Donald Trump has come out swinging against Ted Cruz, questioning Cruz’s faith, temperament and loyalties. And now, the talk radio giants are starting to sniff Trump out.
Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin are starting to join me and the likes of Glenn Beck in smelling something fishy about Donald Trump: his recent attacks on Ted Cruz smack of a Democrat or establishment Republican.
I have had the pleasure of spending my last five years in the weird and wacky world known a conservative talk radio. Mine has been a humble perch, producing three local talk shows in Montgomery, AL, and from this vantage point, I have well learned the sentiments of the conservative horde in this era.
Anti-Obama, anti-PC, anti-establishment, and generally “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!”
So, ask yourself: what two people could better personify this angst-ridden grab bag of feeling than Donald Trump and Ted Cruz?
The question answers itself.
Accordingly, Trump and Cruz sit atop the polls in Iowa where they are now poised to do battle with one another after a long cease-fire. Let the war begin.
After private remarks by Cruz were leaked to the media in which Cruz expressed he had “better judgement” than Trump, the Donald fire-back with overwhelming force. Disproportionate force you might say.
Vox lays out Trump’s many attacks:
1) Cruz hates ethanol (because he’s been bought by Big Oil)
“With ethanol [Cruz has] gotta come a long way,” Trump said Friday, going for the jugularat a rally in corn-heavy Iowa Friday. “He’s right now for the oil. But I understand if oil pays him a lot of money, he’s gotta be for oil. Right?”
2) Hey, is Cruz really an evangelical? He is Cuban…
“I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba,” Trump said at that same rally in evangelical-heavy Iowa, seemingly trying to question his rival’s very Christianity. “But I like him nonetheless.”
3) Cruz has a bad temperament, can’t get along with people, and was a “maniac” in the Senate
“I don’t think he’s qualified to be president,” Trump said on Fox News Sunday. “Look at the way he’s dealt with the Senate, where he goes in there like a — you know, frankly like a little bit of a maniac. You’re never going to get things done that way.”
Responding to Trump calling Cruz “a maniac,” Mark Levin scolded Trump on his radio show: “Mitch McConnell is the maniac, it’s McCain who is the maniac, it’s Graham who is the maniac, it’s not Cruz.”
Rush Limbaugh joined in, saying Mr. Trump has “decided to go after Cruz here in the way the establishment Republicans go after Cruz, in the way the media goes after Cruz, in the way the Democrats go after Cruz. He’s essentially put on his John McCain hat here and is saying: ‘I’m Donald McCain, and I’m the guy that can cross the aisle and work with the other side. Ted Cruz can’t.’ I was kind of surprised by that.”
With all this said, I venture this war between Trump and Cruz will reveal more about the Republican electorate than the two men themselves.
My cynical guess is the populist swarm will be swayed more by Trump’s brashness than Cruz’s principled stance for the Constitution.
Personality trumps principle.
Levin, Limbaugh, and Beck are correct in saying Trump’s attacks sound like the progressive establishment, a member of the plutocracy.
As I wrote about Trump earlier this year:
Needless to say, Trump is speaking directly to the right. And quite effectively. He’s using their language.
Yet, there does remain an apparent mystery: how is it that the one person whipping up the right-wing into a frenzy of renewed hope for national greatness is a member of the ruling class himself? How can a member of the plutocracy be the voice of a populist movement against the plutocracy?
Well, this move of plutocrat turned populist should be of no surprise to watchers of American Democracy. Often, the base desires of the populist herd are the same desires held by the plutocracy. That is, even when their goals may seem at odds, both the ruling class and the herd are motivated by their lust for power. Both groups are driven to the democratic arena by their fear, envy, and eros.
Under democracy, plutocrats are simply populists who have found power and success.
And now the populist right is looking for vicarious self-esteem and “victories” from the powerful and successful plutocrat Trump as long as he is mad enough and sufficiently “anti-PC.”
I just hope the right doesn’t become too disillusioned once they realized they have empowered the very sort of monster they were looking to slay.