August 19, 2015

While the mainstream press forces all eyes on Trump, Rand Paul has quietly left the room and headed to Haiti to give out some free eye care to needy Haitians. Oh, and also an interview or three while he's down there, strategically clad in surgical scrubs so everyone can be reminded of his doctor credentials.

I laughed out loud, because the office he's standing in is an optometry office. No need for scrubs there, Senator Paul.

Speaking of Donald Trump, Paul characterized what he said as "vapid," "vulgar" non-sequiturs. As if strutting your scrubs in a place where they're not necessary is somehow tasteful.

Now the one thing he's right about is the seduction of celebrity with regard to Trump. We've seen it here in California with Arnold Schwarzenegger's disastrous time in office, and we really don't need to see it again nationwide.

And then there's this observation, via Salon:

The racial hue of Trump’s vision is obvious, and it’s understandable that commentators are inclined to see Trumpism through that lens. But there was another important Trump-related media development over the weekend. It was a stellar piece by the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, who recently spent some time in Flint, Michigan, talking to some of “the Donald’s” biggest fans. And while nostalgia for an era when whiteness meant more than it does today was common, Weigel’s piece suggests that racial anxiety isn’t the main reason these folks are embracing Trump. What they like about him, it appears, is that he is a more convincing authoritarian.

“I don’t think he’d go to Congress and ask,” one supporter said to Weigel about a hypothetical President Trump. “I think he’d just do it.” A dutiful student of high school civics knows that the framers of the Constitution took great pains to keep such a sentiment from governing the country. But for the voters Weigel spoke to, such a display of presidential “strength” (a favored word of Trump and his believers) is badly needed. “He lets people know what he’s going to do, not what to ask for,” a 51-year-old named Bob Parsons said of Trump, approvingly. He then compared the former host of “The Apprentice” to Ronald Reagan.

Rand Paul is just a less convincing authoritarian. But his interview and the Salon article paint a picture of a Republican party hell bent for leather on forcing submission to the will of the oligarchs. Whether immigration or abortion or health policy, they're all about making sure they wield maximum authority over the rest of us.

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