Is this the end of Trump ’16? I very much doubt it

110421_donald_trump_ap_thumbDonald Trump said something truly dumb over the weekend, which isn’t exactly news. The news came in the reaction of his fellow Republicans, who finally saw the chance they had sought to gang up on the interloper and take him down.

This time, the target for Trump’s venom was John McCain, with whom Trump has been feuding. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said dismissively during an Iowa appearance. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Some thoughts on the “controversy”:

1.) What Trump said was repugnant, and the subsequent criticism is deserved. As a prisoner of war, McCain suffered more than five years of torture and degradation, and by all accounts he did so with an incredible degree of bravery. And while McCain was held captive in the Hanoi Hilton, taking beatings and enduring two years of solitary confinement, Trump was enjoying a series of draft deferments, including a mysterious medical deferment.

2.) What Trump said was over the top, but it was also perfectly in character, driven by the same meanness of spirit and resentment that defines Trump the man, Trump the candidate and Trump the political movement.

3.) The reaction of Trump’s fellow Republicans could serve as a model of wolfpack dynamics. With a few exceptions, the most notable being Rick Perry, they had previously lacked the courage to take on Trump directly, fearing his wrath. But the moment they sensed weakness, they felt free to turn on him en masse.

4.) The Republican establishment, which had refused to separate itself from Trump over his comments on immigration, jumped at the chance this time. “Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine,” said Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee. “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

5.) While I agree with Spicer, the sanctimony is too glaring to go unmentioned. The GOP showed no scruples whatsoever about disparaging honorable service back in 2004, when attacking the combat-zone service of John Kerry in Vietnam became a central strategy of the Republican effort to re-elect President Bush.  It was highly orchestrated, well-funded and thoroughly dishonest. As I’ve noted before, I was on the floor of the GOP convention in New York that year as hundreds of smug-faced delegates donned tiny Band-aids to mock Kerry’s heroism. I grew up in a military household and was taught to respect those in uniform, particularly who had volunteered for combat, and I thought it was the most shameful thing I had seen in American politics. That opinion has not changed.

(To his credit, McCain spoke out in defense of Kerry in 2004, urging President George Bush and the Republican Party to condemn the attacks on Kerry’s service. His pleas were met with silence. Kerry returned the favor over the weekend, condemning Trump comments about McCain and pointedly asking where Trump was while Kerry and McCain were in Vietnam.)

6.) Some political observers believe that this represents the high-water mark for Trump, but I’m not so sure. The element of the GOP base that gravitates toward the Donald — the bigots, the birthers, the deeply resentful — never had much affection or even respect for McCain in the first place. They tend to view McCain as a compromiser and even a RINO, and they have been trained to believe that no attack on a political opponent is too outlandish as long as it plays to their own biases. Trump is the inevitable consequence of that amoral mindset, and if this cements his standing as a party outsider, it could even play to his advantage.

Reader Comments 0

637 comments
lvg
lvg

Fascists like Trump will appeal to Southern bigots, neocons, and all the Obama haters cultivated by the GOP over the last seven years. He is using the media to his benefit. Hitler trampled on World War I veterans as  cowards and sellouts to the victors. Expect Trump to pull the anti-UN card out next lke Hitler did for League of Nations. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

So far Trump will not get the Hispanic vote, Jewish vote (Nazi Tweet), and now the military vote. There is not enough bitter votes for him to win so he will lose.

JamVet
JamVet

...but I say good for the GOP for going after one of their "own". 

Puke.

Then go after the little nutjob boys and freaks in the GOP, not the real men.

Gawd knows you've got a ton of the former to go after.

But you won't...


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@JamVet

If you're talking about your beloved, John Kerry, it's worth noting that the Vietnam war ended in 1975. John Kerry's "testimonial" was given in 1971. He spoke of atrocities committed by American troops while American troops were still in country. That, to me, is something that warrants, not only disdain, but disrespect, as well. By testifying he disrespected those troops still serving. The North Vietnamese couldn't have asked for a better mouthpiece than Kerry.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Some political observers believe that this represents the high-water mark for Trump, but I’m not so sure. The element of the GOP base that gravitates toward the Donald — the bigots, the birthers, the deeply resentful — never had much affection or even respect for McCain in the first place.

I don't remember this amount of outrage when the left was attacking McCain's military service, but I say good for the GOP for going after one of their "own". 

Is McCain's War Record Fair Game?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/is-mccains-war-record-fair-game/

Benjamin said she had her doubts about whether criticism of McCain's record could catch on, and she's not the only skeptic. Even Valentine, the CounterPunch author, said McCain's wartime experience could only be questioned "off-Broadway."

Others, however, disagree, and the increasing buzz of emails and blog posts-the new equivalent on the left of what, in the 1990s, would have been stirrings on conservative talk radio-suggest that this line of attack won't go away, at least not from elements of the energized pro-Obama grassroots, and from parts of the anti-war left.

A search of Obama's community website, my.BarackObama.com, finds two posts calling McCain a "war criminal." 

I've never been a fan of McCain, I did however, respect his service as I do others who served and are serving.

He's been hanging in the "hallowed" halls way too long. At this point, he's a habitual politician.

GrannyGodzilla4
GrannyGodzilla4

Trump will meet his end sometime as we all will.

He never did have a real shot at POTUS.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

John Kerry is not running @td1234 , Donald Klump is.  How many months did Klump serve?   When John McCain was trying to walk again after being broken up in that war Donald Trump was being a play boy worth millions, Republican values you gotta love them.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Up until the McCain remark I had dismissed most of the Donald's rants kind of like you'd laugh off something your crazy uncle said.

But now he needs to apologize. Anyone who pilots a warplane into enemy territory while hostiles are doing their best to shoot him down qualifies as a hero in my book. The fact that a surface to air missile happened to find his plane is irrelevant. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@gotalife Yeah, just like Obama...give the UN the opportunity to vote on it before the citizens of his own country.  And, you cheer him own.

kitty72
kitty72

@DownInAlbany @gotalife 


We operate on a global scale now, economically and politically, DIA. Get used to it. This agreement only works with the world buying in. We can't fight every battle ourselves. Not anymore.

td1234
td1234

Are these veterans lairs and traitors or was Kerry?  


"“I would crawl over broken glass to pay him back for what he did to us,” said Vietnam vet Felim Doherty, a registered Democrat in Bloomfield, N.J.

The former Air Force NCO said Kerry’s testimony before Congress back in 1971 was “full of lies and slander” against the vast majority of Americans who served in Vietnam with honor and integrity.

“For him to try and make out we were killing babies, raping women, cutting off ears and – in his words – rampaging every day through the Vietnamese countryside like the hordes of Genghis Khan – was and is a smear and slander of my brother Vietnam veterans.

“This self-proclaimed war hero doesn’t talk much about his days running around with Jane Fonda, giving aid and comfort to our enemies. I wonder why?”

Retired Capt. Danny Howell of Florida, a Republican and Marine staff sergeant during his hitch in Vietnam, praises the Swiftboat Vets for their exposure of Kerry’s dubious “combat” record.

“Only 120 days in-country and he puts himself in for a Purple Heart for scratches we wouldn’t bother to report to the corpsman. This guy was punching his ticket and used a loophole [three Purple Heart wounds and you got to leave Vietnam before your required 12 month tour of duty was up] in the regulations to get out early. What a disgrace!

“I saw Marines with serious wounds - arms shattered, their guts hanging out, an eye gone, sucking chest wounds – that is what the Purple Heart is meant for, not for a grain of rice hitting you in your butt!”

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@td1234 Their heads have already exploded.

You are adding insult to injury.

SeriouslyFolks
SeriouslyFolks

@td1234 so youre saying that every soldier that signed up for Vietnam knew the mission....knew what the objectives were.....

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@td1234

And hey, td1234, you know what? 

If I wave some C-notes around I could probably get some servicemen to say something four times worse about you.


Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@td1234 

“full of lies and slander”

And yet, nobody has pointed out a lie or a slander...makes ya wonder, it do!

Brosephus
Brosephus

@DownInAlbany 

I'd advise you to check downthread a bit.  td's head, via his temper, has already exploded.

Just sayin'

Brosephus
Brosephus

@DownInAlbany 

No problem.  He pretty much challenged VC to a meet-n-greet without all the nice aspects of such an encounter.

foo2u
foo2u

@td1234 At least he was there when he didn't have to be. How about the Donald, where was he?


Derp...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@td1234

Lotta sound and fury signifying nothing. I've heard all this before; I was actually alive in 2004, you see.

gotalife
gotalife

Huge bomb on Shiites in Turkey today.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Donald Klump received five deferments John McCain received five medals.

gotalife
gotalife

If the Donald made mcain lose the primary, just call it term limits.


I am 100% for term limits for all offices like our President.


We could have got that after their collapse but all we got was stuck with the bill of the bailouts.

Orange15
Orange15

@gotalife  How is Donald Trump even remotely possible to make McClain lose his primary? McClain will lose because he's McClain.

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex Either these veterans are liars and traitors or Kerry is? Which is it big boy? 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@DownInAlbany @td1234

What, over Mister Revisionist History's pathetic efforts? I don't think so.

I mean, he can't even pluralize common nouns, you think he can sort out fact from fiction?

kitty72
kitty72

@td1234  What does this have to do with Trump's big mouth. All hat no cattle, that's Trump.


Not a McCain fan but as the daughter of a WWII POW I think Trump is dog piss.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

One last one, to finish, and it's a good time to do so because SHEETZ be upon us. 


---------


Following is a transcript of John Kerry's statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971, in which he criticized the Vietnam War.

Mr. Kerry: I would like to talk, representing all those veterans, and say that several months ago in Detroit, we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit, the emotions in the room, the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam, but they did. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.

They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

We call this investigation the "Winter Soldier Investigation." The term "Winter Soldier" is a play on words of Thomas Paine in 1776 when he spoke of the Sunshine Patriot and summertime soldiers who deserted at Valley Forge because the going was rough.

We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country; we could be quiet; we could hold our silence; we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, the fact that the crimes threaten it, no reds, and not redcoats but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.

I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Vietnam. The country doesn't know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence, and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.

As a veteran and one who feels this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

In 1970 at West Point, Vice President Agnew said "some glamorize the criminal misfits of society while our best men die in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedom which most of those misfits abuse" and this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam.

But for us, as boys in Asia, whom the country was supposed to support, his statement is a terrible distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion. Hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today. It is a distortion because we in no way consider ourselves the best men of this country, because those he calls misfits were standing up for us in a way that nobody else in this country dared to, because so many who have died would have returned to this country to join the misfits in their efforts to ask for an immediate withdrawal from South Vietnam, because so many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans' Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol. And we can not consider ourselves America's best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.

Orange15
Orange15

Jay has a new blog up I guess he's given up on trying to smear Donald Trump.