption has been evident in Mr. Trump’s private and public life, in how he has treated his wives, in his business dealings and scams, in his pathological lying and cruelty, in his bullying and shamelessness, in his conspiracy-mongering and appeals to the darkest impulses of Americans. …

Some of us who have been lifelong Republicans and previously served in Republican administrations held out a faint hope that our party would at some point say “Enough!”; that there would be some line Mr. Trump would cross, some boundary he would transgress, some norm he would shatter, some civic guardrail he would uproot, some action he would take, some scheme or scandal he would be involved in that would cause large numbers of Republicans to break with the president. No such luck. Mr. Trump’s corruptions have therefore become theirs. So far there’s been no bottom, and there may never be. …

The greatest damage is being done to our civic culture and our politics. Mr. Trump and the Republican Party are right now the chief emblem of corruption and cynicism in American political life, of an ethic of might makes right. Dehumanizing others is fashionable and truth is relative. (“Truth isn’t truth,” in the infamous words of Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.) They are stripping politics of its high purpose and nobility.

That’s not all politics is; self-interest is always a factor. But if politics is only about power unbounded by morality — if it’s simply about rulers governing by the law of the jungle, about a prince acting like a beast, in the words of Machiavelli — then the whole enterprise will collapse. We have to distinguish between imperfect leaders and corrupt ones, and we need the vocabulary to do so.

A warning to my Republican friends: The worst is yet to come. Thanks to the work of Robert Mueller — a distinguished public servant, not the leader of a “group of Angry Democrat Thugs” — we are going to discover deeper and deeper layers to Mr. Trump’s corruption. When we do, I expect Mr. Trump will unravel further as he feels more cornered, more desperate, more enraged; his behavior will become ever more erratic, disordered and crazed.

Most Republicans, having thrown their MAGA hats over the Trump wall, will stay with him until the end. Was a tax cut, deregulation and court appointments really worth all this?

Mr. Wehner served in the previous three Republican administrations and is a contributing opinion writer.

Scriber reminds said “Most Republicans”: You do not want to be the last rat on the sinking ship.

(2) AZ GOP Candidate Kelli Ward Says McCain Died to Harm Her Campaign.

“SemDem” reports this one at Daily Kos (h/t Mrs. Scriber)

Every time I think Trump’s GOP couldn’t possibly sink into depravity any further, I get another reminder of just how far they’ve fallen.

An Arizona TV reporter shared a social media post between one of Kelli Ward’s staffers and Kelli Ward herself …

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?@kelliwardaz staffer: I wonder if John McCain’s trying to steal attention from Ward’s bus tour by announcing his life is coming to an end. Ward: Yup, it’s all about me. #AZSEN

She sounds delightful.

John McCain announced he was ending treatment and accepting his fate on Friday, August 24. This upset Kelli Ward because this “negative narrative” was clearly planned to interfere with her pointless bus tour. How devious of him. She complained about this on Saturday.

I guess McCain then decided to really turn the screws to her, because he passed away a few hours after she made that idiotic statement.

Rather than apologize for being depraved, selfish, and, well, frankly, stupid, Kelli Ward did the Trumpiest thing she could think of. She blamed the “Fake News” …

That twisted Fake News media and their agenda. They are the ones pushing the narrative that Kelli Ward is a heartless moron by unscrupulously… providing a screen grab of exactly what she said? When did her campaign become a Simpsons parody?

Or, adds Scriber, a parody written by New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz.

On her bus tour, after McCain’s announcement of his impending death, Ward continued to insult and bash him.

Somehow, that wasn’t even the worst thing she did on her bus tour this week:

Before the bus tour, Kelli Ward was openly suggesting that she should be appointed to the Senate seat upon McCain’s vacancy. Even the governor found this tasteless and said no way.

Trump has entirely revamped the GOP in his image. We now have right-wing candidates who follow his lead on degrading people, lying, and refusing to apologize under any circumstance. Here in Florida, just this month, we had a Trump candidate who faked a diploma, another who said his Muslim constituents provided no benefit to society, and a gubernatorial candidate who insulted Puerto Ricans. The common thread with all of them is that they all refused to admit they were wrong. They all doubled-down and/or blamed the “Fake News” for reporting on their behavior.

Even the so-called “moderate” republican candidates have given up and are racing to out-bigot each other. The establishment candidate in the AZ Senate race is Martha McSally, who went from supporting the Dreamers to this raving lunacy …

Since launching her run for Senate, the Tucson Republican has appeared determined to prove that she, too, can go on Fox News and complain about immigrants. Her campaign materials and public statements have been littered with references to MS–13, sharia law, and chain migration, like a racist version of Mad Libs. …

McSally has flipped on just about everything to where she now votes with Trump 97.8% of the time. McSally and Ward are the two leading GOP contenders to represent Arizona as a United States Senator. If you are a principled republican and can’t stomach either of them, there’s always Joe Arpaio.

Or you can join us until your party regains its sanity.

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