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Hullabaloo


Saturday, January 23, 2016

 

Antics roadshow

by Tom Sullivan

The National Review's "dump Trump" edition this week attracted plenty of commentary, including from Digby and Amanda Marcotte. The Republican National Committee, having raised a white flag to Donald Trump, disinvited the National Review from partnering on a February 25 candidate debate in Houston. There is feverish pearl clutching on the pundit circuit, especially in the pages of the Washington Post (being closer to political ground zero than the Times, one supposes).

"A xenophobic and bigoted showman is now the face of the Republican Party and of American conservatism," writes Dana Milbank. He observes that the Wall Street Journal wrote last July, “If Donald Trump becomes the voice of conservatives, conservatism will implode along with him.” Now the Journal has changed its tune:

A week ago, the Journal reversed course. “Mr. Trump is a better politician than we ever imagined, and he is becoming a better candidate,” the editorialists wrote, speculating that “he might possibly be able to appeal to a larger set of voters than he has so far.”

The establishment Journal has decided to roll with it.

Kathleen Parker mocks the Trump-Palin antics road show, suggesting that once the Republican Party took Sarah Palin seriously as John McCain's vice-presidential pick, "they opened a populist door that they’ll not easily shut." And now?

... it looks as though Republicans may get what they deserve — a bombastic, bellicose, self-aggrandizing, mean-streaked, golf-cheating, bullying narcissist without plans or policies beyond his own, no doubt fickle, fantasies.

Having decided to bow and scrape to Trump, the play now for the Republicans' Gríma Wormtongues is to somehow harness Trump's lack of plans and policies to their own ends. The Washington Post Editorial Board writes:

Some in the GOP establishment now spin Mr. Trump’s policy emptiness as a feature, not a bug. When they describe him as someone who will “cut deals,” or turn to D.C. elder statesmen for advice, they sound like people who imagine themselves filling the void in Mr. Trump’s head with the agendas of their own lobbying clients.

In other words, the insiders’ upbeat new take on Mr. Trump is a bet on his corruptibility — and a confession of their own.

Milbank notes:

The Hill newspaper last week interviewed major donor Robert Bazyk, who decamped to Trump from Bush. The big spender objects to Trump’s positions on refugees and Muslims, and his “insults and name-calling.” And yet he is funding the man.

Proving again what Nixon the political mentor told his charges, "Flexibility is the first principle of politics." The GOP's elite will bend themselves into pretzels over Trump, and in the course of it give their erstwhile base all the more reason to despise them.