Okay, his take on the other night in South Carolina:
Death & Debate
Hours before last Saturday’s Republican presidential debate ahead of the South Carolina primary came the incomprehensible news that the leading conservative Justice on the United States Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, had died in his sleep in Texas while on a hunting trip.
It wasn’t just that I met him when I was younger and a brain dead liberal in law school, which I did and went out of my way to offend him (he was a man of excruciatingly polite behavior).
I’ve told that tale many times but not now, not now. It was that his passing put in stark relief the enormous events underlying what is at stake in this election for America. It seemed to me the universe was conspiring to advance the candidacy of one person but at what cost?
Senators Rubio & Cruz spent much of the debate yelling at each other as to who was the greater liar, the greater mis-representer of the other’s record, the nuances of arcane Senate procedure. At one point they spoke over each other in Spanish to prove their bona fides to the Hispanic community. Really? One could hardly have had an exchange better suited to Trump’s immigration position without which he would not be in first place. The average American voter doesn’t want to see their country become a version of the failed drug state we just happen to share a border with.
Last Saturday’s debate saw Donald Trump turn the American political world on its head once again and I’d be less than honest with my newly found Canadian audience if I understood what he was doing or trying to accomplish in the first hour of the debate at the time it took place. I’ve concluded Trump is a political genius such that the rest of us must catch up with him in the following days only to find, upon examination of his latest comments, that he is simply introducing us to ourselves.
Trump had previously railed against the Iraq war many times but that night he said plainly that Bush had not kept America safe on his watch given the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade towers. It was a breathtaking moment, disorienting in its honesty and astonishing coming from the leading candidate for the GOP nomination.
As if all that weren’t enough, he said it to an audience packed to the rafters with toadies and donors, the very elite the primary electorate have loathed for some time, only to find in Trump a megaphone for their feelings. As I said on Twitter during the debate, and one hardly needed to be a political genius to see it and say it, the audience was actually helping Trump but did they know it?
Trump said at one point that Bush knew the reports about WMDs in Iraq were false and invaded anyway. This caused much clucking, a bridge too far!, now he’s done it! and other alarums of impending implosion of the Trump campaign that we’ve heard time and time again. Only guess what? These, too, came not to pass. Trump the next day walked back the comment just slightly enough to take it off the table but to leave the American political culture debating the successfulness of the Bush administration
Jeb Bush tried to fend off attacks on his brother’s legacy but did so poorly. During a whiny recitation of how great his family was, he said his mother was the strongest person he knew. Without missing a beat Trump chimed in witheringly to say “Then she should be running.”
How does an average Republican politician compete with something like that? The short answer is they don’t, or, if they do, they fare badly.
Senators Rubio & Cruz spent much of the debate yelling at each other as to who was the greater liar, the greater mis-representer of the other’s record, the nuances of arcane Senate procedure. At one point they spoke over each other in Spanish to prove their bona fides to the hispanic community. Really? One could hardly have had an exchange better suited to Trump’s immigration position without which he would not be in first place. The average American voter doesn’t want to see their country become a version of the failed drug state we just happen to share a border with.
The remaining contenders did fine, by which I mean no one really remembers anything about them. Ohio Governor John Kasich continued to do his secular Jesus shtick, which wore thin the first time he tried it out. Dr. Ben Carson looked like a man out of time and sounded like he took wrong exit out of a time machine.
George W. Bush campaigns for his brother Jeb today in South Carolina. Before Trump’s wholesale destruction of the political landscape, the appearance had taken on something of an establishment victory lap, an exercise in noblesse oblige that the rubes should appreciate, a rallying cry from the Ancien Régime of K Street and its Rolodex of donors. It promises now to be a painful thing to behold.
Trump has led in South Carolina since August of 2015, sometimes by more than 20 points. Anything is possible in this American presidential cycle and Trump himself embodies that fact.
It’s hard for me, however, to see his calling out the man behind the curtain in last weekend’s debate, thereby destroying 30 years of neoconservative foreign policy, as hurting him significantly in the upcoming primary. Trump will win South Carolina and with it the republican nomination for president.
Reality check: Just three thoughts from a Canuck:
1. Justice Scalia was a holdout for a constitutional order that few non-elite Americans can afford to believe in anymore because the establishment will not back them. Power will now be gained by mobilizing and parasitizing grievancers and entitle-ees.
2. Will the US. ruling class make the fundamental transformation of America irretrievable by resorting to the assassination of Trump or Sanders? That might seem alarmist, but remember, Julius Caesar was, famously, assassinated when apparent chaos ruled. And the old order more or less came to an end on his death.
It would be better for the American public if Trump and Sanders faced off. Trump speaks for the American middle and working classes, ripe for plunder and betrayed by everyone because the establishment is better off with easily exploitable foreigners.
Sanders represents the soon-to-be unemployable* Millennials, the enraged graduates of We’ll Fix U, who can gain support from the public by promising to “share the wealth” (plunder non-supporters).
*Note: They are “unemployable” in what most human societies have considered real jobs. Counselling people to rage against the facts of human life is not a real job. But, remember, progressive societies need perpetual revolutions, so the graduate asscrats will have an ever bigger role.
3. The debate over George W. Bush’s easy accommodation of authoritarian leftism (see No Child Left Behind Act) and his irresponsible PR for Islamism should have been held seriously, and at the highest levels while he was still in office. It’s too late for the establishment to hold it now. It’s too obvious that they don’t really care as long as they had their own perks and cheap foreign/illegal labour.
On the other hand, the United States is not so far down the tubes that government and media officially conspire to hide from their own citizens the dangers they face from irresponsible government policies like open borders. Germany and Sweden do that now. Today’s European leaders are moral dilettantes who pick and choose causes by which they can preen in front of each other. They don’t care about the people they individually and corporately swore to protect, and they generally don’t need to. That is one of the hidden costs of a welfare state. .
No, the Yanks’ problem is more that the GOP elite live in gated communities with armed guards and just give the hapless citizens the right to own a gun. Some of the ungrateful wretches want their country back instead. Imagine that!
And the establishment GOP hopefuls wonder why people don’t like or trust or believe them?
Our American friend on last night in New Hampshire
American friend: After New Hampshire, nomination is still Trump’s to lose
The Political Animal: Trump in Iowa – the forest vs. the trees
Political Animal on US Conservatives going nuts hating Trump
My American friend on why the GOP must die For the United States to get on its feet again.
US middle class ready for a 3rd party? But why does it matter if they are? The reasons the middle class is declining are historical and structural. Today, the power and money will come from marketing the newly needy, often to struggle against each other in identity group conflicts.
The Political Animal assesses conservatives freaked re Trump
My American friend: More on why Trump will be prez
American political junkie friend explains why Trump will win
Why is Justin Trudeau Canada’s prime minister?