No sense pretending: Donald Trump is the only news of the 2016 race, and this fact says something very troubling about the Republican party, the conservative electorate, the mass media culture, and the United States in general. Sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Really it’s not.
No, it’s most definitely not an exaggeration. And I never agree with Podhoretz about anything, ever.
There will be the first Republican debate in ten days. It’s the most important political event of the year thus far. And it will be all about Trump. He will see to that; the reporters will see to that, and the minor candidates looking to move up will see to it by trying to pick fights with him and best him.
I can’t argue with that.
It’s not enough to say that there are matters of deathly serious to be discussed, from Iran to ISIS to the possible collapse of the Euro and the Chinese economy to the harvesting of fetal organs, because there are always serious matters to be discussed as elections approach. The issue with Trump is that his approach can only be called “the politics of unseriousness.” He engages with no issue, merely offers a hostile and pithy soundbite bromide about it. He yammers. He describes how wonderful things will be when he acts against something or other without explaining how he will act, what he will do, or how it will work.
Harvesting fetal organs?
These people are nuts.
But, other than that nod to the phony
ACORN Solyndra Fast & Furious Shirley Sherrod Benghazi! Planned Parenthood controversy, I can’t find anything in that paragraph that I disagree with.
And Podhoretz stays mainly on track, here, too.
The problem is not with [Trump]. The problem has to do with his reception. He is garnering support that may actually be real, and may actually change the course of the 2016 election — and, therefore, American history — through nothing more than blowhardism.
But that remark about “blowhardism” is where Podhoretz finally gets off track. That’s making the problem Trump, and he just correctly said that the problem is not Trump but the reception Trump is getting. So, oops. Now we’re off the path and into the woods.
Efforts to figure out how to coopt him and his issues on the part of other Republicans are doomed to failure because it’s not the message that people are attracted to; it’s the messenger.
Okay, so that was quick. We’re completely lost. We went from the problem being the voters to the problem being the messenger who, by they way, has no message.
No. No. No. No.
The problem is not the messenger but the receptivity of the audience. Podhoretz understood this clearly for a moment but couldn’t stick with it because he wants to believe this is about people being attracted to celebrity.
But, you know what? Podhoretz has enough self-awareness to realize that he’s contradicted himself and so he makes an allowance for the truth of the matter.
Or, if it is the message, it is a message that cannot be coopted because it is little more than a vile expression of open hatred toward Mexicans in a country where people of Mexican descent make up 11 percent of the electorate. For those who want Trump because of it, anything less than his defamation will strike them as the castrated bleating of what they have started to call a “cuckservative.”
I’m not sure what “defamation” means in this context but cucksurvatives are Republicans who don’t stick up for the white race. Having arrived at the proper explanation for Trump’s success, Podhoretz skitters away again.
Trump doesn’t even have a real issue to bring in Democrats and Republicans dissatisfied with their choices. Trump is Trump’s issue.
It’s true that Trump is Trump’s issue, but what goes on in The Donald’s head has absolutely nothing to do with why he is doing so well in the polls. This is a guy who promoted Birtherism until the president utterly humiliated him at the May 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner and killed bin-Laden at virtually the same moment.
As I said at the time:
Only complete morons believed for a micro-second that Donald Trump was actually going to run for president. But he did do the president a giant favor by grabbing all the loose ends of dead-ender Birtherism, tying them all up into one giant ball of Stupid, and thereby letting the president set the whole thing on fire.
Now he’s trying to do the same thing on Hillary Clinton’s behalf, only this time it’s not Birtherism but the Republican Party that he’s tying into one giant ball of Stupid.
For neoconservatives like Podhoretz, though, the main reason this matters at all is because he’s accustomed to using the GOP as a vehicle to protect Israel’s right flank.
These are unhappy times in the United States, and unhappy times generate unhappy political outcomes. Last week I made the case for despair following the Iran deal. I know people always want commentary that offers a path forward, a way out of trouble, a hope for something better. Sometimes, though, you just have to sit back and despair at the condition of things, and maybe from the despair some new wisdom may emerge.
He never suspected the white supremacists.
But he’s kind of figured it out now. It’s just hard to admit it to himself.