Donald Trump is surging in New Hampshire, and Chris Christie’s back on the hunt, sounding like a born-again contender. They’re both long shots — the Donald is off the board — but they’re making the kind of noise the wiseheads say they can’t make.
Bernie Sanders is the October surprise for Hillary, drawing the crowds of autumn a year early, and all the Queen of Avarice is collecting now is the stuff you get on your shoes on a stroll through the barnyard. It’s not a race, not yet, and the Gestapo, some of them decked out in the Nazi regalia available on Amazon, is still out searching for stragglers with a verboten crucifix or an offensive Confederate flag. The president decorates the White House as if it were a billboard, offending millions, and the Gestapo joins the applause.
On the Republican side there’s the usual hunger for a candidate with manly orbs, not someone given to taking one reluctant step forward and then two quick leaps backward, apologizing all the way. Chris Christie, eager to come in from the cold, is staking his resurrection on the proposition that he’s that man.
“If we’re going to lead,” he told a crowd of a thousand last week in his hometown of Livingston, N.J., “we have to stop being loved and start being respected again. I’m not running for president as a surrogate for being elected prom king … there is one thing you will know for sure: I mean what I say, and I say what I mean. And unlike some people who offer themselves for the presidency in 2016, you’re not going to have to wonder whether I can do it or not.”
That may be what a lot of Americans want, a man who talks like New Jersey with the bark-on wisdom of the heartland. How else to explain the surging by the Donald, who has been taking a beating for saying accurate but impolitic things that nearly everybody is thinking.
“When Mexico sends its people,” he said of the waves of immigration that threaten to swamp the border states, “they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people with lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
The president of Mexico got his back up, as you would expect any president to do, taking official offense, but he could hardly argue that Mexico is sending the best and keeping the worst. How would that play in Chihuahua or San Luis Potosi?
There was the usual swooning in the Republican ladies’ room. “We’re trying to grow the numbers of votes in the Hispanic, African-American communities and work on growing the amount of female voters,” complained Ron Bonjean, a public-relations flack who once advised Dennis Hastert and now styles himself as “a Republican strategist.” Another “Republican strategist” reaching for Mr. Bonjean’s bottle of Midol says the Donald “is risking the Republican brand.” George Pataki, the former governor of New York, retreated to the gentle language of the Republican establishment, calling the comments “disrespectful.” A party official called them “unhelpful.”
This is how these worthies actually talk. But not all. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whose state has borne the brunt of the wave of Mexico’s finest, praises Mr. Trump as “terrific” and “brash.” Says he: “I think he speaks the truth.”
The Donald no doubt speaks some of the truth, but hard statistics are scarce because the Obama administration doesn’t want the facts in wide circulation. The president prefers to think of the illegals as “emerging Democrats” and the Republican business establishment regards them as a source of abundant cheap and easily abused labor.
Many, perhaps most, of the arriving prospective immigrants from Mexico are driven by poverty and hopelessness from their own land, eager to work hard here to make life a little easier for their families. Only a churl would mock their ambition to be what we all are, immigrant men and women in search of a dream.
They can hardly be blamed for President Obama’s open-door policy of uncontrolled immigration. He’s eager to make immigrants of everyone, without bothering with the technical details of the law. But it’s undeniable that he has let in large numbers of undesirables — Mexico certainly doesn’t desire them — including robbers, rapists and killers. A child molester and five murder suspects, all from Mexico, are the most wanted by the Los Angeles Police Department.
Why should anyone be surprised that truth-telling is suddenly popular in Republican ranks. The voting stiffs get so little of it.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
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