Category Archives: The Right

Can the GOP survive Trump’s never-ending obsession with himself?

Someone recommended this blog post to me. I think Mr Goldberg’s analysis is pretty good. I will quibble on a few points (see below). mrossol

By Jonah Goldberg,  October 15, 2021

       
   

(Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images.)

Dear Reader (including whoever put the lime in the coconut and shook it all up),

As Jerome Powell whispered, don’t worry, baby, this will be transitory.

What I mean is that this Friday “news”letter marks the end of third party week. And I’m really not going to jump back into the weeds on that subject anyway. (By the way, I’ve opened up the Wednesday G-File to the masses in case you want to get in on the action.)  

I don’t really mind people thinking I’m wrong about the tactical and strategic stuff. One of the ways you figure out what’s right is by kicking the tires on what’s wrong. I don’t mind people thinking I’m wrong about the philosophical stuff, either. I’m just more willing to stand my ground on principles than I am on prudential questions like, “Will it work?” If it wouldn’t work, why would I want to do it in the first place? (Great line.. mrossol)

Think of it this way: Say my kid is suddenly really ill and I think it’s appendicitis. I say to the E.R. doctor, “You gotta operate right now!” If the doctor responds, “Um, it’s food poisoning. You don’t cut people open for that,” I’m not going to get all huffy and insist he bust out the scalpel, because doctors know more about the icky stuff inside of people than I do. But if the doctor says, “Let her suffer. Suffering is good for the soul. Besides, it’s my lunch break.” Well—as I’d probably have to explain to the cops and maybe the jury—I’m going to have a more forceful response.

In other words, if you disagree with me about my proposed solution to the problem, that’s cool; let’s talk it through. But if you disagree with me on whether or not there is a problem in the first place, we’re gonna have a very different conversation.  Agree- mrossol.

So here’s the funny thing: Nobody wants to have that conversation (although I’m sure some MAGA types are going full Gorka on me—never go full Gorka). But among people worth listening to, there’s a lot of agreement on the diagnosis and a lot of disagreement on the treatment. I particularly like the rich cocktail of stoicism, cynicism, and hopefulness in Erick Erickson’s take. It’s like getting a motivational greeting card from Werner Herzog. He writes:

It’s all gross and unseemly, but I think what is happening now is a passing fad. A large group of people came into politics inspired by Trump. They don’t really know what they’re doing in politics or how it all works. Now the billionaires who want in on the action are throwing money around and they’re getting played by the grifters and bled dry. The island of misfit toys is trying to lead them all. The professional establishment operators are experts at playing all sides and the odds are in their favor. They’re not conservatives. But they aren’t really crazy either.

But note that the Calvin Coolidge-esque resignation about the problem isn’t a denial of the problem’s existence. Remember one of my favorite quotes from Coolidge: “If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.” Erick’s position seems to be that the problem I identify is likely to be one of the nine that goes into a ditch on its own.  I agree – mrossol.

I sincerely hope he’s right. But I still disagree with Eric on a few things. For instance, I’m still not fully convinced my idea wouldn’t work. I worry more about the role of small donors than I do about the really big ones. J.D. Vance may be attached to Peter Thiel like a sucker fish, but unless the fat cats are laundering money through a bunch of dummy accounts, buffoons like Marjorie Taylor Greene and political appetites in a skin suit (looking at you, Josh Hawley) are raising a ton of money through small donations.

Donald Trump, third party of one.

But you know what does give me hope? Donald Trump. The other day, he issued a fantastic statement:

If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.

I love this statement so much it makes me want to take off my wedding ring, suck in my stomach, and ask it to go to Bermuda with me. Ha! mrossol.

All week I’ve been hearing from people—smart people, dumb people, sincere people, performative Twitter jackass people—that it’s bad, wrong, traitorous, stupid, misguided, or insane for me to actively try to hurt the GOP because of my personal obsessions. “Don’t you understand,” friends and foes alike ask, “that you’ll single-handedly give total power to the Democrats and they’ll print a whole roll of trillion-dollar coins, invoke prima nocta in red states, mandate that face masks be surgically sewn into our faces (causing the starvation of millions), make skim almond milk the only legal form of dairy, and give nuclear weapons to the Taliban? Is that what you want you RINO cuck TDS-besotted jackass? Is it?”  I don’t think this is what Goldberg is doing. mrossol

Okay, I’m paraphrasing and exaggerating just a bit for effect, but you get the point. In all of this, I’m the one who needs to compromise with the “freedom flu” crowd for the greater good; I’m the one who needs to stop relitigating the past; I’m the one putting my concerns ahead of the real issues that affect real Americans; I’m the one who needs to be a sober-eyed grown-up about politics.

And then in comes Trump, making waves like a stumbling drunk who didn’t see the hot tub until too late, literally saying that Democrats should win every election uncontested unless everyone “solves” the object of his batshit bullshittery. The single most important thing for Republicans to address isn’t critical race theory, vaccine mandates, the border, the supply chain cock-up, inflation, or anything having to do with foreign policy. It’s their commitment to a claim that was shot down by every court that looked at it, not to mention Trump’s own attorney general(s).  So I agree that what the Republican’s single most important issues are NOT.  But what I disagree with is that Goldberg (and others like him) seem to suggest, if not outright saying it, is that the election(s) of 2020 were 100% legitimate, honest, and that there is nothing “wrong” with process.  They are willing to believe something that is very, very unlikely.  mrossol

At least my solutions are aimed at the future and grounded in real policy stuff. I’m trying to figure out how to make the GOP better, more successful, and conservative in the long run. Meanwhile, Trump’s stolen election fantasy is simply and entirely about his own selfish id, his unrestrained narcissism, and his complete lack of concern with anything approaching real issues. He might as well be venting about how the time travel in Back to the Future really didn’t make much sense, given how little this stolen election nonsense has to do with not only reality, but stuff that might be helpful for the GOP. In other words, my alleged “Trump obsession” isn’t the issue or even a problem. But Trump’s very real and deranged Trump obsession is.

It already cost the GOP control of the Senate by losing Georgia. Now Trump proposes losing the whole country if his ego isn’t stroked. But damn you, Goldberg, be a team player!

By the way, what in the name of Thor does Trump mean by “solve” anyway? Does it mean “make him president again before the midterms”? Does it mean a do-over of the election? Does it mean a 500-foot-tall carnivorous purple bunny that craps cold fusion reactors that smell like chocolate?  Because that makes as much sense.

Look, even if a joint investigation of the Claremont Review of Books, Gateway Pundit, One America News, and the MyPillow coupon sampler could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the election was “stolen,” you know what happens next under the Constitution? Nothing. Biden would still be president. Unless of course you think that such fraud should be punished by impeachment and removal. Fair enough. Have fun getting those 67 votes in the Senate. But let’s say you do. Know what happens then? Kamala Harris becomes president. Well, she was obviously in on it, too, so she has to go. Okay, then Nancy Pelosi becomes president. Maybe you should stop there, because next in line is Pat Leahy. And after that, John frick’n Kerry. But you know who isn’t on even the extended list of those next in line to become president? Donald Trump. (It’s amazing how many people who have “constitutional conservative” in their Twitter bio don’t understand this.) Agree. Not sure there is a “solve”. mrossol

In other words, who needs a third party to punish the GOP when you have Donald Trump running around punching every team player in the groin with a spikey iron gauntlet? Charlie Cooke and my other friends at National Review who disagreed with my call for a third party are right that if the Sanity Caucus within conservatism cost the GOP control of Congress or the White House, they’d get blamed. And that would ultimately hurt the causes I care about. So just letting the cultists play out their auto-erotic masochism, as Erick suggests, makes sense.  

My only objection to this scenario is that it hasn’t worked. Trump cost the GOP Georgia’s two Senate seats. Trump lost the presidency and both houses of Congress. He swapped many of the most reliable and valuable voters in the GOP coalition for the least reliable and valuable ones.  Partially agree, mrossol.

(Before a bunch of eggheads who pretend to be the authentic voice of the working class when they’re not talking about post-liberal integralism get all worked up about this claim, let me make clear I’m not talking about the value of these groups as human beings, but as voters. College educated suburbanites turned out reliably for the GOP in places where their votes were decisive. Rural voters and voters without college degrees—many of whom are already in red states—turn out less and less reliably, particularly when Trump isn’t on the ticket.)

Anyway, sorry for the long parenthetical. Where were we? Oh, right: Trump has hurt the GOP and continues to hurt the GOP in tangible ways. Yet where are the grown-ups saying, “Okay, it’s time to learn our lesson”? Normally, the faction responsible for wrecking the party hands over the car keys to the faction that gets to say, “I told you so.” Some Republicans did say it, finally, after the January 6 riot.  Like the word “stolen” isn’t the right word to describe the 2020 election, “riot” is not the right word to use for January 6.  It validates all the lies that the left and Dems are leveling at citizens who think different then they. mrossol.

Such Republicans can be divided into two groups. Group A—the House and Senate members who voted for impeachment—is on defense. The House members are being purged. The senators are keeping a low profile. None of them have the whip hand in restoring the GOP to sanity. 

Group B? Well, that’s pretty much everyone else. Nearly all of them have backtracked or apologized in word or deed. Lindsey Graham said he was done with Trump nine months ago. Now he wants to draft Donald Trump for president. Heck, Trump unleashed a mob chanting “Hang Mike Pence” on a vice president who was so loyal for four years he made a Stepford wife look like a randy swinger. We use the term “lynch mob” figuratively a lot in politics. But Trump sicced a literal lynch mob on Pence. And now Pence is attacking [checks notes] the media for making such a big deal about all this.

So again, I’m hoping that Erick is right and this will all fix itself in due course. I’m just skeptical, because for five years I’ve been told, “This can’t last,” “The grown-ups will fix it,” “Trump wouldn’t dare,” “The rank-and-file GOP would never tolerate that,” and “You’re making way too big a deal about this stuff,” etc.  Agree. I don’t think this will fix itself. mrossol

All of those claims were wrong. And the wrongness only seems to be intensifying.

Canine update: Lots of people want to know about Pippa’s medical travails, so here’s the latest. One surgeon told us if her ankle got worse, she’d need surgery to pretty much fuse the joint. She’d still have a limp, but it wouldn’t be painful anymore. We decided it was time and brought her in for a consultation with a different surgeon (the first one is on leave). He’s skeptical that surgery is needed. This might be great news, or it might not. He thinks she might have Lyme disease or some other tick-borne illness, because she seems to have joint pain elsewhere as well. Maybe it’s all treatable with medicine and no surgery (which would be great). Or maybe it’s not (which would be terrible). We’re doing the tests, hemorrhaging the money, etc. We love the sweet, crazy girl. I promise to let you know the outcome.

Meanwhile, I’m on a plane to visit my daughter and I’m pretty giddy about it (the daughter-seeing, not the flying). The dogs are having a sleepover at “Aunt” Kirsten’s house. They love it there. Meanwhile, Gracie is staying home with a personal attendant who will also keep an eye on the house. I’ll be back on Tuesday, but the Fair Jessica will be on a business trip for a while (she’s an assassin), which means it’ll just be me and the quadrupeds for like 10 days.

Link to post.

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The GOP’s ‘D’oh!’ Moment

Why Republicans can’t seem to think politically straight is not only frustrating, but incomprehensible.

WSJ 7/31/2020  by Kimberley A. Strassel

Senate Republicans experienced their “D’oh!” moment this week, and better late than never. If even Homer Simpson can experience moments of clarity, maybe the GOP can yet do a virus economy—and itself—some good.

As Congress spent another tortuous week nonnegotiating a fifth virus-relief bill, it finally dawned on Republicans that they are being played for fools. Democrats don’t want a bill; they want to win an election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who may go down as one of Washington’s greatest cynics—knew exactly what she was doing in May, when she cooked up the $3 trillion monstrosity known as the Heroes Act. If the GOP said no to her outlandish demands, Democrats would brand them as uncaring, unable to lead, unworthy of controlling Washington. If instead she bludgeoned them into swallowing her spendathon, Democrats would wave the win as proof they should control Washington. Heads Democrats win; tails Republicans lose.

 

The GOP did its mightiest to aid this strategy, by having no alternative of its own. By May, Congress had spent nearly $3 trillion on the virus, and Republicans had plenty to pack into a message: The bills provided generous aid to the unemployed, small businesses, families, vital industry, schools, states, renters and health providers. The goals were to stave off economic collapse, provide a lifeline during a national shutdown, lay the groundwork for reopening. All that was accomplished—not that you hear Republicans noting it. The bills, moreover, provided a cushion to deal with lingering needs; as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson recently noted, more than $1 trillion of those original packages has yet to be spent or obligated.

 

Instead of making these points, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled the GOP was open to tacking Democratic demands on to the Republican priority of liability protection for businesses and organizations. The White House rolled out Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who invited Mrs. Pelosi to dictate the GOP bill. Instead of putting together a plan focused on pro-growth economic policies, the Senate GOP cobbled together a hodgepodge of its own spending demands—money for schools, aid for farmers and, yes, $1.75 billion for a new FBI building. Cue a revolt by fiscal conservatives and party infighting—and two weeks of headlines about Republican “chaos.”

 

All the while, Democrats have broadcast—in plain English—that they have no intention of letting legislation succeed. Mrs. Pelosi this week described the two bills as a “giraffe” and a “flamingo” and said they were “not mateable.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer won’t even try, refusing to engage in regular order—to bring a bill to the floor, to hold amendments and votes, and to send a rival product to a House-Senate conference. Democrats have a plan—blame Republicans for the bill’s failure and, by laughable extension, the nation’s economic woes.

And so it was encouraging to see Mr. McConnell acknowledge reality and move to put the GOP back on offense. Stepping back from talks on a big bill, the Senate GOP tackled the most pressing deadline—the Friday expiration of federal enhanced unemployment benefits. Sen. Johnson proposed renewing these benefits at about two-thirds of lost wages, or roughly $200 a week. This would allow the federal government to continue providing some aid, though not the current, crazy $600 a week that is discouraging so many from returning to work. Senate Republicans asked for unanimous consent on that plan, and Democrats blocked it. That means Democrats own the expiration.

Not that the press will put it that way, which is why it is also encouraging that Mr. McConnell now intends to put a legislative version of that unemployment extension on the floor next week and put Democrats on record voting it down. The only way to expose Democratic cynicism and intransigence is to beat the public over the head with proof—something the GOP failed to do with policing reform. A GOP vote would force Democrats to explain why two-thirds of regular pay is not enough—especially given prior Democratic proposals that set virus sick leave and family medical leave at two-thirds regular pay. When Democrats vote it down, Mr. McConnell needs to bring it up again. And again.

The GOP meantime also has an opportunity to rethink and put together proposals sharply tailored to economic growth. Then bring them up again, and again. Hammer home that Democrats are blocking economic revival. (You can bet that is what Mr. Schumer would be doing to Republicans right now, were the situation reversed.)

 

If Republicans allow this election to become a contest over which party can spend more taxpayer dollars, they will lose. Better to treat it as an opportunity to present true competing visions—between a GOP that has a plan for a bigger and better economy, and a Democratic Party that wants a vastly larger entitlement state. Yet making that contrast first requires Republicans to get there themselves. Get a plan, make the case.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-gops-doh-moment-11596149323?mod=opinion_featst_pos3

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What Trump Might be doing Right – Letters

Some very good responses to Peggy Noonan’s editorial of 12/29/2018, where she tried to encourage “Trump insiders” to “speak up – on the record”.

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Peggy Noonan asks “Trump insiders” to speak candidly about how the administration conducts the people’s business (“Trump Insiders, Come Out of the Shadows,” Declarations, Dec. 29). Two years are indeed enough time to evaluate the conduct of our government—including the duplicity in Congress and the vigilante style of the Justice Department and the IRS. Yet Ms. Noonan focuses her ire on President Trump while overlooking these and other malefactors.

When the press stretches facts about events on Capitol Hill and in the bureaucracy, when the Justice Department decides to obfuscate facts and ignore subpoenas, when we learn that Congress has a secret slush fund to silence sexual-harassment accusers, these scandals often are made public by Trump insiders willing to speak honestly about what Americans have long suspected.

When Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned his post, we heard his message. The former general is in the fight to win, as is expected of a fine career officer. Yet others in the administration argue candidly that it is futile to fight a war for 18 years without rules of engagement sufficient to defeat our enemy. Experience tells us that peace does not come through empty promises and plane loads of cash.

There are indeed many books about the chaos in the Trump administration. But there also are many others authored by supporters of the president, willing to put their reputations on the line in defense of the president’s accomplishments and his right to govern.

Ms. Noonan suggests that honest Trump insiders are cowed by the president’s operatives, becoming “figures of “obloquy.” I am not a Trump insider but I am not afraid to speak up on the president’s behalf. I voted for him to expose the inner sanctum we call our government and shed light on the corruption we all know exists. He has persevered to the point of friction and beyond, and that is where true leaders go.

CONNIE LOVELL
Pinehurst, N.C.

Ms. Noonan wants to learn more about the inner dealings of the Trump presidency. Specifically, she wants to see those working with President Trump to share their experiences, and to “put their name on it.”

Might I ask Ms. Noonan what she expects this to accomplish? All positive accounts from individuals “in the know” at the White House will be ridiculed and dismissed by the mainstream media—that’s a certainty. Any unflattering portraits of the president will be embraced by the same media outlets and featured in lead news stories, followed by endless panel discussion about a possible Trump impeachment.

Rather than waste time on such an exercise, why not challenge the mainstream media to do something radical: Report on the president’s policy failures and accomplishments. That is what matters most.

PHIL RULAND
Newport Beach, Calif.

Ms. Noonan worries about the rumors swirling around President Trump’s behavior and how he spends his time. She ponders, among other things, whether the president actually spends hours watching television each day. Her concern reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s response when advised that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was a drunkard and should be fired. Reportedly, Lincoln wistfully replied, “I wish I knew what brand of whiskey he drank so I could send a barrel to my other generals.”

To paraphrase President Lincoln regarding the concerns about President Trump’s TV viewing habits, I wish I had a list of the TV shows he watches so I could send it to Republican members of Congress. Ms. Noonan mistakenly considers it a problem that President Trump is keeping his campaign promises, albeit in a heavy-handed, erratic and graceless manner. The real problem is a refined and oh-so-polite Republican establishment too timid and clueless to convey its message effectively or keep its political promises.

LARRY JENKINS
Madison, Wis.

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Trump has no Ideas??

Oh how I wish Republicans would learn how to sell what they have accomplished? They are absolute _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s.
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WSJ 11/5/2018
Americans say health care is a leading concern in Tuesday’s election, and voters say they trust Democrats over Republicans by double-digit margins. Yet the Trump Administration has put together an impressive suite of reforms that allow consumers more freedom and personal choice, not that you’ll read about it anywhere else.

Last month the Trump Administration rolled out a rule on health-reimbursement arrangements that would allow employers to offer workers tax-exempt dollars to buy insurance in the individual market. The Obama Administration banned this via regulation as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The Administration’s thinking is that these arrangements will be most attractive to small firms that lack the economies of scale that make offering insurance affordable. About 30% of workers at firms with three to 24 employees are covered by employer health benefits, down from 44% in 2010, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data. Eight in 10 companies with fewer than 200 employees offer only one plan.

Health reimbursements would be a cheap and easy option for, say, startups. This is also a way to offer more individuals the tax break on health care that employer insurance receives. Ending this economic distortion for everyone would be preferable, but equal treatment is a step forward.

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The reflexive response from Democrats is that this is another effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act, but they need a new script. The rule will draw more young and healthy workers into the individual market, which currently skews toward the sick or those poor enough to be eligible for tax-credit subsidies. Reimbursements should make the ObamaCare exchanges more stable, which is what Democrats claim to want.

The rule includes guardrails to prevent employers from dumping sick employees onto the exchanges, and to prevent a person from getting both employer contributions and public subsidies. The Administration expects that some 800,000 employers will provide reimbursement arrangements to more than 10 million employees. Some three million will have been buying coverage on the individual market, meaning the rule should save the fisc money on increasingly expensive tax credits.

By failing to repeal ObamaCare, Republicans can’t address all of its dysfunctions. But at the margin by expanding choices they are making the individual market better, not worse, even as Democrats accuse them of sabotaging ObamaCare. Other new Trump options include short-term plans and association health plans. And unlike ObamaCare, the government isn’t coercing you to buy these products.

Speaking of association plans, the returns are coming in on the Democratic claim that allowing The Administration is improving the individual market by expanding insurance choices.

Employers to band together to offer coverage is “junk insurance.” The plans are still nascent, but look at what the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce is offering: nine plan choices; dental, vision and life coverage available; pre-existing conditions covered; and more, with premium rates locked in for two years.

This is no surprise. The selling point of association plans is that businesses can pool risk and cut overhead costs. Businesses want to offer generous coverage that helps to attract workers in a tight labor market.

There may also be more relief ahead with the recent announcement that Health and Human Services rescinded a 2015 guidance for Section 1332 waivers. This is the Affordable Care Act’s waiver process for states to opt out of parts of the law. But Democrats designed the waivers to ensure that only progressive fantasies like single payer in Vermont could win approval. The Obama crowd then restricted the statute further in regulation.

The Trump Administration will interpret this in more rational ways, versus Obama guidance that applied the standards down to how plans would affect subpopulations in the state. The guidance was so prescriptive that most states didn’t bother coming up with ideas. The question now is how many enterprising Governors will decide they can do better than the status quo even within the restrictions.

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You haven’t heard about all this because Democrats want to define the election as a choice between them and Republicans who supposedly want to deny insurance to people with lung cancer. [And because the Republicans are so STUPID that they don’t know how to capitalize on what they have accomplished.] But political control of health insurance is not the only way to care for the sick. The GOP tends to favor block grants for high-risk pools that subsidize those who need help paying for expensive treatments.

ObamaCare set up an interim high-risk pool to cover anyone with pre-existing conditions who had been denied coverage, at least until the exchanges went live. Peak enrollment: 115,000, even as Democrats claim now that 130 million people have pre-existing conditions and are at risk from Republican policy.

The GOP’s incremental progress on healthcare freedom would have been hard to imagine a year ago when it failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Repeal is still desirable given the law’s fundamental flaws. But the Administration is working within the law’s limits to allow as much freedom as possible. If these products prove to be popular, Democrats may find it harder to eliminate the choices to stand up single payer.

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