The Trump-Loving GOP McCain Helped Create

Photos by Frank Plitt and David Shankbone
I keep starting and then deleting tweets that convey my overall feeling about the whole Trump-v-McCain slap fight going on right now. I know that if I’m not careful, I’ll trip a wire. But this morning, via @VideoSawyer, I find an essay by Jim Wright that, while not a tweet, gets the point across very well. You really have to read the whole thing, because it cleverly builds to a kind of crescendo, but here’s a taste of what I mean:

Donald Trump is the face of the modern Republican party.

Trump has been polling at the top of the GOP field and you’re just now figuring out what a douchebag he is? Well, that’s just plain hysterical.

Trump badmouthed old Johnny Walnuts, insulted his military service, did he?

And you’re all insulted and outraged? Heh heh, sorry Mr. Veteran, Sir. I have no idea where Little Donny learned that behavior from, no idea. Bad, Donny, bad! You apologize to this faggoty liberal pinko commie traitor right now!

Gee, I wonder where Little Donny learned those words, learned his contempt, learned to Swiftboat a veteran. Gee, I wonder.

Donald Trump is the GOP personified.

Almost as important, though, is Wright’s addendum to the post, where he explains that McCain’s life as a public figure is entirely fair game, that he has “no use” for the senator from Arizona, but that whatever else, “he went when called.”

He may have been the bottom of his class and an admittedly poor pilot, but he met the standards and he did the job. If that’s not courage, I don’t know what is …

And I keep looking for a 140-character way to say all of this, and I can’t. Trump is the ideal 2015 Republican, all jingoistic bluster, and will thereby say lots and lots of awful things. One awful thing among many is this offensive nonsense diminishing the courage and years of unthinkable suffering endured by McCain when a prisoner of war. But I also want to get across a kind of gentle reminder, that as a politician — with only the rarest of exceptions when some tiny, shriveled, death-rattle of a conscience emerges from his grizzled gray matter — John McCain is and has been a cynical, pompous, petty, pandering, entitled, sniveling, backward, show pony who also happens to have the political media machine entirely in his pocket, a machine still under the absurd impression that he is some sort of straight-taking “maverick.” (This image was as as transparently false in 1999 and 2000 as it is today, but who cares.)

John McCain, through his behavior as a politician and his enabling of the Republican noise machine, has helped make the modern GOP that now swoons at the braying of an ass like Trump.

So Donald Trump is, predictably, a detestable subhuman, as Wright says, “all 31 flavors of GOP crazy,” and they deserve him. But let’s not further gild the monumental pedestal, festooned with TV monitors and news tickers, upon which McCain already sits. Enduring five years of torture while in the service of one’s country gives you the right to be called hero. Being insulted by Donald Trump does not. Let’s keep these things separate, please.

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