Let me finish tonight with the divide that’s opening in the Republican Party. On one side of this divide are the men whom George F. Will has dubbed “plausible.” By that he means candidates who could plausibly be nominated and go on to beat the President next November.
Mr. Will’s implication is that these men fit into the “mainstream” of the Republican Party; in other words they constitute actual, regular Republican thinking these days and the others - Trump, Huckabee, Bachman, Palin and the rest - don’t.
There’s a problem with this argument. It assumes that someone who thinks like most Republicans these days can beat Obama. That, ladies and gentleman, is a whopper! The evidence is the very opposite and that is the Republican conundrum.
To woo the Republican voters today - especially the sort who appear at caucuses and vote aggressively in early primaries - is to talk like them, feel like them, get a little wild like them. To win then, in other words, you have to act like someone George F. Will would view as a mad man - or mad woman!
Today’s Republican activist community is peopled by “birthers.” Go check the numbers. To woo them, you must sound like them, act like them; again, get a little wild like them. Got it? You’ve got to be a “birther” like them. See the problem?
If you are today’s mainstream Republican you are precisely the kind of person, who cannot compete, by George F. Will’s assessment, in a general election against Obama. To talk this “birther” talk - to actually think the conspiracy theory through and buy into it - is to mentally, emotionally flunk a competency test, much less the usual, somewhat higher test for being president of the United States.
This is why Trump is winning the polls among activist Republicans, the kind who vote in primaries and caucuses. It’s because he’s been willing to talk like them while the “plausible” list of candidates, those who want to get through the Republican primary season without joining the silly season, won’t. He’s willing to kill himself as a general election candidate to make himself an exciting caucus and primary candidate. He’s willing to make the deadly deal that gets you up in the polls and leaves you looking more than a tad nutty to the sober citizen who shows up to vote in November.
To get your head around this: Until further notice George F. Will is no longer the Republican norm; Donald Trump is. Wild, huh?