The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Slam Dunk

Peggy Noonan contends, correctly, I think, that the GOP is in the process of fracturing. The party elite have performed poorly for years, have allowed a Democrat president to outflank them at virtually every turn (to the clear detriment of the United States) and create an imperial presidency in which constitutional protections have been jettisoned and replaced with executive edicts that the GOP base abhors. The party elite were reactive rather than proactive. When Barack Obama demonized them in a manner that is both unpresidential and unprecedented, they didn't hit back in ways that are open to the Congress and would have helped control a corrupt, hyperpartisan president. The GOP base became angry.

In 2012, the GOP candidate was a good decent man who had every qualification to replace Barack Obama—a president who had (in just 4 years) failed in everything he attempted. Because Mitt Romney was a good, decent man, he didn't fight back with enough intensity when the Democrats effectively vilified him—after all, it wouldn't be civil, would it? He lost badly. The GOP base's anger grew.

Today, the result is Donald Trump, a man who, like Obama, is unqualified for the office he seeks with a temperament, like Obama, that is vindictive and shallow.

And here were are. Noonan writes:
[My] column has been pretty devoted the past nine months to everything that gave rise to this moment, to Mr. Trump. His supporters disrespect the system—fair enough, it’s earned disrespect. They see Washington dysfunction and want to break through it—fair enough. In a world of thugs, they say, he will be our thug. Politics is a freak show? He’s our freak. They know they’re lowering standards by giving the top political job in America to a man who never held office. But they feel Washington lowered all standards first. They hate political correctness—there is no one in the country the past quarter-century who has not been embarrassed or humiliated for using the wrong word or concept or having the wrong thought—and see his rudeness as proof he hates PC too.

“He can think outside the box.” Can he ever.

He is a one-man wrecking crew of all political comportment, and a carrier of that virus. Yet his appeal is not only his outrageousness.

He is a divider of the Republican Party and yet an enlarger of the tent. His candidacy is contributing to record turnouts in primary after primary, and surely bringing in Democrats and independents. But it should concern his supporters that his brain appears to be a grab bag of impulses, and although he has many views and opinions he doesn’t seem to know anything about public policy or the way the White House or the government actually works.

He is unpredictable, which his supporters see as an advantage. But in a harrowing, hair-trigger world it matters that the leaders of other nations be able to calculate with some reasonable certainty what another leader would do under a given set of circumstances.
The tragedy of this is that there are no good outcomes (barring a miracle ending in which a GOP moderate rises out of a brokered convention and gains the support of the entire party). Heh, there are no miracles in politics.

The GOP will likely give this election to the Democrats—a party that has veered so far left that it embraces the corruption, the vindictiveness, the bad decisions and horrific outcomes, the poor economy, the lack of jobs, the crushing national debt, the growing dependency that have been hallmarks of the Obama years. Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate if she's not indicted on felony charges, promises to continue the Obama legacy. Wow! That's. Just. Great.

When a 6'10" NBA player breaks away and moves in for a slam dunk—and misses—the crowd gasps. After all, it's an unmissable shot, until it isn't. Because Obama is a failed president, because the country and the world is a mess on his watch, because partisan politics or worse pervades almost everything he does, a 2016 win for the GOP was a slam dunk. Until it wasn't.


After I wrote this post, I ran across this from the conservative Investors Business Daily. They argue that Donald Trump just might give Hillary Clinton fits:
... Trump’s unpredictability makes him a lot harder to beat. But that’s hardly the only edge that the GOP front-runner has:

* Enthusiasm gap: Thanks to Trump, turnout has been stronger for Republicans in every single primary race, up double digits across the board. Trump has far more votes than Romney did at this point in 2012 — a whopping 200,000 more in Virginia and 60,000 more even in Massachusetts, Romney’s home state.

* Crossover appeal: Exit polls from open primaries show that Trump is also attracting record numbers of independents and even Reagan Democrats, which could capture swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

* The black vote: Trump threatens for the first time to peel a sizable share of black voters from Democrats. Polls show that he garners as much as 25% of African-Americans — five times the GOP average.

* Electoral College: Trump’s home states of New York and Florida, both blue states, may also be in play, along with their massive electoral votes. A Siena College poll of Long Island voters last week found Trump narrowly beating Clinton, 41% to 38%. Even deep-blue Massachusetts is vulnerable — more than 20,000 Bay State Democrats have fled the party, with thousands doing so to join the Republican ranks amid the Trump surge.

* Media mastery: Trump would burn through Hillary’s most reliable firewall: the mainstream media. He’s already taken a politically incorrect blowtorch to the pro-Democrat media filter.

* Greed is good: Trump won’t hide from his wealth like Romney. He’ll actually brag about it, vowing to help make every American rich and neutralizing what’s been the Democrats’ most effective weapon against tax-cutting Republicans in the past: class warfare.

* Offense: Unlike Bernie Sanders, Trump vows to hammer Hillary over her email and foreign influence-peddling scandals every day of the campaign.

* Defense: Hillary will think twice about playing the sexist card against Trump. “She called me sexist, and I hit her with the husband, and that’s the last time I ever heard the word sexist,” he noted Thursday, referring to the Lewinsky scandal and Bill Clinton’s womanizing. “They had a rough weekend.”
The real, problem though, is that the country just might have a 108 "rough weekends" regardless of whether The Donald (should he get the nomination) or Hillary (should she avoid an indictment) is elected. Pathetic.