You know how when someone delivers you a verbal low blow that outrages and infuriates you, and the first thing that comes to your red-hazed mind (aside from bludgeoning them unconscious in retaliation) is to demand that they apologize immediately, even though such an apology would almost certainly be empty, insincere, and phony?
That's the feeling I've got about this pledge, which The Donald has evidently signed this morning:
Donald Trump will meet with Republican National Commitee chairman Reince Priebus Thursday in New York City, one day after party officials began circulating a loyalty pledge that looked squarely aimed at the Republican front-runner.
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed the meeting to CNN. Trump also announced that he will have a 2 p.m. news conference at Trump Towers Thursday.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, all signs indicate that Trump will sign a pledge to support the Republican nominee if he loses, and not run as an independent.
However, sources caution that until the meeting happens, no one can be sure exactly what the outcome will be, since Trump is his own adviser and has a history of being unpredictable.
Indeed. Which is what makes this, well, "trumped-up" pledge signing less than entirely reassuring. Remember what Allahpundit said last week:
You think Trump gives a crap about a pledge? He’d take the pledge, renounce it later, then laugh at what losers these Republican leaders are for ever believing that he’d keep his promise.
And his fans would cheer him on. “He outwitted the RINOs by making them think he’s a man of his word!”
It all depends upon whether you think that Donald Trump is an honest, trustworthy man. Given his long history of precisely the opposite, that would appear to be an awfully foolish bet to make.
In fact, I'll tell you right here and now why Trump signed this party loyalty pledge: He's running away with the GOP nomination (at least for the moment) and his ego has convinced him that he won't have to bother going indy later after all. I tend to think that even he is laughing uproariously in private at how shockingly easy it has been for him to sway and swindle so many erstwhile "conservatives" and Tea Partiers into blowing their all-hallowed "principles" out the nearest airlock by the simple tactic of giving the insanely hated Republican "establishment" repeated noogies and swirlies. Talk about "cheap dates".
But maybe this is what could be described as a case of "The Establishment Strikes Back":
This suggests that Trump’s taking this campaign seriously, perhaps more seriously than many thought and still think at the moment. Still, this cuts completely across his main draw. Voters flock to Trump because they’re angry at the Republican Party, which has won control of Congress and so far has seemingly done little with it. Locking himself into the GOP, and especially making agreements with its senior leadership, might well undermine that rogue quality which has thus far kept voters from caring too much about his history of left-of-center policy stands. It’s a risk for Trump, one that might just put him in the one category fatal to his populist aspirations: politician.
In other words, will Tea Party Trumpsters see this pledge signing as their hero "going native," or will they see him like General Douglas MacArthur accepting the Japanese surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay?
I tend to lean toward the latter.
But what happens a few months from now when the field starts mercifully winnowing down, also-ran candidates start dropping out, and the only factor giving Trump the advantage he currently enjoys - too many damned candidates - vanishes, exposing the fact that he's already pretty much at his support ceiling, and he gets passed up by real conservatives (and Republicans)? Answer: Out will go his "pledge," but with it, all the advantages that being in a national party provides in terms of fundraising, primary ballot access, and voter data collection and availability, without which an independent run would be much more difficult (though not impossible).
Either that, or Trump will have to admit defeat. Which also cuts completely across his main draw. But which he ought to be willing to do if he really is a Republican.
Which, of course, he's not. As will become garishly clear over the next few months.
But don't worry, Tea Party Trumpsters; at the end of this crazy train ride, I will be waiting, my overflowing quiver of "I told you so's" locked and loaded.