Welcome to the Mob

[mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] has become the latest GOP Presidential contender to throw a last-minute Hail Mary in a desperate plea to reinject themselves as a relevant force into the GOP Presidential debate. He joins Bobby Jindal, who unleashed a pretty good stemwinder of a speech today that was almost exclusively about Donald Trump and Scott Walker, who attempted to reinvigorate his flagging campaign in a speech at Eureka College today. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] is following a different tack, choosing instead to follow Trump (and/or Huckabee) around the country in hopes that some of Donald’s TV ratings will rub off on him.

It wasn’t really supposed to be this way, at least not this year. Apart from Rick Perry, none of Mitt Romney’s rivals in 2012 was really a serious national candidate, but the deep-seated antipathy for Romney himself ensured that it would ultimately be a little bit of a circus (with even Rick Santorum getting a turn as ringmaster).

This year, though, was supposed to be a breakout year for GOP Presidential candidates. In addition to a field that featured several well qualified and experienced conservative governors, this was also a field that featured great spokesmen and idea men who were going to run meaningful races that added needed perspective to the nominating process.

This was supposed to be a nomination contest where Scott Walker could talk about the best ways to combat liberalism structurally, Bobby Jindal could talk about education reform, Rick Perry could talk about border security, [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] could inspire our optimism in America, [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] could expose the rottenness in DC, and [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] was supposed to advance a burgeoning new wave of libertarian ideals. And also [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] and John Kasich would be there, for some reason.

Instead, we are talking about whether Donald Trump really said Megyn Kelly was on her period and whether he’s right about Carly Fiorina’s looks. Every conversation that’s occurring right now is about Trump and none of it has anything to do with policy (foreign or domestic), or competence, or leadership.

Erick is fond of saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the GOP brought this monster on themselves – that they put this mob in motion and thus can’t be heard to complain that the mob isn’t thinking strategically. After all, once people pick up their torches and pitchforks, they are not known for careful consideration or choosiness in their targets. Erick is, of course, right.

However, to paraphrase Atticus Finch, being in a mob doesn’t excuse the behavior of each individual person in the mob. And at the end of the day, a mob has never accomplished anything that was deemed praiseworthy or positive, once the conflagration it has wrought has run its course.

I’m reminded of the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, in which Pilate sought to release Jesus, and came out to confront the mob that had brought Jesus to him in the first place. Pilate asked those assembled who he should release – Jesus or Barabbas (who was, you will remember, a man who was imprisoned for… starting a mob). When presented with the option of the silent, beaten, and abused Jesus, and one of their own, the mob of course called for Barabbas to be freed.

That’s exactly what is happening here. Of course, none of the alternatives to Trump are Jesus Christ, or even close. But what the mob sees in Trump is that he is one of their own, and the sole thing they want right now is more power and clout for the mob. But someday the smoke is going to clear, and the dust is going to settle, and those who are seeking this solution should have no illusions about what they are doing – and what they are doing isn’t “Making America Great” or even making anything at all. Mobs don’t make things. They destroy them. And it’s left to others to erect new things in their wake.

Maybe those who are following Trump feel that this is indeed a deserved end for the GOP (or maybe for the country, if they actually think Trump can win). But they ought to at least own their part in what is happening and what their end goal really is.

Welcome to the mob. Take a name tag; we have coffee and donuts in the back.


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