Best headline today is on Greg Sargent’s WaPo column: “Republicans nominate dangerously insane person to lead America, then panic when he proves he’s dangerously insane.” I only have one quibble. Instead of saying “when he proves he’s dangerously insane,” a better choice would be “when he reveals he’s dangerously insane.”
As I argued yesterday in a post about Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt’s response to the Khan kerfluffle, it’s appearance not essence that Republicans value. Sargent is righteously indignant that Republicans now have their collective pants in a twist because everyone can now see what observant folks should have known all along:
… Trump has long harbored a range of traits and qualifications — or lack thereof — that already render him a very compromised candidate, both in a political sense and in the sense that Republicans should not have nominated him because he is a unique menace to the American experiment.
Trump’s pathologically abusive tendencies, his hair-trigger overreaction to criticism and slights both real and imagined, and his mental habit of sorting the world into the strong and the weak — the dominant and the submissive — render him temperamentally unfit for the presidency. He lacks basic knowledge of the world and doesn’t appear burdened by any curiosity about the complexities of foreign affairs or domestic policy. He is at worst a genuine bigot and at best a charlatan who has actively sought to stoke reactionary hostility to culturally and demographically evolving America. He is indifferent to the inner workings of the American system and instead promises authoritarian glory.
Trump’s not alone in his megalomania, bigotry and ignorance. These qualities have become a hallmark of GOP politics and as long as they’re managed properly, they don’t hinder the real goal of securing power on behalf of American business oligarchs. Folks like Blunt et al. will continue to endorse The Donald as long as he’s their only road to goodies like supreme court nominations that are essential to corporate interests. And their disapproval will be limited to tsk, tsking over his violations of political etiquette until it becomes clear that he’s not successfully hiding from the American electorate what the rightwing governing class knew all along.
As ol’ Roy implied in his advice to Trump to stop letting it all hang out in the case of Khazir Khan, we’re in a age that favors political fantasy – which good little GOP pols labor to supply while obeying the unwritten rules that govern political discourse. And they’ve got lots of media help. Fox news has proved that a considerable portion of the electorate will believe anything they’re told. In today’s environment there’s no excuse, they believe, for Trump to be hoist on the petard of his own predilections. But there he dangles, out in the open, for all to see.
*2nd sentence of next to last paragraph has been edited for clarity.