I haven’t posted in many years here, but I wrote this long comment in response to a Republican friend and thought it was worth posting here for a wider audience. The friend shared this article regarding “Romney Nostalgia” among Democrats: www.commentarymagazine.com/...
You're absolutely right it sounds like we are the “Party Who Cried Wolf”, and I even wrote something trying to be reflective of my own hyperbolic descriptions of past Republican presidential candidates a few weeks ago on Facebook I believe. The problem I see is that so many of the sitting members of the Republican caucus in Congress are in the Freedom Caucus, about one-fifth, and they are as fringe a movement as we've had since the John Birch Society. They have their candidate now that largely agrees with their fringe elements directly because of the 17 candidates running and not in spite of it. It was way easier for Trump to win because the opposition was so split than it would have been if there was one mainstream moderate Republican against him from the start. It is hard to see a difference between anyone when that caucus controls so much of the legislation that could get through the House since, if they aren't happy, they can just withhold their support for the Speaker and hamstring their own leadership instead of compromising and effectively governing.It's the perfect cutting off the nose to spite the face situation. They've largely given up on governing.
I have tried to think of what moderating my commentary regarding the obstructionism or fringe ideas that get discussed on the far right would be, but the difference comes down to simply that: there is no compromise and effective government anymore. Even during W's two terms, Pelosi negotiated and compromised on many things the Democrats did not want but they negotiated and voted because that is what government is supposed to do. Things like the massive tax cuts, the Clean Skies Initiative, No Child Left Behind, etc. They might have fought like hell against these policies but they didn't shut the government down over them. They let things get passed through the budget reconciliation process when things largely had nothing to do with budgeting, but they didn't shut the country down. Yes they did filibuster judges, and it's funny but some of the procedural tools the Democrats have used under Obama have been quietly welcomed by the Republican leadership while publicly condemned due to the fact that just politically the GOP would have been ruined years ago if the Debt Ceiling and the brinksmanship on the budget process and Democrats bailed them out a number of times.
I wonder if McCain or Romney had been president if they would not have passed abortion bans, or tax cuts for the super-wealthy, or done all the pet projects that Republicans have in mind like charter schools, privatizing social security, getting rid of the EITC or letting industry deregulate safety concerns and let the "free market" reign. That's the crux of this whole thing because while I inherently know that things like Trump joking about using nukes, deporting people, having a Muslim ban, or suggesting Hillary be shot for Supreme Court picks are way worse than concrete policy proposals to the American way of life that can be dealt with in the normal governmening process, I wonder, but I can't be certain, that the damage I think that would be done by those policy proposals is still significant. That's why people fight in such a hyperbolic manner against every "opposition" candidate, but there is a big difference between recovering and adjusting legislation vs. the off-the-wall lunacy of the know-nothing Trump being Commander-in-Chief.
The clear difference that I've come to see regarding the "party who cried wolf" between Romney/McCain and Trump is that Trump has no Republican defenders whatsoever regarding claims of racism, sexism, demagoguery and bigotry. I also don't recall anyone saying that those two were ever unfit to serve as president, whereas currently the list on both sides saying that about Trump is endless.
Her speech yesterday was literally just quoting him and quoting headlines Bannon wrote at Breitbart. That's it, literally just quoting stuff that is so out there it sounds like defamation but it's their own words and who they are targeting their speeches to. There's a big difference between understanding politics as usual, like the 47% thing, and the exigent threat Trump has created to the republic regarding our basic ideals of equality under the law, having a stable foreign policy, and having free and fair elections without threats of violence to our political opponents. His own party, everyone from both Bush presidents, to a wide range of national security officials, to sitting Senators and Congressmen, they've all said similar things about him that Hillary and Democrats are saying. He has 35-40% of the electorate locked up, and pretty much no chance of moving past that number. Even his recent comments asking black voters to give him a chance was couched in language that white supremacists love about blacks living in poverty, being shot at and being victims of crimes, having horrible schools... All of those images do not speak to the entire African American community.
This isn't just people playing politics or taking something out of context, Trump has hundreds of comments he has retweeted from white supremacist groups himself, he has a history of housing discrimination, his own initial speech was talking about Mexicans being rapists and murderers, and don't forget he claimed he had real knowledge that the first black president in American history wasn't born here. So, in that sense, I do think Romney and McCain were decent and high-minded public servants, with much different ideals regarding policy and where the country should be on a number of social issues, but still largely within the mainstream that could be negotiated, compromised, and dealt with. Trump is magnitudes farther away from normal public discourse than I think anyone in either party ever thought was possible to be a nominee.