Can you believe this presidential race has gotten so out of hand it even moved our own Luv Guv to a political “safe space” where he could blast Donald Trump? You know it’s bad when a national punchline thinks he has the moral high ground to denounce his party’s presidential candidate.
That’s what happened last week as one Alabama Republican after another publicly bailed on The Donald after his infamous “Access Hollywood” recording was made public.
Apparently Trump’s talk of GHP was too much for Alabama’s GOP.
Everything’s gone haywire since last Friday. Until then it seemed most of the state’s Republican leaders were willing to quietly ride the ship down and allow Trump to complete a campaign so dismal it will likely result in the election of someone who has all the warmth and popularity of a wet toilet seat. But Trump’s “locker room” tape untethered them from his campaign.
Only Jeff Sessions has been left standing with Trump when the music stopped — as he tried to explain how Trump’s discussion of grabbing genitals and kissing women without permission might not fall into the category of sexual assault. I get it, Jeff; maybe it’s not assault until someone is actually offended, or maybe Trump never actually did those things and was just bragging to impress entertainment reporter Billy Bush, but trying to explain minute legal details are going to be impossible to hear over the roar of this hurricane.
The rest of the state’s Republican Congressfolk appear to have decided the need to distance themselves from Trump outweighs the approximately 20 trillion angry messages from Trump supporters they are currently receiving. It’s not a politically neutral move, either.
Denouncing Trump on the doorstep of Election Day will definitely leave these politicians open for criticism and probably even fuel challengers for the next run in two years. Imagine if Hillary Clinton is even half as dismal a president as many believe she will be. Pushing away from Trump is going to be a tough millstone to wear around their collective necks in 2018.
Only Richard Shelby appears to have escaped this unscathed. He may be too busy trying to find something else to put his name on, but the warhorse senator hasn’t been pushing for Trump, and at 80 with a new six-year term to work out, Shelby was smart enough not to get caught up in this row.
Trump has done what he was predicted to do by many — he has burned the Republican Party to the ground. Those of us who consider the concept of a Hillary Clinton presidency less appealing than any other political possibility, but also believe Trump to be no choice either, can only vote third party and hope large numbers there will encourage someone decent to challenge the two main parties in 2020.
I will admit Trump was never “my guy” in this race. I thought there were 16 better choices when the race for the Republican nomination began, and I was sure the braggart reality star would lose his luster long before the primaries. Wrong and wrong.
When he came to Ladd-Peebles Stadium to speak, I went there with an open mind, to see what he had to say and if he could possibly somehow come within my mental parameters of what a president should be. What I heard was a rambling “speech” that jumped from topic to topic, always bouncing back to “look how rich I am!”
At one point he mentioned Germany, then, apropos of nothing, suddenly asked a crowd of mostly blue-collar people in Mobile, Alabama, how many of them had driven a Mercedes to Ladd that night. It was one of many silly things he had to say that evening, and frankly it left me wondering if he was “all there.” Over the ensuing months that question has been answered, I believe.
It’s still hard to believe Republican voters made this happen and are now furious some of their elected officials don’t want to snuggle up to a nominee who has blown the lead in every crass and childish way possible that doesn’t include him mooning a national television audience. A third debate is still ahead, so I’m not counting that one out yet.
I know, I know, many of you are starting sentences in your mind with “But Hillary Clinton….” Yes, she’s putrid. If this were “Fraggle Rock” she would be the talking trash heap, if the trash heap constantly lied, flouted the law and had a home-skillet computer server.
Even with little breadth of knowledge and while reversing himself on positions he used to bludgeon the competition within the primaries, Trump easily could have won this thing if he could go 15 minutes without saying something stupid, offensive or untrue. But he can’t. And at this point it’s hard to see how he’ll pull off one more political resurrection before November.
That he’s so deplorable — to use the current word of choice — Robert Bentley felt clear to take a shot at him says just about all you need to know. At least we can now assume the Luv Guv must have asked permission before groping his paramour/political aide. And he paid her husband a lot of money as well. Take that, Trump!
It’s hard to blame Alabama Congresspeople like Bradley Byrne and Martha Roby for bailing on Trump, or for Gary Palmer and Mo Brooks issuing extremely harsh criticisms — especially since it’s a fair guess more revelations might be on the way.
Brooks hinted at a secret plan to get Trump out of the way and also keep Clinton from becoming president, but short of having the candidates watch the director’s cut of “Taxi Driver” with the newly released John Hinckley, that sounds pretty far fetched.
The edge of the world has been coming for a long time and it’s close enough to see. Those who are jumping ship probably aren’t going to be any better off politically for doing so, but if there was ever a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation, this is it, and at least maybe they can feel good about themselves.