Trumping the Status Quo
Back in the late ’80s, I worked in the music business with a well-known producer who shepherded Bruce Springsteen to fame and fortune. Like every producer, he was in search of a follow up act, and one idea he had involved creating a heavy metal band with a mythical god as the lead singer. Because much of that effort involved creating a spectacle of sorts, I got assigned to attend one those professional wrestling matches that routinely sold out at Madison Square Garden. It was a highly entertaining night with plenty of over-the-top action, thrills and lots of silliness. And despite the fact that everyone in the room knew the winner of each fight was “predetermined,” the crowd cheered for their favorite heroes with as much gusto as they could muster up. I never attended another match, nor did I see anything like it — until last Thursday night’s GOP debate on Fox News.
Back in the late ‘80s, I worked in the music business with a well-known producer who shepherded Bruce Springsteen to fame and fortune. Like every producer, he was in search of a follow up act, and one idea he had involved creating a heavy metal band with a mythical god as the lead singer. Because much of that effort involved creating a spectacle of sorts, I got assigned to attend one those professional wrestling matches that routinely sold out at Madison Square Garden. It was a highly entertaining night with plenty of over-the-top action, thrills and lots of silliness. And despite the fact that everyone in the room knew the winner of each fight was “predetermined,” the crowd cheered for their favorite heroes with as much gusto as they could muster up. I never attended another match, nor did I see anything like it — until last Thursday night’s GOP debate on Fox News.
Unlike a lot of (mostly conservative) people, I’m not particularly disappointed with the Fox News network’s “sudden” devolvement into just another blowhard cable news network, long on style and short on substance. That’s because I never thought Fox was anything else. Perhaps they weren’t as over the cliff as some networks, such as those that would hire a racial arsonist like Al Sharpton, a liar like Brian Williams, or a Clinton Foundation donor masquerading as an unbiased journalist like George Stephanopoulos. But does anyone seriously believe a network that would hire Geraldo Rivera as a semi-regular contributor is somehow more pristine than their competitors?
There is little question you’ll get more right-side perspective at Fox, but one has to remember it’s only by comparison. For years, the major networks and other cable channels thought two or three people presenting the progressive point of view, versus a single individual presenting the conservative point of view, amounted to “fair and balanced” discussion forums. Fox undoubtedly gained a lot of ground by upending that odious template, which delighted its audience, even as it drove the Left into teeth-gnashing, spittle-spewing paroxysms. Nobody likes losing their home court advantage, especially when it was taken as a given since the TV age began, and perhaps Fox’s greatest contribution to the national conversation — with more than ample help from talk radio — was to reveal the overwhelming hypocrisy of oh-so-tolerant leftists who are anything but. Leftists who have tried mightily to convince themselves that anything with which they disagreed amounted to nothing more than “Faux News” propaganda.
But that doesn’t mean Fox is without an agenda of its own. For example, anyone who follows the news knows network owner Rupert Murdoch is in the tank for comprehensive immigration reform. That’s why when you watch a guy like Bill O'Reilly and his recent campaign against sanctuary cities, you might have noticed he’s very careful in his condemnation of illegal aliens — as in invariably adding the adjective “criminal” to the mix, making the distinction between those who commit felonies (bad illegals who should be deported) and the millions who merely broke the law when they snuck across the border or overstayed their visas (good illegals who should be allowed to stay here).
With regard to the debate, it seems pretty clear to me that moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace got the OK (or is that marching orders?) from Fox president Roger Ailes to kneecap The Donald, and to also tell us what a wonderful debate Marco Rubio had. And it was equally apparent the network approved the WWF approach to presidential debating in all its “gotcha” question, “let’s create a food fight” glory. It’s impossible to know whether they realize the contempt they demonstrated for the candidates precipitated an equal amount of contempt for an audience that might have expected something resembling a serious discussion about the serious issues facing this nation — as opposed to Donald Trump’s track record of misogyny, or pitting Floridians Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush against each other regarding who would make a better executive. The Iranian deal? The economy? ISIS? The IRS scandal or EPA overreach? Illegal immigration and Obama’s contempt for the Constitution? Anything about how these candidate differ from Democrats and Hillary Clinton? Anything about the serious divisions within the GOP itself? Anything as simple as asking every candidate to answer the same question?
Virtually nada, with the one big exception of asking every candidate if they would support the ultimate GOP candidate, with the full knowledge that Trump would decline to do so, and start the evening off with a bang.
Let’s focus on that for a moment. Ever since the debate, I’ve listened to a lot of blah-blah about Trump’s potential disloyalty, the possibility of a third party run handing the presidency to Clinton, and why every candidate running for the GOP nomination should support the Republican Party, no ifs, and or buts.
Really? Which Republican party would that be? The one whose members just thumbed their collective noses at the voters who handed them a mandate in the 2014 midterms, based on nothing more than stopping Obama’s odious agenda, only to see them aid and abet it? The one duplicitous enough to be in bed with the Chamber of Commerce and Silicon Valley oligarchs, who want cheap foreign labor of both the low-skill and high-skill variety? How about the party stupid enough to pass a bill turning the treaty provision of the Constitution on its head and virtually assuring an Obama veto will be sustained in favor of the Iranian deal? Or perhaps the party whose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already promised there will be no government shutdown when the vote to raise the debt ceiling comes again up next month — meaning any leverage with regarding shutting down the organ harvesters at Planned Parenthood or reigning in the nation’s out-of-control spending habit was just given away for nothing?
That Republican Party?
Let me tell you what really worries that Republican Party, along with the honchos at Fox News who showed an equal mount of disdain for that party’s conservative wing. (Anyone still wondering why Fox virtually ignored Establishment GOP critic Ted Cruz for most of the night?) What worries those people is that a guy like Trump, for all his foibles, could announce a third-party run — and that subsequent polling data could show him garnering a greater percentage of support from the public than the Republican candidate.
Think it can’t happen? Don’t bet against it, especially if the GOP candidate is another middle-of-the-road, go-along-to-get-along squish the government/media complex wants to run against Hillary. Imagine all the so-called “sages” who have already compared Trump to Ross Perot having to acknowledge it’s the GOP candidate who represents the so-called “third-party disrupter” who would hand Hillary the Oval Office. And don’t bet against Trump taking a GOP loyalty pledge and subsequently changing his mind “for the good of the nation.”
But, but, but, we’ll all be told, Trump isn’t a real conservative. Guess what? Neither is Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Lindsay Graham or Chris Christie, and we might very well be at a point where a much-maligned conservative base the Establishment GOP routinely takes for granted is more interested in upending that despicable status quo than enduring another “lesser of two evils” exercise in 2016. Trump is the ultimate wild card who defies much of the conventional “wisdom,” including the idea that a third-party run is a pie-in-the-sky endeavor, especially if he’s capable of turning the GOP candidate into the de facto third-party representative.
In short, if the GOP is once again willing to abandon anything resembling conservative principles, how can it hammer voters willing to do the same thing to advance their best interests?
But, but, but (again), any third-party candidate will ultimately hand Clinton the election. Maybe, maybe not. It’s not like she’s out there wowing the crowd with her nonexistent charisma, her penchant for lying and the email scandal that’s getting very interesting in light of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to Clinton consigliere Cheryl Mills not to delete any emails in her possession — after her attorney had the chutzpah to inform the State Department last week that she had instructed Mills to do so. Mills, along with Hillary and her other aide, Human Abedin, have been ordered to “i) not delete any federal documents, electronic or otherwise, in their possession or control, and ii) provide appropriate assurances to the Government that the above-named individuals will not delete any such documents.” Moreover, the probe of Clinton’s unsecured email account has turned "criminal,“ according to government sources.
Yet far more to the point, if the election comes down to Clinton vs. Bush, what’s the difference? As The Daily Beast revealed last week, a lot of "ultra-rich” Americans are backing both candidates. The Wall Street bankers are also banking on Clinton and Bush, with a side dish of Rubio.
And millions of Americans are utterly disgusted with every bit of it. Add the other gigantic irritation to the mix, as in an elitist media hell-bent on talking down to a voting public they consider too stupid to really comprehend the “nuanced brilliance” of their guys, even as that public continues to embrace the “misogynistic, low-brow, you can’t be serious” candidacy of Trump, and the makings of a perfect storm of status quo repudiation hangs exceedingly heavy in the air.
In other words, a public who has been shown the middle finger by the ruling class and the mainstream media just might be primed to return the favor. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of arrogant out-of-touch elitists.
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