Thursday, September 03, 2015

GOP Front-Runner Donald Trump Defines The Republican Party's "Deep Bench": "Bunch Of Clowns, Bunch Of Real Clowns"


Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment was, at least superficially, sacrosanct among Republicans... until Trump took over the party. Reagan, from his 1990 book An American Life:
The personal attacks against me during the primary finally became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It's a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.
In the video compilation above, Trump is shown doing the kind of takedown of his party's presidential field that Hillary Clinton would never dare. "We have losers, we have losers. We have people who don't have it," the TV reality-show star said of the party's "deep bench." Trump is busy rendering Jeb Bush unelectable, emphasizing a series of ugly, off-putting personality traits that voters will flee from. He has no energy; he's "an unhappy person," as well as being "weak" and "a puppet to his donors." In sum: "How the hell can you vote for this guy?"

Trump has already obliterated Rick Perry, who was governor of the biggest Republican state in America for 15 years. After he famously declared that Perry should "have to have an IQ test before getting on the debate stage," Perry's campaign fizzled out entirely. He never went beyond 1 or 2% in the polls again. 

Then there's this: "This guy Lindsey Graham-- a total lightweight. He doesn't seem like a very bright guy. He actually, probably, seems to me, not as bright, honestly, as Rick Perry." Lindsey is lucky he doesn't have to run for his Senate seat again for five years. (And Trump hasn't even outed him yet!)

And anyone who didn't know that John Kasich was a Lehman Bros managing director when the company went belly up and nearly upended the entire U.S. economy... well, Trump reminded them. As for Carly Fiorina: "She ran Hewlett Packard into the ground; then her stock value tanked. She laid off tens of thousands of people. And she got viciously fired." Many Republicans didn't know that about Carly Fiorina. Now they do.

Nor has he been gentle with the candidate the Koch brothers had originally settled on: Scott Walker. "Wisconsin's doing terribly; the roads are a distaster, the hospitals and education are a disaster." He skewers Rand Paul ("weak on the military... weak on immigration-- he's weak on everything") and Marco Rubio, and then he's back to how much of an unqualified moron Jeb Bush is. Jeb's responses-- his pathetic attempts to "hit back" at the bully-- only underline what a terrible leader he would make. It never pays to roll around in the mud with a pig, unless you plan to use a butcher knife.
Bush does not seem to be radiating much joy these days.

He said last year that he would run for president only if he could do so with a sunny spirit, but Mr. Trump, the unlikely front-runner who gleefully ignores the traditional rules of political engagement, has turned this summer into a miserable one for Mr. Bush.

There is the personal ridicule-- constantly questioning Mr. Bush’s vigor, invoking a since-retracted statement by his mother, Barbara Bush, that “we’ve had enough Bushes” in the White House, and even alluding to his wife’s Mexican heritage in discussing immigration.

But the torment goes deeper than that. Emphasizing bluster over ideas, Mr. Trump has turned the campaign into a tabloid-style clash of personalities, heavy on provocation and insults. What little policy that has been discussed mostly revolves around Mr. Trump’s appeals to anxious white conservatives: stoking fears about immigrants, gang members and foreign countries that, in his telling, are eclipsing America.

It is a race, in other words, that embodies what Mr. Bush likes least about politics.

Mr. Bush is at his most animated discussing policy. And the only thing he may be more passionate about than issues is his conviction that the Republicans must become an inclusive, big-hearted party that appeals to people’s hopes rather than their resentments.

“It’s got to be difficult,” said John McKager Stipanovich, a veteran Florida lobbyist who has known Mr. Bush for over 30 years. “Donald Trump epitomizes everything that Jeb has spent his political career trying to prevent the Republican Party from becoming.”

...“He attacks me every day with nonsense, with things that aren’t true,” Mr. Bush said in Spanish, before saying much the same in English: “He tries to personalize everything. If you are not totally in agreement with him, you’re an idiot, or stupid, or you have no energy, or blah, blah, blah. That’s what he does.”

...More than annoyance is at stake. Mr. Bush’s advisers say they believe that the relentless mockery by Mr. Trump is contributing to their candidate’s slide in the polls. In a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, more Iowa Republicans view Mr. Bush unfavorably than favorably. Mr. Bush has also slipped in some national surveys, falling into single digits and well back in the Republican pack.

The campaign does not want donors and up-for-grab Republican voters to see Mr. Bush as meekly absorbing Mr. Trump’s blows, so Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, has begun to criticize Mr. Trump aggressively on the campaign trail. This week, he released a video highlighting the developer’s previous liberal views.

Still, seemingly powerless to pull Mr. Trump down, Mr. Bush and his advisers are expressing anger over what they see as the news media’s enabling of Mr. Trump by not scrutinizing his far-fetched plans, such as making Mexico pay for a wall along the United States’ southern border.

“Look, this guy’s the front-runner,” Mr. Bush said last week at a town-hall-style meeting in Norfolk, Va. “He should be treated like a front-runner, not like some kind of alternative universe to the political system.”

At a private fund-raiser the night before in Richmond, Va., Mr. Bush was even more direct when asked by a contributor what he would do about Mr. Trump. Mr. Bush said with a touch of wonder that Mr. Trump’s rise reminded him of reality TV, adding that he was the only candidate taking on the bombastic front-runner and that he hoped the news media would begin aggressively vetting Mr. Trump, according to an attendee.

UPDATE: From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In yesterday's Washington Post Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author, all-time leading NBA scorer and former cultural ambassador for the United States, opined about how Trump and Bernie Sanders differ.
Ernest Hemingway once said that courage was “grace under pressure.” Two presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, have recently tested this proposition. And how each man responded revealed the type of person he is and the type of president he would make: Trump authored his own doom, and Sanders opened immense new possibilities as a compassionate person and serious candidate for president.

...Americans may flirt with the preppy life of the frathouse partier because he’s poked sacred cows, said stuff we all wish we could say (except that reason keeps us from doing it), and acted buffoonishly entertaining. But when you wake up the next morning and he’s saying you’re now in a four-year relationship, reason comes rushing in, and it is time for the “it’s me, not you” speech. With over a year until the elections, there are too many Republican hopefuls that dilute the polls. Once the herd thins out (Rick Perry seems out of money; Bobby Jindal out of breath; Huckabee out of touch), other candidates with more substance will have their voices heard. And when it comes down to just three or four candidates, Trump’s blustering inarticulation and dodging of questions will seem untrustworthy.

Although each absurd, uninformed or just plain incorrect statement seems to give Trump a bump in the polls, there are only so many times supporters can defend his outrageous assault on decency, truth and civility. Yes, a few will remain no matter what. (One 63-year-old woman told CNN that the Republicans were out to discredit Trump: “They twisted what the words were, because they’re trying to destroy him.” No one has to twist his words because what he says is twisted enough. He speaks fluent pretzel.) But voters will eventually see the light.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders faced his own challenge at a political event last month, when two African American women pushed in front of him to use the microphone to demand four and a half minutes of silence to honor the death of Michael Brown. Sanders left the stage and mingled with the crowd. Later, Trump criticized Sanders as being “weak” for allowing them to speak, but truly he showed grace under pressure by acknowledging their frustration and anger. Instead of bullying their voices into silence or ridiculing them as losers, pigs or bimbos, Sanders left. After all, it was not his event; he was a guest. Besides, his voice was not silenced, but came back booming even louder: The next day, Sanders posted a sweeping policy of reform to fight racial inequality. (The timing coincided with Michael Brown’s death and had nothing to do with the two women.)

The two approaches reveal the difference between a mature, thoughtful and intelligent man, and a man whose money has made him arrogant to criticism and impervious to feeling the need to have any actual policies. Trump threatens to run an independent campaign (he won’t; that’s a negotiating ploy). Trump is a last-call candidate who looks good in the boozy dark of political inebriation.

...Two roads diverged in a political wood, and one man took the road of assaulting the Constitution and soon will be lost forever. The other will be a viable candidate who, regardless of whether he wins the nomination, will elevate the political process into something our Founding Fathers would be proud of.
Trump, of course, responded in typical classy Trumpian fashion:

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