Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Gehenna: Yes, he's a right-wing blowhard. But he's rich & famous, and his kooky ideas fit snugly in the Tea Party mainstream: "The GOP race for the presidency has been upgraded from a clown car to a three-ring circus...(June 18, 2015):
...with the official entry of Donald Trump into the race. After daughter Ivanka delivered a stirring introduction... the audience waited expectantly for the great man to appear. And it waited. And waited. Finally after several long moments, the great man finally emerged above the crowd on the mezzanine level of the glittering Trump Tower building waving as if he were Juan Peron (or the Queen of England). As Neil Young’s ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’ continued to play over and over again, he then descended to the stage on an excruciatingly slow-motion escalator and began his speech by insulting his fellow Republican candidates for failing to know how to put on a competent political event.
It was a perfect beginning to what is going to be an astonishing political spectacle. Right out of the gate he began to free-associate like a drunken Tea Partyer on 2 Shots For A Buck night, insulting Mexican immigrants by calling them rapists and drug dealers, asking when we’ve ever beaten China or Japan (!) at anything, declaring himself to be potentially the greatest jobs president God has ever created and more. Oh, and he also told us that he’s worth $8,737,540,000--more or less. It was the best presidential campaign announcement ever, even better than Lindsey Graham’s. The media seemed a little bit shell-shocked in the early going--perhaps they’ve never actually heard what the average right-winger believes. They seemed to find it noteworthy that he was incoherent and contradictory, with promises of totally free trade even as he said he would make Mexico pay a tariff to construct the Great Wall he envisions building on the border. And they didn’t seem to know what to think about his endless gobbledygook about ‘making’ the world do what he wants it to do. They are clearly unaware that members of the far right don’t follow the philosophy of Edmund Burke. They follow the philosophy of Glenn Beck, Joe McCarthy and P.T. Barnum. Not even Roger Ailes can control the way their minds work.
Donald Trump may not make sense to the average journalist — but to the average Tea Partyer, he’s telling it like it is, with a sort of free-floating grievance about everyone who doesn’t agree with them mixed with simplistic patriotic boosterism and faith in the fact that low taxes makes everybody rich. It’s not about policy or even politics. It’s about following your instincts. (‘In your heart you know he’s right.’)... Let’s dispense with the fact that his ideas are more bizarre than anyone else in the field. They are not. Say what you will about the Donald, but nobody can bring the wingnut cha-cha-cha like Tea Party fave Dr. Ben Carson:
I mean, [our society is] very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.
This week’s latest poll actually shows him in first place. Lindsey Graham often appears on television and breathlessly proclaims that we must stop ISIS ‘before we all get killed here at home!’ Presumed top-tier Scott Walker makes so many gaffes you can’t count them anymore, including some doozies like musing publicly with Glenn Beck about shutting down legal immigration. Compared to that, building a wall on the border is standard boilerplate on the right and it certainly isn’t hard to find candidates who are willing to demagogue China or Japan and claim that liberals have destroyed the American way of life. Trump’s style is colorful, to be sure. His ideas are disjoined and irrational. But they are hardly unique. In fact, he represents a very common strain in American political life: the right-wing blowhard.
Trump actually has something that none of these other candidates have... money... stardom.... Sure, Trump is a clown. But he’s a very rich and a very famous clown. And he’s really not much more clownish than many of the current contenders or some serious contenders in the past.... Donald Trump has the potential to be a serious 2016 player. And that says everything you need to know about the Republican presidential field and the state of our politics today.