From our Peggy Noodnik Writes Again desk
The GOP Establishment’s Civil War
A free-for-all among Christie, Rubio, Cruz and others, while Trump hovers above it all.
What everyone’s waiting for is the winnowing. New Hampshire and Iowa will force some Republican candidates out. When we know who’s still in we’ll have a surer sense of the contours of the race.
It is still true that the party has never had a year like this, with the ground shifting beneath its feet. It’s hard to see this clearly because on the surface the things you expect to see happening are happening.
The candidates are starting to throw hard punches. They’re all trying to show they can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee—a necessary talent if you make it to the general election. No point in hand-wringing or telling them to stop on the grounds that what they’re doing will produce, for the Democrats, a badly bloodied GOP nominee.
And etc. until we get to this:
I do not understand the inability or refusal of Republican leaders to take Mr. Trump seriously. They take his numbers seriously—they can read a poll—but they think, as Mr. Bush said, that his support is all about anger, angst and theatrics. That’s part of the story, but the other, more consequential part has to do with real policy issues . . .
Mr. Trump has functioned this year not as a great communicator or great compromiser but as the great disrupter. He brags that he has brought up great questions and forced other candidates to face them and sometimes change their stands—and he has . . .
It reflects badly on the party that Donald Trump—whom one journalist this week characterized as a guy running around with his hair on fire—had to become the party’s 2016 thought leader.
Coincidentally, Jack Shafer wrote this piece for Politico on Friday, headlined “Trump’s ‘Strange New Respect’ Moment.” He explains: “The American Spectator‘s Tom Bethell introduced the concept in a 1992 article to ridicule the practice of liberal journalists who would reward conservative politicians who migrated from right to left by commenting in print on how they were now commanding ‘strange new respect’ in Washington, showing ‘growth,’ ‘maturity,’ ‘wisdom,’ and ‘thoughtfulness.’”
Shafer then calls the roll of Trump accolades, from the Washington Post to USA Today to – yes! – Politico.
The one glaring omission? Noonan’s piece, filed roughly around the same time Shafer’s was. So now you’re caught up.