Bush is Supposed to Support the Guy Calling Him a War Criminal?
"If Donald Trump literally spit in your wife's face, would you still vote for him?"
It's a question I've asked a lot of Trump supporters over the past several months, who are angry at (and can't wrap their minds around) my NeverTrump stance.
Interestingly, none of these guys have ever answered it. They've all either ignored the question or called it absurd, stating that Trump would never do such a thing.
On that, they're right. Trump's a lot of things, but to my knowledge, he has never actually spat in someone's face. But that's not why I ask the question. I ask it because I want to know if there is absolutely anything Trump could possibly do to lose their vote.
After all, adopting the policy-positions and the incendiary rhetoric of the Left hasn't done it. Lying each and every day on the campaign trail hasn't done it. Neither has mocking American POWs for their capture, or throwing out racist and sexist remarks. Making fun of someone's physical disabilities hasn't done it. Comparing Republican primary opponents to child molesters, and linking their fathers to the JFK assassination hasn't done it. Conning Trump University students out of their money hasn't done it. Even multiple allegations of sexual assault have largely resulted in the turning of a blind eye.
Why have all of these things been ruled acceptable? It's because the Right and a lot of independents have deemed Trump to be the lesser of two evils in this election. Believe me, I understand that sentiment.
Yet, when you narrow down the argument about Trump's conduct, and put it in the most personal of terms (as I have with my question), even somewhat reluctant supporters can't bring themselves to address it. It's because they know that their honest answer to the question would be "no." Anyone with any shred of dignity has a line that can't be crossed, and a man spitting in their spouse's face would be it.
Once a Trump supporter acknowledges the existence of this line, it becomes harder for them to deride those who say that Trump has already crossed theirs, with his real-life offenses.
Unfortunately, that level of self-examination doesn't fly with much of this crowd. If you're a conservative or a Republican, and you're not supporting Trump, you're called a RINO, a cuck, a traitor, an establishment-elite, a narcissist, and yes...even a liberal.
On the receiving end of a lot of this tribal anger, especially over the past few days, has been the Bush family. It was recently reported, based on some public speculation from George P. Bush (George W. Bush's nephew), that the 41st and 43rd American presidents (both Republicans) will likely not be voting for this year's GOP nominee.
Of course, we learned of the elder Bush's preference toward Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago, when Kathleen Kennedy Townsend spilled the beans on social media.
A lot of Trump fans have been livid over this, and not just the scores of nameless, faceless individuals hiding behind anonymous social media accounts.
Radio host Laura Ingraham sarcastically tweeted that it "would be nice if the GOP had a beloved and willing former president to campaign for its nominee in the homestretch."
Fox Business host Lou Dobbs declared that the Bushes are liberals, and always have been.
On Friday's O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly had trouble fathoming the idea of George W. Bush not voting for Trump.
Speaking to presidential historian, Jon Meacham, O'Reilly said, "I can't imagine, at this point in Hillary Clinton's political evolution, Bush — the younger — pulling that lever for somebody who, as I pointed out in the Talking Points memo...abortion no matter when, for any reason...I just can't imagine it."
Meacham believed it was wrong to assume that Bush would vote for Clinton, just because he wasn't voting for Trump.
O'Reilly stated that he believed it was Trump's treatment of Jeb Bush during the primaries, that was instrumental in the Bush family's decision. He voiced that conclusion again, in the following segment, with former Bush White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino.
Of course, anyone who has observed the Bushes over the years knows that they are incredibly gracious when it comes to how they respond to their detractors and political opponents. George W. and John McCain went through a bitter rivalry back in 2000, and came out of it as friends and mutual supporters. George H.W.'s affection for Bill Clinton, the man who unseated him after one term in the Oval Office, has been as admirable as anything I've seen in American politics.
But like everyone, the Bushes have a line that can't be crossed. And as both Meacham and Perino eluded to with O'Reilly, that line wasn't Trump's harsh treatment of Jeb.
The real answer should be pretty obvious.
If we can all agree that spitting in someone's face is unacceptable, and grounds for political opposition, how can the same not be true for calling someone a war criminal?
How can saying that someone "lied" to the world about WMDs in Iraq, and thus sacrificed thousands of American lives for nothing, not be proper justification for withholding support? How can saying that someone knew about the 9/11 attacks beforehand, and was complicit in the murders of thousands of innocent people, not be the ultimate spit in the face?
Back when Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and Code Pink were spewing such garbage, we on the Right understood how patently false, damaging, and utterly disgusting it was. We condemned it. We fought it tooth and nail. Yet, when Donald Trump ran on this very rhetoric in the Republican primary, a decade later, it was admissible to the point that he actually won the party's nomination.
CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted the other day that "it's astounding what's been normalized this election season."
He's right, and I can't think of a better example of it than the notion put forth by Trump fans, that party loyalty should compel individuals to relinquish every ounce of their dignity, and support the candidacy of a someone who's essentially accusing them and their family of mass-murder.
It's this kind of sadistic lunacy that drove me out of the Republican party a few months ago. You can only have your face spat in so many times, before you've finally had enough.