Tuesday, January 26, 2016


It's been obvious for a while that Republicans won't blame themselves if Donald Trump is their presidential nominee and he goes down in flames in November. It's clear that they'll say he hijacked the party. It's certain that they'll dissociate themselves from his angry voters, none of whom, they'll tell us, were in any way inspired by decades of Republican rhetoric.

And now it's clear that they won't even blame themselves collectively for failing to stop Trump. They won't kick themselves for not coalescing around a safer choice in the primaries.

As this New York Times story suggests, they'll just blame Jeb Bush:
The party elders had hoped that one of their preferred candidates, such as Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, would be rising above the others by now and becoming a contender to rally around....

[But the] establishment candidates and their allies have spent approximately $35 million attacking one another, and there is no sign that they plan to relent anytime soon....

Many in the party say they believe the assault by Mr. Bush against Mr. Rubio has been particularly damaging.

Mr. Rubio has stepped up his complaints in recent days about the ads from Mr. Bush and his supporters. Rubio aides have been working aggressively behind the scenes to portray the attacks as strengthening Mr. Cruz and Mr. Trump, highlighting, for instance, an article in The Weekly Standard that argued that Mr. Bush would be to blame if Mr. Trump became the nominee.
Right -- according to The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes, the problem isn't that some of the mid-level establishment candidates won't drop out for the good of the party (and the country), and it's not that what was once regarded as a "deep bench" of extraordinary political talent turns out to be a collection of uninspiring hacks. The primary villain is Jeb:
In the "fight" between Donald Trump and conservatism, Trump has had few better allies than Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Bush's candidacy. There will be plenty of blame to go around if Trump ends up as the Republican nominee, but Right to Rise will have earned a prominent chapter in those histories: cable and network television gave Trump endless hours of free publicity; influential conservative voices explained away his liberalism, excused his excesses, and legitimized his crazy; and Right to Rise, like an all-pro right guard, helped clear a path for Trump by blocking several of his would-be tacklers, in particular Marco Rubio.

This was no accident. It was the plan.

"If other campaigns wish that we're going to uncork money on Donald Trump, they'll be disappointed," Mike Murphy, chief strategist of Right to Rise, told the Washington Post in August. "Trump is, frankly, other people's problem." In an October interview with Bloomberg, he said: "I'd love a two-way race with Trump at the end."

It's entirely possible that there will be a two-way race with Trump at some point before the nomination is decided. But it's nearly inconceivable that the other candidate in that head-to-head contest will be Jeb Bush.
Power Line's Steven Hayward is also fed up:
... isn’t it time we got rid of the Bush family in politics for good? Look, George H.W. Bush is a very decent man, but his political malpractice in the White House -- squandering the Reagan legacy on purpose --opened the door for Bill Clinton. George W. Bush is another decent man, with much to recommend him, but he left the Republican Party even more demoralized than his dad, and for similar reasons. Now Jeb may be responsible for killing off the most electable conservative candidate in the field and leaving us with Trump.

No more Bushes, please. Let’s clear all of our fields of every Bush we can find, and drench the dirt with Roundup (before the EPA bans it) so they never come back.
Look, it pains me to defend a Bush, but, folks, what the hell did you expect to happen this year?

You got the campaign finance laws of your dreams from carefully chosen corporate bootlickers on the Supreme Court, one result of which is that anyone who can raise a lot of money can stay in a presidential race forever, so it was all but inevitable that the presidential field would include at least one old bull with far more fundraising ability than voter appeal. If it hadn't been Jeb, it would have been Mitt Romney . Do you think he would have approached this campaign in a dainty, respectful manner? Mitt Romney, the guy whose well-funded "death star" destroyed the campaigns of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich four years ago? Yes, maybe he would have directed his fire at Trump as well. (Not that attacks on Trump have done any good.) But do you think he would have sat idly by while a little pissant like Marco Rubio racked up good poll numbers?

The amusing thing about all this is what it says about other issues on which Republicans have strong opinions. Republicans say free markets invariably lead to excellent outcomes. Well, the GOP presidential contest is an awfully free market. How's that working out? And Republicans also say that the best deterrent to crime is widespread ownership of guns by private citizens, because, in the event of a crime, those citizens will use their weapons in a safe and responsible way, killing and injuring only the people who deserve it. Well, the Republican presidential field is a big mess of people all firing their campaign weapons every which way, but the bad guy is somehow unscathed and a lot of the so-called good guys seem to be mortally wounded. Maybe professional policing isn't such a bad idea.

The Republican Party didn't want to do anything collectively to stop Trump. Its candidates won't sacrifice their ego trips to make his nomination less likely. Republicans have been telling us for years that Ayn Rand is right about selfishness being virtuous. Jeb and the rest of the also-rans are just embodying that philosophy, and these are the results.


Feud Turgidson said...

In addition to your reasoning, Steve M, I am a life-long subscriber to the principle that 'conservatism cannot ever fail only be failed'. The Know Nothings didn't LOSE, or even go away: they just changed, labels, start a civil war, lost it, more or less immediately acted to set back in place as many of their institutions as they could, took over a big chunk of the governing party as a matter of sound business practice, retook governance as Lord Bidnitz, screwed things up sooooo bad they lost The People for so long it took a war hero's misguided thinking and desire to play Augusta to get it back for them, then took over the white supremacist franchise as a promising way to fuck over the entire country, and since losing the reliably capacity to game the presidency except by cheating, have determined to just keep rollin' along.

While I'm at this - I hereby formally withdraw my prediction of Cruz to win the GOP nomination. Trump, that supreme prick a-hole, has Cruz by the short and curlies on eligibility, so much so that the only way Cruz can overcome the problem is with a specific act that retrospectively covers his precise circumstances that gets thru the House, the Senate (heh) and then if Obama forebears from a veto (which is no sure thing either way, especially given Obama's former status with UChicago Law, lemme assure you). And why my change of horses? Here's why: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2016/01/guest-post-from-mark-field-regarding-ted-cruzs-eligibility-for-the-presidency#more-78152

How the F.U.Trump does that abomination of a head rat get so frickin' lucky, anyway?

Victor said...

Ancient Internet adage:
You can't fix "stupid!"

Hell, you can't fix "ignorance" either, if people are happy in their little echo-chambers of ignorance.

"Live, and learn," becomes, 'Live, and derp.'

Victor said...

Yeah, I just finished reading that great LG&M post, and I think eligibility may prove to be a major obstacle for Teddy Cruz-ader! No matter how brilliant a legal mind he is, or thinks he is.

Of course, that post depended a lot on precedent.
But how much does precedent matter when the Roberts SC's 4 psychopaths, and that sometimes sociopath, Kennedy, put their legal minds to it?

Hell, Scalia doesn't even believe in precedents he himself set, if it suits him to in a current case!

mlbxxxxxx said...

that's not how Roundup works. just saying.

Feud Turgidson said...

mlbxetc is right. Jeebus, YTF do rightwing pundits feel the need to bond with the rubes?

Cirze said...

er, unknown,

to win elections?

just saying
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Terrific essay!

I'm gonna quote from it.

Unknown said...

Why not? Democrats still blame 2000 on Ralph Nader rather than own up to failures of their party and their candidate. Why would we expect Republicans to be any more intellectually honest?

But if the final irony of 2016 is that Jeb makes the Bush family this cycle's scapegoat, I can live with that just fine.