What an opportunity 2016 was for Republicans.
Democrats, after holding the White House for eight years, were stuck with an aging, unpopular candidate with lower trustworthiness numbers than the diversity board at the Oscars. It was a golden opportunity, as Barack Obama’s domestic policy had brought the economy almost to its knees and his foreign policy had led to the rise of ISIS, which now strikes seemingly at will around the globe.
Republicans needed only to make a 2-inch tap-in putt. Instead, they picked up the driver and smacked the ball into the lake.
Republicans excel at one, and only one, thing: snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
It was not just Republicans’ year; it was our year. Conservatives finally were going to get our chance to present a vision for the country after eight years of progressive policies, laws and executive orders and, most importantly, appoint constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court.
Rather than revel in that reality and rally to the cause, the media embraced the Kardashian in the race, and far too many establishment Republican media types fell in behind.
None were worse than Sean Hannity, radio and Fox News host. He drooled so much every time he had Donald Trump on he nearly dehydrated. In his “interviews,” Hannity finishes Trump’s thoughts for him, clarifies his haphazard pronouncements and avoids specifics beyond “We’re gonna win again” when Trump demonstrates he never read his own campaign website’s policy proposals.
In the last two months, Hannity turned himself into a bulletproof vest for Trump, becoming his own personal “safe space” to run to when he screwed up. And he screwed up a lot.
Trump demonstrated zero conservative principles, a fifth-grader’s understanding of public policy and a willingness to say and do anything to win for the sake of winning. All while Hannity cheered.
Worse, Hannity tied Trump to Ted Cruz, as if they were somehow equals. “They’re both hated by ‘the establishment,” he’d cry. Perhaps, but not for the same reasons.
Trump is a clown who studies polls more than policy; who lies constantly and has spent a fortune funding Democrats. For everything he says, a quote of him saying the exact opposite can be found – sometimes from years ago, sometimes only moments. It’s easy to say anything and sound like you mean it when you don’t mean anything you say. And the way he said it has convinced a lot of people.
Trump appeals to anger, and anger overrides logic. Ted Cruz is the logical brain.
Unlike Trump, Cruz is a consistent conservative, a principled man who not only knows his vision for the country, he knows and respects the Constitution.
Yet to Hannity, they’re peas in a pod. Since people who work real jobs often turned to him for their news, they were indoctrinated into this perverted worldview. It has made a carnival barker look like a serious politician in a way no honest presentation of his opinions would have.
Ted Cruz is a man who learns from his mistakes; Donald Trump is a man who denies his. A pile of meat bought from a third party is not a “Trump Steak,” no matter how loudly he says it.
It’s sad watching this opportunity slip away, because it was golden.
There’s still hope, of course. Cruz is still in the race. As such, expect no more debates – Trump’s advisors know better than to allow him anywhere near a stage where he’d be so easily exposed. The Donald will stick to safe, softball interviews on shows desperate for ratings.
Cruz? He’ll still be interviewed. Not by phone, which is a luxury afforded only to Trump, but in person or via satellite. Hannity even will have him on in an attempt to fool his audience into thinking they aren’t being misled. But make no mistake: they are being misled.
They’re being misled by the real “establishment” in this race – the media. The liberal media is more than happy to comply because Trump is unprincipled and undoubtedly has more skeletons in his closet than all the catacombs of Paris.
The conservative media will continue to play along because Trump means ratings. More than principle, the conservative media establishment craves TV ratings. They might be conservatives, but without an audience they’re unemployed. The country may be going to hell in a handbasket, but Trump is ratings gold … in the rubbernecking way a car accident causes a traffic jam.
So when you hear a “conservative” host rail against “millionaires and billionaires in the establishment” trying to “steal this nomination” it’s important to remember it’s a millionaire defending a billionaire who admits himself that everything he says is negotiable. That everything he says is for show; that he can be anything he needs to be at any given moment.
A man who says he can be whatever is needed to win will do anything to win, especially lie. And someone whose job depends on you watching them will say whatever they think you want to hear to get you to do so.
The only thing not being represented, the only thing not being advanced, is conservative principles. In a year tailor-made for a conservative resurgence, we’re being force-fed unthinking “populism” by snake-oil salesmen.
I hope it doesn’t happen, I hope November brings us a choice that isn’t a liberal with a “D” after her name or a liberal with an “R.” I hope people wake up and recognize a president should not have more People Magazine covers than coherent, consistently conservative policy positions. I hope Ted Cruz is the Republican nominee and Marco Rubio is his running mate.
If that doesn’t happen we will have either Hillary Clinton or a major Hillary Clinton donor as our next president, without a dime’s worth of difference between the two. Like I said, what a waste.