In other Olympic-size news, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has fallen and can’t seem to get up and a top executive from the conservative “news” web site Breitbart has come in to prop up the Republican, the second major staff shake-up in about a month.
Interesting juxtaposition -- but one was done in the spirit of two strangers helping each other out after a calamity in the once-every-four-year Olympics and the other in the once-every-four-year thing we call a presidential election.
The Breitbart fellow, Stephen Bannon, is now Trump’s campaign chief executive. Bannon, the stories say, has no presidential campaign experience which should help offset the Trump campaign’s other leader – campaign chair Paul Manafort – who has plenty of experience and has watched Trump’s poll numbers do nothing but fall since he took over.
Oh what a tangled web…well, not sure that fits but then again nothing fits in this election year.
On the other hand, news reports say that naming Bannon is a doubling down on Trump’s view that Trump needs to be Trump – sticking to his strategy of no-holds-barred campaigning, a nationalist bent and saying whatever comes into his mind no matter who it insults or how nutty it may sound or what lies he tells. Hey, it worked in the primary, their logic goes, so who’s to believe the polls showing a pending shellacking. Let’s stick to what worked!
Meantime, let me get this straight: Manafort, who those of us who go back to the 1970s in GOP politics know as one of the meanest street fighters around and whose picture you’ll see if you look up “dirty tricks” in the dictionary, is being pushed aside for someone, uh, meaner. OK, got it.
In related news, more than 100 former elected officials, campaign and administration staff going back to the 1970s sent a letter to the Republican National Committee (RNC) asking that it stop funding Trump’s campaign now and move the money to more winnable House and Senate races. I was one of those signers. To those of us who signed it was not a “heroic” action, as some are saying, but a common sense one to try to save some worthwhile Republican candidates while tossing an unworthy presidential candidate who can’t win over the side.
The RNC will comply – but on its own timetable. The RNC says it won’t throw its standard bearer overboard. But it likely will in October when it has tossed past standard bearers (goodbye, Bob Dole) over so they can say they gave it the old college try.
Timing is everything, as they say, and the RNC says it needs Trump for now to raise money. My guess is if they stopped funding Trump, many big donors who are not supporting Trump would again give money to the RNC. But, that’s my political calculation, for what it’s worth.
Many don’t think it’s worth much. One person called those of us who signed the letter “has-beens.” True to a large degree, but a group of “has-beens” with a collective hundred and probably thousands of years’ experience working on behalf of the Republican Party, its candidates and its elected officials or serving in office.
Another person who contacted me, anonymously, called me far worse names that are not suitable even for this web site which has few standards for name-calling. Let’s just say I never did do any of the things he said I did with male sexual partners – not that there’d be anything wrong with it if I did.
One other just called me a RINO (Republican in Name Only), a title I can tolerate since I’ve been called a lot worse things in my political life (see above). For the record, I thought the party was a “big tent” which could tolerate various views but agreed on a set group of ideals, a set of ideals Trump does not seem to agree with. But, I guess I took Ronald Reagan more seriously than some members of the GOP.
On the other hand that writer said the biggest offense of those who signed the letter was that we went public with it rather than stood by silently. She wanted, I guess, us to put party over country. I guess she figures we can vote for someone else, and let the party sink lower in the public’s mind, but we should keep our mouths shut as the party disintegrates.
The only conclusion I can draw is that we have yet to see the bottom of this year’s politics.