I guess it's now fair to say of the 2024 Republican primaries: Game on.
As annoying as it is that the presidential election starts well over a year before the actual event takes place, that's the way it is. And it will be hard for many of us who write commentaries about politics and culture to avoid talking about it regularly. I guess that starts now for me, given that two of the three things that drew my bewildered attention this week were related to it. So let's hit it.
Failure to Launch
As hopeful as I may be about the candidacy of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, more than a few eyebrows are being raised at his choice of Twitter Spaces for the official launch party. While it's true that DeSantis can crow that Trump never broke Twitter, the fact that the platform continued to crash when hundreds of thousands of "listeners" tuned in seemed like an unnecessary and unforced error on the part of a campaign that wants to exude competence.
So why did he do it? I think that's the more fascinating, and the more important angle to consider. Was it just a Trumpian-style jab in the eye of traditional media? I can't say that makes a ton of sense given that they were able to cover the more traditional launch events that followed. Maybe the best explanation I've seen came from a for GOP House chief of staff named Kenneth Monahan:
This makes sense. The media is obsessed with Trump. The media wants Trump to win the Republican primary. What happened on Twitter for DeSantis might not have been smooth, but might it be a sign of a wise strategy moving forward?
My brother introduced me to Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail when I was in junior high. I can't even tell you how many times I've watched it since then. An absolute classic. If you've ever seen it, you'll remember the credits at the beginning where the subtitles begin to talk obnoxiously about a moose. Suddenly, the film stops and this announcement comes on the screen:
We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked.
The credits return, but quickly devolve into chaos again. Another film stop is followed by this announcement:
We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.
Unsurprisingly, moderation only lasts for a few moments before the subtitles once again become a free-for-all. This final announcement is then displayed:
The directors of the firm hired to continue the credits after the other people had been sacked, wish it to be known that they have just been sacked.
You kind of have to see it, but if you have, I'm surely not the only one that saw the similarity between that nonsense and the dueling apology statements from Major League Baseball's L.A. Dodgers this last week.
They invite a sacrilegious, Satanic group to come be honored at their game. Rational people are reasonably outraged, so the team stops the film and announces they have sacked the bigots. The outrage mob that fuels what Bill Maher dubbed the "alphabet mafia" then descends and threatens the team, so they stop the film again and announce they have sacked those who sacked the bigots.
At some point, the suits that run these organizations, corporations, and businesses realize they should stay out of politics and let the crazies find other prey, right?
Trump Hires Only the…Dopes?
Remember when Trump unleashed a barrage of invective at former Attorney General Bill Barr? He slandered the guy that he hired himself to be the chief legal officer of the United States as a "weak and slovenly man who was ill equipped to be Attorney General." The fairly obvious question that a sane person would ask is, "then why did you hire him, sir?"
Of course, Trump did the same thing to Barr's predecessor, Alabama's Jeff Sessions whom Trump selected as his first Attorney General. He called Sessions, "weak, ineffective, mixed up and confused," as well as "disgraceful." This after Sessions had been the first stalwart conservative to support Trump in the 2016 primary.
When it came to the National Security Adviser that he hired, John Bolton, Trump later declared him to be a "sick puppy," a "disgruntled, boring fool," and "a dope."
So it was little surprise this week when the former president launched into a tirade directed at the woman he had hired to be the White House Communications Director.
Could someone help me understand why it doesn't undermine the credibility of the guy who said he hires "only the best people" that, according to him, he filled his staff with "weak, ineffective, disgraceful, confused, backbencher, losers and dopes?"
I mean, that's a fairly good question, right?