The corrupt bargain

Jennifer Rubin is on today (emphases in original):

The 2016 election demonstrated that the party once united by political thought (e.g., smaller government, objective truth, respect for tradition, the rule of law) and respect for civic virtue would accept a thoughtless, entirely unscrupulous leader for the sake of holding power. (“Sure, he’s totally ignorant about the world, but we’ll get the Supreme Court.” “Well, he’s obviously lying about a bunch of issues, but he’ll sign whatever the House gives him.“) En masse, most Republicans — including those at some premier publications (which are now unreadable to all but the Trump cultists) — declared willingness to defend ignorance, bigotry, dishonesty and ineptitude on the chance that they’d get a top marginal tax rate of 28 percent. The calculation, to those not driven by partisan zeal, seems shockingly small-minded and tribalistic. (At least Hillary Clinton’s not there to raise taxes!) One marvels at other trades they’d make. (Lose an independent judiciary for sake of a meaningless and offensive travel ban?)

Republican Party identification has begun requiring intellectual vacuity. One has to be free from shame to agree that it’s no big deal when Trump confesses he fired former FBI director James B. Comey because he decided Russian interference in the election was “just a made-up story.” A slew of FBI agents is now investigating the “made-up story,” the entire intelligence community verifies it and members of both parties acknowledge that it occurred. To go along with such utterances means condoning Trump’s inability to accept reality (Russia did, in fact, meddle) and refusing to concede that pressuring and then firing the FBI director must be impeachable, if not criminal, conduct. This mind-set forces Trump defenders to say daft things such as: Trump has the right to fire Comey, so what’s the problem? Democrats didn’t like Comey, anywayIt doesn’t matter that he gave a pretextual answer for the firing.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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