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The Case for Republicans Speaking Out Against Trumpism

First, the case against. The belief is that GOP voters overwhelmingly support the president, and that speaking up is to risk alienating voters at a critical time (i.e., the midterms). The greatest risk exists during primary season, when they could be faced with losing the opportunity to compete in the general election if their primary opponents hew to the president while they speak up.

The risk in the primaries is real enough. But we will not see for another couple of months whether that is the only risk the GOP candidates recognize. That is, post-primary will they continue to say nothing? How many will then speak up? I’m guessing not many.

The candidates are overestimating the risk of bucking this president. They are failing to account for the moderate voters who will punish them at the polls for giving cover to a depraved executive. They are underestimating the number of conservatives willing to hear criticism. Not MSNBC-esque criticism, mind you. But regular gee-shucks GOP-style criticism would be welcomed by Republican voters, even during the primaries.

In the primary it would bring in moderates. It might even bring in Democrats who want to hedge their bets that their candidate can win in November.

Now, campaigns that would consider speaking up lack a pipeline. It’s well-established that the political rhetoric on the GOP side flows from special interest groups like Koch-funded PACs and Adelson-funded PACs, through conservative media, and gets picked up by campaigns. But there is an easy fix: recycling.

Most of the criticisms that the GOP used for years against President Obama are things they can criticize Trump for. He’s all executive action. He has few real legislative accomplishments, and those he has were all hands-off. They were done by Republican legislators, without any real help from Trump. So just dust off those old talking points and you have a search-and-replace function change the names.

It gives the candidates the ability to say they’re consistent, particularly if they can find clips of their primary opponents critical of Obama for the things they’re giving Trump a pass on.

The real risk isn’t the primary, but the general election. It may well be that the public is wary enough of Trump that even a good moderate Republican will go down in November.

Without Republicans standing up to Trump, many of his voters will remain hardened against reality. They will only depart from their anger-fueled reverence for the irreverent if they hear some voices of reason that speak their language. They need to hear the McCains and Flakes say their piece against what can only be seen as a president divorced from the American goalpost of international order and economic prosperity for all.

When you go to church of whatever flavor, you repeat the same things week to week. Repetition is a key to learning. The refrains of our shared values as humans help to buttress them against erosion. But one of the common voices of the refrain now silent, the others must grow louder. The Republicans need to speak up.

Obama’s Friends

The preachers are the ones to be questioned. Obama’s attendance or affiliation with them isn’t controversial.

Welcome to the MSM‘s latest revelation: black people go to church! All of the recent controversy about Senator Obama‘s church and the inflammatory remarks of black preachers he has affiliated with has led to the new discovery that African Americans have a spiritual life.

And get this: their preachers say ludicrous crap from time to time just like other priests, preachers, rabbis, and imams. Amazing.

The controversy is manufactured. Anyone who didn’t already know that this kind of rhetoric is used by preachers in black churches all over America is obviously so out of touch their commentary should be discounted.

Senator, were you aware that Dr. Wilburn was a mad scientist?

Well, over the 14 odd years I’ve known him he’s often talked about amateur rocketry and shown me his research papers published in Journal of Laser Applications, but honestly this is the first I’ve heard of his plans to build a space laser.

The problem is, Dr. Wilburn, like these preachers who are being used to attack Senator Obama, are often incoherent. Their emotions outpace their brains and they say some stuff that, really, doesn’t make sense. But the impetus behind their words are realities that have existed for hundreds of years. Their overall point is lucid.

And that’s exactly what Barack Obama said in his notable speech on race in America. It’s clear that there are issues with race in this country and that we have much work to do in that arena. It’s also clear that many black preachers take liberties when directing a sermon to what they believe is a specifically targeted audience. That includes some pretty heavy-handed, ultimately irrational, blanket statements about this country.

Should it be toned down? Yes. Should the people who say these things be reminded that as they have taken it upon themselves to be shepherds in the absence of their Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazarus, the Christ, the Lamb of God, et al. they have a duty to uphold his teachings and take pains to understand them clearly and relay that lucid understanding to their patrons? Duh.

But should a member of such a congregation be held accountable or be viewed as having endorsed those tirades? No. If any member of any church wholly subscribes to every word from the pastor’s mouth let him be cast upon by the first stone. And the zeroeth stone to the man who casteth the firsteth.

In the modern vernacular, some people go to church to do the work of their God, not because the preacher is particularly correct. Especially in the case of a politician, the opportunity to meet with community members and seek out lasting progress for their community, state, and nation, can start in a church. This is nowhere more true than in a black church where it is often less formal and more communal than in white churches.

Most of the time a sermon will tread heavily on positive aspects of life and serve as a weekly reminder to live spiritedly and hold forgiveness close to the heart, and the like. And that’s as uncontroversial as it can get. I challenge the MSM to pull up some of those recorded sermons from these preachers and find controversy in them. And when that’s the sermon, there’s no problem. Only when the preacher has a thorn in his side and feels like he should pull it out before his patrons, it is foremost not in the spirit of the Christ. But more than that, his motivations must be questioned.

And you’ll notice that most of my discussion here keeps focusing on the preachers, not on Obama. Why is that? Because Obama didn’t say these things, didn’t endorse these things. Those preachers said them. They, and their words, are what it is appropriate to address. The only questions to Obama should be, “Do you agree with them?” And he’s already answered that one. Time to move on.



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