Republicans In Congress Are TERRIFIED Of Trump And His ‘Horde Of Enforcers’

Donald Trump ran roughshod over his GOP opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries. It was a scorched Earth style campaign that left his foes, not just beaten, but humiliated. He didn’t merely challenge their policy positions or leadership skills, he used language meant to shame them. Fellow Republicans were viciously maligned as “Lyin’ Ted’ and “Little Marco.” Eventually Trump succeeded in capturing the nomination, but not without leaving bodies on the battlefield.


Those same tactics are now being deployed against the Republicans in Congress. Many of them are saying privately that they are fearful of taking positions against Trump. That poses a critical problem because their traditionally conservative views are often at odds with Trump’s twisted brand of populism. Trumpulism favors cordial relations with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin. It proposes to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvements, mainly benefiting wealthy contractors. It is critical of the U.S. alliance with NATO. It would impose stiff tariffs on American companies with foreign factories. All of these positions are in direct opposition to decades of Republican doctrine.

The problem now is that Republicans are literally afraid to speak their minds. They have been warned by Trump and his surrogates that any diversion from total obedience to his agenda would be viewed as betrayal. As reported by Politico:

“It’s little wonder that Capitol Hill Republicans have papered over their not-insignificant policy differences with Trump, shying away from any statement about the president-elect that might possibly be construed as critical. They’re terrified of arousing the ire of their tempestuous new leader — or being labeled a turncoat by his army of followers.” […]

“Since the election, numerous congressional Republicans have refused to publicly weigh in on any Trump proposal at odds with Republican orthodoxy, from his border wall to his massive infrastructure package. The most common reason, stated repeatedly but always privately: They’re afraid of being attacked by Breitbart or other big-name Trump supporters.”

The threat from Breitbart is a real concern. Especially since its chairman, Stephen Bannon, is currently on leave to serve as Trump’s strategic advisor in the White House. But it doesn’t stop there. As South Carolina GOP Rep. Mark Sanford said, “People are naturally reticent to be the first out of the block for fear of Sean Hannity, for fear of Breitbart, for fear of local folks.”

Texas Rep. Bill Flores can attest to Sanford’s worries. After he made some rather tame remarks at a conservative conference, the Trump enforcers snapped into action. Breitbart began with an article condemning Flores for plotting to “stifle Trump’s campaign promises.” Sean Hannity of Fox News picked up the story and added his own vitriolic objections. He implied that Flores was using code to tell Trump to “Go to hell.” Subsequently, Flores was showered with complaints that included predictions of the end of his political career and even death threats. Never mind that he is one of the most conservative members of the House and a co-founder of its arch right-wing Freedom Caucus.

The media component of Trump’s Crusaders is a key to their intimidation tactics. They have the power of Fox News as well as dozens of other right-wing media outlets. Strain all of that through Facebook and Twitter and you get a powerful amplification of their defamatory propaganda.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The rest of the GOP caucus is learning a lesson from this. They are choosing to keep their mouths shut rather than risk offending Trump or his defenders. The StormTrumpers stand at the ready to crucify any Republican they view as disloyal or insufficiently resolute. It’s a chilling state of affairs that impinges on the core principles of democracy. And in that regard, it should not be a surprise coming from the Trump camp. His authoritarian leanings have been apparent from the start of his campaign. And since it’s clear that Republicans can’t be relied upon to defend democracy, Democrats better be prepared to do it.

Fox News Takes A Hike Down The Appalachian Trail

Always seeking to enhance their journalistic credentials, Fox News has recruited a new contributor that will bring a unique insight to their political analysis.

Mark Sanford, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, has been added to the Fox News team. Sanford, you may recall, was the wayward governor who went missing and, after initial reports from his staff that he had taken a hike on the Appalachian Trail, it was eventually learned that he had slithered down to Argentina for a rendezvous with his mistress.

This hire may surprise some observers who recall Fox criticizing CNN for hiring former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. But there are notable differences between the two fallen pols. Sanford disappeared without informing anyone of his whereabouts, and his unfaithfulness resulted in divorce and a broken home. Spitzer, on the other hand, never abandoned his duties as governor, and he managed to preserve his marriage after it was revealed that he had patronized a Washington call girl.

Kudos to Fox News for snagging a forthright voice for infidelity that is too rarely represented in the media. He will join a fraternity of Fox fellows who have fractured marriage vows including Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, Roger Ailes, and the original sinner, Rupert Murdoch, who is on his third wife.

No wonder Fox is regarded as the network of family values. They apparently believe people should have as many families as possible. That may prove to be an advantage for Mitt Romney, the Mormon in the GOP presidential primary.

Gov. Sanford’s Treatment By The Liberal Media

Here are a few examples of how the so-called “liberal” media rushed to smear Republican Gov. Mark Sanford after he surfaced from his hike in Appalachia …er… vacation in South America …er… tryst with his Argentinian mistress. These are emails sent to Sanford to solicit him for interviews.

Griff Jenkins of Fox News
“Having known the Governor for years and even worked with him when he would host radio shows for me — I find this story and the media frenzy surrounding it to be absolutely ridiculous! Please give him my best.”

If the Gov does an interview and its exclusive, it will make air on the tv channel and our radio news service all across the country. And I’m not sure if you’ve seen the stuff I do on the channel as a reporter, but I work mostly for our primetime coverage – Oreilly, Hannity, Greta, Beck – so there likely would be primetime coverage as well for some soundbites of the gov dispelling this flap.

Jenkins, you may recall, is one of the contingent of Fox News ambush journalists (along with Jesse Watters, and Porter Barry). He was also prominent in last April’s Tea Baggery. In this affair he is unabashedly promising a political delinquent favorable treatment.

Brendan Miniter of the Wall Street Journal
“Someone at WSJ should be fired for today’s story. Ridiculous.”

Miniter is actually bashing his own paper for publishing a story that merely reported that Sanford was off hiking the Appalachian Trail. So I guess that I’d agree with Miniter. Someone should be fired for having gotten the story so wrong. And Miniter should go with him for pandering to the story’s subject.

Joseph Deoudes of the Washington Times
“If you all want to speak on this publicly, you’re welcome to Washington Times Radio. You know that you will be on friendly ground here!”

Isn’t nice to know that there is “friendly ground” available for wayward Republicans? Not that this is news coming from the Moonie Times, a perennial happy place for rightists.

Ann Edelberg of MSNBC’s Morning Joe
“Of course the Gov has an open invite to a friendly place here at MJ, if he would like to speak out.”

And if anyone can call themselves a friend of Sanford, it’s Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman who had his own problems with the press when an intern turned up dead in his office.

Jake Tapper of ABC News
“NBC spot was slimy.” […] “For the record, I think the TODAY show spot was pretty insulting.”

Tapper’s main problem here is not that he is offering Sanford a safe haven, but that he is deliberately bashing his competition. Tapper is crossing the line in order to get a story. To his credit, he apologized and acknowledged that what he did was inappropriate. None of his colleagues have yet to do so.

Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central
As you may know, I declared myself Governor of South Carolina last night. I went power mad for abut 40 seconds before learning that Gov. Sanford was returning today.

If the governor is looking for a friendly place to make light of what I think is a small story that got blown out of scale I would be happy to have him on. In person here, on the phone, or in South Carolina.

Stay strong, Stephen

Et tu, Colbert? As the most reputable journalist of the bunch, it is disheartening to see that Colbert has compromised his impeccable journalistic credentials (a Peabody winner) in order to suck up to this miscreant governor. Since Colbert is on record as being philosophically opposed to apologies, I wouldn’t expect one to be forthcoming. In fact, it would hardly be necessary for him to bother correcting the record since, as he has noted, “reality has a well known liberal bias.” So what’s the point?

Rush Limbaugh Blames Obama For Sanford’s Sins

Just when you think you’ve heard everything…when you think that the rightist blowhards couldn’t possibly make bigger fools of themselves…from out of nowhere someone steps forward to accept the challenge. Today that someone was Rush Limbaugh.

On his radio show today, Limbaugh engaged in his routine whining and ranting until he was inspired to address the pathetic affairs of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Then Limbaugh embarks on a fantastical journey that imagines Sanford a victim who was merely trying to escape the Hell that Obama has made of America:

First: “[Sanford] knows that somebody knows what’s going on. He knows his wife knows. So he ups and leaves for five days. He doesn’t leave anybody in charge of the state in case there’s an emergency. This is almost like: ‘I don’t give a damn. The country is going to hell in a handbasket and I just want out of here.’ He had just tried to fight the stimulus money coming to South Carolina. He didn’t want any part of it. He lost the battle.”


Later: “My first thought was he said: ‘To hell with this. The Democrats are destroying the country. We can’t do anything to stop it. I gave everything I had to stop it here in South Carolina. My wife’s left me, the hell with it. I’m going to enjoy life what little time I’ve got left.’ Folks, there are a lot of people that are looking at life, they’re saying screw it.”

Limbaugh’s “theory” is that Sanford just couldn’t take it anymore. He cracked. The pressure of having the federal government give his state and his constituents billions of dollars for jobs and economic renewal was too much for him handle.

So what did he do? He went back in time a whole year and commenced an adulterous affair with a woman in Argentina. Limbaugh seems to think the affair began a few days ago when Sanford went missing. He also thinks that Sanford’s wife just found out and left him. The truth is, she has known for five months, and I’m not sure it is accurate to assert that she left him. After all, he was the one that cheated on her and ran for the border.

Nevertheless, Limbaugh believes that Sanford was so overwhelmed by Obama’s governance that he would abandon his family and his responsibilities as governor. For he no longer gave a damn about anything but his own sexual gratification. What’s more, Limbaugh is actually sympathetic to that irresponsible behavior. He even thinks that many more Americans are on the verge of doing the same thing. They are just a bailout away from saying “screw it” and running off to find love in an exotic tropical hideaway.

And it’s all because the Democrats are destroying the country. Limbaugh, the symbol of the conservative movement, defends Sanford for quitting and hightailing it to Buenos Aires. Limbaugh, the thrice-divorced voice of family values, justifies infidelity and fornication. Limbaugh, the icon of Republican faith in personal responsibility lays the blame for Sanford’s indiscretions on political policies in Washington, D.C.

It’s nice to know that there are still some consistent arbiters of morality self-righteously imposing their warped and hypocritical convictions on the rest of us.

The Fox Frame: Gov. Sanford Not At A Tea Party

The mysterious disappearance of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has now been resolved. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Sanford was not hiking the Appalachian Trail. The truth is he was trailing his Republican colleague, Sen. John Ensign, down the path of infidelity.

Fox News, however, has stayed faithful to their deceptive mission by identifying Sanford as a Democrat in their on-screen graphics (h/t Media Matters). At what point can we agree that this is deliberate? Fox seems to have a tough time delineating between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. And, remember, Sanford was also a big advocate of last April’s Tea Parties. His backing won him the admiration of Teabagger Supreme, Glenn Beck. Beck came to Sanford’s defense yesterday, asserting that the hoopla over his disappearance was just a partisan attack:

GLENN: I mean, this is what happens when ‑‑ I mean, look. This guy’s a threat. He’s standing up. What do they do? Let’s smear him.

I wonder what Beck will say today. [Beck must be off hiking today]