THE SUPER BOWL OF SUPERHOLES: This past weekend, Donald Trump dominated the headlines for his assholish attack on John McCain’s war record. But back in the late 1990s, as Mark Steyn notes in a new article, the DNC-MSM were more than happy to blackout coverage of the asshole side of John McCain, because he was their kind of asshole – a Republican who, the vast majority of the time, bashed fellow Republicans. Flash-forward a decade and a half:
Trump’s right: This country treats its veterans appallingly, far worse than most other civilized societies, consigning far too many to food stamps and entrapping them in a third-class health-care system. A New Hampshire neighbor of mine, a Vietnam vet exposed to Agent Orange and thus given cancer as a war-losing bonus, just received the usual letter from the VA telling him his benefits were being cut. Oddly enough, he loathes McCain and is gung-ho for Trump. Do you want to bet he’s in a minority down at the Legion? John McCain doesn’t embody the grand variety and diversity of America’s warriors; John McCain embodies John McCain: That’s it. So, when the Republican establishment spends two news cycles huffing about the amour propre of a wealthy career politician, they’re only reinforcing Trump’s critique: that the GOP is a party of “losers” and “failures” obsessed with peripheral trivia nobody else cares about, while ignoring everything that’s killing your future.
Finally, re that “asshole” business, I should add that I don’t mean it as a criticism. Personally, I’d like it if Calvin Coolidge were on the ticket, or indeed the Marquess of Salisbury. But they’ve decided to sit out Campaign 2016, so one must take what one can get. And a citizenry that votes for an asshole is less deluded than one that votes for a messiah. Thus, voting for, say, Silvio Berlusconi (a kind of wealthier mini-Trump, and yet the third longest serving prime minister in Italian history, after Mussolini and Giolitti) is less psychologically unhealthy than voting for Barack Obama. And, come to that, less damaging to republican virtue than voting for the previous guy’s wife or brother.
Read the whole thing.
And then check out John Nolte of Big Journalism, who notes the folly of GOP consultants, like McCain himself last week, attacking and belittling Trump’s supporters. As Nolte writes, “There are all kinds of good arguments to convince a Republican to turn away from Trump. But when the delivery system is a smug, condescending dickishness, we’ve already lost.”
See also: Election of 1992.