I was reading aloud to Swamp Rabbit about how Donald Trump helped get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed for a lifetime gig with the Supremes:
‘As long as [Trump] was willing to go to the mat for [Kavanaugh], it fortified probably people up here, too,’ said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the chamber’s third-ranking Republican leader.
A clumsy sentence, but Thune’s meaning was clear: elected Republicans always play follow-the-leader if they think it’s in their best interest, even when the leader is an ignorant racist bully who would love to be our first dictator.
“It ain’t just elected Republicans,” Swamp Rabbit said. “It’s Trump’s base. It’s all them pissed-off guys who hate labor unions and immigrants and science and black people and uppity women. It’s them dummies who think coal is coming back.”
I wanted to argue, but he was right — Republicans follow Trump because of, not in spite of, what he is.
I thought of Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who accused Kavanaugh of sex assault. Rank-and-file Republicans laughed at Ford and cheered Trump. Liberal talking heads on cable news said Trump’s remarks might trigger a backlash among moderate Republican senators — Flake, Collins, Murkowsky. But several days later, two of the three moderates voted with the other Republicans to confirm.
“There ain’t no moderate Republicans,” the rabbit said. “You’re either for Trump or you’re against him. Being against him is like being against tax breaks for the rich. It’s like being for a higher minimum wage, for cleaning up the environment, for affordable health care, for abortion rights. The same goes for Kavanaugh. Voting against him would have been like voting against being a Republican.”
Bottom line? Republican senators know Trump is a pig, but he’s their pig. They got on the bandwagon after his victories in the primaries, and they embraced him with real fervor when it became clear he was a faux-populist who had suckered the base into supporting pro-rich policy goals. They confirmed Kavanaugh for him, even after the judge was caught in numerous lies. They would salute Trump if the law allowed him to become dictator.
Footnote: In a previous post I referred to the more polite Republican legislators — Lindsey Graham and so on — as vile but discrete, to distinguish them from the overtly vile Trump. It’s a distinction no longer worth making, judging by the conduct of Graham and his gang during the Kavanaugh hearings.