With Republicans Like These, Who Needs Democrats?
Reagan’s famous refusal to “exploit his opponent’s lack of experience” was a class method of swatting away the petty political poking of using age as an automatic determiner of ability. Just as everything once old becomes new again, the conflating of age with skillset has been dusted off by both Nikki Haley and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.
We all know there is some practicality to age limitations. New football players at seventy and above exist only in fiction and dreams. But, one foundational tenant of our conservative ideology is that demographics are not tea leaves. A specific piece of demographical data does not automatically indicate or forecast other aspects of a person’s capabilities. That territory of cut and paste formulaic explanations -- where one piece of personal data is used to pigeonhole the entirety of someone’s persona -- belongs to the Democrats. Why are Nikki Haley and Sara Huckabee-Sanders borrowing it? The bootlegged explanation is that they are describing President Biden and other members of Congress.
Trump could not pay for a better barb. In terms of Nikki Haley’s campaign, what will she have to say about the savvy style of the ancient Betsy Ross? Maybe Betsy’s colors and proportions are gauche by today’s standards – what can you expect from a Philly gal older than Gen X, after all? Perhaps Nikki could take a page from Philadelphia’s Main Line to modernize our flag, since it is well over seventy. Then the crop of youthful presidential candidates could collectively rework Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac. Henry Kissinger’s insight can be better replaced with someone younger, perhaps George Stephanopoulos or Susan Rice?
In present zeitgeist, we expect the values of our Founding Fathers to be ridiculed based on age and race -- but not by conservatives running on the Republican ticket or already holding office. No surprise for the clever pairing of discrediting the competition with some purported handicap and then blaming this very handicap for the many grievances of others. But it is stunning whenever yet another opportunity for an adult discussion about the fate of our county becomes manipulated into savvy soundbites saying nothing -- and for this to be done by a so-called conservative who recognizes the stakes.
With President Trump in office, our country was off life support just a few years ago. America was doing well post op and breathing on her own. ICE was protecting her streets and the homes of her honest, hardworking citizens. Gang members were arrested. Illegal violent criminals were deported. Guarded neutrality was the extent of her military muscle in motion. Right to Try and other supervised freedoms were in place in her medical arena. Her economy was purring like a well-fed kitten. Made in America was replacing made in China. America was energy independent.
Smug psychiatrists called President Trump various psychological diagnoses the way bitchy housewives shout slurs on The Housewives of New Jersey. “Narcissist” was their favorite word choice for pathology-as-weapon, but putting the amount of narcissism needed for any public presenter at an American Psychiatric Association convention aside, what person who meets criteria for narcissistic personality disorder sits at a conference table, asking others to claim the spotlight? How many NPDs are collaborative in their presentations and work? Most essential, what does the adult son or daughter of someone with NPD look like in terms of their lifestyle and demeanor? Bruce Springsteen is relevant here as it’s “Hard To Be a Saint in the City.” Trump is no saint. He did business in Atlantic City. He was monogamy-challenged during his first marriage and perhaps at other times. Character as an issue is one thing, but not at the expense of losing our country. Though Trump has been elected by the media and local district attorneys to be the proverbial ham sandwich, he has not been convicted of a crime post multiple investigations. He offered no new definitions of is-is. He is not an anti-Semite. No attendance of church services with Jeremiah Wright. He is not a rapist -- no requests for a female in his presence to put ice on her lip. No pictures of a “naked Trump” in Russia -- much to the dismay of Adam Schiff -- though perhaps an artist, maybe Hunter, could sketch something for a price.
He will have competition for the Republican party ticket -- fine. Can the so-called conservatives kindly debate Trump on at least one of the issues pertaining to the sovereignty of our great nation? Imagine having to ask boxers to use their gloves instead of pulling each other’s shorts or standing, hands on hips and giving youthful raspberries. When our Republican presidential candidates debate, let’s not have it look like they got lost inside a DNC convention.
Image: Laura LaRose