As the Republican National Convention made clear last week, the Republican Party is now Donald Trump’s party.
For four memorable nights, America was treated to a virtual celebration of diversity. Legal immigrants, capitalists, police, African-Americans, Hispanics and women were all front and center. Future stars with names like Sen. Tim Scott and former Ambassador Nikki Haley were front and center.
After the convention closed, a cluster of those who ran two losing presidential campaigns and barely won two others, leaving President Barack Obama as their legacy, were racing into the arms of — Joe Biden. Here’s the headline from The Daily Caller News Foundation: Over 100 Former Staffers Under Bush 43, McCain And Romney Endorse Biden For President.
The “open letter” from the Romney acolytes said, in part:
“What unites us now is a deep conviction that four more years of a Trump presidency will morally bankrupt this country, irreparably damage our democracy, and permanently transform the Republican party into a toxic personality cult.”
These are the people, remember, who sat on their hands while Mitt Romney was being savaged by the Obama-Biden team as a racist and a cold-hearted capitalist who caused a steelworker’s wife to die by taking away the family health insurance.
Toxic personality cult? What, exactly, did they think the Obama years were? And why didn’t they call out that cult? Clearly, they didn’t seem to notice, as they were conspicuously silent about attacking the liberal media’s darling in the White House.
Then there is the McCain group. John McCain was the media’s favorite Republican — until, that is, he was nominated for president. Then, all of a sudden, the genuine war hero suddenly became John McCain the womanizer and unethical senator, generating headlines like this in The New York Times: For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk
This gem of character assassination alleged without a shred of proof that McCain had been having an affair with a Washington lobbyist, and that his ethics were, shall we say, questionable. And the response from the McCain crew? Nothing of note beyond a denial.
Then there’s the quadrennial favorite of the Left: the Republican presidential candidate of the moment is a racist. Here, for example, was this lovely take on McCain from HuffPost: McCain’s Racist Surge. The story opened this way:
“As I watch John McCain’s presidential campaign degenerate into a dark, disgraceful display of veiled racism….”
Four years later, Romney was the racist. The headline in Esquire was typical: Mitt Romney Is Stuck in the Racist Sewer of Our Politics. The story by Charles Pierce opened this way:
“Over the weekend, I wrote that Willard Romney, once my governor and onetime human being, had surrendered what was left of his soul to the base of his party by choosing a zombie-eyed granny-starver for his vice-president. Little did I know that, three days later, Willard would go diving into the deepest, oldest, foulest sewer in American politics to retrieve the blackened shards of Strom Thurmond’s soul for a replacement. There is nothing for it now but than to say, flat-out, that Willard Romney has decided that the only way he can become president is to become a racist and to appeal to the racist base of his party.”
That “zombie-eyed granny starver,” to remind the reader, was then-Congressman Paul Ryan.
Any sentient Republican and conservative knows that this is standard operating procedure for Democrats. Joe Biden himself accused Romney of being a racist, saying before a crowd that included a number of African-Americans:
“Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
Not to be left out were the attacks on President George W. Bush. He was repeatedly assailed as a racist and worse–in this case, meaning he was compared to Hitler and called a Nazi.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. This is the kind of garbage that has been thrown at Donald Trump from the moment he stepped off that Trump Tower escalator and into the 2016 presidential campaign — with one very big difference. Trump fought back. And so did his team. And they won.
There are many positive lessons to be learned from the convention that celebrated the Party of Trump. The most important: It would be a huge mistake to allow the GOP and its conventions to slip back into the hands of a timid, elitist establishment, represented by such craven Bush, McCain, and Romney staffers.
They have departed. Let’s hope they don’t come back, and that the Party of Trump we saw last week is here to stay.
Jeffrey Lord, a former CNN contributor, is a columnist and author. He is a former associate political director in the Reagan White House. In his Washington career, he has served successively as a senior aide for a U.S. congressman and a U.S. senator, chief of staff for former Reagan cabinet member Drew Lewis in the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign, and as an aide to HUD Secretary Jack Kemp. He writes at his website,.
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