We’ve seen this movie before. Literally.
In the 1941 classic, “Citizen Kane,” the protagonist Charles Foster Kane is running as the reform candidate for governor. But on the verge of winning and defeating “Boss” Geddes, he is caught in an adulterous liaison with a “singer.”
Kane loses and his “defeat … set back for 20 years the cause of reform in the U.S.” Kane never knew what hit him. He was up against political pros and one thing political pros know is how to survive. Destroy an opponent? They do that like they are eating breakfast.
Welcome to the big leagues, Donald Trump. You are now facing major league pitching. No one can deny that Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain is, and will always be, a hero. His is a debt that can never repaid, just as his 5-1/2 years as a POW can never be restored. McCain is, and will always be, an officer and a gentleman.
Trump’s mistake should not be an excuse for champions of amnesty — corporate America and Barack Obama — to try to denigrate the cause of reform of the border.
It goes without saying that Trump’s silly, off-handed comments should be denounced. Saying that McCain is not a war hero is not the same as McCain calling critics of his “open borders amnesty for all” as “crazy.” Let us stipulate that on balance, they are not the same.
However, let us also stipulate that Trump’s mistake should not be an excuse for champions of amnesty — corporate America and Barack Obama — to try to denigrate the cause of reform of the border. Interesting, they are both playing to type.
Corporate America wants cheap labor and Obama wants to undermine the system, true Jacobin that he is. He will, of course, always stay on top. It’s the rest of us who need to be punished.
Trump has become the frontrunner because he is running a populist, reform campaign.
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Let us also stipulate that Trump is becoming a real threat to the status quo, the insiders, and that McCain is a charter member of the uber insiders, ever since he caved on TARP in 2008. He allowed himself to be led around by the nose by another insider, former President George W. Bush, who was, in turn, allowing himself to be led around by Henry Paulson, devoted to Goldman Sachs.
So for a time in 2008, the real boss of America was a corrupt Wall Street brokerage house. But I digress….
Trump has become the frontrunner because he is running a populist, reform campaign. He also has seen his favorable ratings rise in the national polls. Before, Americans knew of Trump as a rich New York real estate developer, not a job that gets Americans all warm and fuzzy.
But when Trump started taking on real issues, they took a second look and liked what they heard. That made him a threat to the established order, and the established order must survive. The first rule of the bureaucracy is the defense, and survival, of the bureaucracy.
Now, let’s face it, questioning McCain’s hero status is a small thing, relative to the real issue of the reform of our dangerously broken border. Yes, Trump made a mistake, doing self-inflicted damage to himself by casting aspersions on McCain’s service. He should apologize, then move on to ask these questions: What about the colossal and calamitous mistakes of neoconservatives such as McCain who believed we could do nation building in Iraq? Or his foolhardy idea to “pause” his presidential campaign in 2008 to support Bush (and Obama) on TARP? Not to mention his dangerous obsession with amnesty and importing more foreign workers into America?
Trump’s important clarion call on the border and illegal immigration cannot — must not — be destroyed as Charles Foster Kane’s were.
But the establishment knows perfectly how to get the vapors, how to grow faint, at just the right time, and demand moral indignation. Poor Martin O’Malley, Maryland former Democrat governor, is going through his own wringer from the establishment for having the temerity to say that all lives matter. Fool. Doesn’t he know in the 21st century that Obama can make racially insensitive comments (“pretty typical white people”) but O’Malley can’t speak the truth?
Trump can survive this. Whether he is the nominee is another matter, but his important clarion call on the border and illegal immigration cannot — must not — be destroyed as Charles Foster Kane’s reforms were.
Events in Chattanooga, Tennessee, proves that at the very least, we need to restrict immigrants from countries that hate us. We halted immigration from Germany and Japan during World War II.
Why wouldn’t we do the same in this war on terrorism?
Why wouldn’t we recognize that Trump’s issues are more important that Trump’s malapropisms?
Craig Shirley is the author of several Reagan biographies. His new book, “Last Act: The Final Years and Enduring Legacy of Ronald Reagan,” is due out in October.