Truth Or Power

One of the very few (inadvertently) positive outcomes of Trump’s election has been an eruption of public soul-searching by thoughtful Republicans. Pundits like David Brooks, Jennifer Rubin, David Frum and Michael Gerson have cut through the dissembling and hypocrisy of Congressional Republicans, and haven’t hesitated to point out the consequences of electing a spectacularly naked “emperor.”

A recent column by Gerson contained a scathing and utterly accurate summary of the man demanding (and receiving) Republican loyalty.

President Trump is remarkably unpopular, particularly with the young (among whom his approval is underwater by a remarkable 48 percentage points in one poll). And the reasons have little to do with elitism or media bias.

Trump has been ruled by compulsions, obsessions and vindictiveness, expressed nearly daily on Twitter. He has demonstrated an egotism that borders on solipsism. His political skills as president have been close to nonexistent. His White House is divided, incompetent and chaotic, and key administration jobs remain unfilled. His legislative agenda has gone nowhere. He has told constant, childish, refuted, uncorrected lies, and demanded and habituated deception among his underlings. He has humiliated and undercut his staff while requiring and rewarding flattery. He has promoted self-serving conspiracy theories. He has displayed pathetic, even frightening, ignorance on policy matters foreign and domestic. He has inflicted his ethically challenged associates on the nation. He is dead to the poetry of language and to the nobility of the political enterprise, viewing politics as conquest rather than as service.

Trump has made consistent appeals to prejudice based on religion and ethnicity, and associated the Republican Party with bias. He has stoked tribal hostilities. He has carelessly fractured our national unity. He has attempted to undermine respect for any institution that opposes or limits him — be it the responsible press, the courts or the intelligence community. He has invited criminal investigation through his secrecy and carelessness. He has publicly attempted to intimidate law enforcement. He has systematically alarmed our allies and given comfort to authoritarians. He promised to emancipate the world from American moral leadership — and has kept that pledge.

The Republican lawmakers who continue to support, excuse and enable this deeply disturbed man demonstrate where their values truly lie, and what their priorities truly are. For Ryan, McConnell and their obedient GOP minions in the House and Senate, clinging to power is far more important than serving the nation. Most of them know how dangerous Trump is, and how much harm he is doing, but they won’t desert his sinking ship until it costs them at the ballot box.

The irony is, the GOP is reaping what it very deliberately sowed.

From Nixon’s “Southern strategy” on, the Grand Old Party has been encouraging racial and religious resentments, rewarding “base” voters (in both senses of that word) with red meat rhetoric and divisive policies. It has colluded with rightwing media, supplying “talking points” to the talk radio ranters and Fox News, and defending racist and misogynist messaging.

As the party has become ever more cult-like, it has lost the so-called “country club” Republicans and the fiscally conservative, socially-liberal voters who used to make up a considerable portion of its membership. (When we see reports that majorities of Republicans still support Trump, we need to recognize that the percentage of Americans who identify as Republicans is far smaller than it used to be. Those supporters are the majority of a shrinking minority.) More recently, the party has lost the conservative pundits who genuinely care about policies and principles.

The question now is: how long will it be until the inevitable backlash–and how much harm to America will have been done in the meantime?


  1. Well said..there must be vigilance… hopefully you may serve to alert to awake any who have the courage to see..
    For such a time as this.. courage of all sorts required… Cheers

  2. How long?? Only until the news media quits reporting exclusively on the craziness inside the White House and instead focuses in depth attention on the results of that craziness occurring around the world. Case in point: just what is our country’s position with Saudi Arabia? With Yemen? With Russia? How about a report on our new ambassador to the Vatican? How about a report on the lack of leadership for FEMA and NOHA? What happened to the weather satellite system for the Caribbean? Why zero coverage on Pence and the incredible mess he left behind here in Indiana? What is going on with China now being able to have stock representation in the stock market? Why not more coverage on the state of Kansas? How is the South doing after a springtime of tornadoes?

    Or, perhaps the citizenry is too g d stupid to see that all of these matters either are affecting them now or will in the future.

  3. Georgia 6th! Power to the people. All that liberal, out of state money, flushed down the toilet!

  4. “To thine own self be true.”

    How many Republicans who know better but stifled their inner voice, ignored their conscience which should “be their guide” according to even Jiminy Cricket, continued to support Trump and voted against themselves AGAIN yesterday in Georgia and South Carolina? How many Republicans who are not on that 13 MAN health care committee remain standing behind them? They can tell themselves they are being true to the Republican party but the Republican party they support today is not the one of more than twenty years ago…and certainly not the one led by President Abraham Lincoln.

    “The irony is, the GOP is reaping what it very deliberately sowed.”

    But are they? Are the two southern state Republican wins yesterday a portent of 2018 and 2020 elections. “The more things change (read the comments above regarding Trump & his unquestionable INABILITY to lead), the more they stay the same (look at the current conditions in government and those two vital elections).” I never really understood that old adage til now. I’m still waiting for that other one, “What goes around, comes around.” to begin happening to the GOP.

    “The question now is: how long will it be until the inevitable backlash–and how much harm to America will have been done in the meantime?”

    Maybe the problem is that we and those staunch Republicans are not yet feeling “the inevitable backlash”; we are not yet personally being harmed by Trump, his sad appointed cabinet and highly paid family member leadership or the entire Congress. Waiting till we have actually lost income, health care, civil and human rights, will mean rebuilding democracy from the basement up. I am one who has always believed in repair, restore and reuse; the country seems to be supporting “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” believing the current administration can still be saved. It is beyond redemption in less than six months of implosion being ignored by those who believe they can survive Trump’s unqualified, unstable leadership and his foolish daily Tweets.

  5. I’ll second Theresa’s sensible suggestion that the media turning away from the clowns and reporting on the rest of the government and world would be very useful. I resisted saying they’ll be reporting on the rest of the circus because government is serious and necessary, and reporters who do their job will find some public servants still doing their jobs and many frustrated by the Trump-era state of things. We need to know those stories, as well as on the state and local level. That kind of reporting will support an informed and motivated electorate.

  6. We can’t stop looking at the train wreck as we pass by. That’s what’s happening with the press. Every morning we get a fresh twitter storm to digest. It is self-serving hogwash most of the time, but it gets covered. Remember, this is the guy who got $2 billion (billion with a B), in free airtime during the primaries and the campaign. He uses the media like Yoyo Ma uses the cello.

    In their book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein, laid the blame for our dysfunction at the feet of the Republican Party. Is dysfunction what we really want in government? It must be, because Republicans keep winning.

  7. Peggy; those with the most money can always buy more of everything, they don’t always buy quality…they are more interested in quantity.

  8. Inevitable backlash? I doubt that will happen as long as we have gerrymandered congressional districts. I have little faith that the current Supreme Court in D.C. will conclude that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.

  9. We still only have one vote per person. 43% of the American electorate doesn’t care enough to show up to vote. When that stops and we think of voting as much as a duty as a right, we will have a fighting chance.

  10. It is an amazing fact that all of the things that the Democrats have done wrong for years are callously ignored while instead liberals blame Trump for things that were done under Obama. Why allow illegal immigrants to stay? Why allow people who have lost touch with their constituents let alone the world continue to hold office when they are beyond their usefulness? Look at Ruth Bader Ginsberg, look at Pelosi, Reed, and others who have been in power so long and have gotten so rich that they continue to be worshiped like Gods rather than being removed! America is broken, and Obama did everything in his power to bring down America in every way possible. That’s why Trump is POTUS now – everyone was sick of what the liberal agenda was doing to America. Where is the outrage over Clinton’s selling of uranium to Russia? Where is the outrage over Obama’s gifting the Muslim Brotherhood fighter jets and ammunition? Where is the outrage over the military grade weaponry that went unaccounted for in the “sting” operation that went horribly wrong? Where is the outrage that the previous administration set the Civil Rights agenda of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. backwards by over half a century? Where is the outrage that the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights were disregarded on multiple occasions simply because they did not fit the agenda? Who complained when the previous administration ran the media and what they printed rather than reporting the truth? The Silent Majority has been fed up for a long time, and finally stood up against the destruction of America from within and voted in someone who was not a politician but was instead a Patriot. That’s what is bothering everyone, isn’t it? That a Patriot is in the Whitehouse? Bumbling or not, he has made great strides in areas that everyone else chose to ignore. But why am I bothering to even write this? I know from long experience that you cannot argue or even disagree with a liberal without being run out of town on a rail.

  11. Well, I’m not giving up yet. I am hoping that I can find a job soon that involves a political candidate so I can be on the front lines making our country ‘Sane’ again.

  12. Excellent points in today’s post. I would still like to see a third or independent party form, but am unsure it is possible with the vast depths of money that supports the repub candidates.

    Without a third party we are stuck with a pitiful powerless Dem party and a powerful Repub machine that devours everything in sight.

  13. May I put in a few words for Donald Trump? He’s a liar. He claims to have a wonderful health plan. He’s a liar. He claims he had no contact with the Russians prior to and during the U.S. elections. He’s a liar. He claims he had a bigger Inauguration Day crowd than Obama had. He’s a liar. He claims he’s well-qualified for the Presidency. He’s a liar.

    In 1903, Senator Al Franken wrote a book entitled, “Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them.” If the fake President Donald Trump had been on the political scene at the time, the entire Franken book could have been about Trump. Oh … by the way … did I mention that he’s a liar?

  14. Backlash. Whiplash. What goes around comes around. Silent majority. All of that hints at what has been happening for decades…to both parties. Each succeeding administration since, say, Lyndon Johnson, has come into power more as backlash against the previous administration than from its own enlightened policy. Yet, we make a mistake laying blame for political backlash on the platform of either party. Backlash does nothing to inform us of the underlying reason for backlash.

    I suggest that when the masses watch their government, Republican or Democrat, right or left, fail to solve big problems, the masses see their leaders trying to govern on eggshells. The populace sees government paralyzed in its concern for governing like a medical doctor–first, do no harm. Both parties are too concerned about unintended consequences of legislation, the unintended consequence of which is that legislative solutions to big problems are paralyzed by micro-details: governing on eggshells.

    Sometimes, big problems have to be solved, even if a small business here, a woman there, a child, a pet, a course of study, a job, or some other isolated interest gets hurt. Legislators can go to work the next day to solve the small problems that big solutions cause. The majority of the American voting masses see–but have been unable to explain–that what America needs are some big solutions, even if they cause a little harm. I don’t know that Trump was smart enough to understand that, but it was the anti-governing on eggshells voter that put him in office. Certainly, Hillary Clinton did not understand: the more she advocated for sensitivity in government, the more the voters foresaw the continuing practice of governing on eggshells, and the more voters moved toward Trump.

  15. Everything written about Trump in this post could’ve been written about GWB. What did the Democrats do during GWB’s two terms? Went along with everything. Is Trump really worse than GWB? Have we attacked any new countries?

    Also,I disagree with the professor,Republicans were never principled or really cared about policy beyond the benefits of those policies given toward corporate donors. The Democrats have mirrored this behavior. Follow the money. Also,why would the professor continue to support an organization (Republican) 20+ years (two decades) after their support of the Southern Strategy?

    Political pundits (I include the professor)and political talk show hosts are political entrepreneurs. It depends on who is filling their rice bowls as to whom they’ll rally support for/against.

    All of this talk of Trump from the pundits and the media is a distraction from the real issues. Let’s not forget,the majority of political entrepreneurs are in the highest income brackets and live in little bubbles.

  16. “Obama did everything in his power to bring down America in every way possible.” Donna, that’s a bit over the top, isn’t it? Surely it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  17. Obama was sold to Democrats as a progressive,he was anything but progressive. Obama continued the policies of George W Bush. The Constitution be damned. That’s why I cannot take the professor seriously when she accuses Trump of dismantling the Bill of Rights and The Constitution. That was done by Bush/Cheney and continued by Obama/Biden.

  18. Ha ha ha Donna, what a post! Right off the right wing talking points. Well done. Do you watch Fox Spews? How about Hannity or Rush? Listen to them every day? How about InfoWars? That’s where I’ve seen these items you bring up!

    There is no liberal agenda or liberal media. You’ve been sold a bag of coal. There are human rights and then there are republicans that want to dismantle every thing that keeps people alive. You think it’s bad now because of Obama? Wait until #45 has a few years under his belt as POTUS. Do you get Social Security? Medicare? Well, you better fight to keep it because soon that too will be gone. How will you survive? Do you have money in the bank or 401K? Inheritance? I hope so because don’t expect anything from anybody if you don’t. You’re on your own despite how ever many years you worked for someone/corporation.

    How many allies did Obama piss off within 100 days?
    How many tweets did Obama make going after private citizens, bullying them?
    How many times have we heard “believe me” from #45? I could go on and on.

    Listen, if you want to bring up Obama’s faults, that’s fine but at least come up with ones that actually have some merit.

  19. Gerson for president! I have nothing to add to his litany except to note that Ryan and McConnell are rushing to get their right wing agendas through the Washington morass before Trump comes crashing down via impeachment or indictment. Right wing attempts to change the subject from a narcissistic nutcase via discussions of Hillary and Obama will wither as Trump’s antics will cause even Republicans to take heed because the superlibertarian Bannon’s hopes and dreams as a self-professed Leninist targets Republicans as well as Democrats for oblivion. Depending upon the speed of various investigations going on right now, I think it is possible on this first day of summer to predict that Trump will be out of office by fall, and for good reason – really good!

  20. The strategy of the Republican Fake News Network is evident in some of the posts here. Democrats are incompetent as evidenced by ignoring the massive actual damage that people who know civics clearly have seen by Republicans in the last 25 years. After all that damage can be blamed on Democrats by people who don’t know civics.

    The Civics War?

    Our collective knowledge has grown so fast as to leave all but the narrowest of experts struggling in the dust of the mob. At the time when a revolution in education was required we have Betsy DeVos who’s very lightly educated herself. We are awash in fake news and science and sinking fast.

    Some people here notice the calamity brought about by the squirrel chasing media but that’s more about entertaining the children than informing the adults.

    Democracy gives people the government they deserve.

    I don’t see an orderly transition back option.

    One thing thing about chaos is that it’s really order but order beyond our ability to analyze and predict. We are flying blind from here to the collapse.

  21. What does oligarchy look like?

    It looks like democracy.

    So why is it bad?

    The rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer until the revolution.

  22. Outstanding piece, as usual, Sheila. My question is whether, one day, enough Republicans will look at the American flag, think about the principles it stands for, the lives that were lost defending these principles, and then put patriotism above politics and monetary gains for their campaign contributors. I question this, because one thing I do agree with that Chump said is that Washington is a swamp that needs draining of the likes of McConnell, Ryan, Gingrich, Cheney, Cruz and so forth. Are there any Republican patriots out there? Just like women who come forward to report being sexually assaulted by a serial assaulter, especially a celebrity, after the first one or two are brave enough to stand the heat, more join their ranks and then it is an avalanche. I’m hoping this happens with the Republicans. There are a few who don’t openly support Trump, but they don’t outright oppose him, as of yet. Just how far does this charade have to go on?

  23. Certainly we would all agree with Natacha that a full recovery of the GOP to their traditions would be the possible outcome.

  24. Donna L Arthur – your post is comical!

    How about providing the sources for all of your wild claims if you want the rest of us to consider your post as having any relevance to reality?

  25. I have to go back to Donna’s post about Ruth Bader Ginsburg – what a life she’s led, eh?

    Donna have you ever read her wiki page? Today was the first time I read it and I have to say, I am now her biggest fan. You should look it up…no wait, let me get that for you instead. Really, reading is fundamental to discovering how much information you don’t know.

    I can’t imagine how anything she has done in her life is considered…wrong. Yes, she’s 84, the same age as my Mother. I don’t know if she’s rich. Who cares if she is? Her husband is a veteran and Ruth has fought for our rights, our feminist rights all of her life. For that I am thankful. You should be too. Because, consider the alternative. You wouldn’t have a computer to read on, to post on and probably wouldn’t know how to type unless you had Mrs. Ginsburg fighting for us (females) all along. Sometimes you have to be reminded on how far we’ve come and how we got here.

  26. Thanks Nancy. I try very hard to show people that condemn liberals how much they shaped our country into what it is today. They say awful things about liberals yet never recognize the efforts they gave to help our lives. Like keeping our employers from treating us like slaves or from discrimination. As a female in IT, I remember well the misogyny I had to suffer with. As a waitress back in my 20s, the pats on the behind, the sexual harassment and not just from customers, but from my managers and coworkers. It was disgusting and I’m glad I’m old, grey and a little plump now. I’m invisible now and I’m grateful I don’t get bothered anymore. Maybe that PC culture war was worth it for the younger ladies but I doubt it from what I hear. They still have to suffer fools and conservatives that think otherwise of females and our status in this world.

  27. AgingLGrl:” They say awful things about liberals yet never recognize the efforts they gave to help our lives. Like keeping our employers from treating us like slaves or from discrimination.”

    Indeed. But there’s one large problem. Back in the day liberals were willing to get their skulls cracked by the authorities to further their efforts. Today’s liberals are mostly affluent suburbanites unwilling to go further than an internet petition to further their efforts. Hell,the Democrat Party has been taken over by Reaganites and Republicans. Moreover,that’s the demographic the Democrats are courting,Republicans–just look at the terrible candidate backed by multimillions in Georgia (Ossoff). Ossoff is against MediCare For All. Just like Trump.

    A lot skulls were cracked to bring the American worker a 40 hr work week. The liberal of today has no respect for working people and the Democrat Party has embraced the interests of Wall St,Too Big To Fail Banks and the MIC. It’s too bad the Democrat Party has chosen to exclude and ignore their most dedicated core constituency in the pursuit of suburban Republicans. And,of course,have made themselves beholden to the investment /donor class.

    There’s a reason why so many don’t bother to go to the polls any longer.

  28. I wouldn’t know William. Nixon resigned so that pretty much secured my future with politics and I didn’t come out and vote either. No candidate interested me until 2007. I thought and still believe that most of them are crooks. I moved back from Europe to join the resistance and whatever else I can do to keep our ideas alive. I voted for Carter in 1980 and Obama in 2008 and 2012. I voted for Bernie and Hillary because I can’t pull that level for the GOP ever, especially now.

  29. A friend of mine – a very bright attorney with a deep and wide social conscience – said the Trump presidency has thrown us into a battle to preserve or lose democracy. The more I see Donald Trump follow the same paths as authoritarian leaders, the more I’m persuaded that my friend is right.

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