George Will is a hack. A very glib one, who can deftly turn a phrase and whose columns are usually worth a read for their literary dynamism alone. But he’s still nothing more than a blindly partisan shill.
Here he proclaims that Donald Trump has done serious damage to the Republican Party, but that the destruction has only really just started and that if he’s nominated, the damage will only multiply. What he ignores is that Trump didn’t himself knock the down the door allowing undisguised bozos to walk into the GOP clubhouse; other Republicans started tearing this door off its frames years ago, and Trump has merely strolled through the now-unguarded opening, yammering and telling off-color jokes in a manner reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield’s character in “Back to School.” Trump did not create Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitch McConnell, Michele Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Steve King, Jan Brewer, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rick Scott, Orrin Hatch, Paul LePage, Mike Pence, Sam Brownback, or, most recently, Pat McCrory or Robert Bentley.
Will serves up one of the most laughably tepid defenses imaginable of the nominal alternative to Trump, writing that “Ted Cruz’s announcement of his preferred running mate has enhanced the nomination process by giving voters pertinent information.” That’s helpful. Is he for some reason afraid to say Carly Fiorina’s name? He also fails to elaborate on the pertinence of this information, perhaps because he understands that there is little he could say in support of the VP choice of the National Review’s endorsed candidate that would not become the butt of jokes.
Will seems to have conceded the next presidency to Hillary Clinton, which is a sensible position. His bashing of Republican leaders for their obstructionism regarding the SCOTUS vacancy is admirable, yet also facile. And his relentless hammering away at the Donald is also not the toughest of journalistic calls.
But when you boil this column down to its essentials, here is what it says:
* Trump must not be merely defeated, but crushed into oblivion, so that the down-ticket congressional Republicans Obama’s failures have helped put in place can remain in place.
* Republicans can take heart because it is extremely rare for any party to retain the presidency for two, let alone three, terms, meaning that displacing Clinton in 2020 is statistically likely.
Regarding the first point, Will seems to not know or care that the very same people who have hated Obama on principle all along, consisting of a lot of racist wombats and no-information hicks from the South, are precisely the people who are most enthusiastic about Trump. The majority of Obama-haters I have seen in action cannot describe any tangible or coherent reasons for labeling him a poor president.
Regarding the second, Will’s recourse to history ignores that fact that Trump’s very presence has rendered political history almost noncontributory. He talks about long-ago voting patterns and throws out some percentages that don’t really mean fuck-all. When he says that Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat before Obama to win more that 50 percent of the popular vote, he glosses over the fact that Bill Clinton’s plurality wins were owed to the presence of Ross Perot, who siphoned off 19 percent of the vote in 1992 and 8 percent in 1996.
Perhaps most glaring is his imperative to oust Clinton after one term come heaven or high bilgewater. He doesn’t even allow for the idea that the U.S might actually flourish with Clinton in office. He doesn’t even say how Trump will ruin things — no doubt he has done this elsewhere and at great length, like every other pundit, but here he simply labels Trump rude and unqualified. And he doesn’t offer any reason at all for voting for Cruz, whose qualifications are…what are those again? And how exactly will America and the GOP rebound with Cruz at the helm?
As a loud GOP voice, Will has no choice but to ejaculate sophistry like this column. But he can’t hide from the lameness of his message, which is that the Republican Party is an unprecedented disaster (hardly a state secret), that he doesn’t want any Democrats in office no matter what they do (the same thing he’s been saying since Christ was in diapers), and that there’s nothing really good to say about the people he’s paid to say good things about.
A college freshman could have written the same essay and reduced it to about three paragraphs.