Many mainstream Republicans fret in private about the popularity of political clown Donald Trump among their party’s low-income and ever lower IQ voters.
A few express dismay openly but even fewer are doing a damn thing about the flamboyant billionaire liar who has laid waste to the Republican landscape and turned the 2016 Presidential campaign into a farce.
Some blame Trump’s position at the top of the polls on the pitiful field of other candidates who seek to find a way back into the White House after eight years of Democratic control under Barack Obama.
And while there is some truth about the lack of pizzazz in the GOP candidate ranks, the real blame can be found eight years ago when consultants for then-Presidential candidate John McCain came up with the lamebrain idea to tap Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate.
As senior consultant Steve Schmidt explained the decision after the election, McCain needed “a celebrity” on the ticket to combat the star power of candidate Obama. Palin was reasonably attractive and the party spent a ton of money making her over with makeup and clothes and she talked like a conservative.
There was just one big problem: She was stupid. She couldn’t identify the names of leaders or even name a newspaper that she read. She was, and still is, a flighty trollop who didn’t have a single real qualification for an office that could have put her a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
But the same lowbrow Republicans who now genuflect to the feet of Donald Trump loved McCain. In interviews they declared her “the real thing” and “the future of the Republican Party and the nation.”
Sadly, the emergence of Trump as the GOP frontrunner for the Presidential nomination eight years later probably proved them right that Palin’s “look good but know nothing” political style could take the party into the twilight zone.
In appearance, Trump appears to be an opposite of Palin. His gut spills out over his belt, his wildly-styled comb-over shoots out in all directions when the wind strikes and his facial expressions at the podium provide a cornucopia of options for photographers.
He’s a political caricature in a political world where flamboyance triumphs substance and angry insults supplant reasoned debates. Trump is an apparent student of human nature and his antics are carefully designed to attract the seething anger of the fearful and ignorant masses that dominate the GOP.
His blather appeals to those who want one-liners that appeal to their base instinct and who have no desire or ability to look beyond the words. Both Trump and Palin spit out words that appeal to those who want simple, often violent, solutions to difficult problems.
Trump says Palin has a place in his cabinet when he becomes President and, in typical style, he declares there is no chance that he won’t take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania on Jan. 20, 2016.
Writes former White House chief of statt Bill Daley in The Washington Post”
You can choose from a litany of insurrections, government shutdowns and other self-inflicted wounds. But this year’s carnival-like GOP presidential primary makes one event, in retrospect, stand out as a crucial turning point on the road to upheaval: the 2008 embrace of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat from the presidency.
Palin’s blatant lack of competence and preparedness needs no belaboring. What’s critical is that substantive, serious Republican leaders either wouldn’t or couldn’t declare, before or after the election: “This is not what our party stands for. We can and must do better.”
By the campaign’s end, GOP operatives were shielding Palin from even the simplest questions. (She had flunked “what newspapers do you read?”). Barack Obama cruised to victory.
Trump calls Palin “a special person” he’d like in his Cabinet. That seems only fair, because he’s thriving in the same cynical value system that puts opportunistic soundbites above seriousness, preparedness and intellectual heft.
Most Republican strategists never thought Trump would be much of a problem or a threat for the GOP nomination, much less the Presidency. Now they huddle behind closed doors and work on plans to derail the mouth that roared.
If it too late? Possibly. Republicans sowed the seeds eight years ago with the Sarah Palin debacle. Now the idiocy is in full bloom.
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