Robert Kagan: To Republicans afraid to take a stand against Donald Trump: Grow up – The Washington Post


CK MacLeod

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82 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Too late. The GOP is already falling in line.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

      If you’re referring to the “pledge” answers last night, the formal stance of individual would-be nominees is not definitive for the entirety of the party by any means, and what they actually said and are now saying deserves closer scrutiny than what you’ll get from left-liberal commentators. Kagan has gone further than most Republicans – in that he has already left the party.

      There must be fifty ways to extricate yourself from an unsustainable promise. Explicitly declaring it null and void the moment it comes up is only one way.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    At the end of the day, Trump expresses their opinions on many things like hating brownskinned people.
    Too loudly, too brashly, too vulgarly, too openly. But they agree with him.

    They disagree with him on other things like birth control and taxes- but those are secondary issues, not deal-breakers.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Yes, it’s RACISM to want to control inflow on our borders. It’s RACISM to be upset that our gov’t has historically moved illegals to the “legit” column when an immigration bill was passed and the current illegals got amnesty. It’s RACISM to think that illegal immigrant children should not get in state tuition when they are, by definition, not legal residents. It’s RACISM to think that if folks want to come here, they should follow the process that’s been set up to become residents/citizens. Yep, it’s all about hating the brown skinned. After all, Congress has been so proactive in crafting new immigration legislation no one could be frustrated with the status quo and want someone to finally enforce the laws on the books. Nah, couldn’t be that. It’s RACISM.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        ” After all, Congress has been so proactive in crafting new immigration legislation no one could be frustrated with the status quo and want someone to finally enforce the laws on the books.”

        As someone who believes in the literal enforcement of the law, I hope you’ve say, never complained about a gun owner getting caught up in the wacky laws of New York or New Jersey. After all, the law is the law, right? No exceptions.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Entering the country illegally and flouting the law for years on end would seem a more willful act than running afoul of local regulations you have no reason to know much about while taking a brief tour by car through a jurisdiction you do not habitually travel across.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

            The law is the law is the law.

            I mean, I’m a feckless liberal with no first principles, so I can be utilitarian about it. But, if any illegal immigrant caught should be immediately sent back to their place of origin with no thoughts about what they’ve done while they’ve been inside this country, then anybody who is caught violating any other law should not get the benefit of the doubt either.

            What is good for Jose the dishwasher is good for Billy the gun owner.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          Anyone who conceal carries, or open carry’s, a firearm into a state without 100% confirmation they are “legal” is a fool. Never assume. Confirm.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        It’s good that you finally understand that it’s all racism.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        The problem is there are plenty of solid limited open borders/restrict immigration kind of arguments but they often get said by people who do say pretty damn nasty things about brown skinned people. Are all immigrants america haters here to do us harm, just here to be lazy and get welfare, rapists, drug runners, etc?

        It is possible to think illegal immigrants are people who want a better life and deserve basic human decency and respect AND that maybe the immigration process needs to seriously reformed.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          people who do say pretty damn nasty things about brown skinned people.

          Stipulated that most of The Unz Review combox corps are deeply unpleasant for a mess of reasons. There are no policy implications which flow from that observation.

          Are all immigrants america haters here to do us harm, just here to be lazy and get welfare, rapists, drug runners, etc?

          Who said all of any category have a common object (unless the objects define the category, which they do not here)?

          It is possible to think illegal immigrants are people who want a better life

          I would not imagine they moved here with the idea that their utility would be reduced, in some odd sort of penance.

          deserve basic human decency and respect

          You do realize someone reading this but out of sympathy with you is going to read those words to mean ‘should be treated as clients of the social work apparat’ (in contrast to being treated as a public order problem, however much the rubrics of mundane law enforcement are respected in processing them).Report

          • Avatar greginak says:

            Actually i think it would be really odd to read what i said as leading to “social work soviet union reference”. So no.

            It isn’t just internet odd balls, its elected members of state and federal gov and very loud and popular conservative media types who say some nasty stuff.

            Once we agree people are moving here for a better life then maybe we can ask if that is good for all ( or most) of us. They want to move here to work hard and build a good life. That is the kind of people that have benefited this country a lot over the generations. It’s why my grandparents moved here. There are a lot of questions after that of course, like how many immigrants and what kind of process but we aren’t getting anywhere are fixing the broken process.

            fwiw, just shouting about racism, while there is plenty in the debate about immigration, is not helpful unless you are pointing directly at an example of it. There is more to the opposition then just racism.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              I think the complaint at this point (from someone on the order of Mark Krikorian or Jason Richwine) would be that you’ve sentimentalized this population, which is to say that there is nothing extraordinary about their talents or dispositions, that they have a propensity greater than the norm to make themselves a public charge, and that they create frictional costs for institutions and individuals alike (costs often imposed on same by officious lawyers).

              Now, at this point, you get some neuralgic responses, because people who collect what Thomas Sowell called ‘mascot groups’ resent others saying that their mascots are nothing special (even if that can be demonstrated with social data). And if you’re playful with someone else’s pieties, you generally get an antagonistic response. The dominant narrative among certain bourgeois types is to see American history as a struggle between white hats and black hats, and someone pointing out the untidy physicalities and human failings of your white hats is regarded with hostility.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                It would be fair to say some people sentimentalize immigrants but also that some immigrants are really sympathetic and hard working. People really do risk their lives to come here to work themselves to the bone for a better life. I’m not sentimentalizeing them. People are people for good and bad.

                That said, if immigrants end up public charges more than their share that is at least partially because of the high costs ( often paid to shady middle men) to get here which makes starting their lives here harder and disadvantages of being illegal and on the edge. If they could more easily immigrate legally the coyote scum wouldn’t draining their starting capital and they could work for better, legal wages. Poor legal immigrants are always going to have hard work building a life. I would care more about what services they are using 5 and 10 after moving here then in the first year.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                People really do risk their lives to come here to work themselves to the bone for a better life.

                People over-staying a tourist visa are ‘risking their lives’?

                Per the Census Bureau, 15.9% of the working-aged population is foreign-born. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.7% of working adults are foreign born. Not too sure to what degree their survey methods can capture the illegal alien population, but I’m not seeing in the headline numbers an indication that foreigners are much more industrious than locals (I don’t think the BLS breaks down time study data by nativity).Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Yes people risk there lives to come here. Is that even a surprise or a question? People pay smugglers to get them over the border, typically thousands of dollars. They risk being turned into prostitutes or being robbed. That really isn’t news at all. Certainly people over stay visas, but getting over the us/mex border is dangerous.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Let some of your regulars know (Kazzy, IIRC, or perhaps the ever charming prof. from Michigan). Last time we had this discussion they insisted to me that enforcement was useless because it would always be easily defeated. That included a link to a video of people climbing over a border fence.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Not sure of your point and i didn’t know i had regulars. Enforcement of a long often remote border will always have problems. That seems like reality. Sure we could deploy tens of thousands of troops and dozens of helos and millions in tech to stop some of the border crossing. But all of it, doubt that and is that really a good way to spend huge amounts of money.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I think Art’s point is that lotsa folks on this site (well, Hanley…) argued against restricted borders on the premise that it wouldn’t work anyway, so why not just give up and open the border completely? And the statistics he offers are intended to establish that the problem is bigger than politicians will concede. But those two things work at cross-purposes, seems to me (and I think this is Art’s point as well) in that having that many people operating off the books and competing for jobs and not paying taxes (etc) is a real problem.

                So personally speaking here, I think the issue is a bit larger than most liberals want to concede. Liberals tend to focus on the amnesty issue, and that’s certainly important. But there are a lot of other dimensions in play that require either changing our laws or enforcing them. Seems to me anyway.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                It is a huge problem to have people working off the books. That seems obvious. It would be better to have them on the books, which is part of the point of offering a path to citizenship. Have them pay taxes, get paid better, with better worker protections is win for everybody. Well except for paying more for some stuff but hey, that is the capitalism all the kids are talking about these days.

                None of the issues are simple. It sure isn’t simple to just say “close the border.” So everybody sort of simplifies things away.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                We’re not talking about ‘huge amounts’ contextually. IIRC, annual maintenance and service charges on the Interstate system are under $10 bn, and a wall would be 1/20th the length of the Interstate system. A sentry and patrol force of adequate dimensions (with back up apparat and detention centers) could be had for $7-8 bn. per annum judging from the budgets of municipal police and sheriff’s departments. A police force sufficient to reduce net visa over-stays to nil would be more expensive but still feasible. The problem is not the money, but building the institutions.Report

              • Maintaining the existing wall, patrolling the existing wall, …

                I swear there’s an item left out of that accounting. If only I could figure out what it was.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                No, nothing left out. “Service charges” includes amortization of the sunk cost.Report

              • Amortization of …. Oh, right.

                In other words, you left out what building the damned thing would cost.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “It would be fair to say some people sentimentalize immigrants but also that some immigrants are really sympathetic and hard working.”

                The fact that the sympathetic hard-working immigrants who came here legally support Donald Trump kind of bones your whole narrative in the ear, doesn’t it?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Umm no not at all. You haven’t actually proven those immigrants support Trumpy. Last poll i saw hispanics rate Trumpy slightly higher then that dead skunk on the side of the road.

                That also doesn’t take away from a lot of immigrants being really hard working people who want to build a good life here which seems like the kind of people we want here.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                The response to that particular complaint is that it takes two to tango, to wit, the employer.

                The meatpacking, hotel maintenance and residential construction industries are among the industries widely known to use undocumented aliens. (“Hiring” is conveniently done by undercapitalized and shady labor services companies.)

                Where, pray tell, is the Republican party’s outrage against employer malfeasance? Instead of passing the 100th bill to abolish the PPACA, why not pass the first one that actually focuses on securing our border by levying substantial penalties on both the employers and contractees receiving the benefits of undocumented labor?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Tried that with the 1986 legislation. The public interest bar tied up employer sanctions in court so effectively they were unenforceable.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                Oh please. Laws can be rewritten to respond to judicial concerns. At least own up to the fact that the business wing of the Republican party is adamantly against stiff employer sanctions.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                “Admit”? Francis, that’s common knowledge. An aspect of the Trump phenomena has been his capacity to rally ‘country class’ sentiment against the ruling class. Lax immigration enforcement is the preferred policy of the Capitol Hill / K Street nexus, including Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce and including Paul Ryan (in addition to the entirety of the Democratic congressional caucus).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yeah, this exactly. The dynamic is widely known. So much so, seems to me, that folks who think it’s some sort of well-concealed covert op are in the minority at this point.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                Well, this started by me responding to your criticism of greginak wherein you cited Krikorian.

                My very limited point is that, oddly enough, there is an effective solution to illegal immigration — a national ID card (loathed by liberals for various reasons) and really strict employer sanctions (loathed by conservatives for various reasons).

                The solution is a really tough vote in which both parties give up something really important to achieve a major policy goal. Since mutual loathing far exceeds anyone’s desire to compromise these days, nothing happens.

                It’s even worse than nothing, of course. The Democrats use the Republicans’ tough-on-immigration posturing (and it has been largely posturing for years) to cultivate votes in Hispanic communities. But Republicans can’t help themselves because tough-on-immigration rhetoric is a key aspect of turning out their middle-class and lower-class constituents.

                So the rhetoric stays poisonous and lower-class Americans — like men who used to make a good living building houses — find their wages driven down to the point they can’t compete.

                And the Democrats, who are counting who actually votes, abandon these voters and the Republicans, who are counting who actually pays the bills, also abandon these voters.


              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Hence Trump and Sanders, yes?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                You say that strict employer sanctions are loathed by conservatives.

                Maybe you could find some examples of conservatives who actually do hate strict employer sanctions when it comes to employing illegal immigrants?

                (if you say “Meg Whitman” I will fly to where you are and kick you.)Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                See Art Deco’s comment above: “Lax immigration enforcement is the preferred policy of the Capitol Hill / K Street nexus, including Donohue of the Chamber of Commerce and including Paul Ryan”

                Also, please note the failure of the Bush admin to pass immigration reform containing strict employer sanctions, or, for that matter, the current Congress to do so.

                Also, Meg Whitman. 😉 (I have a somewhat skinny ass, so it may be not that pleasant to kick, but during leisure hours I can be found in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach California.)Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                I thought it was common knowledge that the business wing of the GOP has no appetite for tougher immigration laws.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                ” the Capitol Hill / K Street nexus”

                …doesn’t map to a general description of “conservatives”. Not even a little bit.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Citing Jason Richwine seems to be a very strange choice if you’re interested in defending anti-immigration (or even anti-illegal-immigration) activism from charges of racism.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                I did not cite Jason Richwine’s research. I offered him as a hypothetical example of someone who might offer a given complaint.

                It’s not my object to ‘defend’ anyone against charges of ‘racism’ because such charges are, in most circumstances, humbug. I don’t have any patience for the portside’s crappy little games.

                The Unz Review readership is chock-a-block with people who have it in for blacks, Jews, and a mess of others; the Unz crowd on their own. I got tired of tangling with them. (Richwine is fixated on psychometrics rather like Charles Murray, not a bearer of social resentments).Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                It’s not my object to ‘defend’ anyone against charges of ‘racism’ because such charges are, in most circumstances, humbug.

                You’re the one who insisted it was wrong to impugn the motives of anti-immigration activists on the grounds that they are motivated by racism. Given that Richwine’s complaints are rooted in his claims that Latinos are genetically inferior, he seems to be an absolutely perfect example of what Chip Daniels is talking about.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Its more than the occasional outright racist.

                I know that a lot of people get very indignant when people like me say the anti-immigration attitude is rooted in racism.

                But think of what you are asking us to believe.

                You want us to believe that millions of Latinos have been disgusted and offended by the rhetoric, completely unfairly.

                That this is somehow a massive misconception, that their opinions are what, in error, that you folks actually harbor feelings of goodwill and brotherhood towards them?


              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Strange as it may seem to you, I don’t endow your preferred clientele with any special insight or any special lack of insight. Nor do I endow your preferred clientele with a status which would induce me to experience embarrassment were they offended per se, much less to experience embarrassment at a mere contention that they were offended. Mr. Partisan Democrat says “Latinos” are pissed off. I don’t know that they are, or that their irritation is all that intense even if they are, or that it’s reasonable that they be so if they are. So sue me.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                That’s fine.
                This was just an effort to explain to you that cries of indignation about the racist charge are falling on, like, millions of deaf ears.

                So expect a lot of this in future.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Richwine’s a public policy maven, not a biologist. I don’t think coincident to his research he offers specific explanations for intergroup differences in scores on psychological tests, though we could rummage through his publications and talks to be sure. I assume he does buy into biological explanations in a general way, as did Hans Eyesenck. Psychological tests are measures of phenotype, not genotype. I’m not aware that Richwine is committed to particular theses about the durability of group differences in these scores, merely that they are sufficiently durable to influence policy considerations.

                One thing that confounds discussions of Richwine is that he was once a member of an alt-right group blog. His posts dated from the blogs early days and the moderator took it some strange places after he’d ceased to be involved.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                I did remark on that. It’s still not my business to defend people against charges of ‘racism’. It’s my business to discuss the issues at hand, which would be immigration control and the Trump candidacy.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                Yet if they really are motivated by racism[1] then pointing this out isn’t “impugning their motives”, but is actually discussing the issues at hand. Unless, of course, you think the boundaries of relevance are determined by whatever is most convenient for you and/or Trump.

                [1] And I have pretty clear recollections that Richwine did commit to the genetic inferiority of non-whites even if, in some sense, he didn’t have to.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                No, it is not. Discussing their motives is discussing their motives, not discussing the utility or disutility of the policy perspective in question.

                I’ve been reading periodical literature for 40 years. It’s really atypical to see liberals discussing anyone’s motives, as opposed to assuming those motives, rebuking them for their fancied motives, &c.Report

              • We all know very well why you in particular would dismiss any statements about motives.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                The idea that the utility of a policy perspective in question is independent of whether it’s rooted in racism is… sort of fascinating in its wrongness. Indeed, the fact that it’s intended to provide alleged benefits for members of some racial groups, at the real expense of members of other racial groups, matters a great deal, as does the fact that the assumptions it implicitly rests on are rooted in discredited theories about human beings.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I hope you enjoy eating humans just as much as the next Republican!
        (This joke never gets old, courtesy of DNA testing).Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      Another time, another place, you might just argue a point and refrain from impugning someone’s motives. A guy can dream…Report

  3. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Kagan confuses Trump with Mussolini and berates working politicians to do the same.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    There’s a whole lot of people that want to change the rules of the game after the first period of play, to try to cheat the people that already think the game is rigged against them.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos says:

      It’s not really clear to me how opposing Trump is “chang[ing] the rules of the game.” Surely members of a party who decide that the party’s nominee is, in their eyes, unworthy of support not only may but should withdraw their support.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        They made Trump sign an oath that he would support whatever Republican nominee came out of the nomination process. Now they (for some value of they – definitely Kagan above) want people to say they *won’t* vote for Trump if he’s the nominee and will vote some third party guy or gal instead.

        That’s changing the rules of the game.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          Did Kagan sign any such oath? Not that I’m aware of.

          One could legitimately criticize the other candidates who signed one for breaking theirs if they come out against Trump (though I’d be inclined to allow a chance for them to justify the change), but it’s strange to hold either Kagan or the broader class of prominent Republicans to an oath that Donald Trump signed. Perhaps any who were involved in pushing the oath (was Kagan one of these? I don’t know) should be criticized for asking for a pledge they aren’t willing to reciprocate, but even that is reaching.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Uniquely, though, politics is about making rules.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        “Uniquely, though, politics is about making rules.”

        Or, conversely, about stopping others from making rules @burt-likkoReport

  5. You sometimes get the feeling that if Mussolini himself were about to win the nomination, Republicans would still be talking about Clinton’s email server


    If Trump gets the nomination, all this hand-wringing will go away immediately, because “Better Hitler than Blum^H^H^H^HHillary.”Report

  6. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Kagan’s opinion means nothing to me, but the fact that Trump is being endorsed by groups like the KKK and France’s fascist Fronte Nationale provides enough reason to be seriously worried about him being nominated.

    Terms like “fascist” stop being hyperbole when he’s garnering the open support of actual white supremacists and fascists.

    Every time I think America can’t get any crazier or more dangerous, Americans prove me wrong.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      That funny considering how often the left pulls put the “fascist” card when speaking about at Repub president. I first remember hearing the left call Reagan a fascist.Report

      • Avatar Snarky McSnarksnark says:

        Good thing that conservatives never stoop to such tactics as calling mainstream liberals “socialists,” or “Marxists.”Report

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      “Terms like “fascist” stop being hyperbole when he’s garnering the open support of actual white supremacists and fascists.”

      As notme mentions, both sides get slapped down for Godwin’s Law violations on a regular basis.

      However, pointing out that “people who proudly claim the mantle of fascists support him” or “suggesting that an ethnic minority be deported to camps on train cars is literally something Hitler did” – that doesn’t interest the Godwin police.Report

  7. Avatar Dand says:

    Kagan’s opinion means nothing to me, but the fact that Trump is being endorsed by groups like the KKK and France’s fascist Fronte Nationale provides enough reason to be seriously worried about him being nominated.

    Do you think the same way about Stormfront supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Lets explore this a bit.

      I studiously avoid threads regarding Israel and Palestinians, mostly because I don’t have a strong opinion or clever “solution” to the misery there.

      But in part also because it draws toxic people like a moth to a flame.

      I recall reading a recollection from a well meaning liberal woman who joined a pro-Palestinian group on campus, and then slowly realized in horror that in addition to the other well meaning people, the group was infested with people whose intention was less honorable.
      She wrote about how criticism would slide from being of “Likud” to the “Israeli government” to simply the “Jews”.

      She ended by doing the right thing and leaving the group, (and here’s the important part) criticizing them in such an essay, and divorcing her name from them.

      What she didn’t do was blame a faulty earpiece, and pretend she didn’t hear what she heard, or feign historical ignorance.

      I joke here about ritually denouncing Stalin, but in truth the American Left DID have to make a public show of denunciation of Stalin, because for ordinary people in the 30’s/ 40’s it was pretty hard to see the difference.

      Its completely fair and accurate to note that Trump’s rhetoric matches closely to Stormfront or the white power groups.
      If he wants to be convincing he needs to be , um, more convincing of whatever distance separates him from them.Report