Mitch never met a GOP bigot he didn't like

This post also appears on Daily Kos.


AFT Local 1360

Steve Schmidt flat called Donald Trump a racist on TV and challenged Republican bigwigs to tell the president “enough’s enough” with his bigoted rants. 

They won’t, of course.

Indeed, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is ready to welcome another full-bore GOP bigot to the senate, Roy Moore, a disgraced Alabama judge of the Jesus-loves-me-but-He-can’t stand you persuasion.

Moore beat Sen. Luther Strange in the state’s much-publicized GOP primary last Tuesday. 

“Trump is not a pious man, but by destroying informal restraints on reactionary rhetoric, he’s made his party hospitable to the cruelest of theocrats,” New York Timescolumnist Charles Blow wrote of the president and the senate hopeful.  

Appearing on MSNBC, Schmidt, a veteran GOP strategist and network regular, lit into Trump for cursing African American pro football players who protest racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem.

Trump called them SOBs at a rally for Strange, whom the president—and McConnell--endorsed over Moore. Both are now on the Moore bandwagon.

Schmidt, senior adviser to the 2008 McCain-for-president campaign, recalled seeing “a handsome young man on TV, an NFL player” who “got a little bit jammed up when a reporter asked him a question, ‘Is he [Trump] a racist?’ and he didn’t want to say it.”

Schmidt cut loose: “So let me say it. I want to help him out. He’s a racist. Okay? You look at that speech in Alabama to an all-white crowd, right? We need to get real about this in this country. [The] president of the United States goes down there and he talks about ‘us’ and ‘those people.’

“He came proverbially as close as you can possibly come to shouting at a rally the ‘n word.’ That’s what he did down there. I know it. You know it….We all know it. And for the Republican Party and its leaders and for every decent American, we’re coming up on the line where enough’s enough with this. What he’s doing to the country is tragic.”

The GOP started across that line almost 50 years ago with its Southern Strategy.

Hogs will fly before the GOP brass stands as one to rebuke Trump, let alone the likes of Moore, in Schmidt-like prose.

Alabama being Alabama, Moore is the favorite over Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 election. But the first post-primary poll hints at a closer than expected race. The survey had Moore up 50.2 to 44.5 percent with a four percent margin of error.

Strange is as right-wing as Moore, but he tones down the Armageddon rhetoric. Moore sees himself as a martyr in the conservative Christian cause.

He was twice suspended from Alabama’s supreme court for defying federal court orders he said ran counter to his faith.

The first time was in 2003 when he wouldn’t remove a Ten Commandments—Protestant variant—monument from the state judicial building. He was booted last year for refusing to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Like Trump, Moore embraced the birther movement.

Moore thinks homosexuality should be criminalized. He proposed that 9-11 was divine punishment because “we legitimize sodomy” and “legitimize abortion,” CNN reported.

Moore likened the Quran to Mein Kampf and said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress because he’s a Muslim.

Moore claimed some towns in Illinois were under Sharia law.

McConnell lost no time in congratulating the victor for running “a spirited campaign centered around a dissatisfaction with the progress made in Washington.”

He added, “I share that frustration and believe that enacting the agenda the American people voted for last November requires us all to work together."

Millions of white working stiffs ignored the real GOP agenda: big tax breaks for rich people like Trump, warmed-over trickle-down economics, and more union-busting.

They fell for Trump the plutocrat-outsourcer’s “I’ll-bring-back-jobs” con. They heeded his dog whistle: he’d put it to minorities and immigrants. They got it: “Make America Great Again” meant “Make America White Again.”

Trump—and now Moore—represents the Republican party, not Schmidt, who reminds me of former Kentucky Republican Sen. John Sherman Cooper.

Before the GOP launched the Southern Strategy, Cooper—a McConnell mentor—begged his party to reject the right-wing extremism represented by Sen. Barry Goldwater and his supporters in the John Birch Society and similar racist and reactionary fringe groups.  

Cooper warned his party not to run Goldwater for president in 1964.

Cooper’s entreaties went for naught. Though President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, buried Goldwater in a landslide, the Republicans continued to tack steadily rightward.

Long gone is Cooper‘s GOP. It’s become a party that practices what historian Richard Hofstadter called “the paranoid style” of politics. He explained that “no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.” 

Hoftstader was writing about Goldwater and his movement. But his words just as accurately describe Trumpism.  

Trump won, if barely, by whipping his movement into a frenzy against “crooked Hillary” and the “fake news” media.

Trump and Moore “thrill their supporters with their distinctly un-conservative eagerness to destroy legal and political norms,” Charles Blow wrote in The New York Times. “What Moore’s critics see as lawlessness, his fans see as insurgent valor.”

He added that “the movement that led to Trump has brought us to a place where Moore will probably soon sit in the United States Senate.”

Too, Moore’s success is bound to encourage more candidates like him,” Blow predicted, and warned, “The Republican establishment’s borders have been breached. Its leaders should have built a wall.”