The timing was indicative. On the very day that Mitt Romney officially clinched the GOP presidential nomination, he brought Donald Trump to his side in Las Vegas.
This is the latest signal that backers of the GOP – or, better put, enemies of Barack Obama – plan to stop at absolutely nothing between now and November to cobble together an electoral majority to deny Obama a second term.
Beyond the billion that leaders of the Citizens United-style super-PACs intend to throw against Obama, beyond the full-throated campaigns by Fox News and other deceptively-disguised partisan entities, we learn this week that there will be a major role for Donald Trump and his “birther” obsession in all this as well.
His role will be the right-wing version of what Jesse Ventura (who argues that 9/11 was an inside job) represents on the left, and actually they kind of look and behave eerily alike. Their hairdos are both rather spectacular, even if they head in different directions.
But while Ventura challenges audiences to question authority and the official versions of events with purported evidence that may or may not be credible, Trump directs his audiences in a fundamentally different direction. Rather than challenge them to activate intellectual powers of discernment, Trump aims at only one thing: By claiming that Obama was not really born in the U.S., to tap into the most paranoid, bigoted racism of which people are, or can be motivated to be, capable of.
Yes, Trump’s role in this election will be that of the sidebar campaign racist.
He will get away with it because almost no respectable commentator will dare come right out and say it: Trump is a filthy racist whose aim is to arouse similar sentiments in the electorate.
The pundits say that Trump is “ridiculous,” “trying to paint Obama as not like the rest of us,” or, in George Will’s words, a “bloviated ignoramus.”
But Will often uses high brow terms to substitute for reality. No, Trump is neither dumb nor totally self-serving. He is a creature of his privileged class who is as dedicated as anyone to ridding the nation of Obama and his policies. In that sense, he is a calculating, if genuine, racist.
What does this say about Romney? Only that he is a team player, as dedicated to the objective of his campaign as anyone else. There is no doubt that, as he formally clinched the nomination on Tuesday, he’s telling all his high-roller financier and gaming backers that he’ll stop at nothing to win.
True, it looks like Romney is spineless for his inability to say “no” to associating with Trump. But he is the spineless four-legged bootlicker owned not by Trump, but by all his Wall Street masters. As we all know by now through the primary process, he will say and do anything to prevail. It is fascinating and predictable that the bully boy who led a gang-bashing of a gay student in prep school turns out to be, in fact, the most pathetic, malleable and slavish puppet of all.
Don’t dismiss the racist media campaign that was being cooked up by some backing Team Romney, exposed by the New York Times earlier this month. That plan to revive the Reverend Wright controversy, used to smear Obama in the 2008 campaign, had only one objective: again, to tap into the both nascent and active racism in the population to get out the vote motivated by that, and only that, factor.
In a debate among Republican primary candidates for the U.S. Senate in Virginia last weekend, the loudest applause came when one of the candidates declared, “I’m here to declare war on Tim Kaine [the Democratic Senate nominee] and Barack Obama.”
It wasn’t about anything to do with the economy, or jobs, or education, or securing the nation’s social safety nets. It was just about declaring war on a person, in this case believing that linking Kaine with Obama will weaken Kaine.
This presidential campaign will be a crucial test of the national body politic. Hopefully, it will repudiate the pro-GOP approach for the contemptible sewage it is gearing to become.