Saturday, August 8, 2015

Moral Panic #4,528,364,524,527,395,096

So today's huge Issue to End All Issues is RedState founder Erick Erickson's decision to rescind an invite to Donald Trump because he said something boorish and asinine to a Fox News host who behaved asininely (with two of her colleagues, at least one of whom ought to have had more, you should pardon the expression, class) in a debate featuring most of the Republican presidential candidates and that guy who's pretending to run so everybody will talk about him instead of the real candidates.

First, I have never taken these freelance second-tier political conventions seriously -- I barely take the real ones seriously -- so the outrage over the invitation list is Just So Much Gossip Drama™ as far as I'm concerned. RedState is not a public utility and its choice to include or exclude anyone is entirely up to the guy in charge.

Second, it's Trump. Whom I take seriously only as a marketer who projects exactly the self-image he wants to project, exactly when, where and how he wants to project it. He's there to suck all the oxygen out of a mind-bogglingly good, compared to the last few election cycles, slate of Republican presidential hopefuls. That's bad for the party, and it's bad for the country.

That said, it's also come out that Erickson never even invited Ben Carson, on what appears at first glance to be a truly lame pretext -- and which on closer inspection looks even worse. I'm on record as saying that Carson is a brilliant surgeon and a much-needed voice on the political scene, but that as a candidate for president he is not among my first choices for 2016. If he gets the nomination I'll happily vote for him without holding my nose, but with a sigh for what might have been.

Even so, Carson is a genuine candidate who genuinely believes he can do good as president. He may know he's a longshot and therefore he surely has a Plan B for what to make of his effort this cycle, but I have no doubt that if nominated he would run, and if elected he would apply all of his intellect and life experience to serving his country as best he could.

I think Erickson made two mistakes: having invited Trump in the first place, and having not invited Carson. Yet somehow I just can't work up an outrage over it. Mostly because even a well-organized freelance second-tier political convention is still just another freelance second-tier political convention.

No comments: