By James A. Kidney
A year or two ago, I whiled away a half hour watching a British comedy series on one of the streaming channels about a fictional prime minister forced to
fornicate with a pig on national television to keep his job. I found the episode too absurd to be funny, and promptly forgot the name of the show. I didn’t watch any more of the series.
This was long before the Republican Party leadership came to embrace Donald Trump.
The mostly forgotten television episode came to mind as I sought to determine what it is that the Republican Party stands for now that it is about to name Trump its presidential nominee, likely with the nearly complete support of both the party leadership and its rank-and-file.
Trump is against much of what the party claims to favor. He is reliably contradictory on other issues the party stands for (try to pin him down on specifics about tax cuts or abortion). He constantly puts party leadership in the position of defending the indefensible or wishing Trump’s juvenile insults would go away even as they are bleated repeatedly on cable TV.
Hillary Clinton (with Bernie Sanders) is right to say that all Americans should be afraid that Trump, with his immaturity, lack of intellect, absence of curiosity, thin skin and ill temper, could be President of the United States. Trump’s candidacy is a threat to the country that goes well beyond party. Yet, the Republicans are falling in line to support him.
This is the same party that nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney. Say whatever you will about those candidates, no one had reason to believe they would behave erratically and irrationally if they achieved the White House. One could disagree with all of the policies they favored and still sleep comfortably, reasonably sure the country was safe and on a steady course, rightward, for sure, but within the norms of rational political dialog.
Not so with Trump. Yet, the Republicans persist in saying he would be a better president than Hillary Clinton, or even the two former governors running as the Libertarian Party candidates. They seem ready to reduce the nation’s leadership to an international laughing stock, electing Milton Berle (I’m old) or Soupy Sales (still too old?) as president.
Exactly what principled purpose cherished by the Republican Party warrants the reckless notion of electing Trump president?
What, in other words, does the GOP stand for? What drives these people?