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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

 
The Sarah and Donald show in prime time

by digby















I wrote about The Donald and The Palin for Salon today:

It was inevitable that Sarah Palin would endorse Donald Trump for president, or Donald Trump would endorse Sarah Palin for president, from the moment she arrived in New York on her “will she or won’t she” One Nation tour back in 2012. The two reality TV celebrities munched pepperoni pizza together and chewed the fat about politics and media stardom as news cameras, paparazzi and tourists all took pictures from the other side of a window. The cable news networks all excitedly carried the silent luncheon live on TV. It was reported in Entertainment Weekly, as well as theNew York Times.
After being slagged by fellow New Yorkers for eating his pizza with a plastic knife and fork, Trump issued a Youtube video explaining that he doesn’t carry regular knives and forks with him and it makes it easier for him to avoid the carbs in the crust. (One can only speculate what the ghost of John Wayne,Trump’s other endorser yesterday, would have thought of that.) He didn’t support Palin for President at the time — he was considering a run himself after all — but he did express his great admiration for her and speculated that she would be “a factor” if she were to make a run for it. Yesterday, Palin repaid the compliment in spades with a full-throated, star-spangled endorsement of the Donald.
And after teasing the endorsement for a couple of days, simply saying something “great” was going to happen on Tuesday, Trump once again demonstrated his total mastery of the political media by dominating the airwaves for an entire news cycle as a dozen other candidates gasped desperately for airtime. He even timed it at the end of the day and made sure that the cable networks didn’t know the details so they’d run his own tedious opening speech before Palin stepped up. Then they ran her entire speech (if that’s what you want to call it — it was more of a surreal, tribal tone poem).
The only other candidate who got any airtime yesterday was poor Ted Cruz who was obviously personally devastated by Palin’s defection, apparently never having noticed before that she is a political celebrity not a serious person devoted to the conservative cause. After all the time they spent together campaigning during his Senate run in 2012, you’d think he’d have some sense of her true character. After all, what does Cruz have to offer Palin? Trump has billions of dollars and major media mojo. Of course she would jump at the chance to guest on his hit show.
It was startling to hear the two political celebrities back to back and realize how perfectly they speak the same strange, rambling, emotionally compelling nonsense language. It’s a style that sounds and feels like talk radio; the cadence is the same type of conversational ranting, which explains the sense of identification and familiarity their fans feel toward them. But when you listen to the words (to the extent they make any sense) you realize it isn’t the same at all. They aren’t talking about conservatism. They’re talking about something else entirely.
This article by Michael Brenden Dougherty in The Week offers an interesting theory as to what that is. He unearths an old piece written by Samuel Francis, an erstwhile conservative thinker turned full-blown white supremacist who offered some advice to an earlier version of Trump, Pat Buchanan, back in 1996. Francis wrote:
[S]ooner or later, as the globalist elites seek to drag the country into conflicts and global commitments, preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States, manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people, and disregard or diminish our national interests and national sovereignty, a nationalist reaction is almost inevitable and will probably assume populist form when it arrives.
He goes on to describe a new movement which dispenses with the pose of “conservatism” once and for all, and especially with the activists and the movement professionals he called the “hangers-on, direct-mail artists, fund-raising whiz kids, marketing and PR czars, and the rest of the crew that today constitutes the backbone of all that remains of the famous ‘Conservative Movement,’ who never fail to show up on the campaign doorstep to guzzle someone else’s liquor and pocket other people’s money.” He said a direct nationalist pitch to the interests of the white working class (what he called “Middle America”) was the key to victory. He doesn’t suggest a slogan like “Make America Great Again,” but he might as well have.
Buchanan didn’t take his advice in ’96. He was still wedded to his version of paleo-conservatism and loyal to the Republican Party despite his undisguised xenophobia and racism. Trump, however, is following the path Francis laid out 20 years ago with aplomb. He’s running for all intents and purposes as a white nationalist, fuming at the failures of the governing classes of both parties and promising to restore dominance and “pride” to his followers. Small government conservatism as we’ve known it is not just under siege, it’s entirely irrelevant.

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