The GOP’s Trumpian de­fla­tion

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - Kath­leen Parker

WASH­ING­TON — Don­ald Trump. Would that it were un­nec­es­sary to men­tion his name ex­cept, say, as a Vi­a­gra pitch­man.

De­spite such cast­ing per­fec­tion, this isn’t in­tended as a personal metaphor for the man, though it is for the GOP. Cue sound of bal­loon los­ing vigor. The erst­while party of Lin­coln has ren­dered it­self im­po­tent by its clammy-handed em­brace of the sad clown who made every­body laugh — for a while.

But the en­chanted evening Repub­li­cans fan­ta­sized when they nom­i­nated the biggest goof­ball ever to enter the Oval Of­fice sweep­stakes is over. The clock has struck mid­night, the car­riage is ablaze; the golden-haired prince is a bloated chim­neysweep rant­ing at rooftops. The party’s foot­men, blind mice beg­ging for scraps of mercy, scat­ter in search of cover.

Even Rep. Mark San­ford, the dis­graced for­mer gover­nor of South Carolina, took to the quill, writ­ing in a New York Times op-ed that he might no longer sup­port Trump if he doesn’t pro­duce his tax re­turns. Know­ing with 99 per­cent cer­tainty that this won’t hap­pen, San­ford has carved a tiny es­cape hole in the base­board for him­self.

At the same time, talk ra­dio hus­tlers who’ve more or less di­rected the GOP plat­form the past two decades or so, be­gin­ning with the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion, seem to be com­ing un­done, floun­der­ing in the full-cir­cle­ness of their anti-Clin­ton credo. Rush Lim­baugh, to be pre­cise, re­cently dis­solved into a fit of gig­gles as he tried to pro­nounce the stu­pid­ity of Trump’s “soft­en­ing” on im­mi­gra­tion.

“Poor Ann,” he rasped, re­fer­ring to Ann Coul­ter’s new book, “In Trump We Trust.” Anti-amnesty Ann, now on what she says may be the short­est book tour ever, has had to dial back her sup­port for the GOP nom­i­nee if he doesn’t re­turn to his hard­line de­por­ta­tion prom­ise.

Quelle sit­u­a­tion! The very “pol­icy” un­der­gird­ing Trump’s cam­paign sud­denly be­came a ne­go­tiable talk­ing point. Dra­co­nian Trump sud­denly be­came Care Bear Trump: We need to be fair and maybe some should stay, he said. Then, just as sud­denly — feel­ing the heat from his courtiers — he was back to dear old Draco. But of course he’s go­ing to send them all back. Then, when they come back legally, if they do, they’ll have to pay taxes.

Be­cause ev­ery or­di­nary bil­lion­aire does?

Trump was never go­ing to build a wall, this colum­nist wrote. He was never go­ing to de­port 11 mil­lion peo­ple, she said. How ex­actly does one do this with­out send­ing armed forces to ar­rest Madre in the kitchen and Padre on the phone while their cit­i­zen-chil­dren watch in hor­ror? Think back to the 2000 image of Elian Gon­za­lez’s “rescue” by masked, armed men, brought to you by the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion, let the record show.

For many of us scribes, Trump’s true na­ture and char­ac­ter were ob­vi­ous from the start, not to men­tion 20 years be­fore that. No de­gree of fleet­ing nice­ness (which, ahem, I gamely rec­og­nized in a re­cent col­umn writ­ten for sport in re­sponse to a chal­lenge) was go­ing to make Trump less re­pug­nant or more ap­peal­ing for long. Pre­dictably, he couldn’t sus­tain it. A per­son can only fake who he is for so long be­fore the in­te­rior self emerges. Trump’s nice side, you can be cer­tain, isn’t what ap­peals to mem­bers of the Ku Klux Klan or other white na­tion­al­ist groups who find his ideas in sync with their own.

Trump’s call­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton a bigot when he is the bigot’s can­di­date should be viewed as the last gasp of a des­per­ate nom­i­nee with no one left to in­sult. African-Amer­i­cans, pre­vi­ously ig­nored, are now in the sights of the flam­ing eye of Sau­ron.

This dark fairy tale was bound to end, if later than many ex­pected. Sure, droves will vote for Trump no mat­ter what — and we’ve learned that no-mat­ter-what has quite elas­tic bound­aries. His fans aren’t crazy or stupid, one is bound to say, and may jus­tify their votes with con­cern for the fu­ture com­po­si­tion of the Supreme Court or for some vari­a­tion of Trump’s shift­ing im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

But the truth is, most will be vot­ing against Hil­lary Clin­ton, whom they dis­like with such fe­roc­ity that they’d rather vote for Mickey Mouse — or even Don­ald Trump, mas­ter pup­peteer and ring­mas­ter of the Freaki­est Show on Earth.

Kath­leen Parker is a syn­di­cated colum­nist. Con­tact her at kath­leen­parker@wash­post.com.

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