George Will on Trump and the GOP

George Will, who has already left the Republican Party over the nomination of Trump has an eloquently scathing column on the current state of the election:  Donald Trump is the GOP’s chemotherapy.

On the recent revelations and the GOP response thereto:

the tape sent various Republicans, who until then had discovered nothing to disqualify Trump from the presidency, into paroxysms of theatrical, tactical and synthetic dismay.

Again, the tape revealed nothing about this arrested-development adolescent that today’s righteously recoiling Republicans either did not already know or had no excuse for not knowing.

Indeed.

On Pence:

Because Pence looks relatively presidential when standing next to Trump — talk about defining adequacy down — some Republicans want Trump to slink away, allowing Pence to float to the top of the ticket and represent Republicanism resurrected. This idea ignores a pertinent point: Pence is standing next to Trump.

He salivated for the privilege of being Trump’s poodle, and he expresses his canine devotion in rhetorical treacle about “this good man.” What would a bad man look like to pastor Pence?

Indeed.

On Trump staying the course to the end:

by persevering through Nov. 8 he can simplify the GOP’s quadrennial exercise of writing its post-campaign autopsy, which this year can be published Nov. 9 in one sentence: “Perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan.”

Dare I say:  indeed.

The whole piece is worth a read.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    So I can’t tell, is George Will being honest in this column? You can never tell with him.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Steven, given your background I wonder if you have any comments about Trump being chemotherapy. I can only think of one case where a major political imploded through extremism: the modern day California GOP. But that has not yet led to a chemotherapy moment, rather it has simply driven away the non-extreme or even just people who want to accomplish something. After several years in the political wilderness my understanding is the CA GOP’ers are more extreme than they started.

  3. WarrenPeese says:

    There won’t be any “chemotherapy” because the GOPers who voted for Trump are still there, and they’ll just pick the next lightweight loudmouth chump to represent them. This party is a complete basket case.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Yeah, that’s the problem with the GOP: they nominated a clown.

    George Will is and has been part of the problem for decades. Better late than never, I suppose.

  5. @michael reynolds:

    Better late than never, I suppose.

    For the short term, i.e., this election, I say take what we can get.

  6. @MarkedMan:

    I wonder if you have any comments about Trump being chemotherapy.

    I didn’t have time to get into that, but yeah: I am not so sure about that thesis.

    I was struck this morning listening to the news and hearing the roar of approval of a crowd fro Trump. It is one thing (problematic thought it may be) for someone to reluctantly pull the R lever next month, it is yet another to enthusiastically cheer this dude. And too many people are cheering.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Will is not much better than Trump…he’s been lying to his readers about AGW for years.
    But this piece is scathing, if not surprising.

    He salivated for the privilege of being Trump’s poodle

    Pence and Cruz and the rest are being shown for what they are.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I wasted two minutes reading Will’s column. He ends with the chemotherapy thing as a hope Trump will be a curative for the Republican Party. But I note an absence of any suggestion as to what this might mean beyond the “Perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan.” line. He offers no policy prescription, no process prescription.

    Let me go off on a philosophical tangent. It’s difficult to define modern American conservatism in any way that doesn’t immediately lead to a counterexample. But one constant element is a belief that affairs should be managed by the “best” people, invariably people like oneself. Will wants to see the Republican Party as the embodiment of the “best” people. Trump makes that impossible to believe. So one is left to assume Will’s prescription is to go back to somehow nominating the “best” people, the Romney, Bush, Kasich sort of people. But how do they get the mob back in line after they’ve seen Trump?

  9. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yes, Trump gets large audiences, but how many of those cheering will actually turn up at the voting booth? IIRC, Romney and Ryan were drawing very large crowds (30,000 at one Ohio event) and Obama was drawing relatively small ones (2000 the same day R&R got 30,000) in the last few weeks of the election in 2012, and Obama won the election handily. I also think R&R were doing better in the polls than Trump is currently.

    As for George Will, I do like his phrase “venomous charlatan.” It sounds very Samuel Johnsonian. “Sirrah, you are the veriest of loathsome toads; nay, a venomous charlatan.”

  10. @CSK: It really isn’t about size of crowds. I just find the notion that crowds, in general, are enthusiastically cheering for him to be problematic.

    I am far less discomfited by people cheering for Romney.

  11. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Oh, I get that, and I agree. Everyone is reminded of those enormous screaming crowds Hitler drew. It’s very disturbing, particularly when they’re chanting things like “throw the b!tch in jail.” But does it translate into actual box office support, so to speak?

  12. Kylopod says:

    My first temptation is to find Will overly optimistic, but then I remember that chemo is itself dangerous and can be deadly (I had a cousin who died from it), so maybe he isn’t too far off.

  13. Mr. Bluster says:

    @WarrenPeese:..This party is a complete basket case.

    Basket Case (1982)
    From Director Frank Henenlotter, who also gave us Brain Damage (1988).

    “A downright unwatchable horror comedy with terrible performances and amateur production values, Basket Case is a waste of time, and a film that fails to build a remotely interesting horror villain.” Rotten Tomatoes

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083624/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_1
    This is likely the training film shown to Trump’s male campaign staff.

  14. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    How do they get the mob back in line after they’ve seen Trump, you ask.

    Maybe they don’t. Maybe the mob goes off and starts the Trump National Party.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    Without the Trumpistas who would vote Republican how could they survive?. 75% of Republicans support Trump. My guess is that half that feel that he is, at last, the leader they’ve been longing for. What would be left if even half that crew migrated to the Trump Party?

    This is the inevitable outcome of Gingrich’s 50% + 1 vote policies. For over two decades the R philosophy has been to push everything as extreme as they can get until they win by one vote. In that model if you win by a larger majority it means you left something on the table. Their base is aging out. Without the racists they have no chance.

  16. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I read the original column yesterday.

    Personally, I thought the analogy would have been better suited if he had said enema.

    Early on, we had all discussed the weak GOP field, then as the field narrowed to Trump, we discussed the possible end of the Republican party: GOP and Tea Party / Trumpists

    Flushed-out and broken up.

  17. Kari Q says:

    I think Trump will be the opposite of chemotherapy, it will pass and the GOP will tell themselves it was just a one-time fluke. Rather than ask why the venomous charlatan was able to walk off with the nomination against their “deep bench” and then fail disastrously in the general election, they will decide it is all in the past and done.

    They don’t have cancer, they will tell themselves, it was just a cold. They’re fine now. No need to change a thing.

  18. MBunge says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I am far less discomfited by people cheering for Romney.

    The guy who called 47% of America hopeless parasites? And not 10 years before the election but behind closed doors while the campaign was going on?

    Are you discomfited by crowds cheering for George W. Bush today, when we now know that he’s responsible for a needless war that got hundreds of thousands people killed, authorized and excused torture and ordered the NSA to spy on Americans without warrants? THAT’S perfectly acceptable but not the guy with a vulgar mouth?

    Is cheering for Trump better or worse than GOP convention goers in 2004 publicly mocking the military service of John Kerry?

    I’m not sure the chemotherapy analogy works but Trump certainly has exposed just how screwed up conservative political culture has become.

    Mike

  19. @MBunge: Well, to be honest (and I was just saying to a friend within the hour) I find cheering for a politician to be a bit creepy.

    I find support for Romney to be less odious that support for Trump. I am not sure how that is hard to understand.

    Are you discomfited by crowds cheering for George W. Bush today, when we now know that he’s responsible for a needless war that got hundreds of thousands people killed, authorized and excused torture and ordered the NSA to spy on Americans without warrants? THAT’S perfectly acceptable but not the guy with a vulgar mouth?

    Actually, yes I find cheering for Bush problematic, although the fact that he cannot be president again ameliorates my concerns.

    And how you got the impression that I am complaining about vulgarity, I do not know.

    Is cheering for Trump better or worse than GOP convention goers in 2004 publicly mocking the military service of John Kerry?

    Worse. It is much worse. And that is not to condone the 2004 GOP convention.

    What, exactly, is your point? I am curious as to here and collectively on these threads.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge:

    I’m not sure the chemotherapy analogy works

    Nor me. There’s something about it might kill the patient, but no I don’t see what’s he’s getting at. But then it’s George Will. I expect him to sound at first blush like he makes sense. I don’t expect him to actually make sense.

  21. al-Alameda says:

    I will say this for George Will; he is not Charles Krauthammer.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Alameda: This is true. Aside from whatever money he’s getting to deny AGW, it’s possible to think Will believes what he writes. Krauthammer is brilliant. His lies are so carefully crafted there can’t be any question he knew he was lying. However, I can’t find that he’s said anything about AGW since 2014. So perhaps there’s some shred of integrity. Or at least recognition of a lost cause.

  23. An Interested Party says:

    And how you got the impression that I am complaining about vulgarity, I do not know.

    Vulgarity is the least of Trump’s crimes…his tendencies have the whiff of fascism, he is utterly ignorant of how to run a government, his complete lack of intellectual curiosity rivals that of George W. Bush…in every possible way he would be a disaster as president and a danger to this country and to the world…

  24. Barry says:

    @Franklin: “So I can’t tell, is George Will being honest in this column? You can never tell with him.”

    Assuming that he’s not should give you a base 99% accuracy rate.

  25. Scott O says:

    No Mr. Will, Trump isn’t chemotherapy. He’s just the most prominent node of the cancer that has been growing in your party for a long time. You’ve got to remove as much of it as you can before you begin the chemo. Start with Trump but the main tumors are Limbaugh, Hannity, and all their clones. All of the conservative entertainment industry that pushes an alternate reality is what’s eating your party alive. It’s doubtful that the patient could survive the operation. Plus we’re now at the point where it has metastasized into every corner of the internet so even if you removed all the obvious malignancy it will just grow back.

  26. the Q says:

    I think many libs on here are just as guilty as the Trump lunatics in their blind support for our seriously compromised Dem nominee.

    Just look at the latest Podesta (a deplorable) and the Haiti FOB emails which are pretty pathetic, not to mention the speeches she gave to the 1 percenters. And who knows what was really in those 30,000 deleted “private” yoga and birthday emails. Perhaps all the CGI shenanigans? But, wait, only Republicans are guilty of greed and pay to play, not our dear leader.

    Again, the worst choice of nominees in a hundred years.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    I think many libs on here are just as guilty as the Trump lunatics in their blind support for our seriously compromised Dem nominee.

    Oh please, where do you get this “blind support” horse$hit? Yes, of course Hillary Clinton has flaws, but if the only choice we have is between a flawed person and a certifiable lunatic, I’ll take the flawed person, thank you very much…

  28. DrDaveT says:

    @the Q:

    But, wait, only Republicans are guilty of greed and pay to play, not our dear leader.

    Catholic theology draws a distinction between venal sins and mortal sins. I don’t think much of it as theology, but it’s a good analogy for the difference between what’s wrong with Hillary and what’s wrong with Trump (and Cruz, and to a lesser extent the rest of the GOP).

    Hillary is not going to let her personal paranoia and elitism stand in the way of doing what’s best for America and its people — all of them. Republicans, in contrast, don’t let their occasional personal integrity (e.g. Romney) or philosophical ideals stand in the way of trashing the economy, increasing wealth inequity, legislating personal morality, abetting discrimination, fomenting war in all corners of the globe, denying science, and generally making life worse for everyone.

    I’ll take Hillary, eyes wide open.

  29. Matt says:

    @the Q: The FBI has stated that it recovered “several thousand” of those “up to 30,000 emails deleted”. Notice how it’s “up to” and not “exactly” because they know the upper limit of the possibly deleted but not the actual number. Anyway a decent chunk were recovered by the FBI and they were nothingburgers. Most likely the ones the didn’t recover were also nothingburgers.

  30. al-Alameda says:

    @the Q:

    But, wait, only Republicans are guilty of greed and pay to play, not our dear leader.

    You know, you kind of gave it away with that “our dear leader” stuff.

    Evidenty you see no difference between an extroverted misanthrope like Trump and Hillary Clinton. The conservative right has portrayed Hillary Clinton as an unindicted criminal since 1992, and the fact that dozen’s of Republican-led investigations have yielded no evidence of criminal actions, nor any recommendation to prosecute her makes no difference to you or anyone on the Right.