One of the things Donald Trump’s supporters say they like about him is that he’s “politically incorrect” and “tells it how it is.” If this were true, I’d welcome it. Dr. Ben Carson is absolutely right when he says that we are “too politically correct” and that it results in us not being able to get anywhere because we’re afraid of offending someone. That being said, there is a huge difference between being politically incorrect and being a jerk and I’m afraid our side are huge culprits in this.
Part of Rush’s persona is of a political satirist. Satire requires some mockery and is the complete opposite of political correctness. Those who listen to Rush’s show on a regular basis will understand this. He would probably deny this, but my guess is, based on reports from people who don’t like him or his show having met him, Rush wouldn’t say half the things he says on his show in public. His show is a platform with an audience that expects a certain kind of show and Rush more than delivers and he’s extraordinarily talented at it.
Because we’ve had years of Republican establishment heads refusing to show any kind of leadership in opposition to President Obama in the last seven years, conservatives have looked to their talk radio show hosts for leadership. Rush has mocked the assertion that he is the leader of the Republican Party, and while “Republican Party” may not be accurate, I think it’s safe to say that many conservatives look to Rush as the leader of the conservative movement at this time. Because of that, people want to see to Republican leadership behave like talk radio show hosts. How do I know this? Donald Trump is currently leading national polls by making comments that sound like they belong on talk radio.
This is not talk radio’s fault. I will admit, I’ve been disheartened by Rush, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham and other talk radio show hosts I listen to and admire that have either tolerated Trump and not given him too much trouble when he reveals his liberalism (Sean and Mark) or are outright Trump boosters even if they aren’t necessarily supporting him (Rush and Laura). That being said, I still like and admire most of them. it’s rather silly for elements of the base to expect candidates to behave like talk radio show hosts. And while those elements may get a kick out of seeing Trump making the outlandish comments he does, most other people, including the rest of the conservative base of the party, look on in disgust.
Here’s an example of responding to political correctness in an appropriate way for a politician, let’s say you’re in a debate for being the mayor of Los Angeles. (First of all, if you’re a Republican, good friggin luck.) The moderator talks glowingly about the strides women have made in the workplace and how much progress has been made in allowing women to pursue their dreams in the career of their choice (which is all good up to this point), he then pivots to “what is your position on women serving in the Los Angeles Fire Department.”
The Democrat would likely give some spin on “Women should be able to do whatever it is they want to to do, this is 2016, not 1956. I believe in empowering women, unlike my Republican opponent who has openly declared war on women.”
A correct, honest, and helpful politically incorrect answer would look something like this, “I would like to be honest with the people of Los Angeles, first, I think it’s great that we, Republicans and Democrats alike, have made so much progress when it comes to giving equal rights and equal opportunity to women. That being said, the primary function of a fire fighter is to rescue people and keep our city safe. Most of the time, men are better equipped physically to do this job than women, however, if a woman was able to pass all of the necessary physical tests necessary to do the job, I have no problem with women serving in that capacity. One thing is certain, we cannot make the physical examination easier just to make it easier for women to enter this profession. My Democrat opponent would do just that, they would sacrifice the safety of the people of Los Angeles in the name of political correctness.”
Does that have the fireworks of Donald Trump? No, but it is being politically incorrect. Making fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, mocking a disabled New York Times reporter, commenting on journalist Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, either not doing anything or passively encouraging your rally attendees to beat up Black Lives Matter protestors, painting illegal immigrants as “rapists and murderers” with a broad bush, mocking John McCain’s Vietnam POW status, making comments about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom breaks, mocking Dr. Ben Carson’s personal testimony about how God turned his life around, or insinuating that Ted Cruz can’t really be an evangelical Christian because he’s from Cuba, none of this is politically incorrect, it’s the behavior of a jerk. And if this is what the elements of the base supporting Trump think is “politically incorrect” then I’m sorry, but we’ve got to a lot of growing up to do.