Thursday, December 10, 2015

Conservatives Now Shocked At The Monster They Created

(Cartoon image is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.)

It started in earnest with Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy", when Republicans eagerly accepted racists into their party. The GOP thought this was their path to winning elections. And it worked. The South, which had been dominated by the Democratic Party, turned solidly Republican in just a very few elections. This proved to be insufficient in 2008 and 2012, and Barack Obama was elected. The GOP them opened its doors to the ultra-right (the John Birchers, who has previously been considered too extreme).

The GOP establishment thought they could control these groups, and use them to win elections while ignoring them after those elections. They were wrong. The racists and ultra-right nuts weren't satisfied with just being used, and they took over the party in many states. Those groups have pushed the party far into the fringe right. That is illustrated by all of the GOP candidates for president this year -- but none more so than the leader of the race, Donald Trump. A monster has been created -- and the GOP has no one to blame but themselves.

This became very clear to many mainstream conservatives in the last few days, when Trump surpassed his normal hate speech and proclaimed there should be a ban on ALL muslims entering the United States. These conservatives, especially among the media, are now trying to distance themselves from the monster they helped to create -- fearing he could seriously damage the party.

A perfect example of this comes from the reliably conservative newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Their editorial board writes:

Donald Trump stands alone.
Not that there aren’t people who agree with his reckless manifesto against Muslims on Monday — of course there are.
But we cannot believe that Trump and his followers represent America. No more than we believe the two terrorists who killed 14 people and wounded many others in San Bernardino last week represent the world’s more than 1.6 billion Muslims or the estimated 2.75 million Muslims of all ages in the United States.
Nor do we believe Trump’s views represent Republicans — the denouncements from other GOP presidential candidates are telling.
Trump read from a campaign news release Monday in South Carolina, saying he wants “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Trump and those who agree with him are the ones who can’t seem to figure it out.
There are radical Islamic extremists among the world’s Muslim population. That much is clear from the rise of the Islamic State and its sponsorship of world terrorism.
There are those, like the two murderers in San Bernardino, who although perhaps not ISIS-directed are at least ISIS-inspired and would do Americans great harm.
Dealing with this threat requires concentrated attention from our government, top to bottom, as well as a high level of alert from all of us. 
As President Obama pointed out in a speech to the nation Sunday night, it also requires a high level of attention and assistance from the U.S. Muslim community to locate individuals who are threats.
But it simply does not stand the test of reason to say we should retaliate against all Muslims by banning their entry into the United States.
They are business leaders crucial to our economic interests, students in our universities, families in our neighborhoods, children in our schools.
While we must deal with our enemies, we cannot turn our backs on our friends.
Trump said there is “great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”
One of his sources for that statement, the Center for Security Policy, is run by Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney, whom the Southern Policy Law Center calls “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.”
Trump’s only other source, the respected Pew Research Center, has done several surveys of Muslims but was at a loss to identify where he got his information — and Trump didn’t clarify.
Trump stands alone.

Read more here:
The problem is that Trump does not stand alone. He currently has the support of about a third of all Republicans, and mainstream conservatives are terrified that he could increase that support -- and become their nominee.

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