GOP presidential candidates seem to think basketball is the key to Hoosier voters. Admittedly, many of us like talking basketball. As a general rule though, we prefer talking it with others who know just a little about it.
With our great state serving as the center of the GOP nomination circus this week, the two leaders both tried to connect with us. It would be a waste of time to make fun of their embarrassing attempts if they had filled our ears with substance following their gaffes. But since they haven’t, I get to write another column about the field’s utter lack of qualification for the nomination or the office.
First from the Trump file: it has been a long, long time since the State of Indiana took instruction from Bobby Knight. Those of us paying attention have been concerned that Knight is not currently at his best. And then The General confirmed it by getting up in front of a large crowd and proclaiming that Trump will “have the guts to drop the bomb.”
Is that not one of the main things Americans are scared he actually will do?
With another President Truman reference, Knight said that he “went on to be one of the three best presidents in U.S. history.” Wow. I can’t help wondering who Bobby thinks the other two are.
Later in the week, Trump announced another coveted endorsement from Mike Tyson. Yes, the one who was convicted and incarcerated for rape right here in Indiana. Trump said “all the tough guys endorse me.” I guess he means “tough” in a violent criminal sort of way.
And then poor Ted Cruz had a few turns at a game of “why I should not be president.” On Wednesday night, he stood in the high school gym at Knightstown, where much of the movie “Hoosiers” was filmed. But he seemed to think he was actually in “Hickory.” Hickory is of course the fictitious town in the movie based on Milan, a real life Indiana town, and another one he was not in at the time.
He referred to the basketball rim, or even hoop, as a “ring.” Then quickly returned to his flagship issue of bathroom etiquette. Hail To The Chief is the song that sticks in my head each time he digs deeper.
Let’s not overlook the gimmicky desperation of the rest of Cruz’ week. First, he colludes with John Kasich in an attempt to consolidate Republican votes against Trump. That plan lasted about as long as his basketball resume. Then he announces his running mate in a historical act of delusionary prowess, by adding Carly Fiorina to his ticket. Not only is he about to lose the nomination, he has found a partner now willing to do it twice.
Cruz finished up the week with a passive endorsement from embattled Governor Mike Pence. My favorite description of it came in the form of a tweet from @WillMcAvoyACN that read “if you could turn a shrug into a speech, that would be Mike Pence’s endorsement of Ted Cruz.”
This noisy week of nothingness is defining for the leadership and the outlook for the national GOP. It is clear to me that this opportunity to participate in the decision has turned out to be an expose’ of the weakness of the party more than anything else.
As Republican State Rep. Dave Ober aptly tweeted on Monday: “this election is garbage.” And that was before some of the trash above even happened!
I vividly remember the competitive battle that occurred here in 2008 when President Obama and Secretary Clinton were still fighting for the Democrat nomination. It was nothing, absolutely nothing like this. In that case, not only was it a welcome and worthwhile experience, the loser in that primary came back and won in the fall, and carried this red state.
Kasich’s dropout hurt the tenor of the week. Clinton’s sweep in the northeast early in the week seems to have led her into prep mode for the general election this fall. Sanders wins the “best commercials” award, and frankly he is the only candidate that had a good week of issue driven appearances.
This week has been a preview of a November election that the likely Republican nominee hopes is driven by intolerance, misogyny, instabilty and hatred.
I am pretty sure America is better than this. I know Indiana is.
And to Cleveland: good luck with these clowns in July.