January 26, 2016

Mickey Kaus lists 8 theories that might explain "the heavily advertised embrace of Trump over Cruz by the disembodied GOP 'establishment.'"

He subscribes to theory #5 — "It’s all about immigration":
They’re actually still trying to pass amnesty: They realize the best way to get a legalization bill isn’t to elect an amnesty supporter like Rubio and then ram it through with the help of the MSM — that opportunity has passed, thanks to voters. No, their best hope now is to let the voters elect a vocal opponent of legalization (Trump) and then “coach” him into accepting legalization. Problem: Wishful thinking? Trump seems heavily invested in immigration control. Maybe there is an “Enforcement First” deal that could be cut, with Trump bludgeoning Dems into going along. But the GOP Establishment has never embraced it before.
That's complicated! I'm going with the simplest theory, #2: They just hate Cruz more. As I would put it: They need to use Trump as their tool to rid themselves of the vexing Cruz. At least get something out of the already-bad Trump-or-Cruz condition in which they find themselves. And maybe they think Trump will respond to the love they're showing him. Cruz has his hardcore fixed principles: What's the point of sucking up to him? Trump continually talks about liking people who like him and his willingness to make deals and be "unpredictable." There's some hope there. Endless hope actually. He's all things to all people, whatever you need him to be. For those who need him to be a monster, even they are getting what they want.

56 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Endless hope actually.

It's not like anyone ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American electorate.

Nonapod said...

He's all things to all people, whatever you need him to be. For those who need him to be a monster, even they are getting what they want.

Sounds familiar.

The American voter can and has been seduced by populist policy chameleons. As a candidate, generally it doesn't matter so much what you've done. What matters is that you're able to create a suitable canvas or screen for the voters to project their hopes onto. We saw this with Obama, and we're seeing it again with Trump.

Michael said...

Cruz is a traitor to his class - he's Princeton, Harvard Law, and a career politician. Yet he privileges the concerns of the voters over those of the entitled class. No wonder they can't stand him.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

He subscribes to theory #5 — "It’s all about immigration"

I suspect that's a more accurate description of Kaus than the phenomenon that he's describing.

mccullough said...

The explanation of your reason overlaps with Kaus theory 5. They think they can flatter, cajole, and deal with Trump.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Trump actually is already in favor of amnesty, or at least potential amnesty, and especially increased legal immigration, and the blanket removal of the bar to immigration for people who have been deported. He's for the touchback provision.

And in debates he shows no signs of understanding what's in his own Sessions-approved immigration plan when it comes work visas.

Lindsey Graham, though, who can fairly be said to represent those people most concerned about immigration, said that a choice between Cruz and Trump is like a choice between being shot or being poisoned, so he really doesn't like either one of them. He has endorsed Jeb Bush, by the way, in the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday, February 20. (The Democrats have their South Carolina primary on February 27, while on February 20, they pick delegates in Nevada caucuses, while the Republiacans have their Nevada caucus on Tuesday, February 23. The Nevada caucuses are closesd, while the South Carolina primaries are both open.)

eric said...

I think they do hate Cruz more. He is too principled for Washington.

But I also think they are trying to be too clever. They think if they can get either Trump or Cruz out of the race, the right sort of candidate can then go up against whoever is left and win.

They probably figured since Trump hasn't lost the lead no matter what over the past six months, Cruz is an easier target. Once Cruz is out of the race, they can promote their candidate who can then beat Trump.

I hope they are wrong.

Michael K said...

Kaus is single minded about immigration but that is also what is behind Trump's position in polls.

There is a lot of trust riding on Trump's support but that is what is behind the anger. If he were to flip on immigration, there would be a violent revolution and I'm not sure the military would be on the government's side.

eric said...

Trump actually is already in favor of amnesty

And you know this how?

Thorley Winston said...

I think it’s simpler than that: some people think (wrongly IMO) that Trump is somehow “inevitable” or that the Republicans would be better off unifying around a single candidate as early as possible and Trump is the most likely one to win so they are going to focus on getting to a single nominee as quickly as possible rather than dragging out the process and the blood-letting. If Cruz were leading the pack, those in the “establishment” would probably gravitate towards him for the same reason. He’s not so they’re not.

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Writ Small said...

Play the thought experiment of the establishment coming out against Trump and for Cruz. That would have actually helped Cruz less. Trumpers would see that as proof Cruz was a sellout. The idea that Trump would sell them out is unthinkable at this point. Trump fans are untroubled at all the cozying up Trump is doing with the establishment because they "know" what Trump will do. A few more checks to that guy in Nigeria, and we'll soon be rolling in cash.

Christopher said...

And maybe they think Trump will respond to the love they're showing him.

In other words, he can be coached.

But I think you're right, they sincerely hate Cruz.

Sal said...

with Trump bludgeoning Dems into going along

The idea of Trump bludgeoning Dems is appealing. I'm voting for Trump.

Ann Althouse said...

"The explanation of your reason overlaps with Kaus theory 5. They think they can flatter, cajole, and deal with Trump."

Yeah, I verged from 2 to 5, just thinking it through independently.

mezzrow said...

He's all things to all people, whatever you need him to be. For those who need him to be a monster, even they are getting what they want.

Trump is large, and contains multitudes.

Tom said...

Trump is a problem. Cruz is a threat.

rehajm said...

There's some hope there. Endless hope actually. He's all things to all people, whatever you need him to be

I agree with Nonapod. There's strong recent precedent of voting for empty vessels at the Federal and State level.

tim maguire said...

The elites want immigration, they want cheap labor, they want to make sure the poor stay poor. That's true. But most importantly, they want to keep their jobs and Cruz is a greater threat to their cushy sinecures than Trump.

Bob Boyd said...

"their best hope now is to let the voters elect a vocal opponent of legalization (Trump) and then “coach” him into accepting legalization."

That seems a faint hope unless they've already had some indication from Trump that he is amenable.

TCom said...

This is easy to explain.

Trump's popularity for the most part comes from the fact that he's not a political hack insider.

So by "embracing" him and attacking Cruz, they hope to take them both out.

Sebastian said...

@MK: "If he were to flip on immigration, there would be a violent revolution" No flip necessary. His own plan, on his own website, doesn't call for general deportation (only mandatory return of criminal aliens). As far as I can tell, his plan is silent on the future legal status of illegal aliens, though in speeches he appears to have endorsed the notion that the "good ones" can come back. Apart from restrictions on H1-B visas and such, he proposes no fundamental change in actual immigration law. Of course, I am not assuming he knows what his plan says or how actual immigration law works. Nor am I assuming that his "positions" account for his support.

CStanley said...

Weirdest election ever, and the most depressing. Also, worst media coverage ever.

We know every nuance of every personal attack when one candidate discs another, but we have only this vague broad brush idea of what each candidate's policy preferences are.

As an example....I'm reluctantly and loosely leaning toward Cruz even though I have a visceral dislike of his personality (he does, in fact, look like a jerk to me.)

Saw him on Fox though, talking with a focus group up after the last debate, and i liked him better when he was speaking extemporaneously. I also learned in 2 minutes more about his policy stance than I had all season. He said that a flat tax is one of his top priorities, and even if it doesn't happen I'd still strongly support the idea of tax reform.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"They realize" is all wrong. They are superior in style, hence the money, but severely lacking in substance, hence the loss of any perceived influence, when it comes to standing athwart leftism.

Everybody felt sorry for the Kraut in the chair and wanted to be inspired by him, but it's like Trump says, every clip shows it. The guy is a hack. By the way, if Leftists thought the GOP was evil they would bow down to any member faster than Aleister Crowely to (the realized concept of) Satan overlording the world like Dante portrayed Hell as. The Left knows the Stupid party is stupid, and the Left knows evil is contained within itself to an extent most are actually self-aware of this, which, compared to their almost unbelievable lack of self-awareness regarding most everything else, makes the Kraut especially wrong in his borrowed (but not lifted aesthetically) maxim.

Kevin Williamson has become completely blinded to the reality Trump will win, like that one jerk grunt talking crap about that one General who won those times over there. You know. Patton slapped the little scumbum*, then probably (^&*(^%$ his mom.

Jonah is disappointing to me; a lot of talent gone to gild New York.

Ponnuru sounds like a preteen girl, which I would have thought would result in society pressuring him to become an actual intellectual instead of an autistic-sounding wannanerd attracted to health care policy because it is such boring nonsense it is too vast for any one set of assumptions to be completely provably wrong.

Lowry will see the subscriptions and the charity dry up completely under his watch, and think to himself Brookhiser or Sobran or anyone else that Buckley should have chosen would have ruined the legacy sooner, much much sooner he will tell himself successfully. But at least now I know for sure what Limbaugh meant when he mentioned he was aware of Buckley's faults.

*HT Jackie the Great

The Cracker Emcee said...

No, it actually is about immigration. Bring up illegal immigration to the most apolitical LIV that you know and listen to the vehemence of their reply. Trump's appeal in a nutshell. There's nothing mystifying or nuanced about it.

traditionalguy said...

It could be the One step backwards moment in Globalizing the flow of capital into to areas with cheap labor that is also too dumb to know they are enslaved.

The coming two steps forward will be fought to the death by WWF promoter Trump. Slimeball Cruz would just pretend god told him to do it, and then declare a North American Theocracy for our own good is in the Constitution next to the Canadian born Presidents clause.

J Lee said...

Trump has shown over the years not just a delight in antagonizing his enemies, but a desire to say whatever it takes to have a majority of the public agree/like him. So his attacks on people oppose him make make him seem like a hard-liner, but he's actually been quite malleable over the years in adjusting his positions based on where he sees the public as being at any given moment.

That's why the Republican establishment sees Trump as someone they might be able to work with on immigration reform. If enough of the public softens on their current opinion on immigration, the feeling is Trump will also be more open to a deal on that, as well as other issues. In contrast, they see Cruz as being locked into his conservative positions, no matter where the majority of the public goes on key issues.

mccullough said...

I think there's a combination of these theories at work (except the patriotism one). While Cruz isn't likeable, the fake statesmanship of his Republican colleagues is no better. Many of them have been in the Senate for more than a generation (Hatch, Alexander, McConnell, McCain, Cochran), others who haven't yet been there as long hope to be there that long, except for Rubio and Paul who aren't running for re-election.

Tom Coburn was a serious conservative senator. He was principled but not bombastic like Jim DeMint. But since the Senate is an institution of seniority and lifers, Coburn could only accomplish a little - - getting earmarks banned.

The way to change Congress is to get term limits. There is bi-partisan and independent support for this. Ted Cruz isn't going to change the culture of the Senate anymore than Obama was going to change the culture of DC. Term limits are a good place to start changing the culture.

Michael K said...

" His own plan, on his own website, doesn't call for general deportation (only mandatory return of criminal aliens). "

Romney was savaged for saying the illegals would "self deport" if employment was restricted to citizens.

I think that will happen, especially to Mexicans who go back and forth all he time and many of whom plan to retire in Mexico. Why do you think the money sent Mexico is so huge?

I think Trump has some pretty good ideas and will show them once elected, if elected. He has some position papers on a web site. He knows that position papers don't win elections in the 21st century. Since TV took over, it is all personality.

"The way to change Congress is to get term limits."

No, because then it is even more run by staff members who are permanent. This has been the case since the 1920s, if not before. I remember a meeting with Dave Durenberger when he was a Minnesota Senator. I was with a medical association group and he told us he was the only member of the Senate who knew anything about medical policy.

They are in charge of getting elected, Th staffers write the legislation. Mia Love has the best idea. She wants to pass a law to limit bills to one subject.

That might even work.

machine said...

"At least get something out of the already-bad Trump-or-Cruz condition in which they find themselves."

sick burn.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Who will rid the GOP Establisment/Big Donors of this troublesome candidate?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

By coincidence I watched Beckett & both A Man For All Seasons-es last weekend. Still great! Heston's pretty good there but Paul Schofield's better. Heston as Mark Antony, though, was quite good indeed.

eric said...

As far as I can tell, his plan is silent on the future legal status of illegal aliens

Silent? He isn't doing a good job of silence.

His website paper on immigration calls for criminal penalties against visa overstays, thereby forcing local jurisdictions to hold them until immigration can deport them.

His paper calls for enforcing the laws on the books. This means deporting illegal aliens.

He calls for E verify, which means no jobs for illegals.

He calls for building a wall, which makes it much more difficult to traffic drugs and people across the border.

He calls for ending birthright Citizenship, as in, anchor babies, which removes a huge incentive to illegally cross the border and later have a path to immigrate.

But the clearest things calls for, or maybe I should say, the best thing, is ending catch and release. Most people don't realize we catch people trying to cross the border illegally, then we issue them a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, then they don't show up for deportation, and are deported in abstentia.

It's really disgusting the abuse of our immigration laws. And this catch and release didn't start under Obama, its been going on a long time. A friend of mine kept track of those he released and 92% never showed up for court.

I'd say Trump is sufficiently committed by his own words on his own website. Silent? Not so much.

Michael K said...

"I'd say Trump is sufficiently committed by his own words on his own website. Silent? Not so much."

I haven't made a study of it but that is my understanding. He knows web sites don't win elections. Ask President Romney.

mtrobertslaw said...

The way to manipulate Trump is to play to his weakness, i.e., the mile-high opinion he has of his greatness:

"Mr. President,if you adopt this policy, the people will demand statues of you be carved in stone and be placed in every city and village in the country."

Sigivald said...

It's Mickey Kaus.

Everything is about immigration.

But I think this time he might be at least mostly right; the Trump supporters I see do seem to think it's his strength.

hombre said...

Let's see: Trump is an unprincipled deal maker. Cruz is not. Trump is a center-lefty followed by dupes. Cruz is a conservative followed by constitutional conservatives. Trump is a faux Christian. Cruz is the real deal. Truman's immigration solution is hot air. Cruz's maybe not. Etc.

If I'm a business-as-usual part of the GOPe, who do I choose? Hmm. So tough.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I think actually the problem is, they think Cruz has no principles - he just wants to stage fights for the spectators and come out as the truest conservative of them all. He was not honest (or at any rate consistent) about his positions.

Bob Dole complained that if you want to say someone that he lied, you tell it to him privately. (which makes sense, unless you've given up on him)

hombre said...

@Sammy: Right. Of course GOPe types are looking for a principled candidate and Trump's history shows he fills the bill. Lol.

traditionalguy said...

"Disembodied Establishments" really irritates me. Why not call them Principalities of Darkness?

jr565 said...

many people are mad at Cruz becauase they perceive that he tried to shut down the govt because of Obamacare. In a certan respect Trump is actually right in that he doesnt play well with others.
But his mistake was a tactical one, since he simply didn't have the votes necessary to go through with his plan. And so, obama was able to play him then pin govt shut down on him.
If your absolutism leads you out onto a field to be slaughtered maybe its better to be practical

jr565 said...

(cont) by the same token you could argue that that is simply Cruz sticking to his principles much more than those that immediately make deals with the other side are.

jr565 said...

michael k wrote:
I think Trump has some pretty good ideas and will show them once elected, if elected. He has some position papers on a web site. He knows that position papers don't win elections in the 21st century. Since TV took over, it is all personality.

So you are acknowledging that Trump doesn't actually exhibit good ideas? he may have some but he hasn't revealed them yet and will once he's elected.

Even if posltion papers dont win elections you should have positions which can be articulated that basically match your position paper.

jr565 said...

Eric asked;
Trump actually is already in favor of amnesty.
You know this how?
Becuase he said so.
His son clarified his dads position by saying:
The point isn’t just deporting them, it’s deporting them and letting them back in legally. He’s been so clear about that and I know the liberal media wants to misconstrue it, but , it’s deporting them and letting them back legally

the let them back in legally bit is, in fact, amnesty.

Trump said, to dana bash on CNN:

"I would get people out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal…. A lot of these people are helping us … and sometimes it’s jobs a citizen of the United States doesn’t want to do. I want to move ’em out, and we’re going to move ’em back in and let them be legal
Again, that's amensty.
What is different from E VErify and guest worker program and pathway to citizens than "Were going to move em back in and let them be legal"
Its going to be an expedited process, no less. meaning those kicked out presumably get first crack at reentry. Otherwise it would be as expedited as giving anyone else a work permit.
So, he wants them in the country, legal. He just wants to first ship them off, then move them back in. That sounds positively schizohprenic or at the very least counterproductive.

Michael K said...

"So you are acknowledging that Trump doesn't actually exhibit good ideas? "

No, I said they are on his web site.

Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore.

I may not agree with that but it is a position.

The Trump tax cuts are fully paid for by:

Reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich.
A one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10% tax rate, followed by an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad.
Reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests, as well as deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on corporations and business income. We will also phase in a reasonable cap on the deductibility of business interest expenses.


There is a pdf file with the rest.

Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
Reclaim millions of American jobs and reviving American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.
Strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.


And so forth. Read them yourself.

China, I believe, is imploding right now so that problem may be solved.

jr565 said...

If Meghn Kelly is moderating the debate and really wants to get under Trumps skin she could simply read his statement verbatim and ask "doesnt this sound like amnesty? How is it all that different than the gang of 8 proposal, aside from the fact that the deportating everyone part will be really hard to implement.

DavidD said...

"He's all things to all people, whatever you need him to be."

An empty slate--just like Obama was advertised to be; I can see why you like him, Ann.

buwaya said...

"China, I believe, is imploding right now so that problem may be solved."

This is not going to improve the exchange rate vis a vis the dollar.
The implosion, if it doesn't start some sort of Asian war, is just going to reduce production costs in China.

Michael K said...

"if it doesn't start some sort of Asian war, is just going to reduce production costs in China."

I don't know what it will do. Japan went through this and it did not improve their market penetration. They have never recovered.

They decided to adopt Bernie Sanders system for going broke. As Hemingway said when someone asked him how you go bankrupt, "Slowly, then suddenly."

The Godfather said...

Has anybody got an address for this "Republican Establishment"? I'd like to drop in on them for a chat next time I'm in DC.

cubanbob said...

A one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10% tax rate, followed by an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad.
Reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests, as well as deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on corporations and business income. We will also phase in a reasonable cap on the deductibility of business interest expenses."

This is BS on steroids. if enacted it would be disastrous. While not as toxic as the WMD economic stupidity of the Democrats, its plenty bad. Here is a hint Don, don't tax any income earned by a US business earned overseas-the US Government provided no service that the business used to earn that profit. Instead not taxing foreign income will induce the company to repatriate the money home. As for special interests, someone kindly define what that is besides someone else besides me? The devil is in the details. Incidentally Don your hotel's live largely on business travel. You follow your logic and you ruin your own business. Here American business traveller is your allowable business travel deduction: Motel Six and Denny's. And go Greyhound and leave the driving to them. As for the interest deductibility as a business expense, brilliant man. Just what every business needs, higher borrowing costs, what an incentive to invest in new staff,plant and equipment.

I have to believe Trump doesn't believe any of this idiocy, it's just has to be pieties for the left leaning voters who can be turned from the Democrats. I suppose if elected he will half-heartedly try and will gladly let Senator Cruz shoot this down and then blame Cruz. If he does believe in this (I don't see how given his business career and history), then we better pray the next Congress is actually controlled by real conservatives. Actually no matter who wins we better pray that Congress is controlled by real conservatives as insurance against further economic craziness.

Brando said...

"I have to believe Trump doesn't believe any of this idiocy, it's just has to be pieties for the left leaning voters who can be turned from the Democrats. I suppose if elected he will half-heartedly try and will gladly let Senator Cruz shoot this down and then blame Cruz. If he does believe in this (I don't see how given his business career and history), then we better pray the next Congress is actually controlled by real conservatives. Actually no matter who wins we better pray that Congress is controlled by real conservatives as insurance against further economic craziness."

I'm pretty certain Trump believes none of that, and as usual is doing a stream of consciousness as he speaks so there's no way of knowing whether he agrees with what comes out or not. And Congress will never be controlled by real conservatives, in the sense of actually accomplishing anything conservative. Best case scenario is more gridlock.

Brando said...

"Has anybody got an address for this "Republican Establishment"? I'd like to drop in on them for a chat next time I'm in DC."

Sure--they're located at the corner of "everyone who disagrees with Trump supporters" and "anyone who doesn't believe Trump."

Brando said...

"If Meghn Kelly is moderating the debate and really wants to get under Trumps skin she could simply read his statement verbatim and ask "doesnt this sound like amnesty? How is it all that different than the gang of 8 proposal, aside from the fact that the deportating everyone part will be really hard to implement."

You say that like Trump wouldn't just respond with a stream of BS about how his plan is really different.

Here's a prediction if Trump somehow becomes president--he declares that the illegal immigrant problem is largely fixed, because we have one million fewer illegals than in 2010! Never mind that those one million left (via deportation or re-emigration) before Obama left office, Trump supporters won't be bothered by that when we're winning so much we'll be tired of winning. As for the "wall"? He'll point to the existing border fencing and say "look at all this wall we've built!" and some fool reporter will point out that that fencing had been up for decades, but hey don't they understand that we're tired of losing?

In other words, America is going to feel a lot like Trump's investors and creditors, stuck with losing operations in Atlantic City and the USFL. But don't say Trump declared bankruptcy several times! He never declared personal bankruptcy, only his businesses, which shows just how shrewd he is! As he pointed out, he's taken advantage of the laws of this country. So if Americans feel betrayed under his presidency, we can't say he didn't warn us himself.

tim in vermont said...

"Has anybody got an address for this "Republican Establishment"?

Just drop them a line C/O National Review.

grackle said...

Second Rule of Trump Debate Club(TDC):

When speaking about issues never stray into the weeds.

The weeds are the precise, trifling details surrounding an issue in question that can be overwhelming to the average listener. Keep it simple and framed without the insider esoteric terminology that policy wonks love to use. Like most of the commentors here I’m a political junkie but the average voter doesn’t want to hear a candidate be that comprehensive and fastidious. The average voter tunes out when confronted with it.