By the early 2000s pretty much everyone on Capitol Hill had a good idea that flamboyant Florida Republican Mark Foley was spending a lot more time when teenagers than men his age normally did. Not everyone knew he was screwing underage make congressional pages. But Rahm Emanuel did. Emanuel knew for certain for as long as the GOP leadership knew, at least year. But Rahm didn't call the police and put a stop to it and Foley kept seducing the under-age sons of wealthy GOP donors– that's who the pages tended to be. Instead Rahm (and Hoyer) relentlessly attacked the progressive candidate running against Foley, Dave Lutrin, forcing him out of the primary and inserting a corrupt, wealthy Republican who agreed to switch his party registration and “become” a Democrat, Tim Mahoney. With Mahoney in place Rahm… waited. He waited until September 24 before making sure the news would fall like a ton of bricks. Even the people who broke the story didn't know Rahm was pulling their strings. Why did he wait 'til the 24th? The 23rd would have been the last day the Florida GOP could have replaced Foley on the ballot.
Once the news broke, Foley– who never copped to anything more than sending naughty instant messages on AOL, despite overwhelming evidence that he was using the congressional page system as a personal harem– he announced he was checking in to a rich-peoples' substance abuse rehab center in Arizona and that he wouldn't be running for Congress. Too late to get him off the ballot, the poor schlubb the GOP ran (even with Foley's name on the ballot instead of his own) lost Mahoney. Mahoney joined the Blue Dogs, voted with the GOP on virtually everything, was busted for molesting women or hiring hookers or something and was defeated at the next election. Go Rahm!
Why relive that now? Many Republicans– many, many, many Republicans– are clamoring for Trump to resign from Republican ticket and let Pence (or Cruz) run for president instead. Others, understanding that it's too late– that absentee and early ballots have already been sent out in some states and printed in others and that voters in North Carolina, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin have already cast their ballots– are just withdrawing their endorsements and telling voters they won't be voting for Trump. By noon yesterday, McCain finally did something he's probably wanted to do for a year:
Utah's not the only state with lots and lots of Republican Mormons. Utah has 2,040,178 Mormons but Idaho has 437,106, Arizona has 418,959, Nevada has 182,125, Colorado has 151,580… and it was from those states that the bailing on Trump Friday night and Saturday morning began. Republicans in Arizona don't win without Mormon support. Saturday morning the Deseret News, which is owned by the Mormon Church and is largely seen as an LDS mouthpiece, called on Trump “to step down from his pursuit of the American presidency.”
In democratic elections, ideas have consequences, leadership matters and character counts.
The idea that women secretly welcome the unbridled and aggressive sexual advances of powerful men has led to the mistreatment, sorrow and subjugation of countless women for far too much of human history.
The notion that strength emanates from harsh, divisive and unbending rhetorical flourish mistakenly equates leadership with craven intimidation.
The belief that the party and the platform matter more than the character of the candidate ignores the wisdom of the ages that, “when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2)
We understand that politicians and presidential candidates are human and that everyone makes mistakes. We do not believe that what is expressed in an unguarded moment of conversation should be the full measure of an individual. And we unquestionably support the principle that people deserve forgiveness, compassion and a second chance.
But history affirms that leaders' examples either elevate or demean the lives of those being led. When choosing the ostensible leader of the free world, the American electorate requires the clear assurance that their chosen candidate will consistently put the well-being of others ahead of his or her own personal gratification. The most recent revelations of Trump’s lewdness disturb us not only because of his vulgar objectification of women, but also because they poignantly confirm Trump’s inability to self-govern.
What oozes from this audio is evil. We hear a married man give smooth, smug and self-congratulatory permission to his intense impulses, allowing them to outweigh the most modest sense of decency, fidelity and commitment. And although it speaks volumes about sexual morality, it goes to the heart of all ethical behavior. Trump’s banter belies a willingness to use and discard other human beings at will. That characteristic is the essence of a despot.
Nor is this an isolated incident. His reprehensible sexual speech confirms troubling reports and outrageous outbursts that have dogged his campaign from the beginning. Another example appeared earlier this week detailing Trump’s language and behavior on his reality television show, The Apprentice.
…When Donald Trump’s running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence visited Utah and met with members of the Deseret News Editorial Board, he assured us that Mr. Trump was a “good man” who held “the ideals and values” of Utahns. Likewise, while visiting the Beehive State, Donald Trump Jr. told us that his father was running because of the “values held dear in this community.”
Considering his conduct and comportment, we do not believe Trump holds the ideals and values of this community or this paper.
…As the next few consequential weeks unfold, we trust the American people, as they vote their conscience, will provide a clarion call for sound ideas, true leadership and proven character from our next administration and Congress.
Trump cannot answer that call. We ask him to step aside.
At the same time, Trump was telling the Wall Street Journal that there was nothing amiss at Trump Tower and that there is Zero Chance I'll Quit. Of course, with Trump, every utterance on every topic is merely a negotiating position but he told the reporter Monica Langley that “I never, ever give up. The support I’m getting is unbelievable, because Hillary Clinton is a horribly flawed candidate.”
He said his campaign isn't in crisis (it is) and that “the commotion over his remarks will blow over as did others, such as his attacks on Sen. John McCain and his proposed ban on Muslims.
Unlike in a video he taped and released last night, Mr. Trump, who spoke on Saturday from his Manhattan home in Trump Tower, offered no apologies in the Journal interview, but rather went on the offensive. “Go behind closed doors of the holier-than-thou politicians and pundits and see what they’re saying. I look like a baby.”
…Former GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina on Saturday called on him to quit the campaign, as did Sens. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Mike Lee of Utah. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, in a tight race to save her seat, withdrew her endorsement.
Responding to that wave of defections, Mr. Trump said such a reaction from Republicans “is why they don’t win presidential elections.” Meanwhile, he said, “my phone hasn’t stopped ringing, emails are coming in and even people outside Trump Tower are supporting me.”
The GOP doesn't have the balls– nor, in all likelihood, the legal authority– to remove Trump from the top of the ticket. Rule 9 would allow them to replace him if he is certified too ill to serve and I suppose they could find a panel of distinguished psychiatrists and psychologists to declare him mentally unfit. That would piss off the deplorables in a really big way. Who in the GOP has the stomach for that?
But imagine for a moment they managed to do it, perhaps by getting crooked hedge fund billionaire– and the man behind the curtain at Trump Tower, Robert Mercer– to not just withdraw his support but to offer Trump $100 million to call it quits. In TrumpUniverse everything has a price, everything. But then what? Who would be the nominee? Most elected officials bailing on Trump so far this weekend have been saying he should be replaced by far right extremist Mike Pence. But Pence was picked by Trump and didn't have the cajones to even compete in the primaries. Cruz fans would rather see their own man in the top slot; after all he came in second among Republican voters and won several states outright, including big red ones. I guess they could toss a coin. Then what?
Thousands of people have voted– some for Trump– and they would have a case that they've been disenfranchised. And some Republicans who voted for Hillary as the lesser of two evils could make the same argument if Trump is replaced by a more conventional Republican. In the next few days early voting will have started in 10 more states, including the two biggest ones, New York and California, as well as Vermont, New Mexico, Montana, Ohio, Virginia, Arizona, Indiana and Maine. Keep in mind that Trump has been talking about a system rigged against him– and to an angry and largely ignorant, paranoid and overly armed audience. No… Republicans are just going to have to get ready for what's–deservedly– headed their way: another month of increasing anguish and then a devastating thumping they won't have to hire expensive consultants to explain to them. The question isn't whether Trump will lose or not, but how many congressional seats he'll take down with him, how many state legislative chambers will be won by the Democrats, how severe the Senate losses are… Give the Republican Party what it deserves, here:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis