When I saw this headline today, it struck me as ridiculous:
The Florida news outlet isn't the only one that's made the case that Democrats are trying to tie Trump to the GOP, but think about that for a minute. No one has to "try to link" Trump to the GOP. He's the Republican Party's frontrunner, a frontrunner who they signed a pledge to support should he become the nominee, for that matter. More to the point, he isn't just linked to them because there's an "R" attached to his name. Party affiliation is only a small "link." When it comes to policies, Trump IS the GOP. He merely brought a bullhorn to the presidential race to replace the party dog whistles we've come to associate with the GOP. Furthermore, the GOP elites and voting base have embraced Trump and his ideas for years. (You'll recall Mitt Romney staging an entire event around kissing Trump's ring in the run up to the 2012 election.) The only difference now is he's winning and leaving their establishment candidates in the dust and the GOP elite doesn't like it.
When he began his birther nonsense years ago demanding to see President Obama's birth certificate, they loved it. This fed right into the Tea Party movement, a movement created by FOX and the GOP that presumably was due to outrage over government spending that morphed into "Get your hands off my Medicare" and the anti-Obamacare death panels. And a familiar sight at many of those rallies were signs that painted President Obama as "Hitler."
Well, guess what? Now their own party frontrunner is channeling Hitler, and those same supporters love him.
What a difference a few years of whipping up an angry base on false narratives makes. "Obamacare" didn't kill jobs or people as promised, in fact it's done the opposite. While the GOP still vows to kill the ACA and people who are now insured because of it by taking it away if they win back the White House, they've moved on to their other favorite scare tactic: Terrorism.
Enter Donald Trump and his plans to ban all Muslims from the United States. None of them made a fuss when Trump began his campaign by calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists, but now that he's winning, he's using a card from their deck and it's working. For him.
Now suddenly those Republican politicians who were Trump fans are pretending to be outraged. It's especially striking here in Florida where Trump has so many ties, and where he is also blowing Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio out of the water in the polls. (Even scarier to them, Hillary Clinton is leading Trump in the Sunshine State.) The one exception being Rick Scott, who has nothing to lose, but who is just pretending he doesn't know anything about Trump's Muslim ban, even as he jumped to try and bar Syrian refugees from Florida in recent weeks.
As for the rest of the Florida GOP's reactions, their feigned outrage is heavy on the hypocrisy. Their views on similar subjects, while not spoken as loudly as Trump's, still have a familiar ring to them.
Jeb Bush issued a short rebuke on Twitter:
“Donald Trump is unhinged. His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”
Never mind that Jeb said just days ago that any refugees coming into this country should prove they're Christians first.
Marco Rubio also lashed out on Twitter:
"I disagree with Donald Trump's latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together. The next President better be somebody who can unite our country to face the great challenges of the 21st Century."
No surprises there, especially since making offensive and outlandish statements is, after all, Rubio's stock in trade. He's been all over the map on terror, beginning with his comments that the terrorist attack in Paris was a "positive development." (Perhaps he's been spending too much time with Dick Cheney and his neocon adviser crew.) Rubio also wanted to monitor Mosques and any other places Muslims gather as Trump proposed, and while he voted against keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, he's very much in favor of spying on American's every move. Chew on that for a while.
David Jolly, who wants to be the new Rubio in the Senate, was widely applauded for his demands that Trump to get out of the race, but Jolly also voted to make sure terrorists still have easy access to guns in America. So he's got that view in common with Trump, who claimed that had the victims of the San Bernardino attack been armed, things would have turned out differently.
“We do face a security test that I believe the president's policies have underestimated. But we also face a test of our commitment to religious freedom, one of the basic freedoms upon which our nation was founded. … It should be heartbreaking to every American that we have a front-runner in the presidential race that suggests there will be a religious test for anybody who wishes to come to our shores. ... It is time that my side of the aisle has one less candidate in the race for the White House. It is time for Donald Trump to withdraw from the race.”
Jolly also may want to demand Jeb-Prove-You're-A-Christian-Bush exit the race post-haste while he's at it.
Finally, we have one of Florida's biggest hypocrites of all time, Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi has nothing to lose by criticizing Trump either, but she's backing Jeb Bush. However, her reasoning also hits Jeb as much as it does Trump:
"As Attorney General, one of my biggest fights has been protecting religious liberty and that's all religions: Christian, Muslim, our Jewish friends and all religions, and so I believe that it's unconstitutional to discriminate against an entire religion."
Again, see Jeb and his own religious test for refugees.
Now, Bondi isn't one to blanch at setting fire to the Constitution when it suits her politically, but she has an added layer of hypocrisy given her own past history with Donald Trump, who made a $25,000 campaign contribution to Bondi just as she was reviewing a lawsuit against Trump University. She then failed to get involved in the suit. At the time, Trump said this:
"Pam Bondi is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her. … The case in New York is pure politics brought by an incompetent attorney general, a political hack."
Perhaps now that Bondi is speaking out against Trump, his views on Bondi and political hackery have changed?
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