Friday, July 21, 2017

How will 2017 Pubs deal with crunch time should that come about?

And bear in mind that neither of these pieces deal with the latest development: Sean Spicer's resignation, because he refused to have to report to Anthony Scaramucci.

The two pieces are one by David French at NRO, and one by Noah Rothman at Commentary.

Rothman takes us through the dizzying pace of events of the last day and a half:

The events of the last 36 hours unrolled like a cascade. Late Wednesday, the New York Times published an interview in which Trump delivered a stinging rebuke for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, scolding him for recusing himself from the investigation into the campaign’s ties to Russian operatives. In that interview, Trump appeared to warn special counselor Robert Mueller not to dig too deeply into his personal finances, or else.
Hours later, Bloomberg News revealed that Mueller’s probe was investigating Trump’s business transactions and tax records—a leak surely made in response to Trump’s arm-twisting. More leaks from the investigation confirmed that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was being investigated for involvement in a money-laundering scheme, a revelation made more discomfiting by the discovery that he owed pro-Russian interests $17 million before joining the Trump campaign.
With the noose tightening, the lead attorney on Trump’s personal defense team, Marc Kasowitz, and the legal team’s spokesperson, Mark Corallo, resigned. The Washington Post reported that “Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe.” Trump’s spokespeople insist the president has no intention of pursuing the dismissal of the special counsel investigating his campaign, but his every action indicates that this is a lie.
Prominent Republicans reacted to all this incredulously. “There is no possible way anybody at the White House could be seriously thinking about firing Mueller,” Sen. Bob Corker insisted. “We all know the president,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch. “He makes some of these comments that he really doesn’t mean.” Sen. Susan Collins was willing to go a bit farther: “It would be catastrophic if the President were to fire the special counsel.”
Off the record, however, Republican lawmakers are far less circumspect in relaying their fears about what the president is capable of doing to the republic. “Any thought of firing the special counsel is chilling. It’s chilling,” an unnamed GOP senator told CNN. “One gets the impression that the President doesn’t understand or he willfully disregards the fact that the attorney general and law enforcement in general—they are not his personal lawyers to defend and protect him,” another added.
French speaks plainly about a major motivator of Capitol Hill Republicans: fear.
There are very few true-believer Trump allies on Capitol Hill. Sure, there are many folks who are genuinely impressed with the man’s electoral victory and admire his intense connection with his base, but even most of them would admit that he was their last choice in the primaries, that they voted for him because they considered the alternative to be worse, and that the main attraction of his presidency is the chance to pass conservative policies and confirm conservative nominees. They don’t trust him and they don’t like him. But — and this is important — at some level many of them fear him, or at least fear what he could do to their careers.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Here we are, six months into his first term, and aside from the Judge Gorsuch nomination, meaningful conservative victories have been few and far between. Scandals and self-inflicted wounds abound. Planned Parenthood is still funded, Obamacare is still alive, and tax reform is still mainly a pipe dream. Trump has proven that he can and will blow up any and all news cycles at will. He’s proven that he sees loyalty as a one-way street: “You’re for me, and I’m for me.” No matter your record of previous support or friendship, you must do what he wants or face his public wrath. Yet still the GOP wall holds.

Already Republicans have proven their capacity to defend conduct they’d howl about if the president were a Democrat. Trump has lost a campaign chair, national-security adviser, and foreign-policy adviser as a result of deceptions or problematic ties to Russia and its allies. His campaign chair, son, and son-in law took a meeting with Kremlin-linked Russian officials in furtherance of a professed Russian-government plan to help him win. He impulsively shared classified information with the Russian ambassador to Washington. He fired FBI director James Comey, unquestionably misled America about his reason for doing so, and trashed Comey’s reputation in front of our Russian foes. He and his team have made so many false statements about Russia that an entire cottage industry of YouTube videos exists to chronicle them.

It's the same kind of fear that prevents them from putting economic liberty front and center in the quest for the way to the repeal the "A"CA.

You will notice who the most truly confident Republican federal lawmakers are. They are the ones who are willing to come in for not only howls of derision from the Left, but the Left's signature absolute viciousness. And they do it with smiles on their faces, because they know what their principles are, and they know those principles are right.

You don't have to wrap yourself in wonkish terminology and flimsy platitudes when you are right.

But the biggest test of whether there's enough of that confidence to matter may be upon us.

In any event, can anyone say that either the Republican-controlled White House or the Republican-controlled Capitol is knocking out a bold, historic agenda, undistracted by arcane investigations, petty turf battles and political fear?

No, and that doesn't speak well of the party that's the ostensible repository of free-market principles, solid moral grounding and an unflinching view of the world stage.

Which might mean handing back the reins of power to the party that is the agent of pure darkness in post-America.


  1. Not all of the over half the electorate who did not cast a vote for Trump are leftists nor are they immoral communist or socialist doves and they deserve a lot of credit for foreseeing this mess.

  2. I'm in the group you're talking about, so, yes, I concur.

  3. Hah, that means you're in bed with a lot of Dems.