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The GOP is Messed Up, Too

In a previous article, we talked about the mess that the Democratic Party is and always has been. That’s because the Republican Party was so pristine—bankers, owners, managers—no messing around with social issues. Democrats grew further when FDR brought in just about every subgroup, although African Americans stuck with “The Party of Lincoln.”

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That is, until Harry Truman got rid of segregation in the military, and Lyndon Johnson forced civil rights through Congress. At the time, LBJ said it would cost Democrats the “Solid South” of segregationists for a generation. Well, it’s been almost three generations, and the South is still solidly Republican, but this is a digression.

The point is, the larger your “big tent” is, the more likely you’ll have dissension, and the Republican Party has plenty of it, too. In the news now, is William Kristol, founder of The Weekly Standard. Among other things, Kristol thinks it may be time for a centrist third party.

It never seems to quite happen. But I do think a Trump-Republican variety or Sanders-Warren Democratic Party leaves an unbelievable, huge opening in the middle for an independent presidential ticket.

But first, Kristol would first like to wrest the GOP from Trump, according to the Washington Examiner.

Bill Kristol, editor-at-large of the Weekly Standard, said he has initiated informal talks about creating a “Committee Not to Renominate the President.”. . .

After the story was published Saturday afternoon, Kristol shared it on Twitter, with the message: “The task in 2020: ‘Liberating the Republican Party from Trump, and conservatism from Trumpism.'”

That’s for 2020. In the meantime, Kristol would like to see Mike Pence take over the presidency by invoking the 25th Amendment—claiming Trump is incompetent.

Vice President Mike Pence should be prepared to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and wrest the presidency away from President Donald Trump should Trump’s “craziness” escalate. . .

Pence has already taken preparations for such a scenario.

The latest round of volleys from Kristol came from an interview on cable business channel, CNBC, on “Speakeasy with John Harwood.”

Kristol has made a radical break. Alarmed at Trump’s policies and methods, he has become a leading voice of Republican opposition. . . “I’m a conservative. I’m trying to uphold what was true about conservatism. I consider myself a Reagan conservative.”

Kristol says it’s possible to uphold the integrity of the GOP.

To the credit of the Republican Party and the conservative movement, people have been expelled or marginalized. Pat Buchanan in the ’90s. Ron Paul, Rand Paul in the first decade of this century. Bill Buckley famously expelled the Birchers in 1964. It’s been a movement that’s tried to maintain its boundaries.

But it turned out there were elements there that Trump appealed to. He’s an effective demagogue. And then the rationalization of Trump, acceptance of Trump by so many Republicans and some conservatives, including conservatives I worked with and respect, has been disturbing to me.

Meanwhile, Kristol further broke with GOP orthodoxy by criticizing business.

I thought it was sort of disgraceful when the tax cut gets passed and they immediately have these bonuses. . .

Write $1,000 checks to people? Wasn’t the whole point of the tax cut to free up money for investment? I mean, the government can just write checks to people. It doesn’t have to go through a middleman, you know. Give ’em to everyone, not just the people who work for certain favored companies.

I found it slightly creepy — sucking up to Trump and to the Trump administration in hope of favors. . . I think Trump is an example of a certain kind of corporatism that’s dangerous. . .

So, the companies decide, we have to then cozy up to the federal government, and you do go towards a kind of Third World-type system, a kind of crony corporatism, as opposed to free markets with the emphasis on free.

Kristol is also taking on Fox News, which some would say is the “Office of Information” for the Republican Party. He says he was removed from the Fox rotation because he refused to blackball someone Roger Ailes didn’t like. Kristol says it was just a personality thing, and it was unfair to attack the person just to please Ailes.

I was on Fox for 10 years really, 2002 to 2012. I think it was pretty good. It was a little tilted right? Sure. Now Fox is sort of — 75 percent of it seems to be birther-like coverage of different issues. . . There’s a gradual increasing of recklessness.

. . .look at — Tucker Carlson. . . I don’t know if it’s racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let’s call it. A combination of dumbing down. . .and stirring people’s emotions in a very unhealthy way.

MediaIte also quoted Kristol regarding Fox.

“I mean, it’s funny but it’s sad,” Kristol replied, before concluding that this saga proves “Bannonism is winning.”

“Look a at the [sic] Hill Republicans, look at the conservative commentators, many of them” Kristol explained, “they are now in the possession of serious conspiracy theorizing, paranoia, hostility to basic American government institutions in a way that I would have a year ago would have been impossible.”. . .

“What fringy websites once said is now said by Fox News hosts. What losing primary candidates who got 8% of the vote in some Republican primary somewhere once would have said is now being said by mainstream Republican senators,” Kristol continued. “So that is what is upsetting about it.”

Breitbart quotes Kristol as saying it’s not just Fox. The whole party seems to be going what Lindsay Graham called, last year, “batsh-t crazy.”

Look at the Hill Republicans, look at the conservative commentators, many of them — they are now in the possession of serious conspiracy theorizing, paranoia, hostility to basic American government institutions in a way that I would have a year, 18 months ago would have been impossible.”

Will Pence remove Trump? Will the GOP withhold the nomination from Trump? Will there be a new, centrist third party? Will Trump lead us to a new corporatist fascism? Is Tucker Carlson a racist? Can things get any more nuts? For those of you old enough to appreciate the 1960’s TV reference—tune in here to find out—same batsh-t time, same batsh-t channel!!

Goethe Behr :Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.

View Comments (14)

    • I was under the impression that NeverTrump had been stomped out. That's why this story is so surprising.

      • No no, people like Kristol are dug in. But I bet at least 50% of “never Trump” have folded. But Kristol and Evan McMullin still tweet daggers at Trump.

          • All, not half, of never Trumpers are sycophants. Kristol might stand out to 1% of the people but that's it.

          • I think you're misreading "sycophant." Its root is not "psycho." It means "groupie," "lackey," or "parasite."

            I was saying that most people have given up on NeverTrump, and THAT is what makes Kristol "stand out." And before you freak out, by "stand out," I meant "stand alone," not "to be outstanding."

  • Kristol is obviously delusional. His remarks, if true, don't make sense. I'm glad I never followed the guy.

    Also, he obviously doesn't understand the 25th amendment.

    They've tried 3rd parties before. No one cares. The fringe element tries to act like a third party will become a reality. All 3rd parties do is mess up the elections.

    • Why do you think he "misunderstands the 25th Amendment"?

      There have been third parties before, but they have usually been one-issue parties, like Prohibition. This is different. The idea is that both parties are out on a limb, and the majority of the people are independents or centrists. You hear people from both sides saying, "I didn't leave the party, the party left me."

      I think if Bush and Clinton had been the major candidates last year that Trump could have won as an independent, for example. And I think we would all have been better off if he had.

      In 1992, Ross Perot was on his way to becoming president in June, polling at 39% compared to 31% for Bush and 25% for Clinton. Personally, I think he really just wanted to influence people, not to win. He dropped out right after that.

      • Perhaps I misunderstood your whole article. Not sure.

        There would be such an outrage if even the thought of using the 25th amendment came into play. Pence isn't half the person Trump is. Pence is extremely skilled and is an insider. Still he doesn't compare to Trump.

        With Pence it would be business as usual. The good old boy network. True, the GOP establishment would embrace him, Bush, an extension of Obama, would love him. He's an establishment guy.

        Pence could push through legislation as the "boys" know him. The Dems don't like Trump but they'd hate what Pence could accomplish.

        Pence wouldn't get done what those that elected Trump want. The old "it takes 5000 years to get something done would be back." No sense of urgency.

        Isn't The 25th amendment meant to replace a president who, for example, was hospitalized because of a stroke and thus was incapable of performing the duties of the presidency? Not just because someone doesn't like a president. Or because he tweets.

        If Kristol thinks Pence could replace Trump he's sadly mistaken.

        Kristol doesn't excite me at all. Who'd vote for him? He'd be pushed around by the powers to be.

        We'll always have two parties competing for the presidency. A third party doesn't have a realistic chance.

        I read where Perot got 18% of the vote but Zero electoral votes. He might have been a great president. Had he run as a GOP candidate maybe he would have won.

        • Yes, the intention of the 25th Amendment was to have the veep step in and become acting president if the president is incapacitated. If he or she is permanently incapacitated, the veep becomes president.

          This is important, because Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated--and his wife ran the country for a year. Of course, that was before radio and TV. Couldn't be done today. But Nixon reportedly became incapacitated, mentally, during Watergate, so Alexander Haig became "acting president," unofficially.

          In the current case, it's not just a matter of not liking Trump. Kristol thinks he's mentally imbalanced and erratic. The Amendment allows for tossing a president who goes kicking and screaming--if the cabinet agrees that he's a nutcase. They'd have to go through the process, and Trump could argue his case.

          Yes, Perot ended up with 18%, but that's only because he freaked out in June and dropped out. at that point, his polling was still increasing, and he was already ahead of both major candidates. If he had kept going, I'm sure he would have been elected. He did jump back in in September, but he was tarnished then. Even being sidelined for three months, and acting nutty, he still got 18% That's about half of what each of the other two got.

          He would not have been nominated by the GOP, who thought he was a loose cannon. He was.

          • The liberal media also thinks Trump is imbalanced. The opinions of Kristol, and the liberal media don't mean squat to millions of Trump's supporters.

            I just read an interview Kristol had with CNBC. It was a good interview. He tended to skirt around many issues. His dislike for Trump was obvious.

            I'm really not sure why he dislikes Trump. It could be because Trump is just too outspoken. Trump definitely doesn't fit the typical mold.

            For me the 25th amendment does not apply to Trump at all. It isn't even close to being something that should be considered. Those that think that way are 1. Not able to adjust to the election. 2. Complainers. 3. Out of touch with present day politics.

          • Kristol doesn't like Trump because

            (1) Kristol is a NeoCon and Trump talks about Bush being stupid and that we should get out of all foreign adventures. However, of course, in foreign affairs, we've never had a more NeoCon than the nation-building Trump. Except for his bromance with Putin, of course.

            and

            (2) Kristol is a traditional, free-market Republican. He cringes when Trump destroys free-trade agreements and levies tariffs.

          • My ultra conservative brother now dislikes Bush. He rigged the stock market for his buddies to cash in on the crash. Bush did some horrible things in the guise of helping Americans.

            I believe Rush has also woken up to Bushes dark side.

            Bush should have know the Saddam was keeping a lid on the bees, ISIS for example. Once that lid came off the bees ran wild. Why? I taught in Bolivia. We all knew that their Dictator was needed to keep things the country under control. We, the Americans that were there, didn't believe in a dictatorship but it was absolutely necessary.

            Well, Bush/Chaney should have also known that a dictator in some cases is necessary. These guys, and the Intel community, Must know about All world affair. If they don't we might as well have a President Gothe. Your smart.

            The above paragraphs are why I'm such a believer in President Trump. President Trump knows about world business affairs. Maybe he can't shake hands in a group of world leaders but who cares.

            Trump believes in free trader but "fair" trade. Why let other countries hold the cards? As Obama said; " The other countries come to us. It isn't the other way around."