For most, if not all, Tea Partiers, it's the "establishment" that drives them nuts. Guys like Boehner and McConnell and Jeb Bush don't even have to do or say anything to elicit that reaction except show their faces in public and keep breathing. Heck, humble little pundits like me paying one of them the most casual of compliments is enough to send them off the deep end. Which makes it effortless, and therefore entertaining, to push their buttons on occasion for casual amusement. It can be a lot of fun if you know how, and it isn't difficult in the slightest to learn.
I, by contrast, do not have that vulnerability, because the thing that makes my eyes bleed is the incessant Tea Party-"establishment" bickering. Ted Cruz calling Mitch McConnell a "liar," John Boehner calling Ted Cruz a "jacksass," etc, etc., etc. It's like the Siberian escape scene in Fantastic Four II: Rise Of The Silver Surfer when Johnny Storm/Human Torch and Ben Grimm/Thing start their using argument over who gets to fly air-gizmo-thingie Reid Richards built and the latter finally snaps and screams, "Oh, SHUT UP!!! I'M driving!"
And that's domestic tranquility compared to the bleep-stirring that Donald Trump has been doing and continues to do, as with this latest ball-shot web ad aimed at Jeb Bush:
Tea Party Trumpsters will love it because it bludgeons Jeb's nads into two dimensions. It won't matter to them that the ad is a blatant fraud, that when Bush III made his "illegal immigration is an act of love" comment, he was referring to lettuce-pickers, not serial killers. I disagree with William Jacobson that this ad is "Willie Horton II," because the original Willie Horton ad was actually true. That's what made it so devastating to Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential candidacy. This is an ill-concealed lie, and if anybody but Trump was running it it would backfire spectacularly. AND it such distortions wouldn't - shouldn't - be necessary because Jeb's pro-amnesty stance is already more than sufficiently obnoxious.
But, again, the ad isn't intended to accurately convey information, it's designed and intended to be grossly unfair to the right candidate. And in that it succeeds spectacularly, and will probably draw even more center-right support.
Do you see why I find Trump so migraine-inducingly aggravating? He's all but forcing me to come to Jeb's defense, and I can't stand Jeb either. But I loathe Trump even more for what he's doing to the GOP in an election cycle in which constitutional conservatism HAS to win by bamboozling so many Tea Partiers with a lot of phony, caricatured huffing and puffing on a single over-emotive issue - illegal immigration - that is completely distracting them from all his hard-left issue stances which he really has not renounced even now, as well as making them look like every stereotype the Left has ever hurled at them.
That's another remarkable irony: In essence, Trump has stolen what was to have been Bush III's standard "establishment" strategy, only using celebrity and "populist" boorishness instead of a buttload of fundraising:
Bush seems to have jettisoned his [tack to the center, stay in the center] strategy before he could even implement it. Aside from his wan countenance, which some see as evidence of “moderation,” and his minor[?] heresy on Common Core, Bush is running pretty much as a down-the-line conservative, trumpeting his record cutting taxes, defunding Planned Parenthood, and blaming Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the sorry state of Iraq. Note to pundits: wearing glasses and speaking softly does not a RINO make.
Until he clinches the nomination, anyway.
There is, however, one candidate who has implemented the Jeb strategy: Donald Trump. While he’s been widely derided by liberals for his tough stance on illegal immigration, many of his positions stand markedly to the left of the rest of the GOP field. He’s defended Planned Parenthood; trumpeted his early opposition to the Iraq war; and supported a wealth tax. There’s a cunning political logic at work here: Because of his tough position on immigration and his take-no-prisoners aura, Trump can count on the continuing support of some on the hard right, including among talk radio hosts. But, at the same time, he can appeal to the general electorate; Trump’s support for taxing the rich, for example, is wildly popular in every segment of the population except the GOP base. [emphasis added]
I wouldn't count on that if I were you, Mr. Epstein. With this Trump "populist" mass psychosis running wild and unchecked through the ranks of the Right, I have no reason to believe that his Tea Party supporters won't back soaking the rich or funding Planned Parenthood or expanding ObamaCare or continuing the Obama Doctrine abroad as long as Trump is the one who is calling for this policy continuity. I really believe that if he somehow got elected and then did a complete about-face and kept Obamnesty in place, Tea Party Trumpsters would roar their approval. Because their support of Trump is fundamentally emotional and irrational, it literally now does not matter what he does, he can't lose them.
TPTers are groupies, in other words. And, having been "out-establishmented" by supremely non-establishment means, Jeb is forced to be what he's not as well - a "true conservative" - without any of the ersatz PR camouflage that Trump enjoys.
Trump is kicking Jeb's ass because he's an orders-of-magnitude better liar and demagogue. Which reflects the fact that in 2015, American voters don't want statesmen or leaders, they want burlesque - lowest-brow entertainers. Why else would there even be a "Draft Biden" movement, after all?
Which brings us to the one "hopeful" in the thundering GOP herd who is more "professorial," soft-spoken, and just plain boring than Jeb. The problem is, when Rand Paul tries to be colorful, it comes across like a bad version of the movie Rudy, and the only time his heart is really in such wince-inducing displays is also when he dispenses with aim and smears his (purportedly) fellow Republicans with the broadest brush possible:
“There have been a lot of dumb ideas put out,” Paul said, speaking with Boston Herald Radio. “One that the Mexicans will pay for a wall, [which] was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas. But putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion. It is sort of like everybody is now competing to say, ‘Oh no, I’ll put them in camps. Oh no, I’ll throw them out. Oh no, I’ll put everyone in jail. And I’ll have an electric fence, and I’ll do this.’ And it’s like, you know, the biggest thing we need to do is have a functioning immigration system, with a good work program.”
Up until the swipe at Scott Walker Senator Paul was okay. Because the notion that Mexico can be forced to pay for a border wall or that putting up another along the entire length of the northern frontier with Canada are, at the very least, highly impractical. But then he lurches into Hillary Clinton territory, not just at Trump, which would at least be logically justified, but at "everybody," which I interpret as Rand knowing that (1) he's bumping along the bottom of the race and (2) he can't possibly out-Trump Trump, so he's going to go the opposite direction to try and set himself apart and perhaps, somehow, attract some fresh attention to himself that way, even if it's by putting himself on the diametically wrong side of the core issue that's driving Trump's juggarnaut. That's enough of a Hail Mary as it is, but when you also figure in that in order to try this last-ditch counterintuition gambit, Senator Paul is having to flip-flop even more egregiously than Jeb is, it makes you wonder if Rand has reached the end of the line but is refusing to recognize it.
I really wish he would, if only to get him out of the race before we have to suffer any more moronic tweets like this one:
I'm going to guess that Bush III would call that Tweet just as much of ludicrous fantasy as forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall. The telling part is that I'm not certain how Trump would react to it. Pity we'll probably never find out, as Paul is so far behind that nobody has any need to respond to anything he says.
So much for Rand "getting" Trump, I guess.