|From Infinity Gauntlet #5, copied from F-ck Yeah Thanos tumblr|
I'd like to think I can live with that as part of my moral code, that I will not let myself get deluded by misplaced ideology or twisted perspective of the real world around me.
Thing is, I keep seeing others refusing to give up their illusions, and it gets painful to watch them founder and wallow.
Take, for example, the media elites who keep pining for some Republican Savior to rise from these Beltway streets. Per Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice:
One should never dismiss any possible development in the multi-ring circus of American politics, especially in this particular cycle. And surely every American is entitled to his or her very own political Theory of Everything, whereby the sufficient application of correct thought to the perfect handcrafted artisan unicorn candidate will CHANGE THE CONVERSATION such that everyone lives happily ever after. But the latest media proposals by the usual batch of Media Village Idiots, reliably wrong ‘pundits’, and ambitious careerists gunning for earned media don’t even rise to the dignity of a couple of tinfoil-hatted cranks taking up floor time at local meetings and wall space on public buildings (or Facebook) to promote the Independent Union of Patriotic National Americans for Responsible Freedom…
Another take is from Alexandra Petri with the Washington Post - whose snark is attention-getting, this post about the DC Metro is one of the best satire works I've seen in regular print - who notices that the Republican Party leaders are twisting themselves up into knots trying to avoid saying they'll back Trump:
...But fortunately for senators in tough, competitive seats, there is another option. You don’t have to endorse Trump. You can just support the Nominee of the Party.
These are not the same thing at all! They are quite different. The Nominee is everything Trump isn’t.
Here’s Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) talking about Trump: “I have strong disagreements with Mr. Trump.”
Here’s McCain talking about the Nominee: “The nominee of the party, the party of Ronald Reagan and Teddy Roosevelt, has my support.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) won’t endorse Trump. In February, she said, “There’s no place in our society for racism and bigotry, and I found Mr. Trump’s response to David Duke and the KKK disgusting and offensive.” But she will support the nominee...
It is good that there is this third option. The Nominee sounds wonderful.
He seems to have a strong base of support. Senators who have nothing positive to say about Trump at all speak glowingly of the mysterious Nominee.
Very little is known about him, apart from the fact that he is probably statesmanlike and definitely not embarrassing to have at the top of the ticket, and probably Reagan would have liked to have a beer with him, or something, but what more do you need to know?You can see it - just like Petri does - between the lines: these are people - politicians, pundits, pollsters - still pining that somehow they can turn this Con Artist Trump into a "respectable" mimic of their One True Reagan, or better still find a "pure" True Conservative (tm) to stop Trump with the purity of Burkean Thought and then crush Hillary driving all Democrats before him while the women lament.
As Anne Laurie notes:
But wherever could they find such a New Hope - a candidate of sterling conservative credentials, telegenic enough for the cruel media spotlight, someone who doesn’t mind risking the considerable chance of ending up as a nation-wide punchline? Cometh the hour, cometh the man...That's the thing, isn't it? The Republicans and their pundit allies have been looking for this One True Conservative Savior (tm). Where the hell is he?
When this whole 2016 circus started back in 2012 - I am not kidding, the second Karl Rove had a meltdown over Ohio the entire party was planning for this - the buzz among the Republicans was that "we're going to have a strong selection of candidates" for this cycle. But by 2014 the signs were there that whatever bench of talent they had, the GOP really didn't have all that deep or imposing or charismatic a roster. And look what we got.
This year's roster - a group of weak unpopular governors, weak unpopular senators, and how-the-hell-did-they-show-up set of amateurs - was weaker than 2012's, made up of weak unpopular governors and senators and congresspersons and amateurs. And THAT election cycle was weaker than 2008's, made up of weak unpopular governors and senators and congressmen and barely one popular senator in McCain who still blew it on a ramshackle platform blown apart by a collapsing economy blamed in part on Bush the Lesser's poor oversight.
There's been a downward spiral in True Conservative (tm) Heroes to rally to.
What we're getting is this ongoing fantasy, this wish fulfillment, among the Far Right pols and pundits desirous for The Return Of The Reagan Heir: the Prince That Was Promised. We're talking about a set of people pining for the days when it was 1985: when Reagan stomped the hell out of Mondale and his dirty hippie librul army of Electoral College no-shows, Bipartisanship meant Democrats paid for the bar tabs, Capitalism was ascendant, Soviets were getting blown up in Afghanistan, Wall Street was peaking, Grenada was pacified, MTV gave us endless loops of "Money For Nothing", and it was safe for decent honest hard-working folk to openly declare they were proud to be
These pundits and pols still don't get it: that was all an illusion.
Even Reagan wasn't really Reagan. For all his "heroics" of tax cuts, union-busting and deregulation, Reagan really raised taxes again when the early cuts in 1981 made things worse, didn't go after the social safety nets like Medicare and Social Security like promised, and eventually played nice with the Soviets on getting nuclear weapon bans in place.
All Reagan really had was a skill set at being charming and congenial and communicative, which created his appeal to the general population. But that didn't make a True Conservative (tm) the way his hagiographers believe to this very day.
When the modern Republican Party is pining for a Savior, they're really pining for a candidate who can be this Passive-Positive person, someone likable and pleasing to the audience. Which was why a lot of pundits kept falling in love with these photogenic types like Marco Rubio or Scott Walker. But that person doesn't exist anymore. And for one very good reason.
The Republican Party doesn't HAVE anyone anymore who is genuinely likable or congenial. The Far Right has driven everyone out who can be open-minded and receptive and appealing on a personal level. They've created an environment within their party ranks that every member HAS to support a dogmatic agenda - restrict or kill a federal government they view as "bad" - that can only be backed by Active-Negative types of dour and sour politicians. That type of agenda can only attract that type of candidate, no matter how hard they try to fake empathy.
Any hope they have of a Republican even pretending to be the same as Reagan - or Eisenhower, or Teddy Roosevelt, or Lincoln - is a fool's hope.
This is it, Republicans. This is it, Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson and David Brooks and others raging against the oncoming storm that is Trump. No more lies, no more illusions. The reason you're getting Trump as your banner-carrier is because all your efforts the last 30 years to build a new Reagan has instead built a toxic stew of racism, sexism, anti-Establishment anarchy, and failure of leadership within your own ranks.
There is no one coming to save you, Conservatives. There is not enough fairy dust to make this wish come true. You as Republicans are utterly screwed, and you made it that way. No excuses.
The best we can hope for now is that there's enough American voters fighting to save themselves at the ballot box able to drive out this toxic Party of John C. Calhoun into the gutters where Eisenhower feared it would go. Get out the vote, America, go vote this November and for the Love of God don't vote Republican, they have neither deserved nor earned our vote for decades now...