Monday, August 01, 2016

The turning point

When the history of this bizarre political season is written, I believe it will be seen to hinge not on the economy or foreign affairs or even race, but rather on a man who died twelve years ago and was unknown to most Americans until last Thursday night.  The words of Khizr Khan, moving as they were, constituted only one statement by a speaker at the Democratic convention, but they penetrated the notoriously thin skin of the Republican nominee and he can not shut up about them.  Can NOT.  All criticism maddens him, but this was like a perfect jab from a master picador, enraging the bull and making him fatally reckless. 

In classic fashion he chose not to respond to what Khizr Khan said, but to what Ghazala Khan did not say in Philadelphia, implying that she was either silenced by Sharia law or just a dumb woman with nothing to say.  Her eloquent response, first in an interview with Lawrence O'Donnell and then on the op-ed page of the Washington Post, threw that back in his face.  So he whined that Khizr Khan "viciously attacked" him by suggesting that he is unfamiliar with the Constitution.  At this point the nominee might have noticed that he was coming under attack by others -- putative allies like John McCain, Erick Erickson, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Gold Star families -- but if he did, it made no difference.  Apparently there is no one in his employ who can persuade him to shut up and let it go.  There is nothing to be gained hereMove on.   The twit keeps tweeting.  Khan is just a dupe.  Hillary's speechwriters told him what to say.  It's all about TERRORISM!  Their son would be alive if Hillary hadn't voted to invade Iraq!!

The grave of Captain Humayun Khan in Arlington has become a place of pilgrimage.  The Constitution his father held up at the convention is one of the top ten sellers at Amazon.   The latest CBS poll has Clinton ahead by seven points. 

He doesn't get it.  He never will.




Blogger john_burke100 said...

I think this episode illustrates two related points about Trump: he is pathologically self-absorbed, hence incapable of feeling compassion or humanity for anyone else, since all his attention--I mean ALL his attention--is directed to himself. And this characteristic has been amplified by his pampered upbringing and cosseted adulthood, so he hasn't grasped that in some circumstances, even if you don't feel genuine compassion, it's tactically smart to fake it.

I remember when Barry Goldwater's 1964 slogan "In your heart you know he's right"--I hear echoes of it in the comments of Trump's admirers--was beautifully parodied, anonymously as I recall (I first saw it chalked on boxcars when I started on the Southern Pacific) as "in your guts you know he's nuts." I'm banking on the hope that this viewpoint will deflate the Trump bubble, but 1964 was long ago; have the changes in the interval seem undercut this kind of folk skepticism?

12:13 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home