Saturday, August 6, 2016

Who's Really Responsible for Donald Trump

The infinite monkey theorem states that if you put an infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters with an infinite amount of time, one of them will eventually end up typing the collected works of Shakespeare.

Of course that outcome is highly improbable, primarily because there's no indication that a monkey, much less an infinite number of them, has the capacity to type out anything remotely close to even one of Shakespeare's plays, yet alone all of them. A year or a million, it simply wouldn't happen.

Republicans have had their own infinite monkey theorem of sorts and it concerns who's responsible for the rise of Donald Trump. Seems the GOP locked themselves in a room and for the last 12 months has been frantically typing away in a desperate attempt to answer this most perplexing question.

Well, fear not, Karol Markowicz has found the culprit and you'll never guess who it is. None other than Paul Krugman.

Yes, Paul Krugman, the nobel prize-winning economist whose only crime was being right with just about everything concerning the U.S. and global economies over the last eight years is the man responsible for the ascendency of Donald J. Trump. Seems Krugman did such a suburb job of demonizing past Republican candidates that he greased the skids so to speak for Trump. Markowicz writes,
Take Paul Krugman in The New York Times. In Tuesday’s column he wondered how any “rational Republicans justify supporting Mr. Trump.” He concludes it’s about “feelings,” a dismissal of legitimate arguments many people, both Republicans and not, have against Hillary Clinton. But no one is more feelings-based than Krugman when it comes to Republicans. If he wants to know how people can take Donald Trump seriously, he should take a hard look at himself. 
In 2012, Krugman called Mitt Romney a “charlatan,” pathologically dishonest, and untrustworthy. He said Romney doesn’t even pretend to care about poor people and wants people to die so that the rich could get richer. Romney is “completely amoral,” “a dangerous fool,” “ignorant as well as uncaring.

In March, Krugman had a column called “Clash of Republican Con Artists.” In it, he called Trump’s foreign policy more reasonable than that of Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz and said he’s just as terrified of either of those men in the White House as he is of Trump. He wrote: “In fact, you have to wonder why, exactly, the Republican establishment is really so horrified by Mr. Trump. Yes, he’s a con man, but they all are. So why is this con job different from any other?”
 Yet a few weeks ago Krugman wondered how Republicans could rally around Trump “just as if he were a normal candidate.” It was exactly Krugman who normalized him! What makes Donald Trump normal to so many is that they’ve heard all the hysteria from people like Krugman before. If you use the most vile language available on a good man like Romney, or on real candidates like Rubio and Cruz, you find you have none left for the Donald Trumps of the world—and no one is listening to you anyway.

That's a lot to chew on, I know, but let me take a crack at it if I may. First, Markowicz is correct in pointing out that Krugman, along with about a hundred or so liberal writers, went after Mitt Ronney in 2012. I, myself, called him a used-car salesman from hell. What she is conveniently leaving it out is that Romney, who had been a fairly successful moderate Republican governor of a blue state, decided to cash in any semblance of credibility in order to win the GOP nomination. He could've run on a campaign of bipartisanship; instead he ran a very polarizing campaign that all but guaranteed the reelection of Barack Obama.

Next, she cites a piece Krugman wrote this past March in which he argued that there was little if any difference between Donald Trump and the rest of his fellow Republican candidates. I remember the piece well and I also remember agreeing with him. My conclusion was ostensibly the same as his: the difference between Trump and the GOP comes down to volume and tact, not policy. No, the GOP didn't actually call for a wall to be built on the Mexican border nor for a restriction on Muslims entering the country, but their stances on immigration and Muslims, along with a myriad of other issues, are far more in line with their nominee's positions than they care to admit. Krugman didn't "normalize" Trump; he merely exploded the ridiculous notion that he was somehow an aberration.

The fact that Markowicz can't understand this isn't all that surprising. Conservative writers like David Brooks and David Frum have suffered from similar afflictions of near-sightedness. Their love for what the Party once stood for has blinded them to what it has become. That's why it's vital that they blame an outsider for the state that they find themselves in, because it's so much easier than looking in the mirror.

The truth is that for the last eight years - maybe more - the Republican Party has been playing Russian Roulette and hoping they didn't catch the bullet. They've stoked the fears of millions of their voters with ridiculous accusations against this president, ginned up their base to a fever pitch, and now that the Frankenstein monster that they themselves created is on the loose and terrorizing the village, they've finally figured out that their master plan isn't working out as they had hoped for. Turns out you can't continue to play Russian Roulette forever without catching the bullet.

Psychologists call what Markowicz is doing here deflection; I call it bullshit. The sad truth is you can put as many monkeys as you want in a room, lock the door and throw away the key. They still won't be able to recreate the collected works of Shakespeare, and they damn sure won't be able to explain how the Party of Lincoln allowed itself to be transformed into the Party of Trump.

But what they won't do is blame the other monkeys for it. Not in a million years.

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