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JHB's Journal
JHB's Journal
July 31, 2020

One thing we have to do is not let them disown Trump

They're going to try to pretend Trump sprung out of nowhere and magically put a spell over the party, as he's repeatedly done to investors. They're going to try to tie him to the Democratic Party instead. They're going to claim they "never really supported him" and so on.

They're going to try to pretend everything was fine and normal back in good ol' 2014, before The Escalator.

Trump is the result of the ascendancy of Movement Conservatives within the Republican Party. They're the faction that rejected the mainline Republican acceptance of the basic framework of the New Deal (though with plenty of complaints about its details). Movement Conservatives considered that "socialism" and were determined to dismantle it, and every other change that came about in the 50s and 60s.

They are the faction that worked hard to undermine, isolate, or just plain wreck moderate Republicans who wouldn't get with their program. They set out to turn the Republicans into an explicitly conservative party, their brand of conservatism. Other factions, like the Rockefeller Republicans, got in the way of that, so they performed political hit jobs to break and eliminate them as a force within the party.

They are the faction that built an entire alternative messaging apparatus -- partisan think tanks, newsletters and magazines, partisan newspapers in influential places, partisan speakers to tour the "rubber chicken circuit" of civic groups and local party chapters, RW talk radio, eventually cable TV networks -- to paste smiley faces on conservative initiatives and politicians, and paste horns, tails, and cloven hooves on Democrats, liberals, the media. Disrupt, push through, and brazen out the kerfluffle that follows, leaving their policies still in place.

They are the faction that gladly invited RW evangelicals to find a home within the Republican Party. Why not? It gave them numbers at the polls, and both groups had their own alternative media, overarching visions of The Way Things Ought To Be, a notion of a golden age in the past that must be restored, a will to fundamentally restructure government according to their liking, to put their people on the courts to enforce that restructuring, and an innate vicious streak that drew them to demonizing their opponents. The last wheezing gasp of fiscal responsibility was rewarded with a torrent of bile, foam, and "traitor" accusations when Bush41 signed a feeble tax increase in the face of the ballooning Reagan-Bush deficits.

And extremism when fighting demons is no vice. They took down everyone within their party who had any interest in pulling the throttle back. Not when they see their big chance to grab all the marbles. So they grabbed with both hands, both under Dubya and then with Trump. He won the 2016 primary with more votes than any Republican in history because when it came to bile, foam, and demonizing, he was a consummate pro and the Republican base that Movement Conservatives had built loved him for it. And he's had lockstep support because 1) Movement Conservatives have successfully trained Republicans in Congress to vote with a uniformity that rivals the old Soviet Politburo, and 2) he's the proverbial "hand that can sign what we put in front of him".

Don't let them cut him loose. He's the result 60 years of "a choice, not an echo," of 40 years of the Reagan Revolution. He's theirs.

The Built That.

The don't get to disown him.

July 30, 2020

I've eaten at restaurants, gone to a mall and attended concerts. That is life in France.

Consider this a companion to babylonsister's post This was written by an American ex-pat living in Italy


I've eaten at restaurants, gone to a mall and attended concerts. That is life in France.
Opinion by Timothy Searchinger
July 30, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. EDT

Over the past six weeks, I’ve eaten out at restaurants five times, attended two concerts, visited a large, busy indoor mall three times, had two haircuts, and repeatedly watched school kids run around the schoolyard. But that’s all been responsible behavior — because instead of being locked down in my house in the D.C. area, I’ve been in France, where life and the economy are now carrying on close to normal.

What France, like virtually all of Europe, has shown is that following standard expert recommendations for dealing with covid-19 works. France had a massive outbreak of covid-19 in the spring, almost as soon as anyone realized the novel coronavirus had reached Europe. The deaths began occurring late March and reached more than 24,000 by the end of April — a higher death rate than even the United States at the time.

But while the outbreak occurred primarily in only two parts of France, French President Emmanuel Macron imposed a severe, nationwide lockdown on March 16. And during that lockdown, the government put extensive testing and contact tracing in place. Almost exactly two months later, France mostly reopened. And for the last two and a half months, the country has functioned in a primarily open status with around 500 new cases per day and only about 450 deaths in the last month.

The French lockdown was severe. People were only allowed out, after filling out a form, to take care of elderly relatives or to go grocery shopping. To buffer the economic impact, the government directly paid a portion of salaries for those who could not work. And, voila, it worked.


France and the rest of Europe are just showing what grown-up governments in well-off societies do, which makes our U.S. disaster all the more painful to watch (and for me to rejoin next week, alas). And while President Trump obviously is the source of our juvenile response, Congress also passed three emergency bills with trillions of dollars for relief but almost no instructions or resources for reopening.
July 25, 2020

To get that we need to paint Republicans as the Bad Guys. Publicly and Repeatedly.

Thump the drum about it.

It's what they've done to us. It's how they brought us Trump and all of his failures.

But Trump isn't the first Republican to squeak through an Electoral College victory from a popular vote loss, only to grab with both hands and push a highly-partisan agenda. He's not the first to show open contempt for his Democratic predecessor, ignore warnings of dangers and plans for dealing with them, dismantle the systems put in place to deal with those dangers, only to be caught flatfooted by those very dangers. Twice.

Trump isn't the first Republican to baldly lie to our allies, to rely on relationships built up over decades to say "just trust us on this", only to show there was no special information to trust, only a pet project those Republicans wanted to put in motion.

Trump isn't the first Republican -- by a long shot -- to wildly balloon the deficit via reckless, giveaway tax cuts. There's usually (but not always) a thin benefit for most people, but the lion's share of benefit always goes to those who are already in the economic stratosphere.

Trump isn't the first Republican to push for cuts to Social Security and Medicare in the name of "saving" them. Not-so-coincidentally, Republicans categorically reject any proposal to accomplish that by raising their revenue.

Nobody voted for anyone to kill off the Post Office, but Trump is not the first Republican to try. Its current money shortfall is entirely due to a Republican House and Republican Senate passing a law signed by a Republican president imposing something Republicans have always claimed they hated: an unfunded mandate, a profit-killing, job-killing regulation on this one institution. None of the Republicans who did that, none of the Republicans who have blocked attempts to reform that law, have been named Trump.

Republicans love to wave the flag and make ostentatious displays of piety, but for decades they have consistently made America worse.

Don't Make America Worse Again.

Vote for Democratic Party candidates.

July 24, 2020

A reminder of what "reasonable" conservatives do.

None of these people got elected to cut Social Security. None of these people got elected to wreck the post office.

But they do it anyway.

July 23, 2020

"Divisions in the Republican Party" is not what spawned the Tea Party movement

It was foaming hatred of the black guy who'd been elected president and a need to pretend they never heard of George W. Bush.

Everything else was just an excuse to spray bile around. However, several people rode the bile into office, where they have served ideological patrons more than their constituents.

July 23, 2020

Mitt, your party loved dictators and authoritarians as long as they...

...called themselves "anti-communist."

As long as they checked that box they received a warm welcome from your party and had carte blanche to get away with murder. Quite literally.

July 22, 2020

Precisely. There is no "Trumpism", this attitude is baked into the conservative core

Schlafly and her fellow conservative activists (William F. Buckley, Brent Bozell, etc.) were smarter about it, but they were out to advance their cause at all costs and would wreck anybody who got in their way. The fostered hatred of the media about "liberal press bias", by which they meant "failure to cheerlead the conservative viewpoint."

They spent the 60s and 70s going after and wiping out the Rockefeller Republican wing of the party. If you weren't Conservatively Correct, you either got the boot or were isolated and replaced after retirement with an Approved Conservative.

They were successful at that, so why would they change tactics? Demonize the opposition, push through their agenda, and brazen out the complaints and pushback. Just ask Mitch.

July 22, 2020

All you need to know about why Trump is starting up the coronavirus briefings


Ann Telnaes
9:27 AM · Jul 21, 2020

All you need to know about why Trump is starting up the coronavirus briefings:

“I’ll do it at 5 o’clock, like we were doing. We had a good slot. And a lot of people were watching.”

July 18, 2020

His father was old school Repub.

Mitt is more "middle" school, still believing the highest virtue is shooting money skyward -- as much as possible, as high as possible, as fast as possible -- but still retains enough manners to say something thoughtful and gracious when someone of accomplishment passes on.

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