The Last Word
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Jason, how did it happen? Bob corker complaining about his Republican senate colleagues as a cult at this point.
JASON JOHNSON: You know, the Republican branding to cult 45 has been going for a couple of years now, right? This idea that you can get elected, that you can be in power, that you can push through policy, not because of some long existing principle, but just because you have a personality that people like. And the Republican party has been pushing for this for years, right? This goes back to Reagan. You know, there was a cult of Reagan we were talking about all the way up to Romney. I don’t know if you remember this, but remember a couple of years ago there was actually like a bid for some of Reagan's blood. I mean, that’s as cult-like as you can get. There were people who worshiped Reagan. But, what's been happening with Trump is that there is no policy associated with it. It's just who people think Trump is and the Republican party is going to follow him down this path and it ends up like most cults end up, which is death and destruction to everybody involved.
MSNBC, continuing to seize on Tennessee Senator Bob Corker deriding the Republican Party for acting like a "cult," has doubled down on the accusations of cultish-ness that started with Chris Matthews. While appearing on The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday, The Root’s editor Jason Johnson suggested that cults of personality have infected the GOP for decades.
Johnson argued that Republicans have turned to the “idea that you can get elected, that you can be in power, that you can push through policy, not because of some long existing principle, but just because you have a personality that people like.” The phenomenon, however, isn’t new, and Johnson said that “This goes back to Reagan. You know, there was a cult of Reagan we were talking about all the way up to Romney.”
Never mind that this is coming from the network that fell head-over-heels for Obama, personality and all. It was Matthews himself who said of Obama in 2009: “I think the President's speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful...But what I liked about the President's speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility.” At the time, he seemed more preoccupied with Obama’s persona rather than any policy or well-outlined principles. Instead, it was his lofty words, according to Matthews’ guest Evan Thomas, that showed Obama “standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."
To bolster his claim Wednesday night, Johnson cited how “a couple of years ago there was actually like a bid for some of Reagan's blood,” as proof that crazy Republicans worshiped Reagan. Johnson was not joking, either, speaking seriously as he recounted this otherwise minor oddity as if it were the key to understanding Republicans. But while macabre, this sort of thing is not all that unusual. A quick scan of the internet shows that people (or maybe cultists) were quick to snap up Obama’s DNC Speech, a car he once leased, even a recliner he sat in.
According to Johnson, however, things are particularly dire these days, and the Republican Trump cult will end up “like most cults end up, which is death and destruction to everybody involved.”
Johnson et al. are quick to put on blinders and attack Republicans for something they once practiced under Obama: liking a president personally or, in other words, as “a guy you’d want to get a beer with”.
The full transcript is below: