Thursday, July 19, 2018
What has happened to the Republican Party?
It wasn't that many years ago that the "Republican Party" and "Ronald Reagan" were synonymous. Conservatives were proud to say they were "Reagan Republicans". He would bend and compromise if necessary, but NEVER when it came to the Soviet Union. He stood firm, gave them no quarter, worked with and within NATO, and eventually backed them down. Ronald Reagan was tough!
The USSR officially collapsed on December 26, 1991, on GHW Bush's watch, but it was all due to Reagan's perseverance. Reagan very famously said, when talking about our arms control treaty with the Soviets, "Trust, but verify." He did not say, "Well, they said they were abiding by the treaty, and that's good enough for me."
Early in his Presidential term a very naive George Dubya Bush once met with Vladimir Putin and said, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy....I was able to get a sense of his soul." Later, a much more experienced and worldly Sec Defense Robert Gates said after he met V Putin, "I....looked into Putin’s eyes and I saw a stone cold killer."
It's now said the GOP has become Donald Trump's party as [brilliantly] designed by former advisor Steve Bannon. Rank and file Republicans rarely say anything negative about Trump. His brag, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters" has been proven essentially true. President Trump met with Putin in Helsinki recently and fawned all over him. He had just been briefed on the 12 Russian intelligence officers who were indicted for meddling in our 2016 election with Vladimir Putin's express approval, but said he believed Putin's denial instead.
Republicans began to stir uncomfortably, Trump backpedaled his sweetness weakly, and his faithful seem to have gone compliant again. Their stock, canned comeback to any criticism is "well, Hillary did a lot worse." For the record, Hillary's emails, Watergate, Teapot Dome, etc, were all criminal scandals, no doubt, but none of that has anything to do with the way Donald Trump is behaving today. A bank robber can't use as his defense, "well, I only got $500....Hillary got $1,000."
I have many very intelligent, good friends who resemble the description of the Trump Republican I just described. I encourage them to continue to present their positions on health care, immigration, tax reform, etc. Those are all things we can reasonably debate. Kowtowing to Russia and the thug-killer Vladimir Putin should be beyond debate.
I suggest you refresh yourself with the Steele Dossier (here) that was in the news last year. The jest of it was that the Russians/Putin had some incriminating evidence on Donald Trump that they could someday use to blackmail the new President. Given the recent strangely cozy US/Russian relations, I expect you'll see this topic soon re-enter the news.