For those who seemingly traffic in all-politics-all-the-time, this will seem heretical–or naive. So be it.
But is there no place in a presidential cycle dominated by an uninformed national and global menace for the usual suspects to shed politically partisan priorities and upgrade to “Country First” mode?
And if it takes GOP delegates making last-minute, but legal, (“conscience clause”) changes to the national convention rules to bring back Mitt Romney, draft Jon Huntsman, elevate John Kasich or exhume Harold Stassen, then so be it.
In theory, this shouldn’t be the ultimate, existential anguish, no matter how Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell couch it after being told to “be quiet.” Not falling in behind a clinically narcissistic, manifestly unqualified nominee for president with mob appeal shouldn’t be such an agonizing call, let alone a perceived political suicide pill. Nor even an exercise in “walking a thin line.”
In its hour of obvious need, why not take one for your country, if not for self-respect? Call it, say, “American exceptionalism.”
And there is this: Doing the right thing for America will be with the acknowledgement of all those non (primary) Donald Trump supporters–and that’s a majority of the electorate–who get it. Who understand that the United States and the world deserve better than a celebrity-grifter building immigrant walls, alarming allies and pondering nuclear codes.
It doesn’t mean that the small-government, socially-conservative, gun-cultured, militarily-hawkish, constitutional cherry-picking party is headed for Whig demise, but it does mean it could now put more than a disingenuous spin on “patriot.”
Sen. John McCain is a prime example. His patriotism is grounded in a POW crucible. But it was also embedded in a war that never needed fighting. He never got it, then or now. And he is supporting his Republican Party’s presidential nominee, presumably Donald Trump, no matter what.
And no matter what, in this case, includes Trump’s derisive put down of McCain’s integrity and time in a Hanoi prison cell. It doesn’t get much more visceral, personal and “unpatriotic” than that.
And, yet, McCain, a five-term incumbent who’s nearly 80 years old, will support presumptive nominee Trump because–well, because, he’s in a tough re-election race with a credible Democratic challenger, and Arizona looked upon Trump favorably (47 percent) in the state’s March Republican primary. McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, doesn’t want to alienate any Trump supporters.
He is, we are reminded, more political pragmatist than “maverick,” the one who actually put Sarah Palin on a presidential ticket. And the one who said President Barack Obama was “directly responsible” for the mass shooting in Orlando because of the rise of ISIS on the president’s watch.
So, even though Trump personally insulted him and every Latino–17 percent of Arizona’s registered electorate–he will, if unenthusiastically, back Trump in November. Obviously nothing is more important than a sixth term for this Republican.
Would that John McCain were an exception in such a self-serving, careerist, Party-first reaction to the Trump candidacy.
“Country first?” Let’s not get carried away with patriotism.