I have to ask:
After years of employing the use of bigoted subtext and racist dog whistles to appeal to the lowest common denominator in American politics, are we really that surprised when a candidate espousing overt xenophobia is leading the current GOP field? Does it come as a shock to anyone that a loud, bigoted, rude, and inarticulate candidate would find a groundswell of support from a loud, bigoted, rude, and inarticulate electorate? That the clown with the biggest, shiniest red nose in all of the clown car would attract the worst Republican voters like flies to a dog pile?
No, it comes as no surprise. Just as it comes as no surprise that the nation’s most recognizable aficionado of rodent-toupees would outright deny reports that RNC chair, Reince Priebus, asked him to tone down his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Just as it’s not in the least bit shocking that all these years after the release of President Obama’s birth certificate, the man George Will referred to as a “bloviating ignoramus” still isn’t convinced that the President was born in this country.
Truth be told, nothing Donald Trump says or does should shock or surprise us. The Republican party has, for many years now, been perfectly content to have Trump flapping his gums from the sidelines, hurling his incendiary and racist birther rhetoric towards the President. They built this. And now they have to live with it.
Of course, there are some in the GOP clown car who actually support Trump’s inflammatory comments about Mexicans…
Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina defended the idea that Trump’s rhetoric was in any way extreme: “It’s not extreme — it’s common sense. We need to secure the border.” Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born Senator from Texas, thinks that Trump is “terrific,” that “he’s brash,” and that “he speaks the truth.” Ben Carson even went as far as to say that Trump’s comments on immigration would lead him to consider Trump as a possible Vice Presidential candidate, should Carson win the nomination.
As disturbing as I find it that these three individuals would double-down and lend credence to Trump’s rhetoric, I suppose they should be credited as having more integrity than the next cross-section of the 2016 GOP clown car: the fence-sitters.
Gov. Scott Walker went as far as to say that he “respectfully disagreed” with Trump, but stopped short of making any repudiations to the comically-coiffed real estate mogul. Gov. Mike Huckabee side-stepped the Trump issue altogether, choosing to focus on his own positions, but likewise declined the opportunity to denounce Trump. Senator Rand Paul also declined comment on the Trump fiasco.
Predictably, Rick Santorum carved out a position for himself to the right of Donald Trump, saying that in addition to securing the border, he’d reduce legal immigration by twenty-five percent. Gov. Christie openly conceded that Trump’s words were way out of line, but then quickly adopted a role as a Trump apologist, claiming that “Donald is a friend” and a “good guy.”
Senator Marco Rubio said, “I obviously strongly disagree with him,” if only to go on to downplay Trump’s blatant racism as a mere distraction. Governor Bobby Jindal derided Trump’s comments, then proceeded to voice similar policy positions to Trump, albeit in more tactful language.
But at least we can credit these clown car candidates as having had their “John McCain moment“…
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry plainly stated that Trump’s remarks were “offensive,” that “Trump does not represent the Republican Party,” and that he was personally “offended by his remarks.” Gov. George Pataki said that Trump’s behavior was “unacceptable,” going so far as to address the situation in an open letter to his fellow Republican candidates and later challenging Trump to a debate on the issue.
It may be a sad day when the most “serious” candidate a major political party can offer is the brother of the war criminal who devastated the U.S. economy, but in all fairness, the Bush brothers have traditionally been to the left of many of the yahoos in their own party on the issue of immigration reform. Jeb told the NY Times that he took Trump’s remarks “personally,” adding that:
To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party … He’s doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention, which seems to be the organizing principle of his campaign.
But the quote of the day this past Sunday came from South Carolina Senator, Lindsay Graham.
Graham, who has a history of supporting reforms that include a path to citizenship, told CNN’s State of the Union that Trump had “hijacked the debate,” adding that Trump is “a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party.”
Eat your heart out, Miley Cyrus.
Featured image via Palin Family Drunken Brawl Facebook.