Republican 2016 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump came into South Carolina with a substantial lead. During the debate in Greenville, South Carolina, Trump felt that he had enough swagger to liberally share his vitriolic views.
Trump displayed that he was not a conservative in step with the pro-life movement as he parried with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) about abortion. In response to defunding Planned Parenthood, Trump insisted that the organization does lots of good things for womens' health. When Cruz pressed him, Trump demurred but said that he was against abortion. Sure. Federal taxpayers can pay half a billion dollars to keep the lights on at Planned Parenthood clinics and finance the loss leader of condoms
But the most telling truth from the evening was a colloquy between Trump and former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL). The moderator asked Trump about his harsh critique of the Iraq War. Trump reiterated his assertion that he always opposed it and that it was a stupid war that costs trillions of dollars.
Jeb stepped in to defend his family's honor and legacy. As Trump interrupted and insulted his favorite foil, Trump then charged that the terror attacks of 9/11/2001 were "W''s fault as they happened during the 43rd President's watch.
If any conservative needs more proof that Trump is not one of them, this should have been a crystalizing moment. To question the wisdom of invading Iraq is one thing that a war weary America may countenance, but blaming the Bushes for a terror attack-- that's Alex Jones 9/11 truther territory. This is the sort of tripe that loony liberals with loose change rattling around in their head spew.
Trump trolls will love the fight, no matter what. If Trump keeps to form, he should double down on his outrageous invective, as crazy charges scored big earned media that kept him in the headlines in the past. That may not work this time.
People are voting. Particular states are having primaries. For Republicans, the next prize is South Carolina which is a conservative state with a strong continent of military veterans. This bold bombast against the Bushes charging that their beloved former commander in chief was responsible for a terror attack is not a natural play. It sounds like the muck from looney liberals and crackpots (not necessarily one in the same group).
Implying that Senator John McCain was a (R-AZ) a loser for being a POW held in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War may have worked in the dog days of summer when 16 Republican Presidential candidates vied for attention. Will it work as voters choose from the final handful a week before casting the ballot?
It seems that the Trump Train is driven by momentum and pointing to polls. Trump's graciousness after the Iowa Caucus only lasted a day because Trump went out of the headlines. That's why he seized on being Ben Carson's champion for supposed "cheating". How magnanimous of Trump to help out his good friend, who he implied was pathological like a child molester in November 2015. Trump could sweep the field if he wins big in South Carolina. But if Trump fails again, that would kill momentum for the Nevada Caucuses and the nine state SEC primaries, where it is difficult to use celebrity events and outrageous earned media to triumph.