I sometimes feel that the Republican Party, while it has not supplied the country with a lot of government that holds up since W hammered through his initiatives, has made up for the many shortfalls by providing quite a bit of amusement. Sarah Palin was outstanding on the plane of the comic irrational, and now we have Donald Trump.
What makes Trump interesting is how, slapping up what passes for his insights and ideas, he occasionally lays out a moment of common sense that suggests that we might have shared a decade or two of history after all. So often he appears to flout Republican Orthodoxy and come up with a precept so blindingly reasonable that politicians of both parties flee before this latest fireball. This may help explain why Joe Sixpack bellies up to Trump in so many polls.
For example. Several months ago Trump indicated openly that we could simplify the bewildering health insurance crisis by adopting a single-payer program, in effect Medicare for everybody, like the rest of the industrialized West. Bernie Sanders thinks that too, but even he has enough sense of the moment to play that down. If there is a proposal the others in the Republican field instinctively run from, there it is. None of Trump's competitors seem to have the nerve to draw him out in debate on that one, and he never mentions it.
Another area in which Trump's utter ignorance keeps surfacing is defense policy. Early in the campaign he indicated that he, as president, would deal with ISIS by getting his unnamed people into key positions in the military, then pouring troops into Iraq and Syria, then cleaning the bastards out and "grabbing the oil." Our oil all along, apparently. Trump rampant keeps reminding me of Hermann Goering on the eve of the Nazi takeover in Germany, except without the finesse.
Like that 1300-mile wall to keep the Wetbacks out during a decade in which more Mexicans are leaving the United States than are creeping across the border, the indication of who in Mexico would pay for the wall or who would authorize Trump's oil grab and who would fight this roaring new war in the Middle East awaits his election as president. Nobody on Wall Street, certainly. Then, with his hyperjingoist credentials established, during the Republican debate last week, Trump suddenly decried the folly of Jeb's brother in involving us in all that action against Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, a two-trillion-dollar debacle, money that should have been spent on roads and bridges here. None of his competitors seemed inclined to call Trump on this utter reversal of his strategy unless, like Dick Cheney, you could persuade yourself that our next oil grab would somehow pay for itself.
The axiom for empires is learn or perish. The ascendancy of Donald Trump would suggest that our prospects are not wonderful.