Republicans these days fall all over themselves to wrap themselves in the mantle of the late Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States and one of the truly “transformative figures” of 20th century American politics.
OK, so the benefits of the transformation can be debated, and they certainly have been since Jan. 20, 1981, when the Gipper took office after thumping President Jimmy Carter in that historic landslide.
But why have we forgotten one of Reagan’s most cherished mantras? It’s the 11th commandment, in which the president urged his fellow Republicans to “not speak ill of other Republicans.”
Welcome to today’s reality, Mr. President — wherever you are.
One of your political descendants, Donald Trump, has tossed the 11th commandment into the crapper.
He’s trashed Jeb Bush for being a “lightweight,” Lindsey Graham for being an “idiot,” Mitt Romney for being a “loser,” John McCain for not being a real war hero, Rick Perry for wearing glasses in an effort to “make him look smart.”
There will be others who’ll receive verbal grenades from Trump.
And yet …
With all of that embarrassment spewing out of Trump’s mouth, he continues to enjoy relatively high poll ratings among all the GOP candidates running in 2016.
I find it impossible to believe that the Trump supporters actually want to disinherit the legacy that President Reagan left behind. However, by continuing to support this clown, that’s precisely what they’re doing.
Ronald Reagan sought to build a stronger Republican Party, partly by encouraging GOP pols to refrain from tearing down their fellow Republicans. He wanted a positive image to carry them through.
The strategy worked, more or less.
Now comes Donald Trump to rewrite the rules as he sees fit.
It’s a new day, yes?