How Trump Has Foiled The Campaigns of A New Jersey Governor And A Texas Senator To Capture The GOP's Ralph Kramden Vote
Chris Christie had hoped to ride his patented loutish behavior to the Republican nomination. An advocate of violence and threats towards women teachers seemed to think he would come off as charming to the kind of people who found Jackie Gleason's 1950's era Ralph Kramden charming. (Note: Although The Honeymooners went as high as #2 in the ratings, it only lasted one year-- October 1, 1955 till September 22, 1956, 39 episodes-- before people grew sick of the misogyny-- "One of these days... POW!!! Right in the kisser!" and "BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the moon!"-- and of Kramden's bellowing, insulting demeanor.)
Yesterday on CNN's State of the Union, Christie was still at it, telling Jake Tapper that the teachers' union deserved a punch in the face. The teachers' union is made up of teachers, most of whom are women. "They’re not for education for our children. They’re for greater membership, greater benefits, greater pay for their members. And they are the single most destructive force in public education in America. I have been saying that since 2009."
The NJ teachers' union president responded by saying, "Chris Christie's instinct is always to threaten, bully, and intimidate instead of build consensus and show true leadership. That's not news in New Jersey." It might be news in the rest of the country, since Christie's weak campaign hasn't been able to cut through the intense coverage of Donald Trump, who has appropriated the Ralph Kramden (of Brooklyn, like Trump) shtick even more effectively than Christie.
Along the same lines, Texas extremist Ted Cruz hoped he could become the model of the anti-Establishment Republican angry man and channel the discontent many Republicans have twards their own deceitful, conflicted and dysfunctional party into his own campaign. Again, foiled by the show biz self-promoter, Trump.
Yesterday Michael Needham, head honcho at the extreme right Heritage Action super-PAC and a long-time Cruz partisan, told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that the Beltway Republican Establishment is alienating its base by ignoring its concerns. "Most Republican voters hate their party," he told Fox's easily manipulated viewers, "and that’s what needs to be addressed... People are sick of this. It’s a game."
Needham charged that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is gaining traction with Americans because he is a political outsider.This past week, Cruz went on a noisy jihad against Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a way of signaling Republican malcontents that Trump isn't the only angry man running for the GOP nomination. It doesn't appear to have done much, although his place in the top 10 for Thursday's Fox News "debate" seems assured.
Trump’s freedom from Republican leadership, he added, is winning him potential voters.
“Donald Trump is a symptom of a party who has decided they will govern based on special interests,” Needham said.
“The reason Donald Trump is getting enthusiasm is that he’s ticking off all of the right people,” he said of establishment Republicans.
“If you can identify the crux of cronyism in Washington, D.C., that’s how you start building trust,” Needham added.
Needham’s comments come as Republicans consider one of the largest presidential fields in recent memory.
The Heritage Action for America CEO said on Sunday that the party’s eventual nominee is the contender who best represents true conservatives.
“There’s going to be a candidate who says it’s time for us to change,” Needham said.
“That candidate is going to be someone who unites traditional Republicans, the Tea Party, independents and even former Democrats,” he said.
“This isn’t going to be the same drill we’ve seen all over again,” Needham added of the 2016 race.
Most of the Republicans are wary of taking on Mr. Trump because he seems impenetrable, yet they also do not want to look weak in the face of his attacks. The best they can hope for is that Mr. Trump will attack their biggest perceived opponent; one ally of Mr. Cruz, who is running hard in Iowa, said he would like nothing more than for Mr. Trump to continue criticizing the Wisconsin record of Mr. Walker in hopes of weakening him in Iowa.Conservative men feel they're the victims of pushy women. There are Democrats in that category too, but only one political party has taken it to heart and made it part of its image. And, as GOP longshot Christie explained to NBC's John Harwood in New Hampshire, he insists he won't try to match the decibel or outrage levels of his longtime friend Donald Trump or others like Mike Huckabee. "Some people are feeling the pressure to try to be outrageous to get on the news," he said. "If you think you've got the best product, you've got to be patient. Slow, steady progress. So I'm not going to get into the hyperbole."
“You only attack the king if you can kill him; otherwise you leave him alone, because the king will kill you,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster. “So the candidates better have something good ready if they come after Trump. Or they might try to find a way, in their responses, to remind Trump of something that another candidate said that really bothered him.”
Stagecraft is critical, especially for Mr. Bush and Mr. Walker, since they are expected to be standing on either side of Mr. Trump and often in the same camera shot. Advisers say they are confident that Mr. Bush and Mr. Walker will not scowl or stiffen in reaction to anything Mr. Trump says, but rather will seek opportunities to look and sound more presidential than he does-- and like the strongest opponent to Hillary Rodham Clinton, should she become the Democratic nominee.
...Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is crafting one-minute answers and 30-second rebuttals in case Mr. Trump or others continue attacking him as a flip-flopper on Common Core education standards and as a weak jobs creator, testing lines in mock debates with advisers playing Mr. Trump and other candidates.
He's casting himself as the candidate most willing to tackle serious issues with specific, if controversial, ideas. He has proposed raising the retirement age and denying Social Security benefits to senior citizens with more than $200,000 of annual income. He has proposed eliminating most income tax deductions-- including the deduction for state and local levies that helps residents of high-tax states like New Jersey-- to get the top rate down to 28 percent. ...In the first 2016 Republican debate on Fox News this week, Christie may face criticism from more conservative rivals of his decision to expand Medicaid in New Jersey under Obamacare. He insists he isn't worried.
"They don't have to buy it," he said. "It was what was best for the state of New Jersey. I'm going to make decisions based on what is best for the people that I'm elected to represent. That's what I did on Medicaid expansion."