I forgot who it was in sports that said ‘You play with the players you’ve got, not the ones you wish you had.’ (Too bad the GOPe doesn’t play by that rule when it occasionally doesn’t go their way.)
Whether you like it or not: The next president of the United States will be either (a) Hillary Clinton or (b) Donald Trump. You’d be hard pressed to find a GOPer so awful that I’d even consider marking the ballot for that screeching, howling pants-suited bitch with the fingernails-on-the-chalkboard-voice.
Trump has looked pretty inevitable as a player in the determination of the GOP ticket for a long time. I’ve said for a while now that conservatives need to build a bridge to him. He’s a CEO. Those guys — at least those that I’ve come across (and I’ve known more than my fair share) — tend to listen to an inner circle and then make a decision based on that feedback AND their personal knowledge and gut instinct.
As I’ve said before, I worked for Senator Helms for a short time in DC in the early 90s. At that time, and earlier, Helms was surrounded by some very sharp, very talented conservative advisers. They had him ramped up to be a one-man conservative wrecking crew within Bob Dole’s go-along get-along GOP caucus. As I was heading off the Hill, I began to notice a change. Helms replaced his longtime chief of staff — who passed away — with a younger, more moderate fellow who happend to be the son-in-law of a former senate colleague. He also replaced his longtime top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a staunch conservative, with a longtime friend from his hometown who happened, unfortunately, to be much more moderate. Those two key changes to his inner circle took Jesse Helms from pissing off everyone from Bob Dole to Ted Kennedy to sponsoring an African aid package, lobbied for by U2’s Bono, and campaigning for reelection with Lawrence Eagleberger.
Remember how Reagan came into DC in 1981, rattling his saber and stocking up on conservative firebrand staffers and appointees? We got ballsy moves like firing the air traffic controllers. We got the Democrats to go along with tax cuts. Then, the DC establishment got their claws into the mix. We got chiefs of staff like James Baker and Howard Baker. We got “deals” with the Democrats on taxes and spending and immigration. Basically a sharp slide to the left. All initiated with a few key personnel changes within the inner circle.
It’s pretty clear that Trump has the American people’s attention. He IS a master salesman. We need to make sure that our team is the one whispering sweet-nothings in his ear about stopping amnesty, building the wall, deportations, tax cuts, regulation cuts, and killing ObamaCare. (Notice how NOBODY is talking about ObamaCare anymore? The GOPe has been dangling that one in front of us for years.)
It’s comforting to see that senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama appears to have a lot of political sway with The Donald. Sessions has unquestionable conservative street cred. I understand a top Sessions aide has been put in charge of the Trump campaign’s policy development team.
I know things are a little bleak here in North Carolina with our state party. But there is a glimmer of hope with the national ticket. Again, with Sessions so close an adviser. AND the fact that the hardcore left has been vicious with Trump. They’ve run him and his family through the mud. They’ve rioted at his events and assaulted his supporters. Trump is a proud guy who holds a grudge. Do you see him hooking up with THAT crowd on ANYTHING?
We know what we have to work with for November. Our beliefs and principles are not going to be advanced via hero worship. We have to stay out there, talking up our beliefs, and pressuring these people on the ballots to walk with us. Moderates managed to get their claws into leaders like Reagan and Helms. There is hope for us returning the favor with Trump and his team. We’ve got work to do.