Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a wide ranging interview on Hugh Hewitt’s show. According to advance transcript received by POLITICO, McConnell has this to say:
“We’ve had nominees before who were not deeply into Republican politics and philosophy,” the Kentucky Republican told radio host Hugh Hewitt, referring then to Dwight Eisenhower. “But Trump is not going to change the institution, he’s not going to change the basic philosophy of the party. And I’m comfortable voting for him because on the big things that I think have the greatest impact on the future of the country. At the top of the list is Supreme Court. I think he’ll be just fine.”
I don’t even know what to do with that. While there is truth to the statement that Ike was not a partisan candidate prior to 1952, to insinuate that he’s like Trump is ridiculous. For starters, Eisenhower never actively supported Democrat candidates and he didn’t vocally support Democrat positions. Eisenhower actually had a very strong understanding of the US government, it’s roles and functions, and some very distinct ideas about how the United States should address its problems. None of those statements can be truthfully said to apply to Trump.
In a sad way, though, McConnell is actually right in another part of his statement. Donald Trump will not change the GOP or what it stands for. What Trump has done is reveal what the GOP stands for. And for that we should show some small amount of gratitude.
Trump has demonstrated what we have suspected for years.The GOP stands for nothing more than perpetuating the political power of a relatively small oligarchy that believes in nothing more than it should be in power. So McConnell is right. Trump’s nomination may represent a defeat for individual freedom and free speech. He might finish the work Obama began on our alliances and oversee their destruction. American influence will recede and the vacuum left will be filled by all manner of truly evil people. We may be dragged into an era of unremitting attacks on US physical presence abroad. But the GOP philosophy will not be damaged by any of that because there is no domestic or international policy that is really critical to the GOP’s identity.
Donald Trump has revealed the true nature of the GOP in a way that Failure Theater and the election of Thad Cochran never could. Trump shows that the GOP is not about policy or principle or sound governance. It is about, as my colleague Dan McLaughlin puts it, “rooting for laundry;” supporting someone because they happen to temporarily wear the same team jersey.