I made brief mention last night of Trump's "Let's purge and ban all Muslims" air biscuit as an update to my "Cruz passes Trump in Iowa" post, but I didn't bother giving it a post of its own. Why? Because I wanted the focus on the news that mattered - Cruz passing Trump in Iowa - and because, well, nothing Trump says really matters because (1) he doesn't believe a word he ever excretes, (2) the things he says (Let's deport all thirty million illegal aliens!) are so ludicrously impractical and outside the Overton Window that they could never happen anyway - in this case, only after a nuclear 9/11, and probably not even then - and (3) when Trump starts getting asked the nuts & bolts of how his crazy suggestions would actually work, he always walks them back, because of course, he's never given three seconds of actual thought to any of them, because the purpose of the crazy suggestions is to draw attention to himself and/or away from something else. Donald Trump is a glory-sponge, not a policy-maker. It's what makes him such a superficially successful (and grievously unserious) candidate and would make him such an awful POTUS.
Here's the day-later walk-back, right on schedule (key portion at 14:05):
Asking Muslims, "Are you a Muslim?"? That's it? Heck, that's what the Obama TSA probably does now. I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. Farook were asked that question on their return to the country from Pakistan while in their Islamic garb and their small arsenal under their arms, complete with burqa, and said "Nope!" while expelling a couple of thermoses of phlegm, and were waved right through.
As I say, woefully unserious and superficial.
But as I keep saying, and said in my update last night, the other reason Donald Trump says things like this is to make the Republican Party look bad, both by association and in how it forces actual Pachyderms to appear to move left in order to disassociate themselves from him once the media go after all of them all but demanding they do just that. This, in turn, reinforces the "[BLEEP] the GOP 'establishment'!" tourets-esque Tea Party/GOP grassroots reflex and gooses The Donald's superficial popularity even more.
It is the greatest political scam the Democrats have ever pulled off. Even better than the 2008 Democrat Financial Logic Bomb.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (love the beard, Mr. Speaker), is the latest 'Pubbie to wag the finger:
I suppose he has to get all "holier than thou" in his institutional leadership position, but that, again, just plays into Trump's hands and does not dissuade or deter him from continuing to wax outrageous. Quite the opposite, in fact. You cannot shame Donald Trump, in other words, but you can embarrass him by using the unworkability of his crazy exhortations to make him look stupid. And nobody with an ego the size of Donald Trump's ever wants to look stupid.
I've been almost instinctively doing precisely that for the past six months on this site and on the air. Nice to see others on this side of the aisle finally start catching on as well:
The lectures about “who we are” are a perfect example of that bullshit. I don’t mean to pick on Ryan in saying that; his intentions are good here and, like I said, his role requires him to speak up. But this is a less effective way to try to beat Trump’s “Muslim ban” than attacking it on the merits would be, a point also made by Erick Erickson at Red State today. You’re better off staying cool and picking the idea apart on substance: It’s a dumb way to screen for terrorists....it’ll damage cooperation with Middle Eastern intelligence services, and so on. Trump clearly hasn’t given five minutes of thought to the nuts and bolts of it. It’s something he squirted out like a wet fart because he thought the smell might mask Ted Cruz’s gains in Iowa for a news cycle or two. If Ryan and other Republicans are going to spend time at a podium talking about Trump, they should at least note that his calculus is always political, never policy-minded. [emphases added]
Makes Trump sound an awful lot like....a Democrat, doesn't it?
UPDATE: 68% of Trump's supporters would leave the GOP with him if he bolts next year, which would correspond to about 8%-10% of the overall popular vote, assuming the USA Today/Suffolk University survey number for him is accurate. More than enough to put Hillary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders over the top, as even Jeb Bush figured out:
Almost looks like if Trump wins, Hillary wins, and if Trump loses, Hillary wins, doesn't it?