Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Does it Really Matter What Trump's Policies Are?

Wow. After watching Paul Ryan in action today you have to wonder how he does this for five months. 

Josh Marshall:

"As Lauren Fox explains here, Trump has managed to shatter the fragile and improbable unity Republicans achieved after he clinched the GOP nomination last month. As of today, he seems to have achieved something even more impressive. A who's who of Republican elected officials over the last 36 hours have openly said Trump's attacks are "racist" and "unforgivable" and yet they will continue to support him. Because they need him to be president."

"House Speaker Paul Ryan calls Trump's antics "indefensible" and "the texbook definition of a racist comment." Still, Ryan will continue to support him and wants him to be President."

You know, hate the racism, vote for the racist.

George Will put it well regarding Paul Ryan:

"On May 3, Trump won the Indiana primary, ending competition for the Republican nomination. On May 5, Ryan said he still was not prepared to endorse Trump. That day Trump responded that he was not ready to endorse Ryan’s agenda. This was not news, considering that Trump has campaigned against every significant element of this agenda — entitlement reform, the rule of law, revival of Congress as a counter to the executive overreach that Obama has practiced and that Trump promises to enlarge upon."

"On May 12, a Trump meeting with Ryan resulted in a cringeworthy joint statement that had to be read to be properly disbelieved. The two spoke about the “great conversation” they had about “our shared principles.” They celebrated their “many important areas of common ground” while offhandedly mentioning “our few differences.” Those who know, or thought they knew, Ryan doubted that he could name a single shared principle, and he did not do so."

"In spite of, and in conspicuous dissonance with, the May 12 happy talk, Ryan continued to withhold his endorsement. Perhaps he hoped that Trump, at age 69, was going to mend his manners."

"Instead, Trump dragged a personal problem, his coming trial on fraud charges associated with Trump University, into the presidential campaign. Having first done so in February, on May 27 he again attacked the “Mexican” judge (born in Indiana, 1,332 miles from Mexico) who will preside at the trial, asserting that the Hoosier Mexican was unfit to preside because his ethnic heritage would incline him against Trump, the wall-building scourge of Mexican rapists. On May 30, Trump again attacked the judge, again embracing the identity politics that actually characterizes contemporary progressivism: An individual has, always and only, the interests and motivations of his race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation."

"By June 2, Ryan had heard enough. He endorsed Trump. He did so because President Trump would sign Ryan’s House “agenda.” Well."

"Since May 5, the Hamlet of southeastern Wisconsin had indeed learned something. He had learned Trump’s contemptuous response to his scruples. Trump’s response was an insouciant intensification of his anti-institutional politics — the judicial system, too, is “rigged.” Ryan limply described Trump’s attack on the judge as thinking “out of left field” that he could not “relate to.”

"All supposedly will be redeemed by the House agenda. So, assume, fancifully, that in 2017 this agenda emerges intact from a House not yet proved able to pass 12 appropriations bills. Assume, too, that Republicans still control the Senate and can persuade enough Democrats to push the House agenda over the 60-vote threshold. Now, for some really strenuous assuming: Assume that whatever semblance of the House agenda that reaches President Trump’s desk is more important than keeping this impetuous, vicious, ignorant and anti-constitutional man from being at that desk."

It's like what Scott Sumner said: he wouldn't vote for Trump if he came out for NGDP tomorrow and that of course is Sumner's favorite policy in the world.

You know Trump's specific policies are almost besides the point. As Lindsay Graham put it, at some point your love of the country has to be greater than your hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Does Ryan feel his agenda is worth electing someone who may well be the last election the country ever has?

Chirs Cillizza also says Ryan's dance is tenable. It's time for GOPers to choose sides. Like Marshall, he also wonders how you go on like this for 5 months.

"The realization is setting in among GOP leaders that the way Trump has acted as the party's nominee has the potential not only to cost Republicans the White House in 2016 but also to damage the party's brand among key constituencies — Hispanics, most obviously — that could set them back for far longer than a single election cycle."

In reference to Will''s point about the 'price paid for supporting Trump' the answer is anyone who supports him now may well lose credibility for the rest of their career.

This is why Maine Congresswoman Susan Collin very smartly says she is not 100 percent sure she won't vote for Hillary.

That might make her a bad Republican but it will make it harder to sully her with the words Donald Trump.

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