Friday, February 26, 2016

The Republican's White Elephant

After last night's Republican presidential debate, which seemed more like televised gladiatorial combat than an open exchange of ideas, my only question to the Republican party is this:

Why did it take so long for someone to stand up and confront front-runner Donald Trump?

Is it too late for Rubio at this point?

For month's, the country and the world have watched in horror as Trump has energized what's been a fairly marginalized and disenfranchised segment of the Republican voter base with inflammatory language laced with a toxic mix of anti-immigrant xenophobia, racism and delusional pie-in-the-sky campaign promises that have nothing to do with a coherent political strategy for governance.

The Republican brand was already bruised and tarnished from ten years of the GOP's having relinquished their party to the narrow self-interests of zealot anti-tax, anti-government libertarian billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson.

Right-wing oligarchs who bankrolled the Tea Party with the help of  Fox News and saddled us with ideologically unhinged politicians like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz.

Which makes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's announcement today that he's endorsing Trump all the more bizarre.

All ahead full! Chris Christie endorses The Donald?
Christie left the Garden State on his quest for glory as a fairly moderate Republican who appealed to Democratic voters over a year ago and came back, well, like this.

Just weeks ago on the campaign trail Christie was vilifying Trump as the embodiment of evil.

As the old saying goes, politics makes strange bedfellows; Christie backing Trump is like learning Vito Corleone is teaming up with Don Barzini.

Christie will soon be back in the media headlines with the approach of the Bridgegate trial, so maybe he needs all the friends he can get - even a candidate whose two main campaign promises seem to be building a really big wall and assuring Americans "there'll be so much winning"- if he's elected president, whatever that means...

On behalf of many reasonable-minded New Jersey-folk, we're as confused as you are about this.

Plus we have two more years of him as governor. (Sigh)

Thanks in part to Trump's unhinged political campaign, the GOP's public perception has sunk so low even conservative South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told an audience gathered at a dinner last night that "My party has gone batshit crazy."

The day before Graham made that comment, former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke took aim at the ethnicity and race of Cuban-American GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and African-American candidate Ben Carson when he told the audience of his radio show:

"Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage." 

These people.

That could be the new motto for the Republican party. There's little doubt that "these people" is a hardly-secret codeword meant to characterize anyone who isn't conservative, Christian and white.

White supremacist David Duke
As David Duke urged the white nationalist listeners of his radio show on Wednesday:

" Donald Trump's headquarters, volunteer...Go in there, you're gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have."

And therein lies the dilemma of the great white elephant currently crowding the roomful of increasingly nervous Republicans.

Nudging it with a stick isn't going to make it leave.

It won't leave nicely if asked.

Shooting it would be excessive.

But as the presidential campaign season comes closer to the Republicans having to choose a candidate, they can no longer pretend the stench of that elephant isn't making the room unbearable to be in.

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