Twilight of a dinosaur: the meteoric fall of John McCain
WASHINGTON, July 25, 2015 – When one thinks of a tired career politician of the 20th century, one should immediately think of Arizona’s Sen. John McCain. Nearly 20 years into the new century and McCain is running for re-election – a relic of a time when military service, not ideas, was a sufficient record on which to run for office.
Then came billionaire New York real estate magnate and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. When Trump announced he would run for the GOP presidential nomination, singling out illegal immigration as a main issue of his campaign, McCain was outraged.
“The circus currently surrounding the debate over illegal immigration sows division within our country and damages the Republican Party,” said McCain. “If the Republican nominee for president does not support comprehensive immigration reform and border security policy, we have no chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and winning the White House in 2016.”
McCain, ever the prisoner of small-minded thinking, never explains the wisdom behind the establishment Republican push to help Hillary and her fellow Democrats dramatically change the demographic map of the United States to better reflect Mexico, Guatamala and Honduras.
McCain told the New Yorker magazine that a Trump presidential rally in Phoenix was hurting his re-election chances by galvanizing Arizona’s “crazies,” by which he meant Copper State citizens concerned with their senator’s support for unfettered illegal immigration and amnesty, against him.
McCain doesn’t have to. Why? Because McCain has a military record.
When political consultant and frequent Fox News guest, Frank Luntz, questioned Trump at the Family Leadership Summit on the campus of Iowa State University, he asked for Trump’s thoughts on Common Core, the federal program to nationalize education.
“Common Core has to be ended,” said Trump. “It’s a disaster. It’s a way of taking care of people in Washington that – frankly, I don’t even think they give a damn about education.”
Luntz was stunned. “Do you really want to use that word [damn] in this forum?”
“I will, I will,” insisted Trump, “because people want to hear the truth.”
And then Trump exposed the hidden purpose of Luntz’s question. Turning to the audience, Trump noted, “Exactly what Frank said is what’s wrong with our country. We’re so politically correct that we can’t move anymore. We have to be able to express ourselves.”
The hall erupted in applause.
Luntz attempted to regain control of the room by shielding illegal aliens behind the war record of a certain senator from Arizona. “Referring to people [criminal illegal aliens] as rapists; referring to John McCain, a war hero – five-and-a-half years as a P.O.W. – you call him a dummy.”
“I supported him for president,” said Trump. “I raised a million dollars – that’s a lot of money. He lost. He let us down… so, I never liked him much after that, ‘cause I don’t like losers.”
“He’s a war hero! He’s a war hero!” shouted Luntz.
“I like people who weren’t captured, okay,” said Trump dismissively, adding that “somebody should run [for Senate] against John McCain.”
If you read the newspapers or watch the nightly television news, you are aware that the mainstream media has picked up on Luntz’s theme by using McCain’s war record as a hammer to smash Trump’s stand on illegal immigration.
It’s not working.
A new poll by the organization YouGov finds that 28 percent of registered Republicans support Trump, with his closest rival garnering a meager 10 percent.
“Donald Trump’s rise in the Republican contest for the 2016 presidential nomination doesn’t appear to have been slowed much – at least not yet – by the recent controversy over his criticisms of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s war record last weekend. In fact, although Trump’s favorable ratings among Republicans have declined, he is still ahead – and far ahead – when Republicans are asked to choose among the 16 currently announced candidates,” said YouGov.
Ronald Reagan did the conservative movement and the Republican Party a great disservice by popularizing California Republican Party chairman Gaylord Parkinson’s “11th Commandment.”
“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that [1966 California gubernatorial] campaign and have ever since,” wrote Reagan in his 1990 autobiography.
Reagan forgot to mention that the 11th Commandment did not apply to his GOP presidential primary opponents in 1976 or 1980. In a 1975 memo to President Gerald Ford, deputy assistant to the president Jerry Jones wrote of an underling’s meeting in California with a disgraced former president.
“Richard Nixon feels that Ronald Reagan is a lightweight and not someone to be considered seriously or feared in terms of a challenge for the [presidential] nomination. He further feels that we are building Reagan into a more formidable opponent… and how we talk about Reagan’s entering the race. He therefore recommends that we take it easy and not build up Reagan in any way through our actions or words.”
Nixon, it turned out, was a lightweight political strategist. Reagan did run for the GOP presidential nomination in ‘76 and nearly defeated Ford in a squeaker of a delegate fight on the floor of the GOP convention in Kansas City.
The winners, Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockerfeller, went on to lose to – of all people – Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale.
When in 2008, Americans were presented a choice between an unknown candidate promising to “spread the wealth around” an a war hero devoid of ideas, Americans chose the man with ideas.
McCain lost to – of all people – Barack Obama and Joe Biden: a community organizer from Chicago and a plagiarizing senator from Delaware.
Donald Trump’s rise in stature among Republican voters signals the end to the GOP’s 11th Commandment.
And good riddance.
Feel free to criticize the GOP’s feckless enablers of debt-ceiling increases, open borders, Obamacare funding, support for the government’s rifling through private communications at the expense of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure, and out-of-control pork barrel spending.
And when apologists for a certain Arizona Republican senator, running for re-election in 2016, shout the usual tired excuse to stifle debate – “He’s a war hero! He’s a war hero!” – forget political correctness, go “maverick” and give them the old Bronx salute.