Home / News / GOP Insider Bruce Bartlett: ‘The Republican Party Needs to Die’

GOP Insider Bruce Bartlett: ‘The Republican Party Needs to Die’

Ex-Reagan confidant Bruce Bartlett
Photo Credit: Screenshot / YouTube

American democracy is in crisis, a fact that should be apparent to everybody but that too many people keep ignoring. The boss of the United States, Donald Trump, does not trust in or honour elementary norms of approved governance. His difference and function exhibit a low affinity for fascism.

Over the last few decades there has been an boost in peremptory values among American voters, and this is generally loyal for Republicans and other conservatives.

The Citizens United decision tangible corporate income as free speech. This undermines American democracy by permitting the many absolute business interests and the richest people to overrule and halt the desires of the American people.


The United States is an oligarchy. Recent investigate shows that the country’s inaugurated officials are many manageable to the rich, business seductiveness groups and others with the resources to buy access.

The Republican Party uses gerrymandering and voter termination to sojourn in power. It has ceased to believe in any form of concede or traffic with Democrats or liberals. This has finished accord politics and a healthy, responsive, functioning supervision all but impossible.

Public faith in elementary social institutions is disappearing and the American public, broadly speaking, lacks county literacy. This is a recipe for the American authoritarianism and demagoguery embodied by Trump and the Republican Party.Journalists, the ostensible Fourth Estate, were ostensible to sound the alarm about these developments. Instead, the corporate news media has all too mostly defaulted to a naïve faith that America’s approved institutions are healthy and strong, so means to conflict any plea or corruption. Instead of being truth-tellers who change energy by informing the open so the latter can make good decisions, the corporate media empowered Donald Trump and the Republican Party by a despicable friendship to “fairness” and “balance” and a “both sides do it” narrative.

How has the law been assaulted by Donald Trump and the Republican Party? What role did Trump’s continuous lies and his articulate points about “fake news” play in his election? How does the parable of the “liberal media” commission the American right? Is there any space for a magnanimous or centrist choice to Fox News and the broader worried disinformation-propaganda machine? Can the Republican Party in its benefaction form be saved? Does the Trump campaign’s purported collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election simulate a incomparable informative and domestic problem?

In an bid to answer these questions we recently spoke with Bruce Bartlett. He was a former White House confidant under President Ronald Reagan and also served under President George H.W. Bush. Bartlett is a unchanging writer to the New York Times and has seemed on CNN, MSNBC and other major news networks. He is the author of the new book “The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts From Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks.”

A longer chronicle of this review can be listened on my podcast, which is accessible on Salon’s Featured Audio page.

How do you consider Donald Trump was means to get elected?

I acknowledge that we was perturbed by the election results. As we suspicion about how it happened, it just seemed to me that a big partial of the story is the media. The media is broken and has adopted certain conventions that we consider have normalized Trump’s idiocy as good as the idiocy of the Republican Party.

Why do you consider the mainstream news media was so demure to directly confront and display Trump’s lies? 

When the mainstream media began to downsize to cope with the detriment of income from promotion and subscribers, the first thing they did was lay off their many comparison reporters. They were means to save a lot of income that way. The problem is that a lot of journalistic training takes place informally in the newsroom, where immature reporters learn from the old veterans who have been around for a prolonged time. One of the things that you learn in that way that can’t be taught in the university is how to tell when somebody is lying.

There is also “he said, she said” journalism, where in sequence to benefit entrance to a source that can now go around the normal news media by Twitter and other methods you have to give them whatever they want.

Your source has to be assured that you’re going to be good to them and get their summary out the way they wish it to be gotten out, so reporters are now almost forced to be stenographers. Now, apparently the reporters can’t just do that, but conjunction can they inject themselves into the story and say, “OK, here’s what my source inside the campaign is observant but my stating and hearing of the contribution says this is all bullshit, that it’s a lie.” They can’t do that given then they bake their source, the source will never speak to them again if they tell the truth.

Instead, they go to the Clinton campaign and say, “What do you consider about this matter that was just given to me by somebody in the Trump campaign?” They will contend whatever it is they contend and the contributor will take that down. “Trump pronounced this, Clinton pronounced that,” and that’s all you get. You don’t get the follow-up, you don’t get the reporting, the analysis, the fact-checking that would tell you which one is right and which one is wrong.

Conservatives have also combined a knock with the parable of the “liberal news media.” It intimidates the press into being debasing to their bulletin in the seductiveness of “fairness” and “balance.”

Yes, but we also consider that organizations like the New York Times hook over much too distant backwards. we don’t know given they bother. Conservatives don’t review the New York Times; they’re not going to remove any subscribers by revelation the truth.

If you were to collect a moment when the media landscape changed in a way that helped to birth Donald Trump’s presidency, what would it be?

I consider there are several rhythm points. we would go back to 1969 as the beginning, given that was the year that Spiro Agnew gave his famous debate aggressive the media. It set the tinge for all conservatives have suspicion about the media ever since, which is that it is “elitist,” against to their values, and hopelessly liberal. It was nonsense then and it’s positively nonsense now.

As a consequence, conservatives we consider have prolonged drifted divided from the mainstream media and sought out choice media. Even before speak radio, it was very common that conservatives would get much of their news from newsletters and tiny magazines like Human Events. The fact that conservatives had an choice media network actually put them in a good position once the mainstream media began to decline.

I consider liberals, by contrast, have always been very happy with the mainstream media. we consider Democrats really depended on the New York Times to come up with good ideas for policies and hearings and so on. Then came the finale of the Fairness Doctrine, which immediately gave arise to Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk. we consider the next rhythm indicate was of march the Republican takeover of Congress [in 1994] and then the origination of Fox News very shortly thereafter.

Why do you consider there has not been a successful opposite to worried speak radio, and worried media some-more generally, from liberals and centrists?

Well we consider the elementary answer is that liberals and centrists are ideally calm with the mainstream media. They’re very happy with the New York Times and the Washington Post accurately as they are; they’re happy with ABC, CBS, NBC and NPR. People forget that NPR is radically magnanimous speak radio, and that’s one reason given a some-more categorically magnanimous form of speak radio couldn’t compete. NPR, like Limbaugh, is very, very good at what it does. we consider that’s a big partial of the problem.

And of march liberals never had a chip on their shoulder — they never felt that the media was inequitable against them and they never felt that their ideas were ridiculed the way Republicans and conservatives have always believed. The dirt is simply not gainful to something that would be some-more categorically liberal.            

Back in the 1960s, the domestic scientist and historian Richard Hofstadter famously wrote about the energy that anti-intellectualism and the “paranoid style,” i.e., swindling theories, held over American conservatives. Decades later, border narratives are now the mainstream in American regressive suspicion and media. This is intensely dangerous for democracy. How can we find solutions to problems when we can’t determine on the inlet of experimental reality?

I consider you’ve overwhelmed on one of the many disturbing aspects of the Fox News phenomenon, which is that it normalizes and mainstreams a lot of eccentric lunatic swindling crap that would differently stay in the heat swamps of the distant right.

I have an idea, and tell me if you consider it is viable. The ostensible experts and other articulate heads who seem on the TV news should have their qualifications, veteran relations (i.e., who is profitable them) and domestic affiliations listed under their names. This would help the open to know the bulletin at work. Do you consider that would actually help the open discourse?

Well, we don’t know if it would help, but we do consider it is honestly desirable. There is no reason given that information could not at a smallest be posted online. You reminded me of another moment that changed my meditative about how this all operates. Many years ago when wire news became ubiquitous, we was operative for a regressive consider tank and we was mostly invited to be a articulate conduct on several networks.

In the very early years we would customarily be on with somebody like myself — for example, a comparison associate at a magnanimous consider tank. The problem from the indicate of perspective of producers was there were no fireworks given we reputable any other. We accepted what the information was, we accepted what the novel was, the differences were not that good and we mostly concluded with any other. Producers hated this.

I beheld after a few years that we was no longer being put on against a counterpart but instead people that we had no thought who they were. For instance they were a “Democratic consultant” or a “liberal activist” — very deceptive terms. I’d never listened of these people and in fact when we would go online to demeanour them up we couldn’t find anything. It was as if they literally didn’t exist. Another problem was that these people we was up against clearly had gotten media training. All the networks have the same opinion about articulate heads, which is that they wish somebody who’ll give the rote exercise of the Republican line of the day and someone else who’ll give the rote exercise of the Democratic line of the day. There will be positively 0 agreement and preferably they’ll roar at any other and roar and we’ll have fireworks, which are good for ratings.

With your many years of knowledge in Washington, with the news media, and now your new book on “fake news,” how much does the Russia liaison remind you of Watergate? Or do you consider what Robert Mueller uncovers about Donald Trump and his associates will be even worse? 

I wish not. But we am prepared for it. Trump is clearly the many amateurish boss we’ve ever had in the lives. Richard Nixon may good have been the smartest. Nixon was accursed by paranoia, and we consider Trump is as well. The doubt then becomes: Is this insufficiency a good thing or a bad thing? Is it some-more dangerous to have a paranoid amateurish than it was to have a rarely intelligent paranoid person as president? we don’t consider we can tell. When we hear Trump talk, we infrequently have this feeling that he literally had no thought what was going on in his own campaign. He can repudiate these allegations and be ideally guileless in his own mind given nobody told him.

He’s a useful idiot.

That’s one way of describing him. It may be that he is the person who will be the many repelled when the law finally comes out. He may say, “Oh my God, we had no thought my son-in-law was doing such foolish things.”

To watch the inhabitant and global difficulty that is Trump’s presidency in genuine time is unbelievable. If someone had told me 10 years ago that the country would be in such a predicament we would have pronounced they were crazy. Do you feel the same way, or did you see it coming given how extreme the Republican Party has turn over the last few decades?

Well, it’s vastly worse than we could presumably have imagined. we had this naïve thought that Trump had been a successful businessman given he had efficient staff. we just insincere that Trump’s company had an army of lawyers and clamp presidents with MBAs from Harvard Business School who went around like the man behind the elephant in the march with a brush and a trowel cleaning up his messes and regulating the contracts and getting the deals finished scrupulously that their boss was too amateurish to do himself. we just insincere that once he got into the White House we’d find these people would just come in and run things. we was repelled that that wasn’t the case. There was nobody.

If someone were to ask you given Trump’s electorate corroborated him, how would you answer?

That’s the $64,000 question. Certainly a big partial of it was voter fatigue. As distant as the Democrats are endangered it has been loyal given at slightest the post-World War II epoch that any party gets eight years — and only eight years. There is only one difference to that order and it was George H.W. Bush. It was substantially in the cards that whoever got the Republican assignment was in a much better position to win than was generally assumed. Of course, Hillary Clinton incited out to be a historically bad claimant not just in a ubiquitous way but also technically. From what I’ve review about her campaign, Hillary didn’t do statewide polling in the last couple of weeks before the election and really had no thought what was going on in vicious bridgehead states.

The Comey minute [to Congress in late October] was horribly timed of course. we consider there’s been this thought in American politics for a very prolonged time that outsiders have some kind of special present as compared to veteran politicians. Moreover, Republicans just adore the thought of bringing in a businessman to run the government. What they don’t comprehend is what you finish up with is somebody who has positively no training for the job. The many successful presidents in new memory were men with large amounts of skill, namely [Lyndon B.] Johnson and Nixon. They had been in supervision their whole lives.

How did today’s Republican Party, in your estimation, turn the way it is? Can it be saved?

The Republican Party needs to die. It’s already a zombie. It’s brain dead.


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