Out Until Sunday

We’re about to start a meditate-your-butt-off retreat here in the temple, so I’ll be offline (officially) until Sunday. Do try to behave. Please feel free to discuss whatever atrocities are going on.

Bad Hair?

Few of the people waxing indignant because The Donald proposed banning Muslims from the U.S. seem not to have noticed that Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush want to allow only Christian refugees from Syria into the country. And many state governors have gone out of their way to be as ugly and nativist as possible, barring Syrian refugees of any sort.

In other words, it appears the Muslim ban thing is only bad because The Donald said it. Is it the bad hair?

Seriously, the only difference between the snake oil Trump is peddling and the snake oil being marketed by the rest of the Republican candidates is that some are using more upscale advertising.

I don’t entirely buy Charles Blow’s argument that Trump the Candidate is a monster created by craven mass media, but I agree with this:

Speaker Paul Ryan said at the House Republican leadership’s weekly news conference, “This is not conservatism.” Maybe it’s not traditional conservatism, but it is modern Republicanism, or at least a large enough portion of it to make the most inflammatory Republican candidate the most liked Republican candidate.

Ryan continued: “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”

I’m not sure which party Ryan has been paying attention to for the last decade, but to my eye and ear, extreme rhetoric is increasingly becoming intrinsic to the Republican Party. The front-runner is simply saying out loud what many conservatives are feeling — he’s not Svengali; he’s a crowd reader.

The truth is that even candidates with more graceful language and elegant delivery than the current front-runner express views that sound eerily similar to his.

People who self-identify as journalists in mass media just about never point out how absurd a politician’s positions are, even when they are, but now for The Donald all bets are off. It’s now okay for them to admit his ideas are nuts and he’s beginning to resemble a cross between a low-rent Mussolini and Pennywise the Clown. But they won’t say the same thing about the other GOP candidates, even though they are all pretty much on the same page in substance, if not in packaging. Although it’s okay to repeat every unsubstantiated rumor about Hillary Clinton.

The GOP is still hoping The Donald will flame out that that a “serious” candidate, i.e. someone with a conventional working relationship with the GOP establishment and its corporate donors, will step up. The longer Trump stays on top of the polls, the harder it’s going to be for that to happen. Heh.

See also Gail Collins, Republicans, Guns and Abortion.