- - Monday, February 1, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A funny thing happened on the way to the Iowa caucus.

I have been ambivalent about Donald Trump. Just two weeks ago in these pages I argued that you don’t need to be a nice guy in order to be a good president. It’s helpful, but not a necessary component.

As a Fox News contributor, I have defended Mr. Trump on that network innumerable times, as I continued to watch and appreciate a style that screamed leadership and promised an end to the status quo.

At least that’s what I told myself. On the way to the Iowa caucus, and as it became possible Mr. Trump may not win, something else began to happen. He and his supporters began to eye jackboots, and decided punishing dissenters was again in vogue.

The appeal of Mr. Trump, in its face, is clear. He rips away the scourge of political correctness, a virus that is destroying the country from within. We’re all rightly concerned about terrorism, but that’s a cancer that will only finish off this nation.

The establishment’s refusal to act on the existential threat of Islamist terrorism is the direct result of political correctness and the liberal refusal to face reality and accept that this nation deserves defending.

Americans have been drowning in New Speak and ignorance and the Obama/Clinton preference for a literal life of lies. We’ve had it.

So yes, suddenly there was someone who could shatter political correctness, that cohort of terrorism, violence, and the death of the future.

Initially, the bombastic shock of someone like Mr. Trump, so crude and careless, was actually refreshing. Then weeks turned into months and excitement began to wear into exhaustion.

The tipping point for me was last week’s absurd drama surrounding new attacks by the Trump gang on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. She’s “unfair” we’re told, and shouldn’t moderate the debate. This stemmed from the first debate when Ms. Kelly asked Mr. Trump to explain his attitude toward women many consider misogynistic.

Coming full circle and proving the importance of Ms. Kelly’s question that August night, Mr. Trump referred to her as a bimbo on Twitter last week, and the Dogs of Trump Hell were unleashed, again, on Ms. Kelly, with some of his supporters referring to her in a manner that let’s just say represents the gamut of obscene misogyny.

The attacks, however, weren’t limited to Ms. Kelly and the network. I tweeted my opinion that Mr. Trump was throwing a tantrum (he was) and it affected my willingness to support him. I learned quickly that the right had learned from the left the juvenile attraction to punish anyone who dares to dissent.

Ironically, Mr. Trump insists the people who offend him, or words he’s insulted by, be punished, hounded or banished — the hallmarks of enforcing political correctness.

Yes, you can be thin-skinned, hate Fox News, have supporters who work to punish dissenters, and be president.

In fact, we’ve had that in the White House for seven years now. I thought conservatives wanted to change things.

My initial hesitancy regarding Mr. Trump was his liberalism. Sure, he says he’s a conservative, but so does Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and Jeb Bush and and Paul Ryan.

Mr. Trump very well may secure the border, and that would be great. But with his commitment, as an example, to the liberal boondoggle of single-payer government run health care, the United States would be turned into a giant Veterans Administration, but with a wall around it.

I believe we can have it all. A conservative in the White House who secures the border and understands that big government destroys the individual and the future of this nation.

I contend whoever the Republican nominee is will win the White House. And yes, Mr. Trump can get the nomination and win, as could most of the Republican candidates according to the most recent polls.

But many will learn in the aftermath of a Trump election what Pyrrhic victory means.

He’ll secure the border, implement single-payer (hey, he’s a deal maker), and grow the government into a monster bigger than you can imagine. It’ll be “YUGE!” His foreign policy? He’s a deal maker.

Many people are comparing Mr. Trump to Ronald Reagan. For those of us who were able to vote for President Reagan, we remember the outsider who campaigned with dignity, grace and humor. Mr. Trump does have a sense of humor. The problem is the joke is on us.

We know elections have consequences. I have committed to voting for whomever is the Republican nominee, even if that’s Mr. Trump as any Democrat is even more dangerous and destructive. But with so much talent in the Republican lineup, Iowa has a real choice, and a chance to make a statement that Americans can have an actual conservative iconoclast without sacrificing our dignity or principles.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host and a Fox News contributor.

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