When liberals refuse to call things what they are and sub in carefully calibrated euphemisms instead, far-right conservatives respond with one of their favorite phrases. This, they say, is political correctness run amok. But now it’s the far right that’s refusing to call the cages holding immigrant children separated from their families “cages” — they’re “chain-link partitions” instead. This hypocrisy reveals how much of a sham the crusade against political correctness among the far right has always been.
.. Television and talk show host Laura Ingraham may have come up with the pleasantest description possible of the sterile rooms surrounded by metal fences where terrified kids squirm under astronaut blankets on floor mats: “essentially summer camps.”
.. The very fact that the Border Patrol is keeping these children in cages shows the administration is treating them like animals. The complaint that talking about cages makes the administration “uncomfortable,” too, is straight out of the campus culture wars, yet when liberals lodge this complaint, conservatives label them snowflakes faster than you can say “microaggression.”
.. How dare you refuse to name radical Islamist terror, they ask? How dare you say “holidays” instead of “Christmas”? And what is up with these genderless pronouns?
.. This is a strong argument only when the stifled speech is actually an attempt at truth-telling in the face of censorship. Yet when the Trump camp cries out against political correctness, it usually has nothing to do with truth-telling or censorship at all.
.. And what was the politically correct autocracy stopping him from doing?
- Calling women “slobs,” “dogs” and “pigs.” But women are quite literally not dogs, or pigs. They’re women.
- Describing Megyn Kelly as a “bimbo” isn’t laying bare some suppressed reality — it’s nastiness for nastiness’s sake.
.. The pro-Trump right has weaponized “political correctness” to mean they get to say whatever they want, and those who disagree with them don’t.
Mike Flynn. In 2016, the retired general published a book that made clear where he stood when it came to Russia.
“Although I believe America and Russia could find mutual ground fighting Radical Islamists,” he and co-author Michael Ledeen wrote, “there is no reason to believe Putin would welcome cooperation with us; quite the contrary, in fact.”
Lest there be any doubt as to where the future national security adviser stood, Flynn went on to stress that Vladimir Putin “has done a lot for the Khamenei regime”; that Russia and Iran were “the two most active and powerful members of the enemy alliance”; and that the Russian president’s deep intention was to “pursue the war against us.”
All this was true. Yet by the end of the year, Flynn would be courting Russia’s ambassador to Washington and hinting at swift relief from sanctions. What gave?
What gave, it seems, was some combination of financial motives — at least $65,000 in payments by Russian-linked companies — and political ones — a new master in the person of Donald Trump, who took precisely the same gauzy view of Russia that Flynn had rejected in his book.
.. the president’s craven apologists insist he’s right to try to find common ground with Russia. These are the same people who until recently were in full throat against Barack Obama for his overtures to Putin.
.. Yet the alleged naïveté never quits: Just this week, he asked for Putin’s help on North Korea.
The better explanations are:
- the president is infatuated with authoritarians, at least those who flatter him;
- he’s neurotically neuralgic when it comes to the subject of his election;
- he’s ideologically sympathetic to Putinism, with its combination of economic corporatism, foreign-policy cynicism, and violent hostility to critics;
- he’s stupid; or
- he’s vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
.. Each explanation is compatible with all the others. For my part, I choose all of the above — the first four points being demonstrable while the last is logical.
.. There’s no need to obsess about electoral collusion when the real issue is moral capitulation.
Mr. Trump and his advisers seem to have thought they could orchestrate a major strategic realignment with the Russians. Seeing Mr. Putin as a potential ally may have been profoundly naive—I certainly think so—but it was evidently a key part of their plans.
.. Mr. Trump’s longstanding fascination with Russia’s leader is no secret. He has been lavishing praise on Mr. Putin for more than a decade. In October 2007, for instance, Mr. Trump told talk-show host Larry King, whether “you like [Putin] or don’t like him—he’s doing a great job…in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia, period.”
.. He insists that the Russia investigations in Congress and by special counsel Robert Mueller have undermined potential diplomatic cooperation with the Kremlin on containing North Korea’s nuclear threat, fighting Islamic State and other issues, which could, in Mr. Trump’s words, save “millions and millions of lives.”
.. Mr. Flynn said that the U.S. and Russia were united by a common enemy: radical Islam. “We can’t do what we want to do unless we work with Russia, period,” Mr. Flynn claimed.
.. K.T. McFarland, a month away from becoming Mr. Flynn’s deputy, said that Mr. Obama’s move was intended to “box Trump in diplomatically with Russia” and curtail the new president’s freedom to try to maneuver Russia away from its allies Iran and Syria.
.. Russia, she wrote, is the “key that unlocks [the] door.” Ms. McFarland’s message tracks with other evidence that Mr. Flynn, Jared Kushner and others attempted to persuade the Kremlin to help contain China... Mr. Flynn’s request to the Kremlin not to overreact to the imposition of new sanctions by the Obama administration was a stunning break with the well-established protocol of not interfering with the actions of a sitting administration. It also raises troubling questions about what the Trump team might have offered in exchange. Sanctions relief? Reconsideration of U.S. support for Ukraine and other countries that have been victims of Russian aggression?.. Given widespread reports at the time about Russian cyber and information operations seeking to influence the 2016 campaign, these efforts would have sent an unambiguous message to the Kremlin: The Trump team was relaxed about Russian meddling and eager to get down to business... In Syria, rather than negotiating a Russian-American alliance to fight Islamic State, Trump’s team soon had to face up to the reality that Russian and Iranian military intervention had already transformed the war in favor of the Syrian regime, decimating U.S.-backed rebels in the process. The notion that Mr. Trump could disrupt the Russia-Iran relationship also proved fanciful. Tehran and Moscow are firmly united in opposing actions by the administration that threaten not just the Iran nuclear deal but a balance of power in the Middle East that serves the interests of both countries.As for plans to put distance between Russia and China, Mr. Trump’s apparent strategy fared no better... his troubled dealings with Russia have already proved what other administrations learned over a much longer period: In dealing with the Kremlin, across so many divergent interests, there are no easy fixes or grand bargains, even for Mr. Putin’s self-declared friends.
For such critics, the only possible explanation for evangelicals’ continuing faith in Trump is some combination of ignorance and hypocrisy... These voters — and almost all of them voted — see Trump’s flaws but perceive him as a fellow sinner willing to fight the forces of the establishment on their behalf... The barrage of negative press hardly rattled him or most of his colleagues, who see the mainstream media as anything but friendly to their opinions and their faith... “He has to fight all of them,” said the preacher, referring to the Democrats and the media.Another minister told me he appreciates that Trump has no hesitation taking on “the reprobate left” that considers the president “an enemy of their established power system.”
.. Part of the decision by many evangelicals to support Trump for president was attributable to long-standing differences with liberal candidates over social issues. Evangelicals tend to share conservative positions on abortion, gun rights, border security and the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” as they usually make sure to phrase it. But more than anything, Trump’s specific pledges to the religious right got their attention.
.. So far, they think Trump has kept those promises. He has followed up with invitations to the White House, sought input on court appointments, stood firmly with Israel and signed an executive order expanding religious freedom in regard to political speech... when Trump refuses to fully adopt the conclusion that climate change is due to man-made influences, he demonstrates an affinity with evangelical Christians who do not blindly accept every scientific theory... They also know they are considered by many to be superstitious or ignorant for adhering to their beliefs... Probably half the people in churches across the country defined as “evangelicals” were converted from lives that were even more unprincipled than the life Trump has led. Some experienced divorces, others used foul language, and many were addicted to drugs or alcohol... In most cases, no immediate miracle happened with regard to their behavior at the moment of their confessions of faith or their emergence from the baptismal waters. The only miracle they were promised was the application of the grace of Jesus Christ, which, under New Testament doctrine, washed away their sins.