Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Fantasy of a Third Party Savior... AGAIN

As I write this, Donald Trump is crushing the Cruz-Kasich coalition in five state primaries and pretty much making it impossible for Cruz in Second Place to ever reach the needed delegate count. Trump hasn't won outright, but he's the only one who can.

As such, the Conservative Beltway Media Punditry of Both Siderism and Dubya-Never-Happened have moved their freak-out to Defcon 2.

Terrified of the likelihood of an amateurish, bullying, Id-driven, failed businessman becoming the Serious Candidate of the Republican Party that these pundits cannot honestly shill to the general electorate, more and more of them are pushing more and more their incredible fantasy of having a "respectable" True Conservative rise up from the shadows of history and declare for a Third Party independent run. This True Conservative can then rally all the Honest Common Man voters crying all for a REAL LEADER to drive away the horrors of a Trump or Hillary or Bernie Presidency, and bring the nation back to a united harmonious new era of Reagan-esque patriotism and nostalgic delight.

Insert headdesking here.

Never mind the obvious evidence that if there were such a candidate - a True Conservative to save the Republicans from their Trumpian fate - don't you think he'd (and it's usually a guy) have run by now and was stopping Trump already in the primaries?!

The Republican Establishment had their chances: Hell, they have five of them in Jeb!, Rubio, Scott Walker, Chris Christie and Kasich. If that was the cream of the crop, the BEST that the Republicans could rally to run for 2016, and they STILL couldn't outpander and outwit and outrun Trump... there is something seriously wrong with the quality of Republican leadership today.

And yet here we are with the likes of Jim VandeHei - a founder of media outlet Politico and writing in the Wall Street Journal op-ed - dreaming up a scenario of a military general (and it's always a man in a uniform that attracts the fantasy) coming in as a Third Party savior to mock the legacy of 98-lb weakling Obama and bitch-slap Trump into a whimpering heap. But lemme have Daniel Drezner at the Washington Post point out all the follies:

Over the past few months and years, the hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts has tried to make a few useful suggestions for improving the quality of punditry during this campaign season. For example:
Don’t use Donald Trump as a vehicle for your particular hobbyhorse — you’ll just get tarnished.
Don’t call for a military leader on horseback to rescue the country — the ones interested in the job are probably the last ones who should be president.
Don’t use Silicon Valley buzzwords to describe anything with respect to politics or policy — it means those words have been played out.
Don’t assume Americans care too much about foreign policy or national security. They don’t.
Don’t call for a third-party candidate to enter the race because: (a) that candidate won’t win, and (b) even if the candidate wins, the new president still needs to cope with a Congress that will remain a product of the two-party system.
To be fair, I never actually wrote that last point up, mostly because I thought it was so obvious that it did not need to be said out loud.
I bring this up because Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei’s Wall Street Journal op-ed manages to ignore all of these warnings. Praising the plain language of Donald Trump? Check. References to disruption? Check. Calls for an “Innovation Party?” Check. VandeHei also leans hard on the “Normal America vs. D.C. bubble” trope, which will be a topic for another column...
So the poster boy for VandeHei’s new leadership is … a recently retired admiral who challenges civilian control of the military. I would be uncomfortable with this person in charge of determining the proper allocation of war powers between the different branches of government. By exploiting the fear factor...
I get the suspicion VadneHei didn't do any research or any due diligence, or have any concern to the actual inability of his Dream Candidate to bring the nation under the united banner of a kinder gentler machine gun hand.

What's really happening here is projection. These insulated Beltway media types, thinking themselves the only sane ones in a kingdom of madness, are fantasizing about their ideal leader playing out a game-plan that makes perfect sense only to themselves. Each one of these pundits aren't really selling a military hero, or a political savant, or a philosophical genius: they're selling themselves as the God-Chosen Savior. It's only the realization no one will take THEM seriously as a candidate that they're forced to call up General McAwesomesauce as the Insert Savior Here guy.

But I've noticed this before: this fantasy is just that, and it's a fool's fantasy to think that this unheralded Insert Savior Here can just show up and have 60 million Americans swoon for him. It's a fool's fantasy to think there IS such a Conservative candidate after more than a year finding out the Republicans don't have anyone like that anymore. It's a dreamer's denial to think that this Third Party Insert Savior Here can break the Electoral College enough to bring this Pundit's Paradise to the Real World.

And how disappointing is it going to be if said Insert Savior Here guy does show up on the stage and turns out to be yet another dud?

Not disappointing at all. All these pundits will do is wail the lost opportunity and move on to the next sucker willing to pose for their fantasies.

I wasn't joking four years ago when I said there needs to be a term limit on the MEDIA more than on our elected officials. At least we can kick the officials out by vote. These pundits will not stop until they drive their publishing agencies into bankruptcy, and then move on to the next million-dollar book deal.

It's a good racket like Driftglass notes over and over again, if that exclusive club of always-wrong media elites invite you in. Problem is, you pay out your integrity as you go.

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