Books, Pop Culture and Political Humor from J.D. Rhoades, best-selling author, attorney, and award-winning newspaper columnist.
"Like [Lee] Child, Rhoades dishes out one airtight action scene after another, mixing in just enough character-building moments and holding our interest in a full cast of nicely developed supporting players."-Booklist
You may remember that charming little catchphrase from the 2010 campaign of tea party-backed Senate candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada.
She told a radio host that “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, ‘My goodness, what can we do to turn this country around?’”
Nice, huh? Sort of like saying, “Nice democracy you got there. Be a real shame if anything happened to it.” Angle’s thinly veiled threat of armed insurrection was a major reason she got her hat handed to her by Harry Reid.
But you just can’t keep the Revolution down, it seems, because nothing gets the “Real America’s” juices flowing like threatening armed revolt against the United States if they don’t get their political way.
This past Tuesday, in Wilmington, N.C., Russian-backed sleeper agent and Republican nominee Donald Trump decided to throw in his lot with the insurrectionists: “If (Clinton) gets to pick her judges,” he said, “nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Now, to be fair, he may not have been talking about an armed uprising. He may have just been talking about shooting Clinton in the head. You know, watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants and all.
And to think just the day before, the hacks of our so-called liberal media were falling all over themselves to talk about Trump’s pivot to being “more presidential” because he managed to get through a prepared economics speech without insulting the family of a dead hero or kicking a baby out of the hall. A day later, he’s going full Cliven Bundy.
We all know where it plays out from here, of course. Trump, the guy who his supporters love because he says what he means, will insist he didn’t mean what he said. (Hat tip to my friend and local boy Julian Long for that one.)
In fact, Trump now claims that his reference to the Second Amendment had nothing to do with “bearing arms” against the United States. Just like when Henry II asked, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” he didn’t really mean for his knights to actually kill the Archbishop. Guess what? No one bought that story either.
As for Trump’s rapidly dwindling cadre of hardcore backers, they’ll respond as they always do: not by defending the indefensible Trump, but by raving even louder about Clinton’s emails, Benghazi, and Vincent Foster.
The “both sides do it” crowd that infests our so-called liberal media will attempt to use some statement of anger and disgust by some liberal blogger to try to convince us it’s exactly the same thing when the presidential nominee from the Republican Party suggests that keeping and bearing arms against an elected U.S. president might be a viable option if you disapprove of the president’s judicial nominees.
Of course, she may not even get a chance to nominate anyone, if Republican strategist and Trump insider Roger Stone’s warnings come true.
Referring to Trump’s expression of concern that the election is “going to be rigged,” Stone told Breitbart.com, “He’s gotta put them on notice that their inauguration will be rhetorical, and when I mean civil disobedience, not violence, but it will be a bloodbath. We will not stand for it.” Mr. Stone did not explain how one has a nonviolent “bloodbath.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s fellow Republicans continue to jump ship. Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins published an Op-Ed in The Washington Post saying that she could not support Putin’s preferred candidate because “Mr. Trump lacks the temperament, self-discipline and judgment required to be president.”
Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell left the Virginia Beach Republican Party to endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Wadi Gaitan, communications director for the Florida GOP, stepped down to promote “free market solutions while avoiding efforts that support Donald Trump.”
Fifty former national security officials, Republicans all, signed on to a letter saying that they are convinced that Donald Trump “would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
The signatories included retired Gen. Michael Hayden (George W. Bush’s former CIA and NSA director); former Homeland Security Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge; and former U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills. But I’m sure a former reality show host knows better than those folks.
Sigh. I didn’t want to write about Trump again. I really didn’t. You can ask my wife.
But Comrade Trump’s continued implosion is the train wreck you can’t look away from.
I just hope it doesn’t wreck us all. THE GOBSHITES SPEAK: Pathological liar and obsessive gun-humper Frank Staples, who posts incessantly under the alias "skylinefirepest" absolutely cannot see a mention of guns in any column without going off on one of his unhinged rants, and this column was no exception. I'll spare you most of his slobbering, but this part really caught my eye:
"You know, I don't really like the man BUT I will vote for a crazy man over a criminal any day! " Yeah, well, like cleaves to like, I suppose.
Hey, um, Republicans? Can we talk for a minute? Have a seat. Can I get you anything to drink?
No, really. I think you’re going to need something strong.
See, I have some bad news for you. It’s never easy being the bearer of bad tidings, but … well, there’s no way to break it to you gently, so I’m just going to come right out and say it.
This guy you nominated to run for president on the Republican ticket? I’ve been watching what’s been going on and, well … I don’t think you actually nominated a Republican.
I know, I know, it’s hard to believe. I mean, there’s this whole primary process, and all this “vetting” and stuff, so you’d think the end result would actually be someone who believes in the things Republicans are supposed to believe in.
Take, for instance, respect for our troops and for their families. I thought Republicans were supposed to be all about that.
But this Trump guy? He tells reporters he doesn’t respect John McCain’s service in Vietnam: “He’s not a war hero because he was captured. I don’t like people who were captured.”
I’m sure our servicemen and women will feel safer and more secure knowing that the man who wants to be their commander-in-chief will stop “liking” them if they have the bad luck to be taken prisoner.
Then he claimed he’s always “felt like” he was in the military because he went to an expensive military-themed prep school.
Recently, he decided to get into an extended Twitter rant against the parents of a Muslim soldier who sacrificed himself to save his comrades, even questioning whether the grieving mother was “allowed” to speak.
Then, when another mother of a serviceman asked Trump’s veep pick, Mike Pence, how the guy at the top of the ticket could be so disrespectful, the crowd literally booed her. Dissing Gold Star mothers and booing moms of living servicemen doesn’t sound very Republican, does it?
Then there’s his refusal to endorse other Republican candidates. I’m old enough to remember Saint Ronnie Reagan’s 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”
This rule has, in the immortal words of Mark Twain, been thrown down and danced upon by Donald J. Trump. Not just in the primaries, where you can expect a little back and forth, although Trump’s crude and childish disrespect for the members of his alleged party was extraordinary even by the standards of a contested primary battle.
Even after securing the nomination, however, Trump continues to slam other Republicans. He’s called New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte “weak” and “disloyal” and refused to endorse her in her own bid for re-election. He also refused to endorse McCain and House Speaker Paul Ryan in their contested elections. Work across the aisle? This guy doesn’t even play well with people in his own party — or in what’s supposed to be his party.
Last but not least, there’s the whole small government thing. I thought Republicans were supposed to be all about decentralization of power. Yet they’ve nominated a man whose promise to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants would require the greatest mobilization of government power and the greatest suspension of civil liberties in our history. They’ve nominated a man who wants all power centered in himself, because, in his words, “he alone” can fix the broken system.
So that’s the bad news. You guys selected someone who not only doesn’t represent what your party’s supposed to, he’s actively driving out longtime members like former Jeb Bush staffer Sally Bradshaw, who’s worked for Republicans since the days of Bush the Elder and who told CNN that she’s leaving the party and, if the election is close in her home state of Florida, will vote for Clinton.
“As much as I don’t want another four years of Obama’s policies,” she told the network, “I can't look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump.” Rep. Richard Hanna of New York became the first, and probably not the last, elected Republican lawmaker to announce that he’ll vote for Clinton over Trump.
Of course, there’s always the alternative explanation. That is that Trump is actually the perfect Republican, and that the party is what its detractors have always said it is: mean-spirited, bigoted, racist, xenophobic and authoritarian rather than truly conservative and freedom-loving. That they have no actual principles, just resentments, grudges, and fears. Surely that can’t be right. Can it?