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JUNE 19, 2018
The Three Kinds of Republican Officials. As Republican senators’, representatives’, and executive branch officials’ responses (ranging from deficient to depraved) to the separation of families at our southern border makes clear, there are three kinds of Republicans currently in office: the Failures, the Cowards, and the Bigots. There are overlaps among these categories, of course, but they’re typologically useful nonetheless.
The Failures are the self-proclaimed moderates who occasionally try to do the right thing but back off if it threatens Republican unity. The prime examples here are the Republicans who signed or thought about signing the discharge petition that would have forced the Republican House leadership to hold a vote on legalizing the Dreamers. This had been the marquee cause of a number of these moderates from swing congressional districts, including Florida’s Carlos Curbelo and California’s Jeff Denham, David Valadao, and Steve Knight. They vowed they had the 25 GOP votes that, combined with the votes of all 193 House Democrats, would come to 218—the majority that would have forced Paul Ryan to hold that vote. But they couldn’t get the total number of Republican signatories past 23—two votes short of 218. If Curbelo, Denham, and Co. were truly serious about legalizing the Dreamers, they’d recognize that that won’t happen until the Democrats control Congress, and stand aside to allow their Democratic opponents to win their swing districts this November—since, by the metrics they set for themselves, they’ve failed abjectly and completely.
The Cowards also don’t want to upset Republican unity or offend the GOP base, but though they object to a particular policy, they even don’t go as far as the Failures in proposing a plausible remedy. Exhibit A in this category is Maine Senator Susan Collins, who this weekend described the policy of family separation as being “traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and … contrary to our values in this country.” But Collins went on to say she opposed her Democratic colleague Dianne Feinstein’s bill to ban the policy, calling it “not the answer” because it was too broad. Susan Collins and her ilk don’t dare to eat a peach, lest it offend her pro-Trump voters.
That leaves the Bigots, who are either fine with the policy or call it distasteful but blame it on the Democrats or the cycles of the moon. The higher you go in the administration, the more bigots keep popping up, until you reach the president himself, who has referred to immigrants as “animals.” This is the language of bigots—indeed, it’s a justification for and rhetorical prelude to violence against those the bigot deems to be enemies. That doesn’t make the bigots animals, however. This kind of fear and loathing is peculiar to humans and, apparently, to a growing share of Republican officials. And Republicans generally: In a CNN Poll released Monday afternoon, Americans disapproved of the policy of family separation by a 67 percent to 28 percent margin—but Republicans approved of it by a 58 percent to 34 percent margin. In fairness, that may be what comes of watching Fox News and believing its Goebbelsesque lies.
Which brings me to my own immigration policy. Why don’t we deport Rupert Murdoch? Is there any other immigrant who’s done more to destroy the fabric of American society and life than Old Rupe? And separate him from his kids: They can’t do a worse job of directing Fox News than the old man, and might just do better. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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