June 11, 2016

THE LEAST THEY OWE:

God Save the Marks? (WILLIAM KRISTOL, 6/20/16, Weekly Standard)

Republican leaders now know they've been played for marks. They've awakened to the con. They no longer believe Donald Trump's boast that "I can be more presidential than anybody"--which, as Matt Bai puts it, is like marrying a compulsive philanderer and believing him when he says, "I can be a totally faithful husband. You wait." But surely there's no need to wait any longer. After all, Trump himself said last week, "You think I'm going to change? I'm not changing."

So the question is whether Republicans who've been gullible marks will change their ways. Paul Ryan has been a politician of great integrity. Is he going to continue to deceive himself that integrity is consistent with supporting Trump? John McCain has always prided himself on putting country first. Is he going to continue to try to convince himself that the well-being of the country is consistent with his Trump endorsement? Marco Rubio has spoken movingly about the American dream. Is he going to continue to close his eyes to Donald Trump's assault on American principles?

And what about all the other Republican leaders who've been accommodating and justifying and excusing Donald Trump? Republicans have defended the rule of law against President Obama's executive overreach. Is it less endangered by Donald Trump's demagogic assault on Judge Gonzalo Curiel? Conservatives have powerfully made the case against identity politics. What purer instance of identity politics have we seen than Trump's attack on a judge solely because of his parents' country of origin? Dan Coats, the retiring Republican senator from Indiana and a decent and principled man, stood up Wednesday at the Republican senators' private lunch and delivered an eloquent denunciation of Trump for his remarks about Judge Curiel. Why not make the same set of remarks in public?

Posted by at June 11, 2016 12:36 PM

  

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