John McCain — this is your fault!
January 22, 2016 | Just when you thought the Republican nominating contest couldn't possibly get any more bizarre and divorced from reality, Sarah Palin emerged to prove you wrong!
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are engaged in a cage-match of sorts, following a long bromance on the campaign trail. The Donald must have decided that Cruz is a big enough threat that he would bring in reinforcements in the person of Sarah Palin who, despite her mangled syntax, lack of knowledge, inability to use what the rest of us call "logic" — or perhaps because of all those things — remains the sweetheart of the crazy fringe of the Republican party.
Trump's anxiety going into the Iowa caucuses is not misplaced. Some polls, notoriously unreliable and unpredictive in the best of cases, show Cruz ahead of Trump or neck-and-neck. Snaring Sarah Palin to buttress his bona fides comes not a moment too soon. Today, the National Review published 22 right-wing screeds against Trump, all supporting the thesis that "Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP" (National Review).
Since Cruz was a Palin protégé during his election to the the Senate, her Trump endorsement has to be seen by Cruz as a major betrayal, and we all know how much Cruz likes to nurse his grievances.
At the same time, the Republican "establishment" seems to have decided that the primaries are all ABC — Anybody But Cruz! Even poor old Bob Dole was wheeled out to warn that a Cruz nomination would bring "cataclysmic" losses with "extremist" Cruz at the head of the ticket.
What is clear from all this is that the Republican establishment has decided that none of their favored "mainstream" candidates — Jeb!, Marco, John, Chris et al — can win the nomination so they are choosing up sides to pick the lesser of two evils. It's now a two-person contest between the real-estate developer and the Ivy league attorney in ostrich-leather cowboy boots.
One should hasten to point out this is all terribly premature: not a single vote or caucus has been held, and won't be for another three weeks. Three weeks is an eternity in primary politics. There is still time for the primary electorate to come to its senses, but I'm not counting on it. In any case, the Republican establishment let this camel's nose under the tent, cozying up to the Tea Party to augment their numbers in Congress, allowing them to make unfulfillable promises that have only convinced the right wing that they've been "had" once again. Now they're mad as hell and they're not gonna take it anymore.
Coincidentally, it was only yesterday that I saw my first TRUMP bumpersticker. It was on an older red pickup truck driven by middle-aged man with a scraggly beard. I didn't notice whether there was a gun rack in the back window of the cab, but it would not have been out of character. Not to mention there was another political sticker on the truck; this was said "Hillary 2016 for prison." Oh yeah, our democracy is a shining city on a hill!
Not all of Sarah's adoring fans were old white people. At the Ames, Iowa, rally, five young lads, probably college students, adorned themselves in tattered blue-jeans and white T-shirts spelling out T-R-U-M-P. I suspect, however, that this was just a stunt on their part to get on TV and have their picture taken. Real Iowans would, of course, have painted the letters on their bare torsos. Even though it's January. What wusses!
It's an open question, I think, whether Sarah Palin will ultimately help or hurt Trump's chances. No doubt she may energize some of those Iowa caucus goers and possibly help in other states like Oklahoma where she and Trump campaigned together the day after her endorsement.
But Sarah Palin is the car wreck that you can't not look at. Her cachet is limited, I believe, to a very small slice of the electorate. The rest just scratch their heads in puzzlement every time she opens her mouth. She certainly didn't end up helping John McCain; Fox News eventually fired her, and her reality TV show didn't make it. Her real-life family is often in the news, but not in a good way. (And by the way, Sarah, President Obama had nothing to do with Track's tour of duty in Iraq or with his PTSD, if that's what it is rather than just plain loutishness.)
In the end, I think The Donald is going to regret having brought Sarah into his ambit. But then, he has a proven solution for people he doesn't like at the moment: "You're fired!" or "Kick 'em out!" If she eventually proves to be a liability, Trump will have no compunction about cutting her loose. He'll just say, Well, sometimes a deal goes sour and you have to cut your loses.
Sarah's motivation is, I think, the same as her motivation always is: get in the limelight, get somebody else to pay her way, pretend that she's a Very Important Person.
Certainly every late-night comic is praising God (or Allah, or whatever) for this gift to their profession. Stephen Colbert hit it out of the park with his parody.
Saturday Night Live could not resist, of course, bringing back Tina Fey for another spot-on parody.
Similarly, Sarah has given editorial cartoonists a new lease on life.
Last updated on May 1, 2016