Saturday, September 09, 2017

An Insurrection Like No Other

Political insurrections are common occurrences. Lawrence Martin writes that, in Canada, we've had plenty:

John Diefenbaker's Tory leadership occasioned a venomous party revolt, as did Joe Clark's. Brian Mulroney's Tories won a smashing victory in 1984 and another majority in 1988, but that wasn't good enough: With his Reform Party, Preston Manning led a populist rebellion that effectively killed off the federal Progressive Conservative Party, reducing it to two seats.

There followed on the Liberal Party side the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin wars. Mr. Chrétien won two majorities, whereupon the insurrection of Martin rebels began. He won a third, only to see his antagonists gather in greater numbers and force him out. There's a book coming out on Mr. Chrétien next month by Bob Plamondon called The Shawinigan Fox. It has revelations, which I've read, about the feud. Warning to the Martin crowd: Duck!

But what is happening in the United States is different. The insurrection starts at the top and is moving down through the Republican Party:

Mr. Trump's fiscal deal with Democrats – a short-term fix – to increase the debt limit undercut his party. The Democratic plan had been turned down by House Speaker Paul Ryan. Mr. Trump's Treasury Secretary, Steven Munchin, wanted a different, longer-term pact but was cut off by Mr. Trump at a meeting in which the President sided with Democratic leaders in the room. "Shell-shocked" was the term making the rounds to describe the GOP reaction.

Earlier in the week, Mr. Trump put his party in a bind with his withdrawal of support for legislation protecting young immigrants. He gave his party a short time frame to find a compromise. Before that, he enraged many fellow Republicans with his commentary on Charlottesville. He attacked his party brethren for failing to rid the country of Obamacare, even though he deserved much of the blame. His hardline take on trade and protectionism is opposed. He's in a feud with the party over funding for the border wall with Mexico.

What is happening has a lot to do with the shambles that is Donald Trump. But its roots are to be found in a party which has consistently catered to the rich. Trump is a rich man who works for men like him. Rich men are accustomed to getting their way -- no matter the cost.

The cost is now painfully evident.


Anonymous said...

The Republican Party is a long con on middle and lower class white voters that has been going on for at least 50 years. Yes, the party caters to the rich, as do the Democrats in their own way. But there is no insurrection in the GOP, and neither party is genuinely concerned about the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is only important as a means of conning people into believing that government services need to be cut (i.e. privatized). The apparent squabble between Trump and McConnell and Ryan is a way of stroking Trump's ego by underlining that he's in charge.

The other issues are the same. Since Lee Atwater's days, the GOP's main electoral strategy has relied on stoking white resentment. I find it impossible to believe that party leaders were genuinely concerned with Trump's statements after Charlottesville, or with his position on DACA. As for the Obamacare repeal flop, it was clear from the outset that the GOP had nothing to replace it with and their lame proposals would hurt millions of their own voters. But all the stories on the party "squabbles" succeeded in keeping people's attention away from the Trump's corruption, the party's assault on government institutions and the rule of law, and the Russia scandal.


Owen Gray said...

I agree that the focus on Trump has allowed the party to forget about its internal contradictions, Cap. Trump will play on those contradictions. The man who values loyalty above all else has no loyalty to the Republican Party.

John B. said...

Bob Plamondon?

It's off-topic, but I don't think I'll waste any time getting my name on the wait list for Bob's new book at the library.

Extolling the virtues and bemoaning the shortcomings of personalities in “leadership” roles throughout the history of Canada’s various “Conservative” parties:

From Appendix B to Blue Thunder: The Truth about Conservatives from MacDonald to Harper, by Bob Plamondon, Key Porter (2009)



Selfless Leadership

"There are few politicians who set aside ambition for the sake of their party. Peter MacKay’s surrender of the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 2003 stands tall among personal sacrifices made by a Tory leader for the good of Canada. He could easily have taken the PC party into a national election campaign, but his noble act removed the key obstacle that had kept Conservative forces divided for a decade. After Jean Chretien was given three majority governments, MacKay’s bold and unexpected move helped to restore democracy to Canada and set the stage for Stephen Harper to become prime minister."

Owen Gray said...

I see what you mean, John. I've never thought of Mackay as selfless.

The Mound of Sound said...

Has there ever been anyone, save for his children, that Donald Trump hasn't betrayed? His real estate fortune was built on betrayal. He betrayed his partners, his investors, his lenders and roundly stiffed the trades who built his properties. His Atlantic City casinos were set to fail from the outset. The most grandiose of them all, the Trump Taj Mahal, was built on junk bonds. As the early money came in, Trump siphoned off millions. The Taj Mahal, built directly across the street from another Trump named casino, drew 40% of the revenues from the earlier venture. All three folded. Investors took a bath. Lenders were screwed. The construction trades and contractors were thrashed. Trump walked away with a fortune.

He betrayed his first wife with his second, Ms. Maples. By his own candid admission, he's betrayed his third wife with several other women.

He betrayed the gullibillies who elected him. As far as I can tell the one group he hasn't betrayed would be the Russian oligarchs whose ill-gotten gain Trump allegedly laundered through his Manhattan real estate and his golf courses.

Trump is a chronic narcissist. His world consists of Donald Trump. To him loyalty is a weakness. It's the frog and the scorpion brought to life.

Owen Gray said...

I'm truly baffled by anyone who would go to work or vote for Trump, Mound. There is a long trail -- paper and otherwise -- to show that he'll eventually chew you up and spit you out. Who would knowingly agree to be Donald Trump's breakfast?

Steve said...

Show me the money. When it comes to money all politicians agree, we gotta have it. (Debt ceiling deal)

Dana said...

52% of white American female voters that's who.

Figure that one out.

Owen Gray said...

But it's not just about making it, Steve. It's about distributing it.

Owen Gray said...

As I said, Dana, Trump supporters confound me. Their support for Trump appears to be detrimental to their health.