George V saw trouble in his firstborn son, Edward, Duke of Windsor, a womanizing playboy. “After I am dead,” the old king said, “the boy will ruin himself in 12 months.”
We shall see if Donald Trump ruins himself in the two months remaining before his coronation in Cleveland in mid-July. If not, if he self-destructs before November. Or worse, after. One thing for certain, he is trying his damnedest.
It is remarkable — and a measure of his hubris — that the prospective presidential nominee of the Republican Party thinks he can do without allies in Congress. Speaker Paul Ryan is no outlier. Ryan was elected by his colleagues from Maine to California, and recently.
Ryan would like to know if his party’s putative leader has a passing interest in the separation of powers, limited government, the $19 billion federal deficit, and federalism. You know, the Constitution.
Or if he has any principles at all.
“Someone as narcissistic and as devoid of conservative principles as Trump couldn’t become a conciliatory, minimally coherent Republican,” writes Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post. (“Trump’s self-destruction begins early.”)
In the last few days, Trump said he would print funny money to cover the national debt, raise the minimum wage, hike taxes, and hire Goldman Sachs to finance his campaign.
“It’s not just the fact that he’s abandoned one position after another,” Charlie Sykes said onMegyn Kelly’s Fox News show Monday evening, “Or that he has the penchant for Internet hoaxes or conspiracy theories.”
A week ago tonight, remember, he was peddling the notion that Ted Cruz’s dad had something do with the JFK assassination. So there are people who say that just because of party loyalty we’re supposed to forget all of that. I just don’t buy that. … You embrace Donald Trump, you embrace it all. You embrace every slur, every insult, every outrage, and every falsehood. You’re going to spend the next six months defending, rationalizing, and evading all that. And afterwards, you come back to women, to minorities, to young people and say, that wasn’t us. That’s not what we’re about. The reality is, if you support him to be president of the United States, that is who you are, and you own it.
Who better embodies the crazed nature of the Trump misadventure than Sarah Palin, the madwoman of Wasilla? The national punch line may once again be going rogue in campaigning against Ryan in his home district; Trump claims so, for what that’s worth. Even if it’s the God’s honest truth, Palin’s proximity to the inner circle is instructive. Don’t debate, throw crazy. Don’t persuade, denigrate. If Paris will not yield it must be burned.
(“What appeals to Palin is Trump’s personality,” writes Peter Wehner in Commentary. “That is, the part of Trump that is most worrisome — that he is erratic, unstable, crude, cruel, narcissistic, and obsessive.”)
Similarly, a Trump supporter of my acquaintances claims Fred Barnes is a “lightweight” for writing “Trump needs Ryan more than he knows.” Name-calling comes natural to the Trump legions.
If the co-editor of the conservative hymnal the Weekly Standard is a lightweight, then so is Fox News’ editor emeritus Britt Hume, who said the same thing Monday: Trump needs Ryan. But if The Donald says he can win without Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Marc O’Rubio, and the Bush family — good on him. He’s already said he doesn’t need us. So, nothing lost.
“In short, Republicans need not reject Trump,” Rubin writes. “Trump has already rejected them.”
The archives here at the Policy Werkes record George W. Bush at the 2004 convention, seeking re-nomination for a second term as president, courting Republican delegates “I’m asking for the vote.” And W was the sitting president!
The Donald, on the other hand, doesn’t ask. He demands. He coerces. Doesn’t work that way.