It’s the stupid, stupid! Way back when, when a scandalous campaign involved things like whether a candidate had had an affair or not, along about 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid!” became the watchword for a presidential campaign. (For younger readers—and forgetful older ones—James Carville coined the phrase, working for then Governor Bill Clinton (D-Ark.) in his successful campaign to unseat President George H.W. Bush. And yes, the affair stuff also involved that Clinton fellow.)
I thought about Mr. Carville’s phrase when I saw the Trump: Can We Ask Kasich To Change ‘Ridiculous’ Spelling Of His Name? at TalkingPointsMemo.com. The link will give you audio and video. Here are the words:
I don’t know how to pronounce his name — Kasich. It’s –i-c-h. Every time I see it I say Kasitch. But it’s pronounced Kas-ick. Can we ask him to change the spelling of his name? Are we allowed to do that? It’s so ridiculous.
Ridiculous it is, for sure. Ridiculous that a major party will make this buffoon its nominee for President of the United States. Ridiculous that this buffoon might have the power to send troops hither and yon, and give the commands to send off the nukes. And ridiculous to everything in between.
I won’t bore you all with the examples of the stupid. If you don’t accept the fact that this man is more unprepared for the office he seeks than any other candidate in modern history who is this close to being elected, move along, for there is nothing to see here.
Leaving aside the lack or preparedness and the lazy lack of interest in getting prepared, it’s the stupid in the pandering that leaves me stunned. A man wants to be President of the United States of America wastes time talking about a man spells his name, for the sole evident purpose of demeaning the fellow. The same guy does a shtick about throwing people out of rallies, and another about the wall and who will pay for it. (Only the last one bears any relationship to policy, and that policy—the WALL—reflects no second, third, or fourth level thinking. Hell, even strangers I chat with in bars—often, people with views far from mine—can appreciate the notion that actions have consequences, and that sometimes a seemingly simple solution makes much else much worse.)
I get the fact that plenty of Republicans find Donald Trump repugnant. Some will stay home on Election Day, others will skip the top of the ballot, and still others might just vote for the other candidate. (One of those “others” might be Koch Brother Charles, according to Republican financier Koch says Clinton might make better president.) Many, however, will vote for the buffoon their party has chosen. One bright, Far Right Republican put it to me thusly: “Sure, he’s an idiot, but he doesn’t lie even half as much as Hillary, and putting that cheating husband of hers back in the White House? No way.”* After that, to put some perspective on his observation and justify Trump as President, he noted: “You know, people are angry, and they have a right to be angry.”
Think Hillary is a liar? Don’t vote for her. Believe Trump doesn’t lie a lot? Right. Sure. Maybe the falsehoods are not lies, and arise from that stupid thing. But “people are angry = Trump is understandable and even OK?” No. I’m sorry, but that’s bullsh*t. We’ve had plenty of dishonest presidents. (No names. Sorry.) But we’ve never come within a fur piece of electing someone so, I don’t know, ridiculous!
All of which leads me to this question: Where were the grown-ups? What happened to the leadership of the Republican Party? Former President George W. Bush? Nominees Romney and McCain? Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? I think—and this whole thing is a process, for the story is still developing—we’ve seen a leadership failure on a truly grand, epic scale. Leaders lead, but in today’s sorry world, it looks like they’re following the collective Id of a bunch of really angry people.
*And on that dishonesty thing? Read Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest? by Nicholas Kristof in today’s New York Times, for something more than the usual “but of course” claptrap.
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