Monday, January 18, 2016

The 2016 Election: Showcasing Republi-CON (Satan's) Fear, Anger, and Hatred

UPDATE V:  "'I will gladly accept the mantle of anger.'

Thus did Donald Trump react this week to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who in her Republican response to the State of the Union address bravely called on Americans to resist the temptation 'to follow the siren call of the angriest voices.'

And nobody wears the mantle of anger as well as Trump. The rest of the Republican presidential contenders, acolytes in anger all, seem happy to help him on with the cloak, to hem the sleeves and let out the waist until the fury fits perfectly.

Republicans like to blame Trump for hijacking the party, but equally to blame are the others in the race for letting it happen — and continuing to do so, now just two weeks from the Iowa caucuses. Thursday night’s debate was another depressing development: Any of four men on the stage — Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie or John Kasich — could have been a viable alternative to the fear and demagoguery offered by Trump and Ted Cruz. Instead, they cluttered the stage and quarreled among themselves, offering little beyond faint echoes of Trump’s rage. . .

The GOP race is typically described as a struggle between the outsiders and the establishment. Really it’s a battle between the demagogic (Cruz and Trump) and the selfish (Rubio, Bush, Christie, Kasich). The latter candidates, blinded by certainty in their own magnificence, refuse to clear the field so that one of them can take on the demagogues. (Ben Carson, the other man on the stage, appeared to have wandered, bewildered, into the debate.)

The polling shows the dilemma: Trump averages about a third of the GOP vote, Cruz a fifth. The four others together are about a quarter – enough to give voters a viable alternative to Trump and Cruz, if only they could put country before self.

Worse, they seem content to echo and imitate Trump. Haley, in the audience for Thursday’s debate in South Carolina, got little support for her noble call this week for tolerance. . .

So if Trump’s other rivals are only going to ape his paranoia and rage, why would voters accept an imitation if they can have the original?"

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s rivals help him hijack the GOP.  

UPDATE IV:  "It’s still very possible that Donald Trump won’t win the GOP nomination. His GOP rivals — particularly Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — will obviously fight him to the bitter end. If a clear establishment alternative — such as Rubio — emerges, senior Republicans will unite behind him, particularly if Trump continues to roll along.

But last night’s GOP debate suggests that in one important way, Republicans have already surrendered to Trump: they have mostly given up on trying to resist the terms of the debate as he has set them, and have mostly accepted that the battle will be fought on his turf."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans have surrendered to Donald Trump.

UPDATE III:  "President Obama suggested Tuesday that the United States may not, in fact, be on the verge of total collapse. The Republican presidential candidates responded in Thursday’s GOP debate by painting an even more dismal and dangerous picture than they had in the past. The president is a traitor. The military is a shell of a fighting force. The economy is a shambles. Average families are in grave danger. If Democrats win, the country is lost.

With only a few weeks left before the first primary contests, the GOP race has devolved into a competition for who can squeeze the most political advantage out of voter fear, no matter how over-the-top they sound and no matter how much damage they do by darkening the national mood. Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) 'won' the latest round of this increasingly disgusting show, with Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) coming in second. But being the most effective at exaggerating the dangers the country faces and preying on voter anger is not an achievement; it is a moral failure."

Read the Washington Post, The dismal, dark, traitor-filled world Republican candidates inhabit, where you can read "the world according to" Republi-CONs

UPDATE II:  Now Republi-CONs are worried that party members are "follow[ing] the siren call of the angriest voices."

This after years of the same message:  "Be afraid. That fear and the anger from the GOP establishment’s apparent complacency are the reasons behind the strength of Trump, Cruz and others. Platitudes from Nikki Haley and others won’t stop that fear as long as they keep feeding it."

Read the Washington Post, Nikki Haley shows how the GOP establishment has fueled Trump’s rise. 

UPDATE:  "Cruz’s speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring.

Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear. America is heading off 'the cliff to oblivion.'. .

As the Republican strategist Curt Anderson observed in Politico, there’s no variation in Cruz’s rhetorical tone. As is the wont of inauthentic speakers, everything is described as a maximum existential threat.

The fact is this apocalyptic diagnosis is ridiculous. The Obama administration has done things people like me strongly disagree with. But America is in better economic shape than any other major nation on earth. Crime is down. Abortion rates are down. Fourteen million new jobs have been created in five years. . .

But Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace in which there is no room for compassion, for moderation, for anything but dismantling and counterattack. And that is what he offers. Cruz’s programmatic agenda, to the extent that it exists in his speeches, is to destroy things: destroy the I.R.S., crush the 'jackals' of the E.P.A., end funding for Planned Parenthood, reverse Obama’s executive orders, make the desert glow in Syria, destroy the Iran nuclear accord. . .

Cruz exploits and exaggerates that fear. . .

The best conservatism balances support for free markets with a Judeo-Christian spirit of charity, compassion and solidarity. Cruz replaces this spirit with Spartan belligerence. He sows bitterness, influences his followers to lose all sense of proportion and teaches them to answer hate with hate. This Trump-Cruz conservatism looks more like tribal, blood and soil European conservatism than the pluralistic American kind.

Evangelicals and other conservatives have had their best influence on American politics when they have proceeded in a spirit of personalism — when they have answered hostility with service and emphasized the infinite dignity of each person. They have won elections as happy and hopeful warriors. Ted Cruz’s brutal, fear-driven, apocalypse-based approach is the antithesis of that."

Read The New York Times, The Brutalism of Ted Cruz.

Read also the Washington Post, David Brooks’s choice words on Cruz — ‘satanic’, ‘pagan’ — draw fire and a little brimstone, in which Brooks notes that other candidates are "'adopting some of the dark and satanic tones that Cruz has . . if you watch a Cruz speech, it’s like, we have got this enemy, we have got that enemy, we’re going to stomp on this person, we’re going to crush that person, we’re going to destroy that person.  It is an ugly world in Ted Cruz’s world. And it’s combative. And it’s angry, and it’s apocalyptic.'"

From the Washington Post, White Americans are boiling mad: