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Republicans On Crack

| March 5, 2016

republican party gop train wreck pierre tristam

The Republican Party Friday afternoon.

Growing up I always figured the Berlin Wall would fall from the weight of its own insanity. I just never figured it would happen when I was in my 20s, in the 1980s. I figured it’d be more of a mid-21st century sort of thing, if our nukes and the Soviets’ didn’t interrupt the natural order of things. I’ve had the same thoughts about the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan made it America’s wall in those same 80s. It was bound to crack up, what with the nation’s whites fast and blessedly approaching minority status. I just never figured it would happen before I was drawing Medicare and smoking pot with my grandchildren.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive But there it is. The crack-up is upon us. The locks have popped. The insane asylums have emptied. The loons are casting ballots. And Mitt Romney’s string quartet is arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I might have to break my vow and smoke pot for the first time a little early for this one. If not crack.

The media reported it as news a couple of days back that Romney called Donald Trump a fraud and a phony. The two words commanded headlines like King Kong and Godzilla grabbing at the Trump Tower, though my preferred analogy is something simpler, like a pot calling the kettle black. Or the Revenant, with Romney trying to pull off a DiCaprio. Cringe City.

The most insightful part of the speech wasn’t something Romney said. It never has been. It was what the heckler said when he yelled out how desperate it is that it’s come to this: that a Republican Party that has so decimated itself with mercenaries of division now calls on the man who insulted 47 percent of the nation to reunite whatever is left of the party he thinks can still represent America. That the man who condemned half the nation as losers is now heckling the controlling plurality of the Republican electorate for voting the wrong way. And he’s the one calling Trump vulgar.

Romney ran twice, lost twice, changed his positions countless times—on abortion, on stem-cell research, on the minimum wage, on Obamacare, which he created as governor before he needed to denounce it as a presidential candidate, and now of course on Donald Trump. He begged for his endorsement when he needed him, calling him a better businessman than he was, until his decision Thursday to reappear, like Christ appeared to his disciples after his crucifixion, and denounce Trump as a political Lucifer to his beloved Republican Party.

We’ve known all along that Trump was a fraud and a phony. It’s part of his persona. I doubt he’d have become that famous if he hadn’t been trading on it for 40 years. He’s just better at it than people like Romney or, for that matter, Marco Rubio, who’s never had a problem lying about his past, or Ted Cruz, who could give Baghdad Bob a run for his tanks. It’s not unusual. When you don’t have much to run on, inventing stories helps as much as inventing fears.

That’s what Trump has done best. The art of his deal has been to hone what his predecessors have been doing since Richard Nixon discovered that appealing to the electorate’s most debased instincts was the best way to win votes. That whole anti-government cult of the last four decades was born of the impulse to divide, to demean government as cover for demeaning the less fortunate, who by Romney’s time became the 47 percent, because lord knows the 1 percent needed more adulation and tax breaks.

You could still chalk it all up to politics. After all, it’s not as if Republican presidents haven’t spent more time in the White House than Democrats since Nixon. But for all the upending of the usual storylines, what I still find disturbing is that, while Trump gets his backing mostly from uneducated white bigots, who are nothing new to American politics (ask Jim Crow), I have recurring conversations here, with people I know, people I respect, or would like to respect, prominent and educated people who don’t have the excuse of being uninformed or on drugs, who tell me honestly that they’re either voting for Trump or, more often, that they’re trying to make up their mind, with Trump very much in the mix, and their alternate choices not much less dishonorable.

In a sense, it’s understandable: among the survivors of a Republican primary season that started with roughly a dozen lunatics, what remains are, with John Kasich’s vague but baffled rule-proving exception, three versions of the same theme. Rubio and Ted Cruz are unquestionably to the right of Trump in most respects–foreign policy, health care, taxes, religious, civil and sexual rights, and they have no human rights to speak of. They couch their policies and demeanor in terms seemingly less crude than Trump. But their proposed policies are more bullying, more offensive, more regressive and reactionary than most of Trump’s: they’re both warmongers who’d re-garrison the country and lust for wars with Bush-like abandon, starting with Iran. They both would revert to treating Israel as a more favored state than, say, West Virginia or South Dakota. Neither has a clue how to improve health care beyond exploding Obamacare. If Trump wants all undocumented immigrants deported, Cruz would rather dehumanize them first while Rubio can’t figure out which flop to flip on the matter. Neither thinks much of women or the poor. Both still think of gay marriage the way old racists thought of miscegenation. Their tax plans are 1980s Reagan re-runs of deficits and more legalized tax-evasions for the rich. Neither thinks science a better gauge of global warming’s causes than whatever crack vials ExxonMobil’s lobbyists slip them.

Kasich in comparison looks like a paragon of reason and pragmatism. He runs the equivalent of the 25th largest economy in the world, and has done it rather well. He doesn’t think compromise is apostasy. His record as a governor adds up to a few things better than making speeches, filibustering, missing votes or making fun of another candidate’s penis. No wonder he can’t win Republican votes. He’s a heathen among loons. Romney was almost right in one regard. There should be a Republican revolt. But it’s the whole party that’s lost it. Renouncing Peter to whore Paul won’t cut it.

Yet here we are, with Trump as the Republican front-runner. If there is an explanation, I’m not so sure it’s less disturbing than the extent and variety of Trump’s support. People can be fed up with government as usual all they want. That doesn’t explain embracing a candidacy built on debasing immigrants, women, the disabled, embracing a man who openly encourages criminal retribution against protesters, who would close off the country to an entire religion, who boasts of bringing back waterboarding and happily promises much worse, suggests extrajudicial murder and state-sanctioned assassinations (at least George W. Bush had the decency to hide his war crimes), a man who has spoken approvingly of Bashar el Assad, the butcher of Syria, and Vladimir Putin, a man man who could not bring himself to clearly and immediately denounce the KKK until even his digestive system compelled him otherwise.

A day after Trump’s flirtation with white supremacy, Brian France, the NASCAR chairman and CEO, endorsed Trump. That, I can understand. France’s grandfather had endorsed the segregationist George Wallace in 1972. There’s a tradition to uphold, and a fan base to pander to. But I had imagined my “conservative” neighbors to be a bit more thoughtful than the NASCAR set. It appears that the March 15 Florida primary will prove me wrong–whether the winner is Trump or one of his twins.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here or follow him @PierreTristam. A version of this piece aired on WNZF.

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34 Responses for “Republicans On Crack”

  1. YankeeExPat says:

    Old racists don’t just die off like Dodos, they begat a new generations of racists that are just below the surface and pop their heads out of the pond when they can find a gullible audience. My own personal life experience is not going to allow myself to feel self-righteous to say one need to be Southern, Republican or White to be racist either. Hate packaged in a narrative that feeds on learned ignorance is like easy listening music to those who need a scapegoat to pin on their own failures.

  2. Dave says:

    And then we have Hillary on the other side. We will elect the best of the worst of both parities.

  3. Sandra Sites says:

    BERNIE PEOPLE!!! BERNIE!! Why has everyone written him off?? Vote for Bernie…

  4. Rick G says:

    The Republicans created this environment and monster… now they have to figure out how to deal with both. Such sweet times are ahead.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a liberal in panic mode reporting. Hopefully Trump will clean up some of the mess made by a career political and Obama.

  6. ScotchRox says:

    The only question is who will be TRUMP’S running mate?


  7. beachcomberT says:

    I feel like the ghost of Christmas past, rattling around the halls, looking for my boyhood heroes (Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, Ed Brooke, John Anderson and other GOP moderates) and finding them displaced by a bunch of know-nothings. In retrospect, even the late Barry Goldwater is looking pretty good. I let my absentee ballot gather dust for a couple of weeks, hoping Super Tuesday would bring a shift away from Trump. But finally I have given a vote to Kasich, no prize candidate and too anti-labor, but at least reasonable-sounding and pragmatic. In the meantime, my tiny donations are going to the Senator from Vermont, the only candidate willing to attempt to tame crony capitalism. He may not get very far with a Republican congress, but at least it would be a fresh start, and he would steer our foreign policy away from imperialism.

  8. Robjr says:

    Trump and his followers show us that hate, racism, sexism is alive and well in the USA.
    Watch all of Flagler county voters who climb on his bus..

  9. r&r says:

    I’m a registered republican and I think they are so afraid of Trump they’re willing to sacrifice the party to destroy him. He has my vote part or no party. We cannot allow another criminal in the white house meaning Hillary.

  10. confidential says:

    I can see Trump nominated and loosing to Clnton. He can’t win just with the wealthy, bigots and extreme conservative ballots only. Hello..?
    Blacks, Latinos, other recent legal immigrants women, Gays won’t vote Trump. Just guessing.

  11. Tired of it says:

    Any Republican is better than the corrupt Billary Clinton and her demented followers.

  12. Brian says:

    Want to talk about a fraud and a phony? Remember election night back in 2008, the first time Ojamba was elected? Everyone was out in the streets, crying, holding candles, holding hands, singing kum-ba-yah. Oprah was crying. Obojangles was supposed to be the second coming. How did that work out ? The worst president ever. A laughingstock in the eyes of leaders and savages around the world. Fourteen million more people on food stamps than when he took over. Democrats steamrolled by Republicans in the mid-term elections where Democrats seeking re-election did not want his endorsement or really anything to do with him! And we could go on and on, but the issue at hand: Pierre’s usual left-wing blather appears to be tinged with a little fear and desperation this time – because he knows that Americans are supporting Trump in overwhelming numbers because they are sick of ELECTING frauds and phonies. Pierre will never tell you who he LIKES – only who he HATES. Because on his side, who IS there to like?? Where are the forty-five year old up-and-coming democrats? There are none! My guess is, Pierre is a closet Bernie supporter…but hey, we’ll probably never know.

  13. Cyd Weeks says:

    “the NASCAR set.” Nice.

  14. Steve says:

    There is no candidate other than Trump that will beat hillary. That is why we need him so bad. This country needs a shot of pennicillin to cure the ills created by obama and the democrats. no more military, obama’s racial divide, Benghazi, emails, 11 million illegals here (probably more), economy in the tank. What more to you need to see that we must make America Great again.

  15. whatever says:

    Get it right Donald Drumpf.

  16. Just me says:

    ya gotta “love” the consistency of Pierrie with his bigotry of whites and any who have a differing political view

    “with the nation’s whites fast and blessedly approaching minority” ~ “Republican primary season that started with roughly a dozen lunatics”, If or when any Rs/conservative would say the same or similar things about ds or liberals he would be all over them.

  17. Shrimpley Pibbles says:

    I really enjoy the comments section on flaglerlive when articles like this are posted, because it never fails to illustrate the pitfalls of magical thinking and poor education. Donald Drumpf is going to magically make america great again, he’s going to somehow build a wall to keep all of the brown people out, he’s gonna make people take christianity tests when they come to america to pursue the american dream, he’s gonna bring washington to task and make them behave. That’s all magical thinking, and here’s why: the president is not the end all and be all of federal power in the united states. Other than the power to veto, command the armed forces, and pass the occasional executive order he or she is still beholden to congress and the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. The only person I can think of that the GOP hates worse other than Drumpf in its own party is Ted Cruz, so be prepared to enjoy another 4-8 years of legislative gridlock while the GOP-led congress simultaneously eats itself from within and demonstrates that it doesn’t tolerate outsiders within the beltway. After the atrocities committed during world war 2 I would have hoped that the american people wouldn’t be stupid enough to fall for the same rhetoric than pre-war germany did, but I guess I’m wrong. At least this mistake will destroy our nation and not everyone else in the process.

  18. Mark says:

    Jim Crow? Who invented the KKK? That would be southern Democrats!

  19. YankeeExPat says:

    In response to ScotchRox question.
    The only question is who will be TRUMP’S running mate?

    That would be Gary Busey

    Trump/Busey 2016 MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN !

  20. Just me says:

    confidential says:
    March 6, 2016 at 7:57 am
    I can see Trump nominated and loosing to Clnton. He can’t win just with the wealthy, bigots and extreme conservative ballots only. Hello..?
    Blacks, Latinos, other recent legal immigrants women, Gays won’t vote Trump. Just guessing.

    Its not just the wealth who like trump most of his supporters are middle class and sick and tiered of the insider BS of DC. Just look at peirre he is the bigot and is NOT for Trump. I belive Conservitives are not for him as they will vote for cruze a person who looks to the Constitution not party. Trump will get Blacks,Latinos, legal immagrants who see the destruction that the Ds and ILLEGALs bring also many women will vot for him not all are sexist and will vote fore hillary a person who aided a sexual predator of woman

  21. chopshop says:

    I would vote for trump / David duke ticket to put law and order back in this country. you burn my business I shot.

  22. Common Sense says:

    So what has President Obama done that is so bad? Millions more Americans are now insured, unemployment is down, the stock market is going up, the economy is solid, gas is cheap, he didn’t get us into any new wars, gays can now marry, housing starts are up, so tell me again what is so bad?

    As for Mrs. Clinton…eight hearings and no one has come up with anything she did wrong in Benghazi, Condolezza Rice and Colin Powell, both, admitted to using private servers, she handled her husband’s mess with great dignity and she is not going around insulting anybody. Most people who criticize her can’t come up with any specifics when challenged.

    As for Pierre, please keep up the good work you are right on point.

  23. Joe says:

    Haha I can’t believe how gullible the Republicans are. It’s so funny. They think Trump is on their side! I swear this is the best election ever! Democrats can’t loose! Trump has them all fooled and they love him. Great job Donald ,way to shake up them conservatives for us. They have no clue what’s going on.

  24. Sherry says:

    Excellent article Pierre!

    As a women, I would like to add what I am hearing from every single one of my female friends and several female journalists: WE ARE COMPLETELY DISGUSTED !

    Every woman, with any self esteem, (notice the qualification) is outrageously offended by your concern about penis size, and comments about wet pants and orange skin!

    Do you idiots not understand that US citizens are being made seriously ill by their tap water in Flint Michigan? That women are being kidnapped and killed or used as sex slaves by terrorists every day? That people of color are being illegally murdered by our police? That we are falling further and further behind other countries in educating our children? That “climate change” is a scientifically proven fact and that our fragile planet is in grave danger?

    We want to be proud of our nation in every way, but the embarrassingly infantile rhetoric of Donald Trump and now Marco Rubio has diminished the reputation of our country world wide! Mud slinging over policy, political positions and issues is bad enough. . . now, you guys are smearing one another with insults that should have been left on the bathroom wall where you found them.

    Trump, the dangerous megalomaniac master school yard bully, somehow thinks he’s about to be anointed Emperor. As a “legend in his own mind” he has too many in our celebrity crazed electorate actually believing he can fly in on the Trump copter and demand that everyone DO as they are told. . . or what, “off with their heads”? Ahhh. . . perhaps what we really have here is a demented narcissist who has actually fallen down the rabbit hole and thinks he’s Alice’s Queen of Hearts! Now, that would explain some parts of the horrific perversion going on in this Republican Presidential contest.

  25. Percy's Mother says:

    I am a woman. I am not disgusted by Trump. I’m disgusted by Hillary.

  26. Richard S. says:

    Obama has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. In a little less than eight years he has been able to tear America apart at the seams. This most divisive President ever has been able to single-handedly get all people of every persuasion to go after everyone else’s throat. What we are witnessing is a revolution of the general public against the DC politicians, including our reigning President that rules through executive orders – not the existing laws.

    The result is the rise of people like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders – both on the fringe of extremism. The people are angry. They have been stirred up by President Obama.

    Voters in both parties have a dilemma. Who do vote for? A raucous Republican or a demonic Democrat?
    Neither party has a perfect candidate.

    It appears that with all of Donald Trump’s hoopla, he will end up being the Republican candidate. As far as the Democrats, it will be Hillary Rodham Clinton beating Bernie Sanders by a nose.

    What has NOT been discussed yet in detail is what may be a hidden Democrat shift in voting. There are a number of disappointed Obama supporters that have changed their way of thinking about him and see Hillary as an extension of his policies. Also, her trustworthiness issue has been bandied about, but not risen to the top – yet. As far as Bernie is concerned, he has risen because of the aforementioned concerns about Hillary. But, Bernie is tripped up by his totally, unabashed far left socialistic views and desires that make some Democrats uneasy. He has gone too far. These voters have their own dilemma.

    When November comes, look for disaffected Democrats to jump ship and vote for the Republican candidate – whoever that might be.

  27. karma says:

    What party is in charge in Flint? Christians being killed around the world and not a word from Democrats. The education budget keeps growing and we keep falling further behind. Blacks killing blacks daily and we only worry about the police or the gun. And the the greatest fraud ever, GLOBAL WARMING. Woops, wrong term, Climate change.The greatest wealth redistribution scam ever created.
    That’s your hope and change folks. Can’t wait for 8 more years of the same.

  28. Jim O says:

    Relax…. We are going to get a trusted, moral and humble person in the WH next year. Hillary is the best thing going for our nation. She is someone that always speaks the truth and is very transparent in her actions. She has great experience and has used it in the best possible way. Hillary is capable of almost anything….

  29. Jim R. says:

    Even if Bernie loses the cat is out of the bag, his millions of followers will not back Hillary even if he does. Reforming the democratic party from within is not possible. A truly progressive movement and party is the only option for Bernie’s followers, and it can wield enough power to force the Democratic party back to it’s roots as the party of the people. Ralph Nader has, in a new article on Counterpunch come to a similar conclusion.

  30. Sherry says:

    On the Flint disaster. . . the Michigan Tea Party governor should resign! This from the Washington Post:

    No doubt, the federal Environmental Protection Agency deserves blame for failing to sound warnings more loudly and publicly, and for being too deferential to state authorities, once it learned last year that high lead levels in Flint were poisoning children.

    But EPA had no role in the decisions that caused the problem, nor was it supposed to. That was entirely the responsibility of Rick Snyder’s administration and his appointees.

    The governor, former head of Gateway computers, was first elected as part of the tea party wave of 2010 with a plan to use his tech industry skills to run Michigan. He spoke of “outcomes” and “deliverables,” called residents “customers” and sought to “reinvent” the state to make it business-friendly.

    A centerpiece of Snyder’s agenda, and one of his first actions, was a new law that gave the state dramatic powers to take over failing municipalities and school boards by appointing emergency managers with unchecked authority. Michigan voters killed that law in a November 2012 referendum, but a month later Snyder got the legislature, in a lame-duck session, to enact a law very similar to the one voters had rejected. This time, legislators attached it to a spending bill so it couldn’t be undone by referendum.

    The unelected viceroys had mandates to improve municipal finances but little incentive to weigh other considerations.

    In Flint, one such emergency manager, Edward Kurtz, abandoned the city’s decades-long reliance on Detroit as its source of clean tap water in 2013, under the theory that it could reduce Flint’s high water bills by tapping into a new pipeline that was still under construction.

    The controversial case over dangerous lead in water in a Michigan city
    View Photos Anger over the levels of lead in the water in Flint has led the mayor to declare a state of emergency.
    Kurtz’s successor as Flint’s emergency manager, Darnell Earley (now emergency manager of Detroit’s schools), made the fateful decision to use treated water from the Flint River as the city’s water supply starting in 2014 while the pipeline was being completed — even though Detroit was willing to continue providing high-quality water under a short-term contract. This was supposed to save Flint $5 million.

  31. Just me says:

    Sherry says:
    March 7, 2016 at 11:14 am
    On the Flint disaster. . . the Michigan Tea Party governor should resign! This from the Washington Post:

    OK fine BUT what about all the elected officials in Flint that went for the switch of THEIR water system?? Would you NOT also call for their heads on this??

  32. Optimist prime says:

    Patriotic Americans are turning on Trump, as well as those people who support him. Tread carefully, America. Support for this campaign is reckless and dangerous should you be seeking change from the “frauds and phony’s” … It’s a contradiction in terms. Face it the Republican Party has no candidate. Don’t endanger the future of American children by voting for a narcissist con-man, with a refreshing “tells it like it is” reality tv persona. Turn off the Fox News, get over the fact that the economy isn’t tanking (that was ’08) and do something responsible. The world is different now. Wake up and stop thinking so narrowly. Trump and his track record represents corporate welfare… Which is the honest to god REAL problem in this country. Wake Up!!

  33. Optimist prime says:

    Re: Karma, the republican governor Rick Snyder is completely in charge of, and at fault for the Flint crisis. READ MORE.

  34. paula says:

    Omg! are you kidding me? Obamacare is the absolute worst insurance ever! It costs a fortune and covers pretty much nothing! I’ve never been soo upset in my life about paying $3000 a year for $2500 deductibles with $6500 oop for my family! !!! Are you fucking joking. care my ass!

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