Fatal Attraction: Donald Trump and the GOP - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Fatal Attraction: Donald Trump and the GOP

Who can forget the Glenn Close character in the 1987 movie, Fatal Attraction? That was Alex (Alexandra), a woman spurned, but one who refuses to go away — and will stop at nothing to rekindle her passionate weekend affair with Dan Gallagher, an otherwise happily married New York attorney, played by Michael Douglas.

For old-guard Republicans, Donald Trump is Alex, the high-powered but destructive vamp, who comes out of the family bathtub swinging a knife, while poor old Jeb Bush has the role of Beth Gallagher, the sweet, pretty, but (Trump got this right) “low-energy” housewife.

Order is restored at the end of the movie. In the final scene, after the police have come and gone, Dan and Beth embrace — reunited — and proceed upstairs, as the camera focuses on a feel-good picture of the happy pair with their teenage daughter.

Safe to say, that is not the way that the current political psycho-drama starring Trump, Bush, and a cast of more than a dozen other presidential aspirants is playing out.

Extraordinarily enough, there are rumblings within the party that Dan (think of him as the Republican establishment) should dump Beth — or find a way to make her go away — allowing a stronger candidate to emerge. According to the most recent poll, Trump has jumped out to a 24-point lead in New Hampshire, with 35 percent of likely GOP primary voters supporting him, against just 11 percent for his closest rival.

Unlike the female villain in Fatal Attraction, Trump has become more, rather than less, likable with time — even to critics like Jim Geraghty at the National Review who are appalled at the thought that he could emerge as the Republican Party standard bearer in 2016. “For those who think I never write anything nice about Donald Trump,” Geraghty said in a column this Wednesday, “boy, it’s just delicious to watch him respond to Jorge Ramos, a Univision reporter who hadn’t yet been called upon, but who decided to stand up and harangue Trump at an event in Iowa Tuesday night.” After repeatedly asking Ramos to sit down (and finally shouting Siddown!), Trump ordered reporter-cum-heckler to leave the room — prompting these comments from Geraghty: 

For all of the howling and fury over Trump’s comment about Mexican immigrants, Ramos is the flip side of the coin in making the immigration debate angry, ugly, and bitter. He never acknowledges that Americans who want their border laws enforced have a legitimate point or are good people.… He never acknowledges that there’s something wrong with entering the country illegally. He sneeringly simplifies the debate to immigrants and their friends on one side and irredeemable xenophobes on the other.… One might say Ramos’ disregard for waiting his turn during the press conference is a metaphor for the disregard for the law implied in his position.

Many Republicans who read National Review and other conservative publications like this one that have railed the hardest against all of the grotesqueries of the Obama administration are aghast at Trump policies — which are more Left than Right (e.g. railing against free trade, expressing support for a single-payer health care system, and exalting in the idea of big, activist government that would spend trillions of dollars in repairing “crumbling infrastructure”). Even so, the anti-Trumpian Right can’t help admiring and being amused by the plain language and the in-your-face, anti-PC attitude that he brings to political combat.

While Hillary Clinton hides, Trump takes questions from anyone and everyone (including Mr. Ramos when given his turn). In these encounters, he also reveals his biggest weakness — the constant braggadocio and the assumption that we should believe that he has all the answers because he — the billionaire businessman who has often used his wealth to buy political favors — is a proven winner.

For conservatives like me who detest crony capitalism and who want to see a return to limited government based on free-market principles and the rule of law, the boastful Trump is the biggest — and the most unwelcome — surprise of this electoral season. In disrespecting political correctness, Trump has earned the respect of millions of people fed up with liberal pieties and eyewash… and he has suddenly become a much larger force in American political life than almost anyone (possibly himself included) thought possible. He’s not going away any time soon and — as Trump likes to say when beating his own chest — you just have to “deal with it.” However, when I think of the massive potential ill effects of his candidacy in undermining a true resurgence of free-market conservativism, I am reminded of the horror that the Gallagher family felt in having to deal with the boiling bunny that Alex left on their stove in Fatal Attraction.

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