Even in the fading light this early-evening Sunday here in California’s Central Valley and the future of our current American life is on the line, starting next year.
In that regard, good interview this afternoon at the Guardian with Patrick Gaspard, the new president and chief executive of the Center for American Progress (CAP), among other things: ‘“This is a thing I hesitate to say out loud but I really do believe that we should have the understanding that in 2024, when we are conducting elections across the country, there is the potential for us to experience January 6 on steroids, for us to see it in state after state in state capitols.”‘
First the actual meanness of the T-Rump family:
former Bush WH aide ?@Peter_Wehner? :
"when Liz Cheney is more despised in the party than the crazed Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Jim Jordan, Madison Cawthorn, or Donald Trump Jr, you know the GOP has lost its moral bearings"
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) December 26, 2021
Long-time Republican Peter Wehner (worked with the Reagan administration, and later was a speechwriter for both HW and GW Bush), also currently a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of “The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump,” writes in The Atlantic this afternoon about the soulless shit-horror of Junior T-Rump and the bottom-dwelling-hard-driving criminal cruelty segment of the GOP — leading off with a near-perfect lede:
Donald Trump Jr. is both intensely unappealing and uninteresting. He combines in his person corruption, ineptitude, and banality. He is perpetually aggrieved; obsessed with trolling the left; a crude, one-dimensional figure who has done a remarkably good job of keeping from public view any redeeming qualities he might have.
There’s a case to be made that he’s worth ignoring, except for this: Don Jr. has been his father’s chief emissary to MAGA world; he’s one of the most popular figures in the Republican Party; and he’s influential with Republicans in positions of power.
He’s also attuned to what appeals to the base of the GOP. So, from time to time, it is worth paying attention to what he has to say.
Trump spoke at a Turning Point USA gathering on December 19. He displayed seething, nearly pathological resentments; playground insults (he led the crowd in “Let’s Go, Brandon” chants); tough guy/average Joe shtick; and a pulsating sense of aggrieved victimhood and persecution, all of it coming from the elitist, extravagantly rich son of a former president.
But there was one short section of Trump’s speech that I thought was particularly revealing.
Relatively early in the speech, he said, “If we get together, they cannot cancel us all. Okay? They won’t. And this will be contrary to a lot of our beliefs because — I’d love not to have to participate in cancel culture. I’d love that it didn’t exist. But as long as it does, folks, we better be playing the same game. Okay? We’ve been playing T-ball for half a century while they’re playing hardball and cheating. Right? We’ve turned the other cheek, and I understand, sort of, the biblical reference — I understand the mentality — but it’s gotten us nothing. Okay? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution in our country.”
Throughout his speech, Don Jr. painted a scenario in which Trump supporters — Americans living in red America — are under relentless attack from a wicked and brutal enemy. He portrayed it as an existential battle between good and evil. One side must prevail; the other must be crushed.
This in turn justifies any necessary means to win. And the former president’s son has a message for the tens of millions of evangelicals who form the energized base of the GOP: the scriptures are essentially a manual for suckers.
The teachings of Jesus have “gotten us nothing.”
It’s worse than that, really; the ethic of Jesus has gotten in the way of successfully prosecuting the culture wars against the left. If the ethic of Jesus encourages sensibilities that might cause people in politics to act a little less brutally, a bit more civilly, with a touch more grace? Then it needs to go.
He believes, as his father does, that politics should be practiced ruthlessly, mercilessly, and vengefully. The ends justify the means. Norms and guardrails need to be smashed. Morality and lawfulness must always be subordinated to the pursuit of power and self-interest.
That is the Trumpian ethic.
Their approach hasn’t been embraced by Republicans, of course. There are GOP governors and others in the Republican Party who embody a very different ethic, and for the sake of their party and their country, I hope they gain influence.
But it would be naive and irresponsible to pretend that what we have seen since Donald Trump left office is the revivification of ethical standards and demands for moral excellence within the Republican Party.
Liz Cheney voted with President Trump more than 90-percent of the time but is now persona non grata in the GOP because she is willing to defend the Constitution and the rule of law and stand against a violent assault on the Capitol and an effort to overturn a free and fair election.
When Liz Cheney is more despised in the party than the crazed Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Jim Jordan, Madison Cawthorn, or Donald Trump Jr., you know that the GOP has lost its moral bearings.
Reality on the situation, but like many others, including myself, giving-forth no real idea on what to do — except for me it’s the anti-voting rights campaign that’s the most immediate demand for our system. No matter what, the filibuster be gone and the For the People Act, or something like it, hammered through Congress and signed by Joe Biden. If that’s not done before November next year we’re really screwed for a long while. GQP state legislators have gerry-rigged on so many different levels and ways to hamper Democrat-leaning voters from making it to the ballot box, there’s real-true concern we could lose the House and Senate. After which, a true, functioning government will cease to exist (Republicans do not know how to govern), and then, maybe America loses the White House in 2024.
Further from another Republican and our democratic (small ‘d’) situation nowadays (CNN): ‘“Until recently, when I got up in the morning it didn’t occur to me that American democracy might be in the balance,” observed Richard Haass, a high-ranking national security aide to two Republican administrations who has quit the GOP. “It’s no longer a given. I don’t think it’s melodramatic to say this is the greatest crisis we’ve faced since the 19th century.”‘
As explained before it’s too late:
Yet anyway, here we are once again…
(Illustration out front: Salvador Dalí’s ‘Galatea of the Spheres,’ found here).