Sunday, July 12, 2015

Atlas Shrugged: The Soap Opera

Seeing Ann Coulter extol the virtues of Donald Trump reminds me of Dagny Taggart lavishing praise on Henry Rearden, the steel magnate, in Atlas Shrugged.  But, whereas Rearden decided to pull out all his money from a Depression-era America and hide out in the Rocky Mountains, Donald Trump is actually running for President and Ann Coulter believes he can win.

I don't think we can underestimate just how dumb the base of the Republican electorate is.  The Donald played to a packed hall in Phoenix this weekend, offering up even more red meat to his GOP opponents, saying he couldn't believe he was tied with someone as stupid as Jeb Bush.  If you recall, he became a Tea Party darling four years ago when he took up their birther cause, and similarly ridiculed Mitt Romney as he shot up in the early straw polls.  As Yogi Berra would say, it's deja vu all over again.

The man who considers himself a self-made billionaire and no doubt has much of his money hidden away in offshore bank accounts has once again captured Teabaggers' hearts.  They love his no-nonsense Nativism, as they know no more about immigration than the Donald does, who has overestimated the amount of illegal crossings by at least three times.  He takes individual incidents like the recent shooting in San Francisco and projects it onto Mexicans as a whole.  He even goes so far as to claim that Mexico is purposely dumping the worst elements of its society on the United States, as many conservatives felt Castro did back in 1980 with the infamous Mariel boatlift.  At least that time it was partly true, this time it is pure conjecture on the Donald's part, but the Teabaggers are eating it up like popcorn at a double-feature matinee.

As you know, it only takes one incident to justify all our worst fears.  Many Americans seem to live in an almost constant state of paranoia and the Donald has unleashed all those deep-seated fears, with cheerleader Ann Coulter acting as his advance press.  Fox News is as well, unable to resist the ratings bonanza in Trump, lining him up for all their faux news and talk shows.

The question remains what is the Donald's interest here?  Surely, he doesn't actually think he can win the nomination, much less the White House?  There has to be some other motive behind all this excessive hyperbole and race bating.

Most political pundits outside the Fox news circle think Trump is just playing this for his own personal gain, hoping he can cash in on all this attention with another reality show or some other entertainment venture -- maybe even a Donald Trump amusement park.  It is very hard to take anything he says seriously unless of course you are a Teabagger.  Regardless, Trump is the number one show in town right now and everyone wants a piece of the action.

This is what draws Ann to the Donald.  She is having a bit of a resurgence lately, after being given up for the political walking dead.  If she can attach herself to the Trump bandwagon she looks to have a serious spike in book sales, as she is peddling pretty much the same message in Adios, America!  Both see the United States in rapid decline due largely to illegal immigration, even if there isn't a shred of evidence to back up their claims.

I admit it's fascinating to watch but at what point do you say enough is enough.  Last time around, Obama called Trump on his birther bluff and produced his long-form birth certificate.  This essentially derailed the Donald's presidential aspirations, as he pulled out of the race shortly thereafter.  It's a little more difficult to call Trump on his most recent bluff as no one document is going to convince hard-line conservatives that we don't have an immigration problem.

The Donald has seized on the one issue he can ride throughout the primaries if he chooses to do so.  Of course, all the other GOP candidates have seized on it too, but as Ted Cruz noted, the Donald has a much more "colorful way of speaking."  It's pretty hard to match Trump's level of rhetoric even for someone like Ted, who can be quite colorful in his own way.  So, is Ted now auditioning to be Donald's running mate?  Or, have we not seen John Galt yet?

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