‘Riling Up the Crazies’

As long as I’ve covered politics, Republicans have been trying to scare me.

Sometimes, it has been about gays and transgender people and uppity women looming, but usually it has been about people with darker skin looming.

They’re coming, always coming, to take things and change things and hurt people.

A Democratic president coined the expression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But it was Republicans who flipped the sentiment and turned it into a powerful and remorseless campaign ethos: Make voters fear fear itself.

The president has, after all, put a tremendous effort into the sulfurous stew of lies, racially charged rhetoric and scaremongering that he has been serving up as an election closer. He has been inspired to new depths of delusion, tweeting that “Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions, Democrats will not! Vote Republican.

He has been twinning the words “caravan” and “Kavanaugh” in a mellifluous poem to white male hegemony. Whites should be afraid of the migrant caravan traveling from Central America, especially since “unknown Middle Easterners” were hidden in its midst, an alternative fact that he cheerfully acknowledged was based on nothing.

The word “Kavanaugh” is meant to evoke the fear that aggrieved women will hurtle out of the past to tear down men from their rightful perches of privilege.

Naomi Wolf told Bill Clinton, and later Al Gore, they should present themselves as the Good Father, strong enough to protect the home (America) from invaders.

he remained the conservative iconoclast until the end, losing to someone whose election night speech began with a simple declaration: “This is the party of Donald J. Trump.”

But, in his conversations with Trump, Graham said they discuss his public critiques of presidential decisions, as he also tries to steer Trump into a place of “how you fix it” rather than just “let’s burn it down.”

“It’s important for every president, but particularly him, to see that the critic actually can help,” Graham said.

.. Graham and Sanford both came to Congress after winning in 1994, part of the historic class that vaulted Republicans into the majority for the first time in 40 years. Graham was 39, Sanford was 34, and they were the vanguard of several dozen hard-charging freshmen.

“They came in — they’re gonna burn everything down,” Graham recalled of those early days and his lead role as unofficial spokesman for the rebels. “I was the loudest guy.”

.. In 1998, Graham served as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of President Bill Clinton. Sanford actually lived up to his term-limit pledge, returning home to South Carolina and winning the governor’s race in 2002.

.. They’re so close that Graham is godfather to Sanford’s youngest son.

.. But last summer, Graham started to see Trump’s ideological flexibility and tried to shape his decisions from the inside. “Ideology doesn’t drive this party like it used to,” explained Graham

.. he remained the conservative iconoclast until the end, losing to someone whose election night speech began with a simple declaration: “This is the party of Donald J. Trump.”

Trump targets European car-makers with big plants in states he won

President Donald Trump, expressing his ire over trade imbalances this weekend, made a peculiar choice: He focused his criticism on two European brands, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, that have significant investments in two of the nation’s most Trump-friendly states.

“Open up the barriers and get rid of your tariffs,” Trump said of the European Union’s trade policies in a wide-ranging and rollicking address in Pennsylvania Saturday. “And if you don’t do that, we’re going to tax Mercedes-Benz, we’re going to tax BMW.”

.. BMW has an assembly plant employing more than 9,000 people in Spartanburg, South Carolina; about a third of the BMWs sold in the U.S. in 2017 were produced in the country, the company said. A Mercedes-Benz factory employs 3,500 people near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, according to data from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
.. Trump’s latest attacks, meant to stir up populist enthusiasm, could backfire politically if they instead spur fears that jobs in Trump country might be in jeopardy.
.. Trump likely hopes tariffs on European car imports would spur the German companies to make more vehicles in the U.S. But he said the unpredictability of Trump’s trade policies would more likely have the opposite effect.
.. “A countervailing factor would be a reluctance of the Germans to ‘reward’ this behavior, especially if it’s unclear where trade policy is going,” Ikenson told POLITICO. “His unorthodox and sometimes erratic behavior ultimately discourages investment in the United States.”
.. “Should we get tariff walls, it would have an impact on jobs in the United States,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said last week
.. “China wins when we fight with Europe,” Graham said. “China wins when the American consumer has higher prices because of tariffs that don’t affect Chinese behavior.”

‘I’m a Dead Man Walking’

Mark Sanford has nothing left to lose. And he’s here to haunt Donald Trump.

The president, Sanford says, “has fanned the flames of intolerance.” He has repeatedly misled the public, most recently about the national murder rate and the media’s coverage of terrorist attacks. He showed a lack of humility by using the National Prayer Breakfast to ridicule Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Most worrisome, Sanford says, Trump is unprepared for the presidency.

.. he is simultaneously something of a crusader for his causes of debt, deficits, spending and government transparency. “The thing you have to understand about Mark is that he’s both quirky and professorial about his beliefs—a lot like how Ron Paul was,

.. To understand Sanford’s irreverence toward the 45th president, his friends say, you have to understand two things about him. One is his disdain for expensive clothing. “He didn’t wear a suit to his inauguration as governor

.. His father, a prominent heart surgeon, “taught his kids that everyone is the same no matter where they’re from or what they wear, and Mark took it to heart,”

.. “I believe in a war of ideas … and I tell the staff all the time: Look, we’re in the business of crafting and refining our arguments that are hopefully based on the truth,” he adds. “Truth matters. Not hyperbole, not wild suggestion, but actual truth.”

.. he is already viewed as a leader of the GOP resistance

.. “historically there’s incredible deference to the presidency from the party in power.” He understands the reluctance of rank-and-file Republicans to criticize a president who “has a proven record of taking people down.” But, he says, there must be a muscular check on Trump from somewhere inside the GOP.

.. He is the unlikeliest enforcer of honesty in politics. He knows it.

.. When he refused to accept Obama’s stimulus money in March—a position he was eventually forced to abandon—Sanford became a household name on the right.

 .. He would have been nothing without her in that first congressional race—her and her family’s money and connections.”
.. “one buddy turned to me and said, ‘Well, the good news here is that you won’t have to wait until your funeral to find out who your friends are.’” He adds, moments later, “Now I consider myself blessed to have a number of good friends that, frankly, I can count on one hand.”
.. Sanford was itching to redeem his legacy, and a special election in his old district offered the friendliest possible opportunity to mount the unlikeliest of comebacks.
.. Riding sky-high name identification among his former constituents—and benefiting from a fractured, 16-way Republican primary field
.. At that point, Sanford made a decision: He would hoard as much campaign cash as possible and spend none unless absolutely necessary. The strategy has been successful
.. the explanation for Sanford not spending money to defeat Horne is due equally to two defining traits: cheapness and confidence.
.. Ted Fienning, a Harvard-educated entrepreneur—who, in addition to being young, wealthy and telegenic, flew fighter jets in the Marine Corps—will give Sanford the toughest test of his career in 2018.
.. (“[I] learned long ago not to try and discourage someone from something they think they might want to do,” Sanford tells me via email, “so [I] simply wished him well.”)
.. he makes repeated references to “integrity” and “honor” while taking several direct shots at the incumbent’s personal struggles.
.. “Mark at his core is a libertarian,” Felkel says, but “South Carolina is a state that can’t afford to be libertarian. … His district benefits greatly from the federal government.”
.. What I have the itch on is trying to carve out a niche on impacting the government spending.”