Jonah Goldberg looks on sadly as some Republicans continue to delude themselves with the fantasy that Trump can stop the insane, embarrassing, election-losing behavior and become presidential.
The battered-spouse establishment canâ€™t come to grips with the fact that theyâ€™re being played for suckers or that they are actually enabling Trump. I half expect Reince to come out with a black eye and tell everyone that he walked into a door at Trump tower. â€œI shouldnâ€™t have been so clumsy.â€
And I get it. When something is too terrible to contemplate, thereâ€™s a natural human tendency to avoid contemplating it. But when a grizzly bear is eating your face, saying â€œHe can changeâ€ is not the best response.
Not least because Trump canâ€™t change. He canâ€™t change any more than a one-armed southpaw can suddenly pitch right-handed. Within days of the supposed Pence-pivot, Trump got worse:
In the time since he accepted the nomination Trump has, among other things: revived a crackpot theory on Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination; suggested his adopted party is filled with people who don’t want to help others; invited Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election; smeared the parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain; trashed a retired four-star general; and appeared not to know that Russia had annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
And then, just this morning, Trump ate a live hamster on national TV.
Okay, I made that last one up, but you get the point. The Trump you see is the only Trump youâ€™ll get.
Iâ€™d love to see a mash-up of Hannibal Lecter channeling Marcus Aurelius as he talked to Reince Priebus.
Hannibal Lecter: First principles, Reince. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: What is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Reince Priebus: He wins primaries? He controls the news cycle? He insults people?
Hannibal Lecterâ€‹: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by doing these things?
Reince Priebusâ€‹: Anger, um, social acceptance, and, huh, sexual frustrations, sir. . .
Hannibal Lecterâ€‹: No! He covets. That is his nature. He covets attention and respect and he confuses one for the other .
. . .
Itâ€™s important to keep in mind that Trump knows he has to promise things he cannot deliver just to keep everyone on the hook. Heâ€™s a bit like a pimp in this regard (actually heâ€™s like a pimp in a lot of ways: gaudy, loud, self-absorbed, fond of gold and red velvet â€” but weâ€™ll stay on point). He tells those counting on him that he can be better.
On March 9, he told Sean Hannity:
â€œAt the right time, I will be so presidential that youâ€™ll call me and youâ€™ll say, â€˜Donald, you have to stop that.â€™ (LAUGHTER) But you know what? It is true, and I think you understand: When they attack me, I have to attack back. Iâ€™m a counter-puncher. When they attack me, if I donâ€™t attack back â€” You know, the press could say, â€˜Oh, he should act more presidential.â€™ And then like a couple of days ago, I gave a speech, they said, â€˜That was so presidential.â€™ I can be presidential. But when you’re being attacked and when you attack back, they say it’s not presidential.â€
This is pimp talk. This notion that he canâ€™t let any insult go un-answered is the lizard-brain logic of the streets and the prison yard. â€œHoney britches, I gotta save face. I canâ€™t let no one trash-talk me or my name wonâ€™t mean sh*t out there.â€
I want to put forward a challenge to everyone still clinging to the he-can-change, pie-in-the-sky, free-beer-tomorrow, Godotâ€™s-bus-is-just-running-late, he-can-change fantasy. Pick a date. Any date between now and Election Day. I want you to commit to the idea that if he hasnâ€™t changed by that day, he never will. And on that day, you need to accept that he is the same cheeto-dusted smatterer some of us saw from Day 1. Then, ask yourself: â€œWhat should we do now?â€
Read the whole thing, it’s excellent.