The Putin Wing Of The Republican Party Is Gaining Strength
The Democratic Party doesn't have a Putin wing-- unless you want to include Tulsi Gabbard, who virtually no Democrats consider a Democrat and who seems to have reverted to her GOP family traditions. She's given up her hopes of running for governor of Hawaii and is angling for a future cabinet position in a Ron DeSantis administration. Anyway, yesterday afternoon the Democrats introduced a resolution "calling on the U.S. Government to uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and establish a Center for Democratic Resilience within the headquarters of NATO, a step to far for the GOP's Putin wing, many of whom were celebrating the victory in Hungary for fascist and Putin-ally Viktor Orban and against whom that Center for Democratic Resilience was clearly aimed. It passed with every Democrat and 143 Republicans, just 63 fascist Republicans voting no-- these 63:
Are all the members of the Putin wing of the GOP fascists? Yeah... pretty much so. They're just not all equally well known. The ring leaders are neo-Nazi crackpots like Marjorie Traitor Greene (CO), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Andy Biggs (AZ), Gym Jordan (OH), Louie Gohmert (TX), Matt Rosendale (MT), Lauren Boebert (CO), Scott Perry (PA), Matt Gaetz (FL), Scott DesJarlais (TN), Andrew Clyde (GA), Mary Miller (IL), Paul Gosar (AZ), Thomas Massie (KY), Clay Higgins (LA)... basically the Gang-Greene, the KKK Caucus.
Charles Davis wrote for the Business Insider that "Citing the threat posed by 'authoritarian regimes' as well as 'internal threats from proponents of illiberalism,' the resolution calls on the Biden administration to uphold NATO's 'founding democratic principles' ... [and for] the center providing member states assistance to strengthen their own democratic institutions." You can imagine how that went over with the Putin wing of the GOP, just 2 days after Orban's big win. Remember, Trump had endorsed Orban and he was also pushed by the Fox Nazis, particularly Tucker Carlson who traveled to Budapest to support the fascist, pro-Putin agenda.
And no doubt much of the Gang Greene will be there soon too. After all, CPAC is putting together a pan-fascist conference there next month. The conference is seen by the congressional fascists who voted against the resolution yesterday as a test of how closely American fascists are willing to openly align themselves with a global movement of far-right, Russia-friendly strongmen embraced by Senor Trumpanzee. Of course Orban will be the keynote speaker.
The European Union has accused Orban, who won re-election by a large margin on Sunday, of curbing media and judicial independence, enriching associates with public funds and recasting election laws to entrench his power.
Hungary joined in the EU sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But Orban has stopped short of criticizing Putin directly, barred weapons shipments through Hungary to neighboring Ukraine and opposed proposals for EU sanctions on Russian natural gas.
The Hungary meeting reflects a years-long push by CPAC’s organizers, the American Conservative Union (ACU), to promote Trump’s divisive brand of nationalist populism to foreign audiences. Last fall, a similar CPAC-branded meeting was held in Brazil, spotlighting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right leader and Putin admirer.
...The Hungary gathering spotlights an emerging split among Republicans. While some have grown more tolerant of Putin and other foreign leaders with authoritarian tendencies, others are alarmed at the association.
Al Cardenas, who served as ACU’s chairman from 2011 to 2014, called CPAC’s embrace of Orban troubling, noting the Hungarian leader’s close ties to Putin, “the most dangerous adversary of the free world.”
“Orban is no friend of democratic nations, and any gestures or cooperation with USA nonprofits sends the wrong signal to the rest of the world, especially in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine war,” said Cardenas, who was also once head of Florida’s Republican Party.
On one side of the Republican split are traditional anti-authoritarian conservatives, who value personal freedoms, limited government and free markets, says Gregg Keller, who was ACU’s executive director from 2011 to 2014, working alongside Cardenas, and now heads the Atlas Strategy Group, a political consulting firm. Keller describes this typically older group as “Reagan internationalist-type folks.”
Their ideology increasingly clashes with Trump’s strongest supporters, who Keller describes as “more populist, younger, isolationist folks,” who view Putin’s attack on Ukraine as “none of our concern.” Many Trump backers admire Orban for using his political dominance to push a conservative cultural agenda, from immigration crackdowns to restrictions on LGBTQ rights.
With CPAC Hungary, Keller said, "you’re seeing those two opposing views very much go head-to-head.”
The ACU, which has condemned Putin’s war, has received requests to host similar CPAC gatherings in dozens of other countries where like-minded groups have offered to co-sponsor events, said ACU Executive Director Daniel Schneider. He said the organization has heard from potential sponsors in Slovakia, Kenya, Mongolia, Guatemala and other locales.
The foreign co-hosts of CPAC events cover the cost of the offshore meetings, Schneider said. The Budapest conference is co-hosted by a Hungarian think tank that receives funding from Orban’s government; the Brazil meeting was co-hosted by a Brazilian think tank owned by Eduardo Bolsonaro, the president’s son and a far-right Brazilian lawmaker.
CPAC Hungary, scheduled for May 18-20, marks its first meeting in Europe and its fifth foreign gathering since the ACU first took the conference abroad to Japan in 2017.
Some U.S. conservatives are concerned about CPAC’s reliance on foreign sponsors and the exposure those groups get to influential conservative officials and leaders.
In February, a Republican strategist filed an anonymous complaint to the U.S. Justice Department, alleging that the ACU and its leaders have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to report money they accept from foreign organizations while promoting those groups’ interests to U.S. audiences. The written complaint, reviewed by Reuters, essentially serves as a formal request for a federal investigation. The Justice Department declined to confirm or deny whether it was investigating.
The complaint charges that foreign hosts of at least three overseas CPAC meetings, including CPAC Hungary, provided more than $150,000 in sponsorships for CPAC’s marquee U.S. meeting in February in Orlando, Florida. The complainant, a longtime CPAC attendee, expressed disappointment in an interview with Reuters over “how ACU has monetized CPAC to foreign actors” and given them a platform in the United States.
...“We're almost seeing a political realignment in real time" on the American right, said Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative commentator, “and so much of it is in Donald Trump's shadow.”
While old-school conservatives are deeply skeptical of government power, Erickson said, Trump has inspired national populists "who want a strong central government that can impose their will on the country.” Many of them believe traditional conservatism has failed to stop the advancement of left-wing culture, Erickson said, and “they want to move on to something new.”
Orban was the first European leader to endorse Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. He is among an array of hardline leaders, including Putin, whom Trump has publicly admired. Trump recently endorsed Orban in the April 3 Hungarian election, which Orban won with 53% of the vote against a six-party coalition.
...Many U.S. conservatives have come to envy Orban’s use of government power to impose a conservative cultural agenda, said Kim Lane Scheppele, a Princeton University professor of sociology and international affairs who studies Hungarian politics. "Hungary has become, for the Trumpist Republicans, what Sweden used to be for the social democrats-- it's proof of concept," Scheppele said.
Orban touts what he calls "illiberal democracy" and depicts himself as a Christian defender of European heritage. He uses anti-immigration policies to repel Muslim migrants and rejects liberal European positions on social issues, such as adoption by gay couples.
Rod Dreher, a columnist at the American Conservative, sees Orban’s Hungary as a model for post-Trump conservatism. Dreher, whose latest book, Live Not By Lies, was translated into Hungarian, took a selfie with Orban on a recent visit to Budapest and tweeted it with the message, "Hey haters!"
“Orban, unlike so many of our own conservative politicians, understands that we are in a battle to defend our civilization--and he fights like it,” Dreher said, adding that CPAC Hungary will show American conservatives "what nationalist, populist conservative governance can be.”
American fascists, once they take over governance of states, need no lessons from Hungary. Take Oklahoma for example, with its 100% all fascist state government. Just yesterday, reported the Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto and Jennifer Calfas, Oklahoma's far right legislature passed a clearly unconstitutional ban on abortions. "The Oklahoma bill," they wrote, "bans abortion from the beginning of pregnancy except if the life of the mother is in danger. There is no exception for rape or incest. Under the law, an abortion provider could face up to 10 years in prison. Mothers wouldn’t face criminal penalties." The fascist governor, Kevin Stitt, has boasted he would sign any and all anti-Choice legislation that makes it to his desk.
Anyone who want to know what the GOP intends to do if they win the midterms need look no further than a backward Republican-governed state like Oklahoma.
Republican-led states have passed several bills this year tightening restrictions on abortion, anticipating that the Supreme Court in the coming months could issue a decision weakening or eliminating constitutional protections established under Roe v. Wade in deciding a case from Mississippi.
Florida, Arizona and Kentucky each passed 15-week bans on abortion, mirroring the Mississippi law.
Lawmakers have also passed legislation strengthening abortion rights in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision. Colorado and New Jersey recently passed legislation establishing a right to an abortion and other types of reproductive healthcare under state statute. Voters in Vermont will cast ballots in November on a constitutional amendment establishing a right to an abortion.
The Oklahoma bill as written violates the constitutional protections for abortion currently laid out by the Supreme Court. Rep. Jim Olsen, the bill’s sponsor in the House, said proponents of the legislation hope that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Mississippi case will give the states more power to restrict abortion.