Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Is Rush Limbaugh Finally Coming Around To #NeverTrump?

by JASmius

i.e. Where one would think that Mr. Conservative, confronting the leftwingnut-esque, Democrat-ish antics and tactics of the New York liberal conman who is managing to do to the Right and the GOP what not even Bill Clinton or Barack Obama ever managed - permanently discredit and destroy, or, if you prefer, "Whigify" them - would have been since the middle of last June.  And where he has not been because he sold out everything he's ever stood for and his integrity as a commentator in order to panderingly retain a disproportionately loud portion of his audience that either sold out everything they've ever stood for to chase after Trump or were and are as big a frauds as their coiffed, mesmerizing hero.

The answer to the headline question is....no, but Rush's abandoned principles and integrity are fighting like the devil to break out back into his conscious thoughts from wherever his shallow greed mentally incarcerated them.  It's like the GOP civil war is raging in both halves of his fertile brain, regardless of which one is tied behind his ample back.

Here he points out, correctly and surprisingly, that for all of "Lyin' Donnie's" whining about his wipeout defeats in Colorado and Wyoming being "unfair" (because they emphasized organization and ground game, the campaign functions of which he and his incompetent palace guard were completely ignorant, about which they never bothered to learn, and for which they disdained to compete), it is, by that same "logic," equally as "unfair" that Trump will win somewhere just north of half of New York's primary votes today and yet stands to walk away with eighty or ninety percent of the Empire State's delegates.  Or, by the same token, that is just as fair as Cruz's romps out West:

Trump has this op-ed in the — this is gonna be tough when I get to that. Trump has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I have it in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers here.

“On Saturday, April 9th,” Trump begins, in his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, “On Saturday, April 9th, Colorado had an “election” without voters. Delegates were chosen on behalf of a presidential nominee, yet the people of Colorado were not able to cast their ballots to say which nominee they preferred.

A planned vote had been canceled. And one million Republicans in Colorado were sidelined.”

Now I hate to do this....

i.e. "Please don't pelt me and my wife with social media death threats for telling you Trumplicans truths you ragingly don't want to hear".

....but that just isn’t correct. There was never going to be an election, a primary election in Colorado and this op-ed gives the impression that Colorado was gonna have a vote. There was gonna be a primary and people are gonna vote like they have in other States and at the last-minute changed their mind. There never was a plan to vote. There was never a plan to vote that was canceled in Colorado. Colorado was always, from last August, going to be what it was: a series of conventions where delegates would be chosen to the convention by Republican attendance at these various county conventions and at the big State convention, but there was never gonna be a vote.

Pre-canned, fact-resistant, three-year-old-caliber Trumplican response: "THAT's BS!!!!!"  And they would be wrong again, because the real BS was still to come:

And this op-ed — you know, I asked a question two days ago, and I asked it again yesterday. And that question was, why didn’t Trump call attention to Colorado not having an election beforehand? Why did he wait until Colorado’s process was complete to lodge a complaint about it? And this op-ed gives us the answer. You know what we have here? Trump and Colorado is a classic lesson in winning by losing. How to win by losing.

Isn't this just the kind of convoluted crapola that Limbaugh has made a career of lampooning?  Wouldn't Trump rather have had most or all of those sixty or so combined delegates, counting Wyoming, in his "pile," particularly given the growing likelihood of a multi-ballot convention that does not favor him?  And isn't his malcontentism all about ass-covering and face-saving?

Not to hear Limbaugh (no doubt fearing for his life as he frantically tried to fence-mend with the Trump Twitter mobs) spin it:

It is apparent to me now that the Trump campaign was fully aware that they were gonna lose Colorado this way and had found and discovered a way to turn that to their advantage by claiming that Colorado had cheated, by claiming that Colorado was disenfranchising people, by claiming that Colorado was gonna have a vote and then changed their mind. But their never was a plan to vote. So I’ve answered my question. Trump waited ’til after Colorado to exploit the fact that there was not an election there, and it helped his point if he lost. [emphasis added]

Helped his point but hurt his campaign.  So which is actually more important to him?  It all depends on what the meaning of the word "winning" is.  Sixty more delegates would have improved his chances of hitting 1,237 on the first convention ballot - i.e winning the nomination.  "Helping his point" only matters more if he's not in the race to actually win, but to sabotage the GOP.  Is Rush's caesarian cerebellum subconsciously and/or Freudianly onto something despite himself?  If so, he's doing all he consciously can to suppress it:

So for those of you devising campaign strategies in the future, file this one under the category of winning by losing. And even in the next page of the op-ed he refers to it again. He said: “No one forced anyone to cancel the vote in Colorado. Political insiders made a choice to cancel it. And it was the wrong choice.” There was no vote ever intended to happen. So there was never in this cycle a cancellation of an election. But Trump’s op-ed makes it look like there was a scheduled vote and a last minute cancellation to disenfranchise people because they didn’t want Trump to win. [emphasis added]

Trump made gigantic, serial rookie mistakes, got humiliated on consecutive weekends, then smearingly lied about it, and Limbaugh calls that brilliant "strategery".  This from the same "Dean of [his] Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies" who spent the entirety of the 1990s arguing and insisting that "character matters" and denouncing La Clinton Nostra's corrupt, mafia-esque, character-assassinating deceptions.  I don't ever recall Rush defending those despicable antics and tactics as "winning by losing" - until now.  Now, apparently, it's okay to lie and smear and cheat and bribe and threaten and bully and intimidate and "attack" - all encapsulated in Bill Clinton's infamous 1996 campaign phrase, "Well, we'll just have to win, then" - if the agent of that comprehensive corruption allegedly has an "R" after his name.

Isn't that the EXACT same thing - "selling out principles", "standing for nothing but themselves", "protecting personal fiefdoms," etc. ad nauseum - of which so many Trumplicans accuse the GOP "establishment"?  And even if it were true of the latter - which it isn't, as the so-called "establishment" (minus the tenth of it that genuinely are RINOs) is rapidly becoming the only surviving redoubt of true conservatism - how would a successful Trump takeover of the Republican Party not simply replace one corrupt "establishment" with another?  And how would that be an improvement for Trumplicans, other than in the emotionally-invested sense of being "slaves on the winning side"?

And El Rushbo justifies even that:

And Trump supporters are more than happy to embrace that. I mean, every supporter loves it when their guy is the victim of some cheating or some dirty trick. [emphasis added]

Since bleeping when?  That's the Trump Kool Aid talking.  Partisans don't want their guy or gal to be the victim of cheating or dirty tricks; at least rational ones don't.  Sure, they know it sometimes happens, and has grown more likely as the political culture has deteriorated over the past generation, but they don't relish the prospect.  The only ones who would (1) prefer anger and rage over happiness and emotional stability - which is irrational - and (2) have been corrupted by that anger and rage to see it as "ends justify the means" rationalization for embracing the very "cheating" and "dirty tricks" they once condemned - by, for example, falsely accusing a victorious opponent of same to discredit their fair and square victory - as long as they get to be on the delivering end of them.

Another reference to that phenomenon is...."FIGHT!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!".  Or "Trump as Mj√∂lnir," even though in reality Trumplicans have no idea where their hero would bring that hammer down other than what their blind faith has deluded them to believe.

Or, "Burn it down!"

 So I’ve answered my question. Why didn’t Trump call attention to this before they caucused in Colorado? Because he was counting on losing and then exploiting it, which he’s done brilliantly, and here you have this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which carries the theme forward.

The "Days of Rage" theme....

....which will utterly combust any chance of unifying the party after this fractricidal death struggle regardless of who winds up with the nomination.

Contra Limbaugh's gibberings, Trump had no idea of what was coming in Colorado and Wyoming and all the States around the country where Ted Cruz is "attacking" him.  He hired kindred spirits as  campaign staffers, defined by their verbal and physical pugilistic traits rather than their political professionalism and knowledge - i.e "outsiders" rather than "insider establishment hacks" - and, their not knowing what he also didn't know, were useless to him in putting together a complete presidential campaign that could compete in all aspects of the nomination process.  It was only in the past couple of weeks, after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was quietly (and has now officially been) demoted in favor of convention manager Paul Manafort that Trump was brought up to speed on the gaping hole in his campaign that has enabled Senator Cruz to lay the groundwork for unraveling his nomination chances.  Confronted (privately, of course) with the reality of the embarrassing magnitude of his failure, one that TrumpEgo could never survive or abide, a trademark destructive, ass-covering Narrative had to be formulated and deployed.  And thus the leftwingnut Democrat playbook was raided yet again - specifically, the 2000 Al Gore "Florida Insurrection" chapter on falsely accusing the winner of "vote suppression" and "undermining democracy" and "stealing the election" in service to one's own attempt at election theft - and deployed at maximum whiny volume.

Ah, but don't fret, Trumplicans, for Rush has a reassuring answer to that despair-inducing reality check as well: The Donald will simply buy as many unbound delegates as he needs in Cleveland:

My guess is that Trump looks at this as highly inefficient to go out and hire a bunch of people and go traipsing around State to State to all these different places while they’re choosing their delegates....

Which is to say, earning them fair and square.

....when they’re all gonna be in essentially the same place for five or six days in a row: Cleveland, Ohio. It’s much more efficient to get ’em there, and when as he arrives in Cleveland, he’s gonna come in as the presumptive winner. He’s gonna come in either with 1237 or just shy of it. There’s a lot of power in that. [emphasis added]

No, he's "gonna" come in anywhere from fifty to a hundred delegates short of 1,237.  Which he knows damn good and well or he wouldn't have pivoted to the "WE WUZ ROBBED!" Narrative.  And from what I've read of late, Trump can count on the firm support of as few as TWO of those unbound delegates.  That's an awful lot of "wining and dining"in very little time for a candidate whose campaign has been as cheap-assed as his has been.  But then subtlety isn't exactly Trump's middle name.

But again, note that Rush Limbaugh, Mr. "Character Matters," has, in the space of two broadcasts,  lauded lies, smears, and corruption coming from Donald Trump that he ritualistically condemned coming from Bill Clinton twenty years ago.  Leaving the same general question I've been posing repeatedly to Trumplicans of late: Did he ever truly believe that character matters as a principle, or was that just a partisan cudgel with which to bludgeon the Dems, and he's endorsing its being turned upon what was once his own party because it still has the character he used to proclaim and defend?  That IS what all these "I understand the anger" and "Trump supporters want a bull in a china shop" BS enabling excuses amount to, after all.  Such back-stabbing betrayal from what we true conservatives (a term that, as some manner of Pyrrhic solace, has now had honor and credibility restored to it) had considered long-time allies is the fueling lifeblood of #NeverTrump.

Which, if Trump does manage to capture the nomination (by crook, of course), will make his cultists' self-righteous demands that we close ranks behind his unworthy ass historically hilarious.

The WaPo making more sense than "the Doctor of Democracy" has to be one of the signs of the Apocalypse, but today it happened, as Catherine Rampell points out, as he once would have, that Trump getting massively outmaneuvered on delegate recruitment in State after State is, well, taking Thor's hammer to his boast that he's "some sort of crafty managerial wizard who’ll outwit America’s enemies":

In Trump’s world, exploiting the nation’s byzantine bankruptcy laws, or its bizarre eminent domain laws, or its opaque campaign finance rules, or any other system-rigging tools freely available to entrepreneurial types is proof not of shadiness but shrewdness — of his unwillingness to play the chump....

As my colleague Marc Thiessen observed this week, Cruz is taking advantage of the peculiar, convoluted delegate system just as adeptly, and just as amorally, as Trump has taken advantage of the nation’s peculiar, convoluted bankruptcy laws....

The [lesson] is that the main premise of his campaign — that his wiliness in the business world will translate to wiliness in politics and policy — is bunk.

Trump boasts that his whole life he’s been “greedy, greedy, greedy,” that his greed has paid off in the private sector, and that ergo he’ll be effective at being “greedy for the United States” in all its affairs. But if he can’t even figure out how to manage a primary campaign — let alone get his own children registered to vote for him — the chances that he’ll be able to seamlessly convert his monetary greed into political greed look slim. [emphases added]

One of the main purposes of a long, convoluted, federalistically multifaceted from State to State primary campaign is to test and vet candidates on their ability to compete nationally against the nominee of the other party and to gain an evaluation of their capability of being a competent, effective POTUS.  What Trump's functional omission of organization and ground game proves is that even if he was a constitutionalist, even if he was a conservative, even if he was "better than Hillary Clinton" - none of which is remotely true - he is utterly bereft of the character - maturity, selflessness, self-knowledge, humility, work ethic - competence, and even the "shrewdness" and "wiliness" of his incessant boasts to even get to the White House, much less avoid imploding shortly after moving in if he did somehow did get elected, as the job would rapidly overwhelm him, with the sorts of escalatingly calamitous consequences for the country to which we have borne sobering witness for the past seven-plus years years.  Remember the "Obama is in over his head" school of thought?  Under a President Trump it would actually be true, but he would be anything but "cool" about it.

Meanwhile, Senator Cruz will not waste any time bitching and moaning and maligning Trump's expected big win in New York today, but is preparing to scoop up more than half of Pennsylvania's delegates a week from now:

NBC's Hallie Jackson reports Cruz has changed his focus to Pennsylvania and making a play for the State's unbound delegates. Jackson, the network's Cruz correspondent, said even if Cruz has a third place finish in Pennsylvania's Republican primary, he'll win more than half the delegates.

"It's very telling that's Ted Cruz tonight is not in Brooklyn or Manhattan or any of the boroughs or State. He's in Pennsylvania," reported Jackson.

"He'll be in Philly for his watch party tonight," Jackson said. "That's indicative of where he and his campaign see this race going, to Pennsylvania, where they are looking to make a play for these unbound delegates. Even if they come in a distant third, a top campaign aide tells me, they will still, they believe, pick up more than half the delegates there."

"They're looking at more than thirty," Jackson said.

Pennsylvania allots seventy-one delegates in the Republican primary; fifty-four of which are unbound. [emphasis added]

So it is here as it was in Wyoming and Colorado and the Dakotas and Iowa and on and on and on: If it's "fair" for Trump to pocket 80%-90% of New York's delegates with only fifty-some percent of its primary vote, how will it be "unfair" of Senator Cruz to bank over half of Pennsylvania's delegates with 30%-35% of its primary vote?  Both respective sets of results will have been in accordance with each respective State's party rules.

The answer is what the pompadoured prince glibly said last week: He and his baying pack of zombies only complain when he loses.

At least in the Keystone State, there are a handful of Trump fans who sound like they're holding their candidate accountable for his organization abandonment of them:

Trump leads polling in Pennsylvania, but with most of the State’s convention delegates elected directly by Republican voters, the billionaire businessman’s backers say they wish he were doing more to reach out to the people running for those slots and support their efforts.

“The campaign has not been effective in engaging the delegates,” said Gabriel Keller, a candidate for delegate in the Twelfth Congressional District. “We have decided to move forward with or without the campaign. We are going to [attempt to] get Donald Trump the Pennsylvania delegates. It is not going to be the campaign, and our goal is to get forty-five of the fifty-four [unbound delegates.]”....

Keller said he is trying to get out the word that he will be a vote for Trump and set up a “Delegates for Trump” webpage that lists more than forty others who are pledged to Trump.

The thirty-eight-year-old said he sought the campaign’s help but got nothing — not even a “Make America Great Again” hat. [emphasis added]

Lotsa luck with the endeavor, Gabe.  You're gonna need it.

Exit question per Allahpundit:

Anyone want to explain to Trump’s son Donald Jr that most of the delegates this summer won’t be establishment fatcats who’ve been “wined and dined” for their vote but rather will be conservative ideologues who’ve been active in the party? Cruz’s delegates are the sort of people who took over the Utah State convention in 2010, at the beginning of the tea party era, and bounced Bob Bennett from the Senate in favor of Mike Lee. They’re not looking for something nice from Trump wineries; they’re looking for Trump to stop giving duh-uh-uh answers when he’s asked about abortion. That’s why Manafort’s going to have trouble flipping Cruz’s delegates. [emphases added]

There's the profoundest of understatements.  Or, put another way, there is a redoubt where character really does still matter....

....and might just win, too.

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