I watched the drama slowly–almost painfully so–unfold today in Indiana when Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz announced his vice-presidential running mate.
For the first half-hour I sincerely wondered if Carly Fiorina was actually going to show up on the stage. In one of the worst staged political events this year Cruz talked for over 30 minutes and rambled on in his overly theatrical way to the point that I suspect most watching turned the channel.
But since I love a great train wreck I continued to watch. And when Fiorina finally arrived on stage it took her only a few minutes to break into a song.
I kid you not.
Some older folks might think it cute, and it was clearly different. But it should be recalled that even Sarah Palin skipped the talent portion when introduced as a vice-presidential pick.
I get the need for Cruz to find a way to change the topic following a devastating primary election night when he failed to win even one county in any of the five states in contention. But to make such a presumptuous move as naming a running mate with an even more troubled candidacy than his own makes for a spiraling-down narrative than had he done nothing.
Shaking up the news cycle with something other than a laugh line is a laudable goal. The Cruz campaign did need to do something that would make news and at the same time have credibility. But what they attempted today was not only poorly staged and executed but will result in scorn and late-night talk show laughs.
Meanwhile Donald Trump remains unscathed from this goofy attempt by Cruz to change the message.
About the mid-portion of 2015 I am reminded that Time magazine tried to spin the notion the many GOP presidential candidates made for a most impressive list for the nation to ponder. Surely there had to presidential timber among the group.
Today I recall that article and place it right along with the column by George Will who wrote the morning before the Berlin Wall fell that such a thing was not in the cards. How wrong we often get the world staring us in the face.
But I can state tonight with total clarity and assurance that the smell of desperation that drove Cruz to the podium today will not serve him well.
A damaging reaction will follow May 3rd. Voters are wiser than to fall for such smarmy attempts to get votes.
We have heard the cry for decades from conservative Republicans. Every college professor is a liberal who only wishes to indoctrinate students. Education is not to be valued, and when it comes to matters such as Common Core there is no depths to partisanship that will not be taken for a political end. Science is not to be seen as facts but instead as only notions that can be swatted away if they are found to be uncomfortable.
Global warming, for instance is one of the most critical issues facing our nation. There is almost unanimous agreement among scientists that it is man-made and the problems associated with it are rising alarmingly. Every year we read about the record heatwaves, or cold spells along with catastrophic storms. Yet due to funding from multi-billionaires like the Koch Brothers the true movers and shakers within the camp of Republican candidates continue to say they believe global warming is not man-made.
What we have witnessed over the years is how an ever-larger growing number of Republicans have become the party of anti-intellectuals. In line with this the one slice of polling data that continues to stun and concern me is how many conservatives think governing experience is not necessary to be elected president.
To put this crazy notion into a historical context it needs to be stated that if Donald Trump wins the White House, it will be the first time in American history that voters choose a candidate with no political or military experience.
According to the Pew Center, 44 percent of Republican voters say they are less likely to support a candidate for president who has significant Washington experience, more than double the percentage of Republicans who said the same in 2007. While there can be an argument made for why voters are disturbed with the way Congress and Washington have worked over the past decade it is not logical to conclude that the only way forward is with the election of someone with no sense of governing or with any background in domestic or international policy making.
Yet, if we are to believe the polls, and primary state after primary state are showing the same trends as Republican voters embracing more fully the anti-intellectual side.
Since 2000 I have argued conservative Republicans are taking advantage of lower educated portions of this nation in an attempt to dumb down the electorate. Recall in 2012 when not one single Republican presidential candidate in the debates could stand with science and evolution. While I know full well the corporate boardroom type Republican shrinks in horror at such nonsense as they know the value to the nation of an educated populace being required to meet the competition from the world, it is also true that too many bumpkins in the heartland and southern states are easy prey to anti-intellectual thought.
At a time when more and more Republicans work to undermine education funding be it for K-12 or colleges the fact remains more broad-minded thinking needs to take place in our classrooms. I realize the push to dumb-down is everywhere with social media and television leading the way. Literacy, math, science, and history takes a beating everyday. In place of what should be a contest of ideas in the nation there is instead the blathering’s of Donald Trump.
As a lover of history it is not lost on me that a real core of our past comes from the notion that the “common man” mentality can lead the nation. The 19th century is showered with this concept. The whole argument was that hard work and perseverance would allow any person to rise to the highest office of the nation. I often use Abraham Lincoln as the personification of this idea. But what must not be forgotten is that the men and women of that century also held to the idea that education mattered. Majorities emerged that revered the understanding about the need for education.
Sadly over the past 20 years Republicans have often been the source for undermining education. We have allowed to slip away the idea of how important education is to make for better informed citizens. When we read of polls that show majorities of Republicans in state after state fail to see a need for an informed, educated, and experienced leader to reside in the White House we can only make one conclusion.
Republicans who sowed disdain for education are reaping the results with Donald Trump.
And too many stupid and irresponsible people who should never be allowed to ever own a gun. The news last night was simply stunning and shockingly sad.
A mother driving down a Milwaukee highway was shot and killed by her toddler son in the backseat when he got his hands on a gun. There is just no way to get my head around the absurdity of this story.
Patrice Price, 26, was driving a car belonging to her security guard boyfriend when the two-year-old accidentally fired a weapon that had been left in the vehicle. What type of an ass-hat leaves a loaded and deadly weapon just lying about in the car?
It might be equally asked what type of a mother places her kid in the back off a car with a gun on the seat?
Clearly there are people who are not capable of making sound decisions when it comes to guns. We become aware of that fact everyday by reading and hearing the news. But the bottom line is there are just too many guns in our society and somewhere along the line we need to admit it and resolve to end the problem.
Meanwhile Price was pronounced dead on scene yesterday on Highway 175.
The reason she died was the a child in the back seat of the vehicle got a hold of a gun and discharged the firearm, sending a single bullet into the driver’s back.
I think the best read this morning comes from the conservative but well-written National Review. For a week or two there has been talk about what Indiana Governor Mike Pence might do–or should do–as it relates to trying to stop Donald Trump from winning the primary on May 3rd. The article today was perfectly toned.
The Indiana governor may not have been abducted, but he’s certainly missing in action on the central question facing the Republican party: Are you with Trump, or against him?”
Pence is hardly alone on the sidelines, of course. But the crowd of wet-fingered politicians trying to determine which way the wind is blowing doesn’t matter. Pence does. If Donald Trump loses the May 3 Indiana primary, it is all but certain he will fall short of the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination on the first ballot. Indiana is now the Gates of Vienna for stopping the Trumpian takeover of the GOP.
Pence is surely aware of Trump’s unfavorables. But what he may not have considered is that if Trump loses the general election in a landslide, the recriminations will be ferocious. The postmortems will undoubtedly focus on who had a chance to stop Trump when it was possible. Among the first in the dock: the Hamlet of the Hoosiers.
Two different news operations both pointed to an underlying problem that was most noticeable in the exit polling data from Tuesday’s primaries in the Northeast.
The Wall Street Journal made the point this way.
Some 58% of Republican voters in Pennsylvania said the primary process had divided the party, exit polls showed. A far smaller share, 40%, said the primaries had energized the party. Moreover, one-quarter of Republican primary voters in Maryland and Connecticut, and nearly that share in Pennsylvania, said they wouldn’t vote for Mr. Trump in a general election. That signaled a problem for Mr. Trump in one of his top tasks, should be become the nominee: unifying his own party.
But it was First Read who pounded the message home with how Democrats though in a spirited race are more prepared for a general election contest.
Here’s something else that might give GOP consultants the night sweats: In battleground Pennsylvania, 69% of Democratic primary voters said their race was energizing their party, versus 58% of Republicans who said their nominating contest was dividing theirs.
With Donald Trump as the GOP nominee, and as time moves along that looks more and more to be the case, there is nothing but major hemorrhaging to be expected from the party.
Some needed humor this evening as Bernie Sanders continues to willingly spit into the wind and his followers thinks it is raining sugar plums.