A New York Times editorial blames the degraded state of the Republican Party on Donald Trump.
Of all the things President Trump has destroyed, the Republican Party is among the most dismaying.
The editorial acknowledges that the party had problems before Trump came along.
“Destroyed” is perhaps too simplistic, though. It would be more precise to say that Mr. Trump accelerated his party’s demise, exposing the rot that has been eating at its core for decades and leaving it a hollowed-out shell devoid of ideas, values or integrity, committed solely to preserving its own power even at the expense of democratic norms, institutions and ideals.
But the editorial ultimately concludes that Trump is the problem.
Today’s G.O.P. ... has ... allowed itself to be co-opted and radicalized by Trumpism. Its ideology has been reduced to a slurry of paranoia, white grievance and authoritarian populism. Its governing vision is reactionary, a cross between obstructionism and owning the libs....
With his dark gospel, the president has enthralled the Republican base, rendering other party leaders too afraid to stand up to him.
But the party was headed here with or without Trump. Keep in mind who's peddling some of the vilest opposition research against Joe Biden -- not just Rudy Giuliani, a prominent figure in the party since the 1980s, but Steve Bannon, who's been a right-wing propagandist since the mid-2000s:
Multiple videos and images purportedly showing Hunter Biden engaging in sexual acts with several women and using drugs were uploaded on a Chinese digital video platform Saturday evening.
The videos and images appear to be uploaded by a single user on GTV, with many of the photos seemingly from a third-party laptop. GTV, a subsidiary of GTV Media Group, was founded in April 2020 by Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon, a former senior adviser to President Trump....
The Washington Examiner confirmed earlier this week that Bannon had access to the contents of the hard drive believed to have belonged previously to Hunter Biden.
But remarkably, this Hunter Biden leak isn't the vilest piece of anti-Democratic oppo out there right now. That honor goes to a "scoop" from a new site called National File:
National File has obtained what a whistleblower has identified as a copy of the complete diary of Ashley Blazer Biden, the 39-year-old daughter of Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, dating from during the 2020 presidential campaign. National File also knows the reported precise location of the physical diary, and has been told by a whistleblower that there exists an audio recording of Ashley Biden admitting this is her diary.
In the diary, which our source says belongs to the former vice president’s daughter, the author writes of her struggle with drug abuse. Ashley Biden’s struggle with drugs was widely publicized in 2009.
According to our source, the diary also details Ashley Biden’s unhealthy relationship with sex....
What follow are excerpts from a diary -- real? fake? -- that are extraordinarily intimate, and that none of us were entitled to see. I'll spare you the details, but even if these excerpts are genuine, they don't come close to making the case the story's author is trying to make: that Joe Biden engaged in inappropriate sexualized behavior, with his daughter as victim. If the diaries are genuine, their publication is a repulsive violation of Ashley Biden, and if they're fake, they're libelous.
And who wrote this story? Patrick Howley, who was a gutter-dweller years before 2016. Here's Howley two years earlier:
Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson has apologized for reporter Patrick Howley's sexist and inappropriate comments about Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray....
On March 19, Howley sparked backlash for tweeting “Not to make an obvious point, but who the Hell would want to pump Rosie Gray?” and "'Pumping' @RosieGray must be the most traumatic experience since Somalia," in response to a blog post which had pushed the sexist and crude suggestion that Gray got her Buzzfeed stories through a sexual relationship with another reporter.
Howley was notorious by then for sexism and racism:
... a Howley-authored piece under the headline “GOP to Howley: Stop masturbating to lesbian Ellen Page” was removed by The Daily Caller after the actress came out of the closet.
In January, Howley ridiculed “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels for doing “his duty to progressive America” and hiring “an unfunny black woman.” Clearly well-versed in the world of comedy, Howley repeatedly called the new cast member, Sasheer Zamata, “unfunny.”
More recently, he's specialized in oppo, some of it based in fact:
In 2019, Howley broke the story of a blackface and KKK costume photograph in Virginia governor Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook after receiving a tip from a "concerned citizen".... Howley's website also broke the news of sexual assault allegations against Virginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax, which it posted without doing fact-checking....
In 2020, writing for NationalFile.com, Howley broke the story of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a woman who was not his wife.
Then, a few days ago, there was this:
Four of his Merchant Marine Academy classmates say Mark Kelly, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, was falsely accused of dressing up for Halloween decades ago as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
National File, a conservative news site, published images Friday asserting the image was Kelly, along with images from a yearbook reportedly dating to the mid-1980s. The site did not quote anyone verifying the images were of Kelly....
Mark Baden, Kelly's roommate at the Merchant Marine Academy, also said the images are not of Kelly.
"I was the First Rotation Regimental Commander," Baden said. "These photos are absolutely not Mark Kelly, and anyone saying that is lying.” ...
Another classmate said through a statement by Kelly's campaign that the images are not of Kelly, a former Navy combat pilot and NASA astronaut.
"I attended the Merchant Marine Academy with Mark," Ed McDonald said. "I attended this event as well and am in this photo. This is a group from 2nd Company. Mark was not in 2nd Company, and that is not him in these photos."
Patrick Howley, the National File reporter, stood by his story.
And waho else is involved in this smear?
One classmate, Peter Lindsey, said in a statement through the campaign that he got a message via LinkedIn from someone who said he was working on a research project about Kelly and sought to verify the identity of the man wearing the costume.
Lindsey said the person shared the costume images through LinkedIn "and asked if the person in the costume was Mark Kelly. I told them no, and want to say again, Mark is not in those photos. I have spoken to numerous classmates about this this evening, and they concur that he is not in any of these pictures. The people spreading these lies should stop."
The person who reached out to Lindsey was identified by the campaign as a paid consultant for a super political action committee aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y., that is spending millions of dollars to help defeat Kelly.
So the smear merchant who chose to publish extremely sensitive excerpts from a diary purportedly written by Joe Biden's daughter is peddling a false accusation on behalf of a Mitch McConnell super PAC.
Donald Trump didn't drag the Republican Party into the sewer. It was already there.