Yes, it’s silly season alright, but some campaign wounds are self-inflicted. The silly season story? Donald Trump is in need of a publicity – I don’t know, but I’d guess that this all about his TV show ratings or maybe he has a book to push or something – and so he’s running around ranting about birther nonsense. All of which wouldn’t be worth even thinking about mentioning, except that it’s a slow news Friday afternoon – and Trump is scheduled to raise money for and with Mitt Romney on Tuesday.
Philip Klein wants credit, tweeting “Gee, who could have predicted Trump endorsement would come back to haunt Romney?” He links back to his column from February, in which he calls Romney’s campaign appearance back then with Trump his “biggest blunder.” Well, I don't know about biggest, but: fair enough!
Look, none of this stuff matters very much in terms of winning and losing in November. Scratch that – most likely, none of this matters at all for November. What it does remind us, however, is that there really is something seriously wrong with the Republican Party. I’ve said this many times: both sides have cranks and loonies (yes, they do), but Democratic Party politicians and operatives almost always marginalize, ignore, and when needed condemn those folks, and that’s just not true on the Republican side.
What does matter is that a Republican Party that can’t tell nutty conspiracy theories from reality (or is constrained to pretend that it can’t tell the difference) isn’t apt to be able to govern very well. What does matter is that Republican voters are trained not to know or care about the difference between strong conservative positions and utter nonsense – and there’s no surprise that they react by nominating candidates for Congress who either lose races that Republicans could have won, or wind up embarrassing the party with their behavior in office. What does matter is a party that rewards the Trumps of the world (or, you know, the Gingriches) will get used by the Trumps of the world, and intelligent, thinking conservatives will walk out.
Donald Trump is just a buffoon and an entertainer; the truth is Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, at their core, are just buffoon entertainers. But there’s something seriously wrong with a party that treats them as serious contributors. Good for Klein for calling Romney out on this one; let's see if the Mittster has to back off by Tuesday.