I must confess that I was a "Celebrity Apprentice" fan but now I feel guilty about it. It seems to me that the reality show headmaster with his famous phrase "you're fired", Donald J. Trump always kept around the agitators, the ones who disrupted the team unity, and picked feuds with the other contestants because he knew it was good for the ratings.
I was sucked into watching his show in the way people stop to gape at car crashes. His candidacy for president is based on the same premise as he constantly is hitting the nerves of a certain segment of the American population while picking fights with establishment politicians and the news media.
One thing I must confess is that the man knows how to get attention and he is good at self-promotion. And the fact that he is so wealthy that he can finance his own campaign and brags to his followers that he doesn't need any lobbyists or special interest groups such as the Koch Brothers or Karl Rove or the super pacs or Wall Street investors is quite refreshing.
In fact, his campaign is so unconventional that it has turned the political and the punditry world upside down. He plays by his own rules. Anyone else would have imploded after his comments about Mexicans immigrants being rapists and criminals and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) not being a war hero. But, Trump's approval numbers actually rose and he is now leading the Republican field in national polls.
This has the GOP establishment scratching their collective heads probably wondering "How Do We Solve a Problem Like The Donald?" As the famous song from the "Sound of Music" goes (exchanging 'Maria' with 'The Donald'): "How do you solve a problem like The Donald? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you find a word that means The Donald? A Flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A Clown!"
Many may be baffled at the support he continues to generate from the GOP faithful but I for one am not surprised. I believe many are from the far right fringe that have been and still are the "Tea Party". They are the same crowd that during a 2012 GOP primary presidential debate cheered Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) for his large number of executions and later booed him for supporting "dreamers" (children of illegal immigrants) with college scholarships. In another debate, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked candidate Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) if he would let a patient die that didn't have health insurance and they yelled "yes". They are the audience that booed a gay soldier when he asked the candidates about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy about homosexuals that was repealed by President Obama.
The debate crowds were more scary than the candidates and the RNC had to warn them to tone it down because they were giving the party a bad name. And these disgruntled citizens are still here and are even more angry with the way things are going in DC. The establishment Republicans that they elected in 2014 have let them down. The President seems to be getting his way with trade deals, executive actions on immigration, climate change pacts with China, a nuclear weapons deal with Iran, and Supreme Court rulings for Obamacare and gay marriage. They remember how The Donald took on President Obama about his birth certificate and later crowed about how he made the President present the long form Hawaiian proof of it.
They like the way Trump never backs down or apologizes from anything he says even if it offends a whole group of American voters. They love the way he calls our leaders weak and his opponents losers and bellows about his business accomplishments.
And now the Grand Old Party feels like the nuns not knowing how to handle Maria. The RNC chair, Reince Prieus tried talking The Donald into toning it down. That didn't work. Some of the candidates lightly objected to his language in calling Mexican immigrants bad names while addressing the illegal immigration problem. Most came down really hard on him for disrespecting an American war hero. One is his loyal lap dog. One created an ad about destroying his cell phone after Trump publicly gave out his number while another took a chainsaw to the federal tax code. But none of it worked. No one out trumps Trump when it comes to attention.
The cheered and booed former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry came out the strongest against The Donald saying "He offers a barking carnival act" calling him "a cancer on conservatism." Well, it seems to me candidate Rick Perry in 2011 kissed Mr. Trump's ring vying for his support and donations and after their meeting even resorted to calling out President Obama about this birth certificate and saying he was "having fun with the president."
Whether 2106 candidate Perry's new tactics of attacking The Donald will work is yet to be seen. My guess is that is too late to stop the cancer. The genie is out of the bottle. The GOP expected him to be a sideshow, not the main act and he is now the Ring Master. With his ego rising along with his place in the Republican polls this could go on for sometime.
The GOP has fears that if he is not treated with respect he may become a third party candidate which would all but assure the election will go to the Democratic nominee. The Republican party has no one to blame but themselves. They created the Tea Party and this Frankenstein monster of attention named Donald J. Trump by embracing him for years.
To quote Perry about Trump: "The sower of discord foments agitation, thrives on division, scapegoats certain elements of society, and offers empty platitudes and promises. He is without substance when one scratches below the surface."
Is this not what has been going on in the Republican party for the last decade or so? Is not Trump the perfect GOP candidate? He's a white, middle aged, rich billionaire egotist who likes to bully others and brag about himself, calls anyone who doesn't support him names, listens to no one but himself, sues anyone who crosses him, accuses our president of being weak and not an American, claims to not be a politician while running for president with no executive experience, and is pro-life and anti-gay marriage. Sounds like a Republican capitalist to me.
As for the GOP, karma is a bitch, just like some "Celebrity Apprentice" contestants.