"Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition."
“He caught a glimpse of Goring striding around the room dressed in a white shirt blue and blue gray trousers tucked into the black jack boots that rose above his knees. “Puss-in-boots” Gisevius thought suddenly.
Goring shouted instructions.
‘Shoot them...Take a whole company...Shoot them...Shoot them at once!’
Gisevius found it appalling beyond description. ‘The written word cannot reproduce the undisguised blood lust, vicious vengefulness and at the same time the fear the pure funk that’s the scene revealed.”
"Trump is a uniquely diseased man, it’s true. But what kind of political party nominates, celebrates, venerates, and takes political bullets for a uniquely diseased man?"
“The Republican Party started life as a grand and admirable thing. Our anti-slavery party; our conscience. Its leader was assassinated, and in short order it became the party of Wall Street, and it remained that for a century, though it always contained within it conservatives, moderates, and even some liberals.
Then, starting in the 1980s, it lost the liberals. Then, in the 1990s, it started to lose most of the moderates, as right-wing issue and interest groups and Koch money began to define what constituted “conservatism,” pushing it ever-further rightward so that today it really isn’t even conservatism, but just a collection of grievances that they can use to piss off enough white people to stay in power.
Bill Barr came of political age in this period. He was a young, right-wing legal hotshot at the time of originalism, the Federalist Society, the rise of the right-wing arguments about a strong executive.
Lindsey Graham came of political age in this period. He was first elected to the South Carolina state legislature in the 1990s defeating a Democrat, and then just two years later made it to Congress, beating one of those post-civil rights-era Dixie Democrats who, throughout the 80s and 90s, were turned out of office by Republicans who were pushing their party, and their region, much farther to the right than it had been.
Their apologetics today are the natural consequences of their having marinated in these juices of resentment and rage for all the years they have. It’s what the party has become. And of course it’s the party that produced and elevated a gangster like Trump. It’s all of a piece.
And all of it along the way—every racist dog whistle, every Rush Limbaugh rant, every false, out-of-thin-air accusation against Bill and Hillary Clinton, every lie about easily liberating the people of Iraq, every accusation that the rest of us hated freedom, every “joke” about Obama serving fried chicken, every disgusting attack on immigrants and gay people and you name it—has brought us to this point. Brought us to today, when a sitting attorney general said in effect to the American people whose interests he is supposed to be defending, “No, I truly do not give a fuck. I’m up here for the president, and that’s that.” And naturally, we learned three hours after he left the Senate chamber that he will not deign to appear at the House, where the questioning would likely be tougher.
Trump is a uniquely diseased man, it’s true. But what kind of political party nominates, celebrates, venerates, and takes political bullets for a uniquely diseased man?
So after today, if we didn’t before, we see now with a new and oddly liberating clarity where this is headed. It’s 18 months until Election Day. They may well be the most consequential and frightening stretch in the history of the country, or at least since Reconstruction.
This racket known as a political party will try to pervert the law in ways we’ve never seen. Reverse the meaning of every word we know. Trump is screaming that he’s the victim of a “coup.” What he is doing, of course, is perpetrating a coup, against the Constitution, with the eager help of Barr and Graham and all the rest of them. Trump is an idiot, but on some intuitive level, he’s a smart man, smart enough to know that to get away with staging a coup, the very first thing you have to do is to accuse your opponents of trying to stage one.
Barr and Graham and Mitch McConnell and everyone else around knows that they’ve thrown in, and having thrown in, they can’t throw out. Survival will require every kind of lie you can imagine, especially and exactly the lie of accusing their foes of that which they are doing themselves. And before this is over, they’re all going to be in on it.
The Daily Beast