LIKE MOST people who write about politics these days, I want to say something about Donald Trump and his enduring lead in the GOP presidential polls - with the first caucusing in Iowa exactly two months away. And like most of them, I struggle with what that would be. Haven't I already branded Trump a runaway liar? Why yes, I have. And haven't I fully examined the right-wing media machinery that made the short-fingered vulgarian's lies possible? Check, check and check. Fascism? Been there, done that. Is there anything that either I - or one of the many more important journalists out there - could write that would make a difference? Nope.
"It's a mistake to see Trump as de novo," David Roberts wrote on Vox.com. "The term is all over the place now, but I wrote my first column about 'post-truth politics' back in 2010 . . . Conservatives have been bending the truth for many years now. [Mitt] Romney and [Paul] Ryan lied like crazy in the 2012 campaign. Republicans in Congress have been telling outrageous lies about Obama for almost eight years, everything from his secret Muslim-hood to Agenda 21 to his plan to confiscate guns and to institute Sharia law."
Right . . . lie about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and you get re-elected, but lie about grain storage in ancient pyramids and they'll crucify you. As for why Trump's lies "rankle so?" . . . it's complicated. Roberts notes, as others have before him, that the media's role as a "gate-keeper" and as a sanctioner of lies has collapsed under the Trump onslaught. The brilliance of the billionaire's leveraged buyout of the GOP is that it's built on the 25 percent of the minority party - thus, maybe 8-10 percent of the nation, max - that doesn't believe a word in the lamestream media.
So how do you solve a problem like The Donald? I told you at the top, don't ask me. I can't think of one thing that the conventional media could write (including Edwin Edwards' famous "dead girl or a live boy" quip) that could peel away his support. The Republican "braintrust" is obviously clueless. Jan. 20, 2017 is 416 days away. Who's up for joining the Trump Resistance?
- Will Bunch