I felt like I should sidle up to a round of cheese at the local delicatessen and give it a big hug, or something, after the fawning coverage given the good burghers of Wisconsin in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary.
Cheesehead State voters were too civil and way too smart to go for the stinky limburger that Donald Trump was trying to jam down their throats, according to the news media narrative, and preferred Ted Cruz’s more palatable cheddar even if he did refuse to wear one of those goofy yellow blocks on his head even after his seven-year-old daughter tried to get him to do so.
Well, Trump did lose, but the joke is on Wisconsin voters — and the media of course — because Cruz is an uncivil, censorious, hate mongering, hardhearted and extraordinarily mean-spirited man, as well as the most spectacular liar to ever run for president, which is really saying something. His victory is merely another reminder that the Republican race has come down to which poison you prefer.
Cruz bragged that his Wisconsin win is a "turning point," but it is only in the sense that Trump lost.
We'll see how chipper the Texas senator is following the New York primary on April 19 with its huge delegate haul and a probable win for The Donald. And then how The Donald reacts when he finally realizes that his celebrity power alone won't be enough to make him the next president.
The Dump Trump movement is patting itself on the back over his loss in Wisconsin, but he pretty much did it on his own. He was even less comprehensible than usual in the week before the primary as he babbled on about abortion and using nuclear weapons, among other topics, managing the deft feat of making his surrogate Sarah Palin almost sound intelligent.
Bernie Sanders, who won handily in Wisconsin, is really starting to piss me off.
Not because he won't drop out. No one expects him to do so anytime soon even if he won’t catch up to Hillary Clinton. No, what has my dander up is that Sanders has become so desperate that he has taken to doing the very thing that once put him above the wannabe pack and was his greatest virtue: He is smearing his opponent.
His latest smear, which he is repeating ad nauseam, is that Clinton is a tool of fossil fuel interests. "Secretary Clinton has relied heavily on funds from lobbyists working for the oil, gas, and coal industry," he says.
Of the roughly $160 million Clinton has raised in campaign donations as of the end of March, $308,000 comes from individuals who work for fossil fuel companies, or about 0.2 percent of her total take. (For those of you keeping score, 97.7 percent of all fossil fuel-related donations have gone to Republican candidates.)
It is a sure sign that Sanders' days are numbered when The New York Times and other major outlets are doing postmortems on his campaign.
The prevailing view is that Sanders made a tactical error in vowing to take the high road and not hitting the gutter earlier. My view is that his biggest problem — and this speaks volumes, folks — is that even after a 35-year political career, his base remains narrow and his claims that he would successfully fight the entrenched power of Washington are fantasy.
And that fantasy is exacerbated by an inconvenient and little-noticed fact: Clinton raises money for her campaign and for other Democrats down ticket. The admittedly impressive sums Sanders raises go to his campaign only, which begs the question of how his revolution is going to succeed without a friendly Senate, let alone the House.
This begs another question: What has Sanders accomplished in his 25 years in Washington? As it turns out, not a whole lot.
POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN.
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