Those three things were the undoing of House Speaker Paul Ryan, according to Ben Domenech, according to his spouse, once-sympathetic target of right-wing abuse Meghan McCain.
McCain then went on to chastise the audience of The View for cheering the announcement that Paul Ryan is quitting because he knows he’s going to lose. She warned them that “good” people like Paul Ryan, Trey Gowdy, Mitt Romney, and Ben Sasse are going to be replaced by “bad” people like trump, and Meghan was doing her best to shame the audience and blame them for all things trump, apparently ignoring the fact that trump exists because people like Meghan’s father, another allegedly “good” Republican, stood by and did nothing as their party morphed into the American Id Party.
Let us take a brief stroll down memory lane.
The year? 1999. The place? South Carolina. The situation? George W. Bush is quickly seeing his 50-point GOP primary advantage over John McCain vanish. Bush, a favorite of the God-bothering Biblethumpers, vowed to pull through for Bush, and that meant unleashing an “underground campaign” that was designed to destroy John McCain’s supporters among the “moral” and “ethical” Christians of South Carolina. And how was that to be accomplished? By morally and ethically engaging in a tactic which demonstrated what great character they possessed: they spammed parking lots with flyers that implied that McCain’s adopted Bangledeshi daughter was an illigetimate “Negro” child.
McCain, being the very man of principle his reputation today indicates, immediately took to the campaign stage and denounced the vile tactic, releasing a scathing indictment on negative campaigning and race-baiting that, to this day, echos heroically throughout every campaign outpost from Juneau, Alaska to Bangor, Maine.
Actually, no. McCain didn’t utter a word in defense of his daughter. Instead, he took to the campaign trail FOR Bush. Some may argue it’s because winning at politics is so paramount that one sacrifices one’s own loved ones in order to succeed. Is it likely that McCain betrayed the honor of his adopted daughter in favor of another chance at the White House, and was rewarded for his silence in the wake of these racist and vicious attacks against his daughter with a pat on the back, an “Atta Boy” and a promise to have the full support of the GOP should he decide to run after Bush fucks it all up? Who knows. All we know is that he very publicly declined to defend his family against a very public offense.
8 years later, McCain would try again, riding the country in his “Straight Talk Express” bus, and unleashing on America the one person who could arguably be the direct cause of a successful push at populism by donald trump. I’m speaking, of course, about Sarah Palin, the Half-Baked Alaskan, the Tundra Twit, Snowflake Snooki, Caribou Barbie, Bible Spice, the Denali Dingbat.
It was during McCain’s 2008 campaign that the America’s Id really laced up its running shoes and placed into its iPod the greatest hits of fascism and American racism and put it’s earbuds in, turned the volume up, and drowned out all sense of decency as they attempted to plow their way through the first black candidate for president sponsored by a major political party.
It’s been nearly a decade now, but the ruthless racism, ferocious nationalism, and hysterical xenophobia won’t be forgotten for quite some time. We recall the racist memes the right joyously sponsored against Barrack Obama. We recall the one time John McCain tepidly rebuked a nutty supporter for implying that Obama was a Muslim (like that should fucking matter in the first place), and how the media fawned over McCain’s principled stance to keep this campaign clean and respectful, all the while Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods flitted about the nation, encouraging her hillbilly subjects to up the ante on the attacks.
It was Palin, more than anyone else, who helped give rise to these “serious, polite, and nice” bigots who would in less than a year go on to form the Tea Party, a collective of various right-wing misanthropes who were cobbled together in the dust of the failed Palin movement and financed by the right-wing aristocracy to act as a perpetually plaintive wail against anything President Obama said or did, and it was directly from this illiterate gaggle of Gomers that arose donald trump to capitalize on their racial angst to push more than anyone else in the nation the idea that our president wasn’t really American, and didn’t deserve to be in office.
Paul Ryan came to office riding that wave of racial resentment. Though he never publicly engaged in the kind of uneducated dumbshittery the likes of people like Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Steve King engaged in, he paddled his little rowboat into Washington on the tide of their tears, and took full advantage of the support they offered him.
In fact, John McCain, that mavericky Maverick who always marched to the beat of his own conservative drum, fully jettisoned any last pretenses of decency he once held to and joined the informal Tea Party Caucus from Arizona, again conveniently laying aside his own self-professed principles for the sake of political expediency.
So, when his white daughter—his birth daughter, the daughter the media allowed to become famous—took to her microphone this morning and bemoaned what’s become of the “serious, polite, and nice” politicians who rode into power and coasted on the fumes of Obama angst and are now jumping the sinking SS trump, she would do well to research her own fucking family’s role in what got us the trump she claims we deserve for cheering the resignation of Paul Ryan.
While it’s true that the line of succession to trump can be traced much further back than McCain’s betrayal of his daughter’s honor in the 2000 GOP primary race in S0uth Carolina, it takes a lot of fucking nerve for someone like Meghan McCain to get on TV and chastise anyone for their alleged role in bringing about the rise of “trumpism.” Her father helped clear the path.
But, as we watch Paul Ryan wave his goofy-boy’ed, droopy-eyed smile as he turns and Aww-Shucks it back to Wisconsin, let’s at least give a single thought to Meghan McCain, because she knows of what she speaks when it comes to ushering in horrific politicians. Let’s not for a second think that whichever right-wing monster who replaces Ryan will be any less of an unsympathetically smarmy asshole, and instead, let’s remember that not even trump’s exquisite leadership could keep Ryan in his speakership.
As a coda, here’s something interesting to chew on.
Speaking at the time to Vanity Fair’s Richard Gooding, who was writing a piece on the 2004 election and revisited the South Carolina primary fight for context, an unnamed source told Gooding, “I always knew that if Bush got in trouble he’d push the doomsday button.”
Let that sink in for just a minute. If Bush was willing to push a doomsday button out of electoral desperation, just what in the hell do we think trump capable of doing as desperation grows over revelations surrounding his potential crimes and treason? And, if the “doomsday button” to Bush was just simply going full racist at the thought of losing a single primary vote, then what on Earth does trump’s “doomsday button” resemble at the thought of losing his entire presidency and possible indictment on criminal charges, including crimes against America?