Broken Elevators?

Dr. Malcolm Cross
Dr. Malcolm Cross

Last week, as public opinion polls showed Donald Trump’s popularity falling following his irrational attack on the Khans, people began to ask:  Does the elevator really go to the top of Trump Tower anymore?  After all, Trump’s attacks were irrational.  It matters not what the Khans’ politics, or professions, or religion may be.  Their son, a Captain in the United State Army killed in combat in Iraq in 2004, is a true American hero.  YOU DON’T ATTACK GOLD STAR PARENTS!!!  PERIOD.

George Bush understood this:  He never attacked the Gold Star parents who attacked him for starting the war that cost them their sons and daughters.

Hillary Clinton and President Obama understand this:  Despite the falsehoods they’ve told about Benghazi—arguing, for example, that the riots and attacks which killed four brave Americans were provoked by a Youtube video rather than the product of a well-coordinated and executed strategy by terrorists—neither has ever spoken of the victims themselves or their families without compassion or sympathy.

Donald Trump does not yet understand this.  Whether he ever will is anyone’s guess.

But wait!  There’s more.

Peggy Noonan, a conservative Republican who wrote speeches for Ronald Reagan before becoming a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, cited not only his “undignified and ungrateful reaction a Gold Star family,” but “the odd moment with the crying baby; the one-on-one interviews, which are starting to look like something he does in the grip of a compulsion, in which Mr. Trump expresses himself thoughtlessly, carelessly, on such issues as Russia, Ukraine and sexual harassment; the relitigating of his vulgar Megyn Kelly comments from a year ago; and, as his fortunes fell, his statement that he ‘would not be surprised’ if the November election were ‘rigged,’” as examples of the failure of his elevator.

And Miss Noonan said that Hillary Clinton’s statements about the FBI investigation into her emails raise questions about her elevator as well.  Clinton has repeatedly said that FBI Director Comey exonerated her.  No. He. Did. Not.  He said he wouldn’t recommend prosecution, but he added her handling of classified emails was “extremely careless” anyway.  To say someone was “extremely careless” exonerates nothing; it simply gives the “extremely careless” person a get-out-of-jail card.

And what can we say about President Obama’s assertions that the $400,000,000 in cash paid to Iran, after which some kidnapped American hostages were released, was not a ransom?  If he honestly believes what he’s saying, then how far does his elevator go?  (As an aside, how does his elevator compare with Reagan’s, who persistently denied that the arms-for-hostages swap with Iran was a ransom?)

But today it’s being reported that Donald Trump is making a comeback of sorts.  Some polls show his popularity is rebounding.  And we need to remember that he wouldn’t be the Republican nominee for President had he not won the most votes in the Republican primaries.  Nor, for that matter, would Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee had she not won her primary elections as well.  And, of course, President Obama would not be president today had he not won two presidential elections.  However much we may want to question why they are where they are and do what they do, we should first ask ourselves why so many of us have supported them for so long.  Their elevators may no longer go all the way to the top.  Do ours?

Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present).  He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014.  He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.

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