- - Sunday, June 12, 2016

In the last month or so both of the presumptive presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said stupid and even offensive things.

Mr. Trump as we all know, because we’ve heard it repeated by the media one thousand times, questioned the impartiality of a federal judge because he is of Mexican descent. Dumb. Even indefensible.

But Hillary a few weeks earlier said that she was going to put every coal miner in America out of a job. Messing with people’s livelihoods is arrogant and smug beyond belief. Arguably, much worse than anything Mr. Trump has said.

Politicians often say stupid things. I’m old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan called Ketchup a vegetable. Bill Clinton became a laughingstock when he said in 1992 that he “didn’t inhale.”

What is maddening about the Clinton and Trump gaffes is the reaction by the brain trusts of their respective parties. When Hillary promised to lay off tens of thousands of coal miners, the left knew she had stepped in it. But did you hear Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid denounce her as an an out-of-control imbecile who has just threatened the jobs of middle class union workers?

Did they clamor that one more of these unforced errors and she would be “disqualified” from the race? Did they rush on MSNBC and CNN and demand a retraction?

Of course, no. No. And No. Never. They aren’t stupid. Like the worker bees, they did everything to protect the queen bee. They worked together to change the subject, denounce Mr. Trump, reassure voters that Hillary really does care about working class people. She’s even met some.

Nearly everyone dutifully parrotted the party line: what Hillary really meant to say was blah, blah, blah.

That’s called damage control.

The Republicans are, by contrast, pathetic wimps. They are so terrified of and traumatized by the “racist” charge, that they threw the Republican nominee under the bus so that the media wouldn’t label them as bigots too. They foolishly piled on to the media and Democratic attack. The media didn’t have to call on Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to excoriate Mr. Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan lashed out at Mr. Trump for his “racist comment.” Marco Rubio and others did the same. Jeb Bush called for Trump to “retract” his comments.

They seemed to be saying: see how racially progressive I am. I just denounced Donald Trump. He’s the Republican racist, not me. That’s statesmanship for you.

Question: does anyone believe that this strategy will bring a stampede of black and Latino voters into the party? Do they think this will get the media off my back?

This wasn’t the first time Republicans have played into the hands of the left. When Mr. Trump was absurdly charged with not properly denouncing a supporter who is a racial supremacist, even many conservatives piled on to the leftist attacks. He wasn’t sufficiently apologetic for the liberal media, and some Republicans like the forgotten, but not gone Mitt Romney nearly called him a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This is his roadmap back to political relevance.

All of this is self-defeating on a thousand levels. First, don’t these lame-brained Republicans get it that they hang together or they hang separately. Tearing down Mr. Trump will mean thousands of political casualties down ticket. Democrats do get this.

Second, since when do we judge our candidates based on the left’s warped criteria? They seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome of seeking the affection of their captors.

Finally, the Republican members of Congress would be wise to stop with the holier than thou strategy. These are the people who’ve blown a hole in the budget as big as Texas and so how are they morally superior? These are the people that can’t even defund the cronyist Export Import Bank.

Instead, why don’t Republicans ever try to seize the offensive on the race card? Want to divide and conquer the left? Take a school choice agenda into the inner city and tell poor minority parents that the GOP is offering their kids better schools. Promise to bring safety, jobs, and development to their neighborhoods. Promise to stop putting young inner city blacks in jail for drug use.

The greatest victims of Barack Obama’s litany of economic failures have been blacks and Hispanics. Mr. Obama’s no racist, but the impact of his policies are. Does it really matter that he means well? Republicans/Trump can win millions of votes of economically-left-behind minorities in record numbers this year. But that won’t happen by genuflecting to the leftwing civil rights leadership. And it won’t happen if the GOP’s leadership is calling their flag bearer a racist.

Stephen Moore is an economic consultant with Freedom Works.

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