Yesterday Donald Trump introduced with much pleasure Sarah Palin who endorsed his run for the Republican nomination. Her 20-minute speech was the usual blend of run-on-sentences, digressions, folksy language, jingoism, and appeals to people’s sense of grievance that ‘their’ country is being taken away from them. I find it truly painful to listen to her for more than a few minutes but soldiered on to the end.
What I found interesting is that most of her rambling speech involved attacking crony capitalists, the GOP machine, and the need to bust up the GOP establishment and the political class that she says is more intent on serving the donor class than on serving the people. This was Bernie Sanders-quality stuff, except delivered incoherently. What’s odd is that she seems to be reading from notes and I would love to get a copy of those notes if they actually read as she speaks. She also gave brief words of praise for Rand Paul, the only other Republican candidate to be mentioned by name.
For Palin, whose entire life at this point is focused on staying in the public eye so that the rubes will keep supporting her in the style to which she has become accustomed, this is no doubt a good move. Trump gets more media attention than anyone else and she clearly wants part of it. And she may really have hopes of snagging a cabinet position in a Trump administration, Baphomet help us, the only consolation being that she will not be in next in line to the presidency because I don’t think Trump is foolhardy enough to name her as his running mate, though she may be dreaming of that possibility too.
But is this endorsement good for Trump? Or could this finally be the long-awaited kiss of death for the Trump campaign? I am convinced that John McCain picking her as his running mate doomed whatever chance he had of winning the presidency in 2008. Sure, she has a core of support of people who are devoted to her. But she also arouses deep opposition.
People have been predicting the decline of Trump’s campaign from the time it took off like a rocket back in July but he has defied the doomsayers and seems well poised to win the nomination. But it is not certain that this will necessarily help him because the Palin family soap opera is a never-ending source of distractions, given their penchant for getting into altercations with the law.
The person who might be most hurt by her endorsement is clearly Ted Cruz because his message is similar to hers, except delivered in more polished language. When the rumors were initially floated that Palin would endorse Trump although she had strongly supported Cruz in his senate bid, Rick Tyler, the spokesperson for Cruz’s campaign, had bad-mouthed it saying that such an endorsement would boomerang and “be a blow to Sarah Palin”. This led her daughter Bristol to strike back.
“Sarah Palin has been a champion for the conservative cause, and if she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly, she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion,” Tyler said on CNN. Though teased for 11:30, Trump delayed news of his surprise guest until later in the day and speculation continued.
Shortly after, Bristol Palin slammed Cruz, arguing that her mom had supported Cruz for years and turning on her was wrong; his campaign’s criticism “shows arrogance,” she wrote.
“After hearing what Cruz is now saying about my mom, in a negative knee-jerk reaction, makes me hope my mom does endorse Trump. Cruz’s flip-flop, turning against my mom who’s done nothing but support and help him when others sure didn’t, shows he’s a typical politician. How rude to [sic] that he’s setting up a false narrative about her!” she wrote. “America doesn’t need that.”
But Cruz seems to have thought the better of that strategy and later tried to mend fences with the loose-cannon conservative icon.
“I love Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is fantastic. Without her friendship and support I wouldn’t be in the Senate today,” Cruz said Tuesday, minutes before the endorsement was confirmed. “And so regardless of what Sarah decides to do in 2016 I will always remain a big, big fan of Sarah Palin’s.”
What is interesting is that Rush Limbaugh seems to be supporting Ted Cruz and has criticized Trump’s attacks on him so it will be interesting to see these two nutters fight it out.
What might hurt Cruz more is not Palin’s endorsement of Trump but Republican Iowa governor Terry Branstad’s anti-endorsement of Cruz where he said that Cruz must be defeated. Branstad’s opposition is based on his desire to protect federal government subsidies for the ethanol industry that is important to the state’s economy that Cruz once criticized but is now slowly backtracking on, because we know that conservatives love to cut government spending and get rid of the leeches who are living off our hard-earned tax dollars, as long as they themselves are not the beneficiaries of that spending.
This is the first time that Branstad has taken a stand on candidates before the caucuses and given that they are less than two weeks away, it will be interesting to see if it has any effect. Cruz has reacted by using this to burnish his anti-establishment credentials, saying that Branstad is a career politician and part of the political establishment that hates him, the same thing that Palin said about Trump.
So we are seeing which of the two leading Republican candidates can beat up on the Republican party more. I am pretty certain that this is not what the party wanted to see in the 2016 election.