For those who think America is insane, this week might serve as a prime illustration. Today, I offer a series of vignettes—because the common thread of the last seven days is contradictory nonsense.
Brussels and NATO
After the terrorist attacks in Brussels, the press ran to media darling, Candidate Trump. They give him press because he is such a boost for their ratings, and then lean to connecting the attacks to his isolationist foreign policy rhetoric.
I would have liked to hear the press, well, press Hillary Clinton on Brussels, terrorism, immigration, and Nato. She is easily the biggest hawk in the field, albeit an incompetent one, whose tenure as Secretary of State must bear some of the blame for the world as we now know it. Hopeful Obama and 3 AM Call Hillary were supposed to usher in a safer world with Smart Diplomacy (TM). As the popular American law professor and blogger Glenn Reynolds would quip, “How’s that working out for you?”
The press, however, gave Clinton a pass because she had a bad week. The media rush to Trump was probably just as much cover for Clinton’s gaffes as it was ratings gold.
Baseball in Cuba
Meanwhile, the actual US President was watching a baseball game in Cuba. Hoping to create something positive for his presidential legacy, Obama opened diplomatic relations with Cuba while ignoring the Castro regime’s continued persecution of the Cuban people. He did address the attacks in Brussels…from the bleachers…with ESPN. Sleeves rolled up, sitting down, relaxed watching a “historic baseball game.” It is an impressive show of gravitas for difficult times.
It is only the fourth terrorist attack on a Nato country in four months. As my husband bitterly told me on the phone after Brussels, we keep adding more dates that we must never forget. It is hard to keep up. (I still don’t think the Americans are coming.)
Western Tuesday is the catchy name the press gave to the primary votes in Utah and Arizona on Tuesday. March’s Super Tuesday was once the only Tuesday with a name. For decades, the momentum for whoever decisively won that day set the race. This year saw no decisive wins, and those who had decisive losses decided to end the race. In fact, courtesy of the common American practice of early voting, Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race last week, took 13 per cent in Arizona for third place. John Kasich, who still refuses to bow out of the race, came in fourth with 10 per cent. It is quite the feat to come in fourth in a three-man race.
Going underreported, the second decisive win of the primaries went to Cruz, again. He got almost 70 per cent of Utah’s vote. He was expected to win Utah. That’s not a surprise. The margin, however, is. Furthermore, this is the first head to head Trump vs Cruz contest. If you count Kasich as the proxy for Trump that he is and generously gave all of his votes to Trump, it is still 70/30 Cruz over Trump.
Team Trump is worried about the delegates if Trump cannot walk into the convention with 1237 bound delegates, and Utah showed us why. For all the headlines, Trump has only broken 45 per cent in five states. Cruz has broken 45 per cent in three states and 50 per cent in two states and has done so in a wide not-Trump field. Head to head, Cruz wins.
Rogue Political Action Committees
Utah and Arizona results came after some tweets about wives. Liz Mair, rogue political consultant who has her own not-Trump Super PAC (“political action committees”, which are isolated from political campaigns under campaign finance laws) ran an advert in Utah. It featured a nude photo Melania Trump did with GQ. Trump blamed Team Cruz and threatened to “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz. I am partial to this tweet about the whole affair.
Rogue PACs often cause messaging problems for campaigns. Just ask Hillary Clinton, for whom Stand With Hillary made this delightful country music video a while back. They were going for a breakaway country hit. They missed.
Oh, and we ripped a six-year-old girl from her family because she has 1/64 Choctaw blood.Unconscionable.
(Image: Gage Skidmore)